The Queen Mary University Palestine Solidarity Society has invited Dr Azzam Tamimi to address a meeting, despite protests from students who claim that he promotes terrorism and is an active supporter of Hamas.
In 2004, Dr Tamimi, who is director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought, said that if he had a passport which enabled him to enter Israel, he would carry out a suicide bombing “as a way of pleasing God”.
He will be appearing at Queen Mary University on a panel alongside Dr Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat peer who was sacked as the party’s health spokesperson in 2004 for remarking that if she was a Palestinian, she “might just consider” becoming a suicide bomber.
The University of Sussex Palestinian Society asked him to speak on campus in 2009, and although the invitation was challenged in a Union Council meeting, it was finally resolved to allow the talk after a casting vote from the Chair (the original vote was tied 8-8).
During the meeting, it was pointed out that Tamimi had worked to make the Hamas charter “less anti-Semitic” and that he was a recognised academic at Kyoto University.
Similar controversies took place when he was invited to speak at Birmingham University and at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
A spokesperson for QMU said: “Freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas and beliefs are at the heart of our ethos.”