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Academic Scandal
by Justin Cohen - Aug 21

A fresh academic scandal erupted this week over a Birmingham university lecturer who is promoting a website that accuses Israel of being behind the 11 September attacks.

A link to the shocking anti-Israel and anti-American material was discovered under "Human rights" on the home page of Dr Nat Queen, a lecturer in applied mathematics.

The page, headed "The Satanic US government is the world's greatest terrorist organisation", accuses the Bush regime of suppressing evidence linking Israel to the world trade center attacks and alleges that "evil slime just like Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon" are part of a Jewish-Zionist conspiracy dominating the US.

"Not only did the Israelis have prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, they were closely involved in their implementation as well," writes the anonymous author.

The piece - which suggests America and its ally would be primary defendants at a modern Nuremberg war crimes trial - is broken up by a doctored American flag with the 50 stars replaced by a swastika, with the image surrounded by two US dollar symbols.

Queen's case is the latest in a series of scandals to engulf British academics, coming just weeks after an Oxford professor denied an Israeli student a job because of his nationality.

Jewish students plan to meet before the start of the new academic year to discuss how to tackle the situation after leaders of the union of Jewish Students branded as "inadequate" and "disappointing" the university's refusal to take disciplinary action against the lecturer.

As Birmingham students expressed concern for Jewish students who may come into contact with Queen, UJS campaigns organiser Danny Stone said: "A second letter has been sent to the university's vice-chancellor and I can only hope this matter is dealt with appropriately and with the seriousness it deserves. Action must be taken to ensure that students do not have to be subject to these abhorrent racist views to which this lecturer is clearly and unashamedly associated."

Eric Moonman, chair of academic response to anti-semitism and racism, told TJ he would be drawing the material to the attention of the attorney general. He said: "Unlike the recent cases involving academics, this is much more pernicious involving the accusations and a condemnation of an entire people."

A Birmingham university spokesman said: "The website in question is clearly marked "Nat Queen's homepage" and ends with a disclaimer stating that "Its contents are in no way endorsed by the University of Birmingham."

The University neither endorses nor condemns Dr Queen's personal views, but we defend his freedom of speech to express controversial or unpopular opinions."

The spokesman added that the institution did not believe Queen's website is in contravention of race relations legislation. Dr Queen could not be reached for comment.

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