The University of Liverpool has confirmed that it was prepared to allow an Islamic cleric with extreme anti-gay views to conduct a speech in front of students.

The Tayyibun Institute announced last Thursday that it had cancelled Mufti Ismail Menk’s tour of several universities – with the consent of the controversial cleric.

It had previously released a flyer promoting Menk’s tour and had stated that he would be visiting several British universities during November.

Despite being listed on the flyer, Glasgow and Oxford universities told PinkNews that they were unaware of any invitation having been extended to Menk.

However, the University of Liverpool has admitted it was prepared to host the cleric, after the university’s Islamic Society invited him.

The university confirmed to PinkNews that Menk would not be speaking today at the Guild of Students, but only because of last week’s decision by the cleric and the Tayyibun Institute to cancel his tour.

Menk has described gay people as “filthy” and worse than “dogs and pigs”; believes consenting gay sex is as bad as “rape”, and says it’s “foolish” for Muslims to accept homosexuality.

The University of Liverpool believes its students should be allowed to challenge his views in the presence of the cleric.

A spokesperson said: “We are committed to providing an inclusive environment where the views and beliefs of all our staff and students are respected.

“Universities provide platforms for discussion and debate – whether or not we agree with the views of those involved. It is not the role of the university to censor people’s views, but rather to provide a neutral, open environment for them to be debated and challenged.

“The Guild of Students and the university have clear policies on diversity and equality, which inform our decisions on events such as this.”