Varsity pulls out poem by alleged al Qaeda operative from syllabus
Kozhikode: Calicut University in Kerala has pulled out from its syllabus a poem penned by Arabic poet and an ex-Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al-Rubaish following media reports of his alleged links with terror outfit al-Qaeda.
Al Rubaish`s piece "A poem from Guantanamo: Ode to the Sea" is part of an anthology titled "Literature and contemporary issues" prescribed for second semester degree students in the university.
According to reports in a section of local media, Al Rubaish, a native of Saudi Arabia, was captured in 2001 near Pakistan-Afghanistan and was detained in Guantanamo Bay camp for a few years.
He was transferred to Saudi Arabia in 2006 and is now living somewhere in Arabian peninsula as `mufti` of al-Qaeda.
Taking note of the reports, Vice-Chancellor Dr Abdul Salam asked the university`s Dean for Language and Literature Dr M M Basheer to look into the issue and submit a report.
Salam today approved the Dean`s recommendation that the poem could be withdrawn from the syllabus with immediate effect and removed from the re-print of the anthology if it continues to be part of the syllabus next year, university sources told.
The Dean`s report, without commenting on the literary quality of the poem, said it would be against moral values to prescribe a poem penned by a person who is said to have terrorist links, the sources said.
It did not make any adverse comment against those academics who selected the poem for its inclusion in the anthology which has five other poems, four short stories and one play, written by different writers.
"We were not acting on any written complaint against the inclusion of the poem. The decision was taken on our own by taking note of the media reports and the recommendations of the Dean," the sources said.
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