At Nottingham University a row over academic freedom has begun after Thornton, a lecture, who criticized the university’s treatment of a student investigating al-Qaida was suspended on Wednesday. Rod Thornton was suspended after making accusations of the university that passes "erroneous evidence" to police and is going to disrepute a student who researched al-Qaida.
Rizwaan Sabir, the masters student, was arrested for downloading an al-Qaida training manual from a US government website. One of the university members has also claimed that Thornton's article should be deleted from academic website as it contained defamatory allegations. Sabir was detained for six days and then released without charge. Sabir asked a university administrator to print the document as he did not have money to cover printing fees and the latter was also arrested.
Rod Thornton created a paper for the British International Studies Association (Bisa) last week. In the paper, he wrote: "Untruth piled on untruth until a point was reached where the Home Office itself farcically came to advertise the case as 'a major Islamist plot' ... Many lessons can be learned from what happened at the University of Nottingham. This incident is an indication of the way in which, in the United Kingdom of today, young Muslim men can become so easily tarred with the brush of being 'terrorists'."
However, one of Thornton's fellow academics at the University of Nottingham claimed the custom papers made "clearly defamatory" allegations against individuals. Thornton received a letter from the vice-chancellor telling him of his suspend for "breakdown in working relationships with your colleagues caused by your recent article".