India

Harvard drops Indian MP Subramanian Swamy's courses

  • 8 December 2011
  • From the section India
Subramanian Swamy
Mr Swamy is a controversial Indian politician

Harvard University has dropped two economics courses taught by Indian MP Subramanian Swamy after he wrote two articles that "demonise" Islam.

Mr Swamy, a trained economist, recommended demolishing hundreds of mosques in the article.

He also wrote that only Muslims who "acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus" be allowed to vote in India.

Mr Swamy said the university should have consulted him before taking the decision.

"A dangerous precedent has been enacted," he was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India news agency.

The controversial piece appeared in the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) newspaper in July.

Harvard University said Mr Swamy's views were "reprehensible". The MP holds a doctorate in economics from the university.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted with an "overwhelming majority" to remove the courses taught by Mr Swamy.

Its meeting resulted in a "heated debate" when Comparative Religion Professor Diana Eck proposed an amendment to exclude Mr Swamy's courses, the campus newspaper Harvard Crimson reported.

"Swamy's op-ed [piece] clearly crosses the line by demonising an entire religious community and calling for violence against their sacred places," Prof Eck was quoted as saying.

'Dangerous'

She said Harvard had a moral responsibility not to affiliate itself with anyone who expressed hatred towards a minority group.

"There is a distinction between unpopular and unwelcome political views."

Earlier in July, more than 400 students had signed a petition demanding Mr Swamy's removal after the university had decided to stand by him.

Reacting to the university's decision, Mr Swamy on Thursday said Harvard should reconsider its decision.

"The article was written for a Mumbai newspaper and I teach economics in Harvard. I would assume that they would have sent their petition to me asking for my comments which is a normal procedure. But they have not done that," Press Trust Of India quoted him as saying.

Mr Swamy said the decision was a "dangerous one" as it made a person teaching in Harvard accountable for what he wrote on any subject anywhere in the world.

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