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Convicted Holocaust denier David Irving Photo: Reuters
Convicted Holocaust denier David Irving Photo: Reuters
 
 

Holocaust deniers to speak at Oxford

Nick Griffin leader of the British National Party and controversial historian David Irving to speak with Oxford University's students

Avi Belizovsky
Published: 11.25.07, 17:19 / Israel Jewish Scene

Nick Griffin, the leader of the right-wing British National Party (BNP) and Holocaust-denier historian David Irving are scheduled to give a lecture at Oxford University on Monday. Despite the protests, members of Oxford's Debating Society voted in favor of inviting Griffin and Irving.

 

Oxford University's students associated condemned the idea as well several Muslim students' organizations who object to Griffin's policies and the Jewish student body. Yet, the Debating Society insisted that in the name of free speech, all opinions must be heard.

 

Trevor Phillips, chairman of Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission, said Irving never should have been invited.

 

''I think it is an absolute disgrace. As a former president of the National Union of Students, I'm ashamed that this has happened,'' Phillips told British Broadcasting Corp. television. ''This is not a question of freedom of speech; this is a juvenile provocation.''

 

He said students at Oxford were ''supposed to be brilliant,'' and he appealed for them to ''put your brains back in your head.''

 

Phillips said people did not fight and die for the right to freedom of speech only for it to be used as a ''silly parlor game.''

 

Last week, British Defense Secretary Des Browne and at least three other lawmakers canceled appearances at Oxford University's 182-year-old debating society because of the Irving invitation. They were not invited to attend Monday's event, but were scheduled to speak before the union on other days.

  

Luke Tryl, President of the Society claimed that Griffin and Irving were invited to a forum that will discuss the boundaries of the freedom of speech alongside other speakers who will challenge their views.

 

The Society reported that tickets to event have been sold out.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

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