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February 5, 2017 9:02 am

UK Students Rights Activist: Hamas-Linked ‘Friends of Al-Aqsa’ Key Fomenter of Campus Antisemitism

avatar by Lea Speyer

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An FOA protest in support of the BDS movement. Photo: FOA/Facebook.

An FOA protest in support of the BDS movement. Photo: FOA/Facebook.

A British campus activist said on Friday that a key player behind the deteriorating situation for Jewish students in the UK is an outside anti-Israel group with ties to Hamas.

In an oped in the International Business Times, Elliot Miller — a student rights organizer and fellow at the Henry Jackson Society think-tank — accused Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) of fomenting antisemitism across UK schools.

Miller wrote that FOA and its partnering organizations are “driving the development of a divisive atmosphere on some campuses,” most recently at the University College London in October, where, as The Algemeiner reported, Jewish students were targeted in coordinated, violent FOA-sponsored protests during a pro-Israel event.

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As a result, Jewish students “feel that they are being suffocated when it comes to expressing their views on campus,” he said.

FOA, he continued, is also “very active” on social media, where it identifies potential student societies to sponsor its events. In November alone, he said, FOA “used Twitter to target 39 universities, promoting its ‘Hands off Al-Aqsa’ campaign,” to deny Jewish rights to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and accuse Israel of “colonization.”

Miller also pointed to the FOA’s Holocaust denial and promotion of terrorism. The organization’s founder, Ismail Patel, is quoted as stating “Hamas is no terrorist organization” and praising it for “standing up to Israel.” FOA Director of Public Affairs Shamiul Joarder has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

“While universities have a duty to protect freedom of expression on campus, there should be serious concerns that a group with such a history has such free reign to target students, and institutions should be mindful of the effects this could have on student welfare and campus cohesion,” Miller wrote.

As The Algemeiner has extensively reported, Jewish students in the UK are under attack by anti-Israel activists, and the rise in antisemitism across British campuses has caught the attention of lawmakers, one of whom warned that the country’s top-tier schools are becoming  “no-go zones” for Jews.

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