Dubai: Ignorance about the UAE and anti-Arab racism are behind efforts to stop an American university from opening a campus in Dubai, say UAE academics.

The University of Connecticut has notified the Dubai Education Council (DEC) that it has halted plans to establish a satellite campus in Dubai following pressure from pro-Israel politicians and interest groups in protest of the UAE’s ‘human rights record’ and policy towards Israel.

Political science professor Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah condemned the move, saying there was no place for politics in academic decisions.

“It’s obvious that the ignorance (about Arabs) that prevails among the American public has crept into academics,” he said.

Connecticut legislator Andrew Fleischmann told Gulf News he and his colleagues in the General Assembly would not allow such a deal to go through until the UAE “changed the way it deals with Israel” and improves the situation of foreign workers.

“If the (concerns) are not addressed, I will absolutely work to block such a partnership,” he said. Israeli citizens are not allowed entry into the UAE, according to the Dubai Government’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing website, in line with the UAE’s policy of non-normalisation of ties with the Jewish state until the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved.


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