Exeter University responds to EDL’s remarks about the Arab and Islamic Institute
Exeter Together have made plans to run a counter demonstration to the EDL’s planned march on 16th November.
The EDL claimed that they were marching in Exeter because the University is “the home of the European Muslim Research Centre and also the home of the Arab and Islamic Studies”. They also cited donations made by Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah.
In response, Exeter Together will be bidding to show the city’s diversity on the same day, and hundreds of groups and individuals, including MP Ben Bradshaw, have signed up in support.
Although the route of the march has not been made public, the University is expecting it not to affect them.
A spokesperson for the University said: “The Arab and Islamic world is a subject of academic study at the University in the same way as Physics, History, French or English. It doesn’t follow that just because we have an academic specialism that the University is sympathetic to any particular cause.
“Yes, we have accepted donations from people and institutions in the Middle East for the pursuance of research or teaching, as we have from the UK, the US and Europe.
“All large donations are ethically checked before they are received. Saudi Arabia is the UK’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East and designated a ‘High Growth Market’ by UKTI, as is the Emirates, of which Sharjah is a part.”
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall police added: “We are aware of the planned march and are putting appropriate measures in place. We cannot comment any further at this time.”