PRESS RELEASE – USA: IHRC demands reinstatement of cancelled Middle East university post



Islamic Human Rights Commission


26 May 2017

Press release – USA: IHRC demands reinstatement of cancelled Middle East university post

IHRC has written to the head of the head of the University of California, Fresno questioning the university’s decision to cancel the search for a candidate for the Edward Said Professorship, a move which has prompted the resignation of the Director of the Middle East Studies Program, Vida Samiian on the grounds of racial discrimination and academic interference.

The cancellation of the search for a candidate to assume the professorship came after strong lobbying from the American pro-Zionist lobby which has made it a strategy in recent years to target academic institutions in order to silence narratives that do not conform to their own.

Their aim is to prevent a critical discussion of Israeli policies or Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine by harassing or intimidating university lecturers and administrators.

There is no doubt that the university has caved in to the lobbyists’ objections that all four candidates are of Middle Eastern and Palestinian ethnicity. It is ironic that a post which was established in the name of a leading scholar of and campaigner against colonialism has fallen victim to supporters of the last settler-colonial nation in the world.

This is a disturbing turn of events which has serious repercussions for the University’s reputation as an institution that cherishes academic freedom and supposedly operates a non-discrimination policy.

IHRC has urged the Chancellor urge you to reverse his decision immediately, apologise to the candidates and academics who have been affected by the decision and allow Ms Samiian the opportunity to resume her former position.

Notes to editors:

The letter can be read in full here

For media enquiries or further details please email or call 020 8904 4222 or 07958 522196[Ends]



IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
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United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Twitter @ihrc