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Queen's right to hold conference

Published 06/05/2015

As an academic traveller who values scholarly free speech I would like to offer my congratulations for Queen's University's decision to rethink a hastily scrapped conference debating the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo massacre last January.

If academics are not allowed to debate reprehensible actions, because of any real (or even perceived) security threat, then one could seriously argue that the terrorists of Islamic fundamentalism have truly silenced the West.

Moreover, if security could be genuinely a concern, then the secondary reason (of Queen's reputation somehow being besmirched by holding the Charlie Hebdo research symposium) was not merely spurious, but an egregious example of political correctness overriding scholarly discourse.

I look forward to attending and, once again, offer Queen's a sincere thank you for (belatedly) reversing its initial supine decision to cancel the conference.

DR KEVIN McCARTHY

Kinsale, Co Cork

Belfast Telegraph

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