Friday, March 16, 2007

The University of Leeds was accused of infringing free speech last night when it cancelled a lecture on Islamic anti-Semitism by a German academic.

Matthias Küntzel, a German author and political scientist who specialises in the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, was told yesterday by the University of Leeds that a talk scheduled for yesterday evening, and a two-day workshop, on Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Anti-semitism in the Middle East, had been cancelled because of security fears.

In a statement yesterday, two academics in the Leeds German department, which had organised the event, claimed the university had bowed "to Muslim protests". Dr Küntzel said he had given similar addresses around the world and there had been no problems.

He added: "I was told it was for security reasons - that they cannot shelter my person. But I don't feel in any way threatened.

''I know this is sometimes a controversial topic but I am accustomed to that and I have the ability to calm people down. It's not a problem for me at all.

"My impression was that they wanted to avoid the issue in order to keep the situation calm. My feeling is that this is a kind of censorship.''

Read about it here, and here.

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