The University of Manchester’s Student Union Executive has launched an investigation after a student secretly filmed an extremist Muslim saying gay people should be killed.
The comments were secretly recorded by Middle East studies student Colin Cortbus at a public meeting organised by the Global Aspirations of Women student group at the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union on Wednesday 13 February.
When Mr Cortbus asked the chairperson of the meeting – whether “in the Islamic society in which you strive for,” would they “feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man?”
The chair of the meeting replied: “Absolutely.”
In the meeting Mr Cortbus also asked whether in the Islamic state they were advocating would they feel confident to kill him if he “did something as completely innocent as kiss another man outside the Students’ Union.”
Mancunion reports she said: “Yeah, absolutely,” adding, “But it’s the fact that you can’t just see it as it is. People have this issue that the punishment, penal code, everything is so completely inhumane, but who even says that these things are inhumane?”
In the video, the speaker argued that gay relationships do not lead to “social cohesion”. When pushed on the reasoning behind this argument, she said gay people can’t “procreate”.
The University of Manchester’s Student Union Executive released a statement on Tuesday afternoon. It said:
The front page of this week’s Mancunion carries a story that many students will find unsettling. Our first priority is the wellbeing of students, and if any student is affected by the article itself or the issues addressed in it we suggest that you contact our confidential Advice Service on the ground floor of the Students’ Union building or 0161 275 2952.
We are committed to ensuring that the spaces we run and the student activities we support are safe and non-threatening for all of our students. We are opposed to discrimination in all of its forms and consider homophobia unacceptable. The Students’ Union will always seek to keep our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students free from intimidation and discrimination.
We have today initiated an investigation into the story in the Mancunion, both in terms of the student society meeting described and the way in which the information was obtained. This investigation will be thorough and the Exec Team will take whatever action is necessary at the end of it to address any problems uncovered by it. We expect to conclude the investigation by the end of the month.
Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights added: “What this video shows is the shockingly intolerant attitudes perpetuated by a minority of extremists on British university campuses. That young people studying in diverse environments can host and endorse messages of hatred and violence such as the one displayed here is cause for great concern and we hope the authorities at the University of Manchester will be investigating this incident in a swift and transparent manner“.