I am writing to you to condemn the recent motion passed by the NUS-NEC demanding for the withdrawal of respected Muslim academic and intellectual, Professor Tariq Ramadan from the forthcoming European Social Forum.
Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim academic respected by scholars both within and outside the Muslim community around the world. His stance on peace, social justice and tolerance are an example to all humanity. He is also an intellectual icon for Muslims seeking to reconcile their Islamic faith with a full and constructive citizenship of Europe, exemplified by Muslim participation in the ESF.
The recent decision by US security services to exclude Mr Ramadan from the United States of America was widely condemned by academics of every faith throughout the world. At this juncture, Tariq Ramadan has no idea why the decision was made. Some believe the decision was based on ill-founded rumour spread by people determined to drive a wedge between Muslims and the West.
I can only assume the NUS-NEC motion was based on the same misleading information. My hope is that it was not based on the same ill-intent.
I am a progressive Muslim and I have frequently found myself criticising British Muslim groups for their tactics and militant views. But on this issue, I stand shoulder to shoulder with every Muslim in Britain. And I have no doubt that your outrageous motion will be met with the same degree of solidarity throughout the Muslim community, as well as by scholars and academics with an interest in Islamic affairs around the world.
I understand Her Majesty's government has announced is intention to introduce legislation outlawing religious bigotry. I can assure you the National Union of Students will be among the first to feel the weight of this law should it continue to demonstrate such contempt for the views and sensibilities of the British Muslim community.