U.K. Students Block Speech By Anti-Racism Campaigner

| by Diana Kruzman
Hope Not Hate director Nick Lowles and campaign organizer Sam TarryHope Not Hate director Nick Lowles and campaign organizer Sam Tarry

A student union in the U.K. has allegedly blocked a prominent racial justice activist from speaking at an event over claims of Islamophobia.

Nick Lowles, director of the anti-racism organization Hope Not Hate, said the National Union of Students' Black Students' Campaign rejected an invitation for him to present at a conference, according to The Guardian.

In a Facebook post, Lowles called the group's objection "ultra-left lunacy," adding that he was accused of being Islamophobic after campaigning against Islamic extremist groups.

"Never mind all the work Hope Not Hate has done challenging anti-Muslim hatred," Lowles wrote in the post, according to The Guardian, "it seems that some activists believe I'm Islamophobic because I have repeatedly spoken out against grooming and dared condemn Islamist extremism."

The student union reportedly prevented Hope Not Hate from attending the conference due to comments from several students.

"It's amusing in its absurdity but it does reflect the failure of a small section of the left to understand that we have to confront extremism and intolerance in all its forms," Lowles told The Guardian. "My issue is with this small group of political activists and not with NUS itself, who I believe were unaware of this."

NUS president Megan Dunn said the union does not oppose Hope Not Hate as an organization.

"I would happily share a platform with anyone from Hope Not Hate tomorrow," Dunn said. "Representatives from Hope Not Hate, including Nick Lowles, have and continue to be invited to NUS events. I have tried to clarify this issue with Mr. Lowles but have been unable to contact him."

Sources: The GuardianNational Union of Students / Photo credit: Antonio Zazueta Olmos/The Guardian

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