Interfaith Week 2011

Hate Speech: the Border Between Rational Discussion and Irrational Hatred

This seminar, jointly organised by the Islamic Society at Imperial College and the Foundation, is part of the on-going Foundation’s projects with university students. The students were invited to question the following:

“Freedom of speech is a necessity of university education. We don't promote hateful speech, but positive criticism and rational differences of opinion -political, religious or academic -are not hate speech.”

Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Mehri Niknam, the chair: There is a huge amount of misunderstanding, misinformation and sometimes prejudice that is peddled about hate speech, particularly by the media. Rather than shy away from the topic, we should do our best to clear the cobwebs of misinformation and prejudice which cloud and contort the real issue.
Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Simon Julius: I have been at IC for 2 years and have not experienced any anti-Semitism on the campus. But there are times when I feel inhibited, particularly to do with Israel. I think the “No platform policy” of NUS is a good thing and should be instituted at IC.
Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Yusuf Sherwani: We have to avoid institutions or government defining who is speaking hate speech. I am not against “No platform policy”, provided it is transparent. According to whose decision and based on what criteria are hate speakers identified?
Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Cornelius Neg: In my personal experience as a Catholic, generally I have not noticed any hate speech. We are occasionally questioned by atheists. Prevention of hate speech works as a deterrent against extremists.
Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Sayin then Vivekanantham: Although there are not so many issues on IC campus as some other campuses, nevertheless, there are some issues. The best way to tackle such issues is to discuss them.
Hate Speech Talk at Imperial College Speakers with presidents of Isoc and Jsoc. All speakers were presented with a copy of the book “confronting anti-Semitism and Islamophobia” published by the Foundation.