Anti-Semitism row: University of Essex sacks lecturer

University of EssexImage copyright Tom Sancassani
Image caption University of Essex has said it has a zero-tolerance policy on hate and harassment

A university has sacked a lecturer after an anti-Semitism row over the formation of a Jewish society.

Concerns were raised at the University of Essex over Facebook posts which had described “Zionists” wanting to create a society there in February.

Dr Maaruf Ali said he was disappointed to be dismissed and did not “hate Jews, their religion, people or their culture”.

The university confirmed an employee had been dismissed.

A Jewish Society was formed at the institution after the initial vote had received opposition from hundreds of students.

Concerns were raised over posts from the Facebook account of computer science lecturer Dr Ali, which included the claim “the Zionists next want to create a society here at our university”.

Other posts shared by his account, since deleted, appeared to deny the Holocaust.

Image copyright University of Essex
Image caption Dr Maaruf Ali has been dismissed from his university job

Dr Ali denied being anti-Semitic or denying the Holocaust and said his vote against the society had been against the ideology of Zionism.

He said: “I am not against Jews, I don’t hate their religion, their people or their culture.

“I believe that everyone should be allowed to form any society. This is what I’m thinking now – which is what I didn’t think at the time.”

He added that he was objecting to the climate in present day Israel and had never asked for the destruction of the state of Israel.

A University of Essex statement said a member of staff had been dismissed following a tribunal hearing.

“The university has now completed an independent investigation into the serious allegations made against a member of university staff,” it added.

Daniel Kosky, Union of Jewish Students campaigns organiser, said it was the correct decision for Dr Ali to be dismissed for his “severely anti-Semitic” social media comments.

He said: “We welcome this positive step in creating an inclusive campus environment, and we hope to see the University of Essex continue this work into the future.”

In February, comedian David Baddiel and Countdown presenter Rachel Riley spoke of their shock at the reaction to the Jewish Society vote.

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