A law student has been accused of mocking Islamic State on social media and putting “minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear”.
An official at Edinburgh University allegedly accused Robbie Travers, 21, a third-year law student, of having committed a “hate crime” despite there having been no criminal investigation by the police.
Travers acknowledges that his social media comments are highly opinionated, but he strongly denies that they are racist or in any way incite violence.
One of his controversial Facebook posts came after the US Air Force dropped a massive ordnance air bomb on an Isis stronghold in Afghanistan in April. Travers wrote: “Excellent news that the US administration and Trump ordered an accurate strike on an IS network tunnels in Afghanistan. I’m glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins.”
Travers has written for the Gatestone Institute, a right-of-centre think tank based in New York, and is an occasional blogger for The Times of Israel. He claims that he is being unfairly victimised by a group of students who are not prepared to hear controversial views with which they disagree.
The complaint being investigated by the university alleges that Travers has been “targeting … minority students and student spaces” on social media.
Speaking to The Times, Travers said: "I am deeply worried that I am being investigated for comments which are expressions of opinion in a jovial way … I do not incite the harassment or racist treatment, nor attack anyone with an illegal suggestion or suggest, indeed, that they be deprived of their human rights.
“This investigation concerns me in that I am being investigated for hateful speech when I am seeking to tackle hateful ideas and poor logic. I won't be intimidated into being silenced and will continue to make criticism of hateful ideas, supremacist ideas and beyond, regardless of any characteristic of the individual promoting the ideology."
A spokesman for the university confirmed that “complaints alleging misconduct have been received against Travers and these are being investigated”. He would not elaborate beyond saying that “we are committed to providing an environment in which all members of the university community treat each other with dignity and respect and our code of student conduct sets out clear expectations of behaviour”.