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Professor Kurt Barling's Book Launch/Human rights debate

Event information

START DATE 8 December 2014
START TIME 04:30pm

Middlesex University, Room C219-20 (debate) and the Second Floor Mezzanine (book launch), College Building, Hendon Campus, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT

END DATE 8 December 2014
END TIME 07:30pm

Human rights debate to mark release of new book on Abu Hamza

Kurt BarlingTo celebrate the publication of Professor of Journalism Kurt Barling's new book Abu Hamza: Guilty - The Fight Against Radical Islam, Middlesex University is hosting a human rights debate and book launch event at its Hendon Campus. 

Click here to book your free ticket.


16:30 Tea 
17:00 'Human rights make society safer: a debate'
18:30 Book launch including a cheese and wine reception

'Human rights make society safer: a debate' 

There have been many arguments in recent years to state that living in security is the most fundamental of human rights. Following this sentiment, many see other human rights as creating undue constraints on the extent to which society can be effectively policed. This has been used by various political interests to question the efficacy of human rights, with a number of high profile cases concerning alleged terrorists being held up as exemplars, as to how human rights hinder the dissemination of justice and undermine security. The argument seems to stem from the belief that human rights are only for those who live within the law, or are deemed by others to live within the law.

This house however believes that human rights are intrinsic to maintaining the inherent dignity and worth of every individual and that the effective functioning of rights contribute to a heightened sense of well-being for most if not all, resulting in safe societies.

Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean of The School of Law, will Chair the debate consisting of panellists Professor Kurt Barling, Associate Professor Helena Wray, Associate Professor Maureen Spencer and Professor Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers.

This event highlights that UN Human Rights day takes place on 10 December 2014.

'Abu Hamza: Guilty - The Fight Against Radical Islam'

Kurt Barling's new book is an original story of how Abu Hamza, a relatively insignifi­cant man, became an international threat to peace, told by two journalists who tried to warn the world before it was too late.

Professor Barling wrote the book with Réda Hassaïne, a journalist and former Algerian, French and British Security Service informant who was employed to gather information on Abu Hamza at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. By sheer coincidence, Professor Barling was also working undercover at Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s and early 2000s and both became unique eye-witnesses to the birth of British jihadism and the attempts to radicalise young men and build a global jihadi movement to inflict harm on the West. 

This form of totalitarianism under-pinned by radical theology has attracted many young men and women to the jihadist cause. Recently, thousands of ­fighters have travelled from Europe and even the United States to support IS. What can be done to stem the flow? It is a battle of ideas the West is losing among a signifi­cant number of people in search of an alternative identity to the one they grew up with in the UK, Europe or the USA. One of the pressing questions for all of us is will this end up in more violence coming back home? 

Abu Hamza: Guilty follows an historical timeline. Starting in 1988, it helps the reader track the resurgence of Islamism in Algeria after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Cold War. Hassaïne stood for election as part of the radical Islamic party and fell out with them. He was then blackmailed by the security services as the Algerian state clamped down on the Islamists. Arriving in London, he continued spying for the French and Algerians, at the same time building a relationship with MI5. He was feeding powerful information to the police and secret services but no one appeared to be doing anything about it. While Hassaïne became more frustrated, Hamza became more powerful in the Al Qaeda network, acting as Europe's Al Qaeda recruiter at Finsbury Park Mosque. Eventually, after a battle which cost him his health and his marriage, Hassaïne gave evidence which helped get Abu Hamza extradited to the US in 2012. The story culminates in the New York trial earlier this year which actually drew on some of the evidence presented as an eye-witness account in this book.

Abu Hamza: Guilty - The fi­ght against radical Islam provides the back-story and context to one of the highest profi­le terrorism cases in the United States in 2014, which finally put Abu Hamza behind bars in America. He will be sentenced in January 2015.

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