No, Westminster University Isn’t ‘Shredding All The Qur’ans’ Because Of ‘Prevent’
The popular monotheistic religions have an established history of violent outbursts in response to perceived transgressions. One faith in particular stands out at this moment in time for its refusal to join the enlightenment.
Some may recall the reports of Qur’ans being desecrated by U.S guards at Guantanamo in 2005. This sparked deadly riots throughout the Muslim world.
Someone who appears to be wilfully oblivious of the current climate and basic levels of responsibility is the Vice President of the NUS, Shelly Asquith, who made the below declaration on Twitter:
Here, a Vice President of the National Union of Students is going on record with the claim that The University Of Westminster, London has ‘destroyed all the students’ Qurans’. And not only has the University engaged in this act of ‘desecration’, but they are doing so because of Prevent, the UK Government’s anti-extremism strategy. In other words, it’s an anti-Muslim act.
When I pressed for evidence of this, Asquith reasserted her claim, upgraded ‘destroyed’ to ‘shredded’ and then revealed her sources:
“Heavy charge, people can get killed for this kind of thing” warns Sarah Haider, Co-Founder of Ex-Muslims of North America.
The on-going Islamist/left-wing anti-prevent love affair continues to blossom. Naturally, this caused a flurry of Twitter attention in response.
Obviously, soft-Islamist group ‘CAGE’ had something to say (amongst others):
Asquith has since protected her Twitter account.
I’ve no reason to doubt Asquith was told this by a number of students, but keen to learn the facts for myself and ‘prevent’ this from getting out of hand, I contacted the University of Westminster directly.
A Spokesperson from the University told me that in 2016 it was decided that a prayer room at the University would be turned into a multi-faith room. The consultation/transition period for this change began in the summer and ended in December 2016. During this period, the Islamic Society (ISOC) were consulted and made aware that any existing materials would need to be removed from the room, otherwise they would be disposed of on a forewarned date. And that is exactly what happened.
This wasn’t an act of desecration, it was planned maintenance. And maintenance that was carried out with due consideration to, and consultation with, the interested parties.
There you have it. Nothing to do with Prevent, nothing to do with anti-Muslim sentiment. A something over nothing.
UPDATE 12 April 2017
I had hoped Shelly Asquith would read the above, quietly reflect and then retract her claims. Unfortunately, she has decided – fully aware of the dangers – to double down and further endanger lives with her misinformation.
This is her response to my writing:
I’d hoped for a different outcome, but it seems Shelly Asquith is unspeakably irresponsible and is committed to stoking religious tensions.