Kill-Gays Preacher Hosted by London Universities by Peter Tatchell
Vice Chancellor urged to resign, after ignoring complaints
Student’s Union backs hosting Islamist hate-mongers
London – 24 November 2009
“University College London is planning to host an extremist Islamist preacher, Abu Usamah, who endorses the murder of gay people and of Muslims who give up their faith. He also encourages the beating of little girls who refuse to wear the hijab,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
“The university would never allow a lecture by a white supremacist who used racist abuse and advocated the murder of black people. Why the double standards?” queried Mr Tatchell.
Abu Usamah has been invited to address the Islamic Society at University College London next Monday, 30 November.
On 4 November, he was given a similar platform by City University.
“The Vice Chancellor of City University London, Julius Weinberg, should resign. He has ignored student’s complaints after the Islamic Society organised an on-campus meeting addressed by Abu Usamah.
“It is utterly disgraceful that the student’s union has defended the hosting of this hate preacher, and that the Vice Chancellor has not responded to protests from students. This violates the equal opportunities policies of the university and the student’s union,” added Mr Tatchell.
Abu Usamah was recorded for Channel Four’s television documentary, Undercover Mosque, as saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man ….and throw him off the mountain…. If I was to turn around and I was to call homosexuals perverted, dirty filthy dogs that should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech isn’t it?”
On Muslims who leave the faith he said: “Kill him in the Islamic state…If the Imam wants to crucify him, he should crucify him. The person is put up on the wood and he’s left there to bleed to death for three days.”
Abu Usamah was also filmed by Channel Four deriding women as “deficient”, inferior to men and religously and intellectually “incomplete.” He advocates violence against little girls who refuse to wear the hijab: “She should start hijab from the age of seven, by the age of ten it becomes an obligation on us to force her to wear hijab and if she doesn’t wear hijab, we hit her.”
Another speaker given a platform at the same City University event on 4 November, Murtaza Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and non-Muslims “filthy”.
“The Vice Chancellor seems unwilling to uphold the university’s equal opportunities policy. He has failed to defend Muslim, Jewish, Christian, gay and women students and staff against these hate-mongers. Having neglected to ensure that the university is a safe, non-threatening place to work and study, Julius Weinberg should stand down,” said Mr Tatchell.
A copy of the City University newspaper news report and editorial on the case follows below.
Peter Tatchell – 0207 403 1790
Fran Singh, Editor, The Inquirer
0781 799 8889
A copy of the City University newspaper news report and editorial on the case:
Storm over extremist preachers
The Inquirer, City University London newspaper
18 NOVEMBER 2009
By Gemma Meredith
Lesbian and gay students have condemned City’s Islamic Society for hosting an extreme Islamist preacher at a campus event.
Abu Usamah spoke at the Islamic Society’s charity fundraising event “The People of Paradise and Hellfire” on Wednesday 4 November. He is notorious for his appearance in a Channel 4 documentary two years ago making inflammatory comments about homosexuals, women, non-Muslims and those who have left the faith.
The film recorded him saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.” On Muslims who leave the faith he said: “If the Imam wants to crucify him, he should crucify him. The person is put up on the wood and he’s left there to bleed to death for three days.”
He also claimed on the record that women were inferior to men: “Allah has created the woman, even if she has a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.”
The City University Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Society released a statement on Usamah’s appearance, saying: “Providing publicity for extremists who preach hate risks not just freedom of speech, but all human rights, democracy and ultimately, the well-being of students at City University.
“We strongly oppose the decision to invite extremist Abu Usamah to speak at one of the largest lecture theatres at City University. Inviting such a controversial extremist who has previously expressed offensive views about homosexuals, women and non-Muslims to our university campus is morally and ethically wrong.
“Events such as this, led by a speaker who shares generally immoral views including homophobia, is likely to lead to an already increasing rise in hate crime in London.”
Usamah avoided controversy at the City event, delivering a moderate speech. Although he condemned killing in the name of jihad (holy war), he also said: “Jihad is from our religion. We will not renounce our religion.”
It is not only Usumah’s appearance that has caused concern. The opening speaker, Murthadah Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and “filthy”. Publicity for the event said: “Bring all your friends; Muslims, kuffaar.” Kuffaar is a derogatory term for non-Muslims.
The Inquirer offered an interview to the Islamic Society, which declined to comment. Acting vice-chancellor Julius Weinberg was also unavailable for comment.
Marcus Mikely, vice-president of communications and publications for City students’ union, said: “The university has no right to stop this from happening as the event was based around charity, not his views on other subjects. If the union had received complaints prior to the event, we would have looked into it.”
This is not the first time the Islamic Society has courted controversy. In April it invited Anwar al-Awlaki to address a meeting via video link from Yemen.
Al-Awlaki, an American, has been accused by the US Government of encouraging “terrorist acts” via the internet. He was interviewed by the FBI after the 9/11 attacks, when he was accused of serving as a spiritual adviser to two of the terrorists. He recently had communication with Major Nidal Hassan, the US soldier who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood army base. He has described Hassan as “a hero”.
In April the university officials intervened, warning the society that broadcasting al-Awlaki’s speech would break university rules. The university’s official code of practice on freedom of speech says: “We will guarantee by policy and action the right of free speech within the university community unless the exercise of such a right can be shown to lead to or increase significantly the probability of the discrimination of individuals or groups, harm to individuals or groups within the university, or the university or the community within which the university is located.”
EDITORIAL – The Inquirer says
19 NOVEMBER 2009
Tragically, the Islamic society has become both victim as well as a perpetrator of discrimination within the space of a week. The horrific mob attack in which four Asians were stabbed (two of them City students), appears to have been racially motivated.
There is no evidence to suggest the attack is in anyway linked to the invitation of radical Muslim preachers Abu Usamah and Murthadah Khan, which was strongly condemned by the LGBT society, but there must be questions asked as to why extremism has been allowed to prosper in the Islamic society. Consider these quotes by Abu Usamah and Murthadah Khan: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”
“Allah has created the woman, even if she has a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.” “Those whom the wrath of God is upon is the Jew and the Christian. These people are enemies towards us.”
Why does the Islamic society continue to invite hate preachers to the university? It certainly does nothing to promote integration with other communities and can often lead to dangerous and incorrect stereotyping.
It is not the university’s place to ban everyone who challenges and pushes the boundaries – as it has done on past occasions with varying inconsistency. Free speech is a universal right and should be defended, but hate speech should not. Equally, we should be free to criticise those who wish to divide us, spread homophobia and sexism, and call Jews and Christians “filthy”.
The Islamic Society needs to take more responsibility about whom it extends invitations to. The university, a place for education, should not be the arena for non-educational talks from radicals, especially when it causes serious offence to large proportions of the student population.
Since the attacks the Islamic Society has published a graphic on its website saying “Islamaphobia is terrorism”. It also added: “Non-Muslims are also encouraged to take care of themselves and be cautious of any suspicious behaviour. Our concern is not restricted to Muslim welfare only.” With no pun intended, perhaps the society needs to practice what it preaches a little bit more. It doesn’t appear to be too concerned about the welfare of those whose Khan and Usamah’s opinions so actively risk.
Further information: Fran Singh, Editor, The Inquirer
0781 799 8889