Since 1984, the University of Exeter has received substantial financial contributions, totalling well over £5.5million, from such sources as Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum of Dubai, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi of Sharjah, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.
In 2003, the university’s vice-chancellor, Steve Smith, met with Muammar Gaddafi to discuss a £75million donation from the Libyan regime for the purpose of educating “elite Libyan officials” at Exeter. The deal never went ahead, however.
Academics at the University of Exeter include Laura Cull, Sarah Dadswell, Caitlin DeSilvey, Rasheed El-Enany, Alex Murray, Illan Pappé, Maeve Pearson, Jane Poyner, Richard Seaford and Helen Taylor. All ten of these academics were signatories to a 2009 letter to the Guardian which argued that “Israel must lose” the armed conflict with Hamas.
Another academic at Exeter is Ghada Karmi, who is outspoken in support of the Palestinian “Right of Return”, despite acknowledging that, “if that were to happen, we know very well that that would be the end of a Jewish state in our region.” She believes that Jerusalem “does not belong to Jewish Israelis or to Jews,” that “Israel is finished,” and that Israel does not deserve to exist. She has also claimed that “the existence of Israel has only increased the problems for the Arab region. It has increased the danger in the Arab world and is a threat not only to the security of the region, but the security of the whole world.”
European Muslim Research Centre
The University of Exeter is home to the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC), set up with the help of such Muslim Brotherhood groups as the Cordoba Foundation and Islam Expo, as well as the Qatari-owned television network Al-Jazeera. The EMRC is headed by Bob Lambert, who has expressed support for Daud Abdullah (a signatory to the Istanbul declaration, which called for attacks on British troops and Jewish communities) as well as terrorism-supporter and hate preacher Raed Salah. Lambert was also responsible for handing over control of the Finsbury Park Mosque to the pro-Hamas leadership of the Brotherhood-run Muslim Association of Britain.
Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies
Founded in 1999 with the aid of a £2.4million donation from Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi of Sharjah (part of the United Arab Emirates), and extended with an additional £650,000 from the same source in 2006. These were not the only financial contributions made by Qasimi to the University of Exeter; the first was made in 1990, when Qasimi helped to set up a graduate centre at the university. In 1997, Exeter University Press published a book that “almost exonerate[d] the Sharjah branch of Qawasim [i.e. the Qasimi dynasty] of piratical activities … [by answering] the main question … [of] whether or not the al-Qasimis were pirates … [with a] straightforward no,” according to the Middle Eastern Studies journal’s review of the book. The university has further legitimised the Qasimi’s authoritarian rule by bestowing upon him a number of honours, including an honorary doctorate in 1993.
In recent years, the Islamic Society at the University of Exeter has hosted such guest speakers as Abdullah Al Andalusi, Omar Ali, Hamza Tzortzis, Ismail Patel, Ahsan Hanif and Jamal Badawi.
Andalusi describes his “political views” on his Facebook page as “Islamic – Caliphate”. He believes that “democracy … doesn’t work, it doesn’t represent the people, it never will, it’s based on some interests where no one is happy, no one has their interests fulfilled and that you have to fight with other people.” He favours Sharia law instead.
Ali is President of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), an organisation that has been heavily criticised for its failure to challenge radical Islam. He is also a presenter on the Islam Channel, which was fined in 2010 for incitement to rape. The channel’s CEO is Mohammed Ali Harrath, who, in 2005, was convicted in absentia by a Tunisian court of terrorism-related offences.
Tzortzis is an Islamist preacher for the extremist Islamic Educaiton and Research Academy. He is also linked to the anti-Semitic Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Tzortzis has stated: “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom.”
Patel is the founder of Friends of Al-Aqsa. In 2009, at a rally in support of Hamas, Patel addressed the crowd, saying: “Hamas is no terrorist organization. The reason they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated, occupied by the Israeli state, and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel […] to the state of Israel: you no longer represent the Jewish people.”
Badawi is an academic and preacher who cites Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna as the most inspirational person in his life.
Friends of Palestine
Speakers at the University of Exeter’s Friends of Palestine society have included Gilad Atzmon, who stated in his speech to Exeter students that “Hitler was right” and “anti-Semitism doesn’t exist”; George Galloway, who has expressed support for Ba’athist dictators Bashar al-Assad and Saddam Hussein; Norman Finklestein, who has publicly defend genocidal Palestinian terror group Hamas; and Ghada Karmi, whose extremist views are detailed above.