University in Islamabad suspends staff over Israel stall at mock UN debate

By AFP
Published: October 27, 2014
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The International Islamic University in Islamabad. PHOTO: IIUI

The International Islamic University in Islamabad. PHOTO: IIUI

ISLAMABAD: A university has suspended three staff after students created a stall to showcase Israeli customs and traditions as part of a mock UN debating contest, officials said Monday.

Students at the International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) set up the stall, which featured Israeli flags and pictures of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of their “model UN” exercise at the weekend.

The display, which also included a banner saying “Welcome to the land of peace and prosperity”, triggered a furious response from right-wing student groups who smashed its contents.

Pakistan and Israel have no diplomatic relations and the Jewish state is widely disliked in the Islamic republic.

The university said the dean of the faculty of management sciences, a student affairs adviser and a female lecturer had all been suspended over the incident.

An IIUI spokesman said the university “strongly condemns” the hosting of the Israel stall and stressed that “a number of resolutions were passed against the Israeli brutalities in Palestine” at the mock UN event.

A female student said the stalls were intended to showcase the religion and culture of various countries alongside a mock UN debate about the situation in Middle East.

“Students were coming to our (Israeli) stall, they were talking to us, discussing the cultural things that were on display,” the student told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Everything was normal until students of the female wing of IJT came to our stall and accused us of supporting Zionism.”

Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) is a conservative student organisation allied to Jamaat-e-Islami.

“They attacked the Israel stall and smashed everything, everybody was running out of the hall, it was so scary,” the student said.

The university administration immediately cancelled the event and formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Pakistani
    Oct 27, 2014 - 7:38PM

    Suspension is the height of stupidity.

    If Pakistan is so sensitive about Israel, why have any relations what so ever with India.

    They occupy Kashmir, have murdered 100,000 Kashmiri civilians and raped over 50,000 kashmiri women, are sponsoring the TTP and the BLA for terror in Pakistan.

    Lets check the Deans cable TV viewing, has he been watching bollywood, looking at Indian websites or papers online, If so he should be suspended as well.

    Univeristies are places where kids minds are opened/broadened

    I dont want to live in a country where there is (Mad) mullah law.

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  • Khan
    Oct 27, 2014 - 7:39PM

    Good decision,

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  • sensible
    Oct 27, 2014 - 8:07PM

    Now the so-called liberals gonna cry for “freedom of expression”. I suggest them to visit israel and display stall representing arab culture, and see what happens. Pak don’t recognize state of israel, so there is not point of displaying ‘culture’ of country that technically don’t even exist in law of Pak. Peace!

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  • Anju
    Oct 27, 2014 - 8:07PM

    This shows how much intolerance you guys have. It was a mock UN session. It is indeed a good idea to have even your worst enemies in the mock session so that the students get prepared to debate with representatives of such countries in real life, when they take up jobs in the govt.

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  • sabi
    Oct 27, 2014 - 8:46PM

    And great ‘thinker’ Hasan Nisar thinks IJT is an asset and pride of our educational institutions.Double standards isn’t it?.

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  • Asad Khan
    Oct 27, 2014 - 8:48PM

    What an utter apologetic and idiot decision by the Uni.

    Our academics institute should not be intimated by religious or political organization alike. They already played havoc in our institutions which were source of knowledge not for local residents put for students from China, Indonesia, Malaysia etc. Because Pakistani academics institutes and academia alike were both “open” and “firm” in their ideological beliefs.

    Pakistan has a policy on State of Israel ( I am a firm supporter of it) it does not mean that we should shut our eyes & tried to act like self blind.

