Nottingham Trent University has suspended a student for using as his profile picture a selfie with an Orthodox Jewish man sleeping on a train and placing a Palestinian flag over his mouth.
The South Asian British student, who is in his first year at the university, uploaded the image to his Tinder dating profile last week.
Jonathan took the selfie with the Jewish man while travelling on the Piccadilly Line on London Underground.
Screenshots of the image were posted on social media by Jess Talarico Shaw, a Jewish student studying Theology at the University of Cambridge, who took to Twitter to express her anger.
Twenty-year-old Jonathan’s Tinder profile included personal information such as the university he was attending enabling Jack Mandel, web editor at the Jewish News, to highlight the issue to Nottingham Trent University (NTU), labelling it “sickening antisemitism”.
We are aware of this post, in which NTU is mentioned in an individual’s personal profile. We are proud of our diverse and inclusive community and do not tolerate any form of hate crime, including anti-Semitism. An urgent investigation is already underway regarding this matter.
— Nottingham Trent University (@TrentUni) September 27, 2019
One of the most vile acts of #antisemitism we have seen in 2019- a student at @TrentUni by the name of Jonathan placed a flag of #Palestine on the mouth of a #Jewish man sleeping on the metro in #London … and proceeds to pose for a picture with a huge grin on his face pic.twitter.com/E9AWALpDsH
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) October 1, 2019
The tweets sparked concern from online users and in response, an NTU spokesperson confirmed an “urgent investigation” had been launched regarding the matter.
We launched an investigation the moment we were made aware of this post. We are dealing with the matter urgently and have interviewed an individual who was about to begin his first year. This individual is suspended and a disciplinary panel will now decide on appropriate action
— Nottingham Trent University (@TrentUni) October 2, 2019
Student news outlet Nottingham Tab reported Jonathan regretted posing the picture and denied being anti-Semitic: “It was indeed a terrible picture, absolutely insensitive and should not have been taken in the first place.
“I should also mention the fact that I am in no way antisemitic or have any kind of prejudice towards Jews.”
According to the Jewish News, Siwan Hayward, TFL’s director of compliance and policing, said: “Hate crime is illegal and we do not tolerate it on our network.
“We want public transport to feel safe and welcoming for everyone and urge anyone who has more information about this abhorrent incident to contact the [British Transport Police] BTP and make an official report, so the perpetrators can be identified.”