University cancels speech by homophobic Islamic cleric

Jessica Geen November 24, 2009
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Two London universities have been attacked for inviting an extremist Islamist preacher to speak.

Abu Usamah, a Birmingham-based imam, appeared in Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque documentary, in which he was seen advocating the killing of gays and Muslims who leave their faith.

He was invited to speak by the Islamic societies at City University and University College London (UCL), although UCL has now cancelled his appearance.

Usamah spoke at City University for the Islamic Society’s charity fundraising event on November 4th.

The university’s LGBT society told the student newspaper The Inquirer it strongly opposed the decision and warned it could harm students.

Although Usamah’s speech was “moderate”, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called for City University’s vice-chancellor Julius Weinberg to resign, saying he had “ignored” student complaints about the preacher’s on-campus appearance.

A statement from City University following the November 4th talk said: “Our Islamic Society applied to our student union for permission to host Abu Usamah through the normal procedures.

“The university then considered its obligation, as with all speaker applications – this included reviewing the proposed content of the event, which in this case was charity – and under section 43 of the Education Act, found no proven reason to decline this student union event.”

Usamah had also been scheduled to speak at University College London’s Islamic society on Monday November 30th.

The university’s student union confirmed to today that the invitation had been cancelled.

A spokeswoman said: “UCLU has decided to cancel this event due to concerns that the health and safety criteria cannot be met.”

Ashley York, the LGBT officer for UCL’s student union, told “I welcome the cancellation on behalf of the UCL LGBT community. Abu Usamah’s deplorable views, views that are not shared by the vast majority of British Muslims, have no place in our civilised society. Indeed UCL has a rich history in social liberation and accepting people regardless of who they are.”

Usamah was secretly filmed for the Channel 4 programme in January 2007 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.”

Usamah also described women as “deficient” and “incomplete” and suggested that young girls who do not wear the hijab should be beaten.

He later said his comments had been taken out of context.

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