    The Jewish Culture was & has been a unique phenomenon all over the globe, it needs to be studied for the awareness & understanding. For information of fellow FBookers Iran has small population of Jewish people & Saudi University in Riyad contains a rich archive on Jewish / Israelites culture & history.

    regards,

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  • Oct 27, 2014 - 9:02PM

    I categorically support the decision made by the Dean of IIUI because there is no need to display Israeli culture or the slogan,

    “Israel is the land of peace and
    prosperity”

    They have killed thousands innocent of Muslims of Palestine. They have been long since disrespecting our religion. They are of the view to eradicate ISLAM from the world. And when it is about ISLAM or our basic religious dogmas we can’t tolerate;I want to Reply the above commentator that we have diplomatic relationships with India because there are millions of MUSLIMS living over there. And if you have become that much conservative and apostate then Don’t show us your hatred to Pakistan otherwise you could be kicked off from Pakistan.
    If you say you’re Pakistani then don’t pop out a word against Pakistan

    We Love Pakistan and we can’t tolerate Israel that’s it

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  • Saira
    Oct 27, 2014 - 9:04PM

    I think the university is meting out disproportionate punishment. This was an administrative oversight. No one intentionally meant to hurt religious sentiments. An MUN by definition is supposed to showcase all the countries that are represented in the UN in actuality. Israel is featured in all MUNs that happen in Pakistan. It is beyond idiotic of IJT to lose their marbles over something this petty.

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  • sabi
    Oct 27, 2014 - 9:05PM

    I remember the day, back in 1979, when IJT goons didn’t allow Abdus Salam to visit KU in Islamabad after he had won Noble prize.Its 35 years down the line theocracy still rules and nuclear power finds no solution to end this terror.

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  • Atif
    Oct 27, 2014 - 9:05PM

    @Pakistani: There is no comparison between India and Israel. Pakistan officially accepts India as a state and as a neighbor. Pakistan and India have border disputes and animosities. However, they both officially ‘accept’ each other. On the contrary, Pakistan do not officially ‘accept’ Israel’s existence for the reason that it was created over occupied Palestinian/arab land and to this day has no ‘official border’. From the very beginning, Pakistan considers Israel, an illegitimate child of west and till the time there is no just resolution of this problem, that is the position Pakistan should stick with.

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  • uH
    Oct 27, 2014 - 11:31PM

    Why even have MUNs and pretend to be a mainstream educational institution if you cannot tolerate the realities of this world.
    The other universities like LUMS, IBA, GIK, AKU etc should take a stand on this ridiculousness and bar their teams from participating in events hosted by IIUI. If Israel is ‘bad’ then these moulvi hooligans are worse! And the saddest part is that they get official patronage, whether such incidents happen at the institutional level or the national one.

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  • Azi
    Oct 27, 2014 - 11:55PM

    @Pakistani:

    You are very naive to think that people…even Isareli citizens would not get similar treatement in their universities had they done this for Pakistan. There is a distinction b/w “Mulla Law” and “Fantasy land”. Israeli citizens, if anything, get scholarships for promoting pro-Israeli and anti-(any one how has a problem with Israel) in their universities. I think you should do live there.

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  • yousafhaque
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:13AM

    @Muhammad Umer Farooq:::The slogan says that ‘Israel is land of peace’,not it’s people,just as ‘Pakistan means a clean place’,not necessarily her people

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  • Mo
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:20AM

    Basically half the lot here think Isarel would have done the same thing if something similar should have happened, so should we. Instead of BETTERING ourselves, we rather degrade. Genious.

    The amount of arrogance in this country is just too much.

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  • Ashar
    Oct 28, 2014 - 4:45AM

    @Asad Khan:
    You don’t put up a picture of Netyanhu and use the word peace.

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  • Anon
    Oct 28, 2014 - 10:48AM

    And they blame India for trashing Kashmiri students for raising pro-Pakistan slogan

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  • Mohammed Saeed
    Oct 28, 2014 - 12:59PM

    @Pakistani:…………….If you don’t want to live in Pakistan…..then get out from Pakistan,,,,,,,

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  • S@
    Oct 28, 2014 - 2:24PM

    Waooo dats was kind to the Dean and all others. They should be investigated by police and even by agencies how did they were able to get permission, who funded them how and from where did they printed that banner etc. Its a serious issue. Its Islamic uni and they were not able to see whats going on in their university???

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  • Moiz Omar
    Oct 28, 2014 - 3:46PM

    You may disagree with something and someone, but that does not give you the right to smash the things of other people. The IJT people who smashed the stall should be dealt against swiftly.

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  • Patra
    Oct 28, 2014 - 4:03PM

    @sensible:
    Do you even know that around 15-20 % of Israel’s population is Muslim (Arabs and Bedouins) and that they live quite happily there?

