Bristol University could lose millions over sacking of professor


Civil society organisations, scholars and activists from Malaysia have written to Bristol University threatening to lobby the government to stop sending students there unless it reinstates a professor sacked for criticising Israel and Zionism.

Prof Miller, who was professor of political sociology and a member of the School for Policy Studies, was sacked in September after a concerted campaign by pro-Israel activists to have him removed on spurious allegations of anti-Semitism.

Despite clearing him of the anti-Semitism charges, the university fired him saying his conduct had fallen below the standards expected from its staff.

The letter, organised by the Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations and signed by 20 groups and individuals, says Prof. Miller’s sacking gives rise to serious concerns about the security and intellectual development of Malaysian students in an environment where any criticism of Israel invites repression by the University authorities at the instigation of the Israeli lobby.

“We conclude that the Bristol University is no longer a safe space for Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students, and staff,” states the letter.

The signatories promise to pressure the Malaysian government to consider halting the flow of Malaysian students to Bristol University.

Some 600 Malaysian students are currently enrolled at Bristol University making them the second largest overseas contingent. They pay millions of pounds in fees annually.

The letter is designed to add to worldwide pressure on the university to reinstate Prof. Miller. Last month a host of civil society organisations in the UK wrote to the university threatening to organise a boycott unless the lecturer is restored to his post.

Mohammed Azmi Abdul Hamid, the President of Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations which spearheaded the writing of the letter, said: “It is unthinkable that we should pay this institution hundreds of thousands of pounds just to allow our youngsters to go into such a poisonous environment where they have no security and where their rights are curtailed.”

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

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