Universities say no to hate speakers
Sheikh Assim Al Hakim
Anti-extremism campaigners were celebrating a string of victories at UK universities this week.
Muslim speaker Sheikh Assim Al Hakim, known for his radical views on homosexuality, was barred from three campuses in a matter of days.
Al Hakim, who has preached that homosexuality is an "abnormality which must be treated", was invited to address the University of East London Islamic Society's annual fundraising dinner on Wednesday.
He has written: "Homosexuality… takes all the bashfulness and good character of people and turns them into animals that seek only their sexual satisfaction through weird ways."
After challenges to the student union from UJS and the UEL Jewish Society, as well as gay rights groups and anti-radicalism group, Student Rights, it was confirmed that he would no longer be at the event.
Talks by Sheikh Al Hakim at Sheffield Hallam University, and the University of Hertfordshire, both hosted by their campus Islamic Societies, were also cancelled, while London Metropolitan University blocked two extremist speakers from addressing a segregated Islamic society event on Syria. A spokesman said the request to host Uthman Lateef - who has also denounced homosexuality - and Haitham Al-Haddad had been declined.
Al-Haddad is alleged to have called Jews, "enemies of God, and the descendants of apes and pigs" and stated that it was necessary to hate Jews and Christians. Both he and Al Hakim are due to speak at Edinburgh Napier University tomorrow, at an event billed as "Scotland's biggest ever Islamic conference".
Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights, said: "It is incredibly encouraging to see universities taking a firmer stance. Students are now more alive than ever to the threats on campus, and support is swelling from LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] atheist societies and more."