    You are so brainwashed

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  • Amir
    Oct 28, 2014 - 5:05PM

    Great. Now, how about NOT using the Jewish/Israeli inventions in your daily life: WIFI, Instant Messaging, Polio Vaccine, …

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  • MJ
    Oct 28, 2014 - 8:17PM

    This is the height of intolerance and idiocy but then what do you expect from the student wing of a JI. This was a “Mock” UN assembly, it was created so that students can learn by acting out the general assembly proceedings. Based on the same logic, IJT students should kill any actor who played the role of devil in any stage show, TV-serial or movie because who has harmed humanity more than the devil himself? Majid Jahangir and Ismail Tara who portrayed the devil in 50-50 many times should be thanking their lucky stars.

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  • harry
    Oct 28, 2014 - 8:49PM

    Other countries are venturing to the farthest edges of space and we are going backwards chasing a mirage.

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  • It's (still) Economy Stupid
    Oct 29, 2014 - 12:58AM

    University is suppose to be place for new ideas and freedom of thinking regardless one agrees or not. Future of Pakistan is bleak as this type of people are expect to lead.
    BTW Israel kills Palestine and so does Pakistani’s. Black September in Jordan
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackSeptemberin_Jordan

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  • Flanagan
    Oct 29, 2014 - 6:14AM

    Do you have any idea of how backwards you people look, to the rest of the world?

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  • Xman
    Oct 29, 2014 - 9:17AM

    For mullahs, Talibans are brothers, who kill and cripple our people, not a word comes out against them, but they so sensitive about a country in Arabia which does not even share a border with Pakistan. Just goes on to show how arabanised every inch of this country has become.

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  • adil
    Oct 29, 2014 - 10:20AM

    Do they understand what a Model UN is? Do they understand how debates are conducted? And we wonder why no one in the world can understand our point of view.

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  • Sarfaraz
    Oct 29, 2014 - 10:44AM

    @Flanagan:
    Showing support for Palestinians looks being ‘backward’ to you. Good going!

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  • Eddied
    Oct 29, 2014 - 12:14PM

    @Sarfaraz: what support have Palestinians ever shown for Pakistan?…

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  • Amna
    Oct 29, 2014 - 1:05PM

    Educational Institutions that punish open discourse are institutions not worth the paper their degrees are printed on. Closed mindedness has no place in places of learning as no education exists without understanding all perspectives. The closed-minded behavior shown by the women’s wing of JI is what should be the focus of investigation and it is those young ladies attempting to stifle discourse who should be punished as under the laws of Pakistan. If IIUI punishes open discourse, the Pakistan Higher Education Commission should strip IIUI of its rankings bc IIUI fails to be an educational institution once it censors open discourse. We as a nation refuse to acknowledge the existence of any legitimate state of Israel yet at the same time we don’t deny that the place exists and we maintain necessary discourse in relation to Israel and Palestinian conflict. Pakistan doesn’t live in a vacuum and the Model UN is a perfect format in which to teach students this diplomacy – It is the duty of IIUI to ensure its student body also understands the difference between the two.

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  • Katja Schjølin
    Oct 29, 2014 - 5:42PM

    When I went to school in Denmark we had a mock United Stations and I represented Soviet Union. We also had a student represent Pakistan. This was all about understanding and learning about different nations. We wanted learn how things look from the other side. Nobody was attacked me because I was representing a communist country. Why cannot university students in Pakistan cannot see this is just role playing which even 14 year old school kids in Denmark understand.

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  • AMIR
    Nov 4, 2014 - 2:12PM

    “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

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  • AMIR
    Nov 4, 2014 - 8:46PM

    @Muhammad Umer Farooq:

    You claim “we have diplomatic relationships with India because there are millions of MUSLIMS living over there.”

    Indeed “Islam is the second-largest religion in India, making up 14.2% of the country’s population” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IslaminIndia],however “Making up 16% of the population, Muslims constitute Israel’s largest religious minority”
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel#Religion]

    Based on your logic,Pakistan should establish,immediately,diplomatic relationships with Israel.

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  • Raja Awais
    Nov 19, 2014 - 2:44AM

    I feel so ashamed that i dont have words after readimg these comments of my fellow citizens.

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