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Academic claims he was forced out of Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies because of his sexuality

"As a homosexually-partnered, bisexual man, I do not comply with the preferences of the Centre’s major funders"

By Jamie Tabberer

An academic has claimed he was forced out of his job at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies because it was feared his bisexuality would upset the centre’s backers.

Dr Kevin Fogg, 37, will face the centre at an employment tribunal next week.

He was dismissed in 2018 after five years of working at the centre.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr Fogg, an expert on Islamic history in south east Asia, said: “I believe that this dismissal was not only unfair but also discriminatory.

“As a homosexually-partnered, bisexual man, I do not comply with the preferences of the Centre’s major funders, including the states of Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Kuwait, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Centre’s leadership made several references to my age, which I believe to have been coded language equivalent to calling me a ‘confirmed bachelor’.”

In a witness statement, Dr Fogg added that the centre has a “culture of antagonism and intolerance towards non-heterosexual lifestyles.”

Dr Fogg’s statement adds that after his dismissal he had “trouble sleeping, difficulties with eating, and episodes of depression — both because of my treatment at the hands of the Centre and because of the subsequent uncertainties of extended unemployment.”

“Wild allegations of discrimination”

In a statement to Attitude, the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies said it “completely rejects” Dr Fogg’s “wild allegations of discriminiation”, which it says “have no basis in fact”.

“Contrary to his current complaints, Dr Fogg has been treated very well by the Centre”, a spokesperson said. 

“He was appointed initially to a prestigious five – year fixed term academic fellowship which, at his request, was renewed for a further year. He was also granted a two term sabbatical from his responsibilities at the Centre and was given a mentor. However in 2018 after an extensive process of review of his work, his request for a yet further period at the Centre was declined.  

“It was only after, and it would seem as a result of, the Centre turning down his request for a second extension that he has made this allegation of indirect sexual orientation discrimination. His complaint of age discrimination was first made on appeal against the Centre’s decision, when it was examined and found to be without any basis.  

“Accordingly the Centre will robustly defend his claims in the Employment Tribunal. The Centre does not propose to comment on the proceedings and will make no further statement about the case until after its conclusion.”

A Recognised Independent Centre (RIC) of Oxford University is a status awarded to acknowledge a special relationship with a small number of institutes and centres which are involved in teaching and research in their specialised areas in Oxford.