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Written by Student Rights on 15 December 2011 at 11am

Thursday 15th December, Dr. Aaidh Al-Qarni at SOAS

On Thursday 15th December the Saudi cleric Dr Aaidh Al-Qarni will be speaking at the School of Oriental and African Studies on the topic of his book ‘Don’t be Sad’, a motivational work to help people live their lives the right way.

In the description of the event it states that this is for “Muslim adults but also for Muslim teenagers who are trying to make sense of the world around them and the Islamic values that they are trying to adhere to”.

Whilst this is an admirable goal, the values that Dr Al-Qarni has suggested in the past are not those which many would care to see expounded on a university campus.

In a speech viewed by Student Rights he refers to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs” and laments that “we are incapable of taking action, of being useful, of harming the Jews”.

As well as this, he has declared his support for violent jihad and terrorist violence. In a speech given in December 2004 he stated “I praise the Jihad, the sacrifice and the resistance against the occupiers in Iraq”.

He then continued, saying that “the Jihad in Fallujah is a source of pride” referring to the battle for the Iraqi city that had finished days before and had claimed the lives of over 100 coalition soldiers and hundreds of civilians.

In this speech he also said that people must be prepared to pay the cost of such actions, saying that “we must sacrifice people like Abdul Aziz Al-Rantisi, [and] Ahmed Yassin”, the Hamas leaders killed by the Israeli Defence Forces earlier that year.

He then said that “houses and young men must be sacrificed, throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered. This is the path to victory”.

However, he is clear that violence is not the only way forward, and in January 2005 stated of the Jews that “guiding them to Heaven is better than slaughtering them”.

This is still framed in the language of violence however, as Al-Qarni uses a story in which a man is sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the Jews “to fight them” in which he is told to convert them is better than to kill them.

In recent years he has shown something of a contradictory nature when dealing with foreign policy and relations issues. In June 2009 he praised Barack Obama and urged Muslims to engage in dialogue with him yet has since returned to stating more aggressive rhetoric aimed both at the West and Iran.

As recently as November 8th he wrote in an article published in London daily Al-Sharq Al-AwsatI urge the Arabs to manufacture the nuclear bomb and nuclear weapons”.

He argued that as “power is the source of all stature and grandeur” the Muslim nations should “manufacture tanks, rocket-launchers, missiles, satellites, and submarines, so that the world comes to respect us, hear our voice, and appreciate our status”.

He has also echoed the Islamist sentiment that “Allah willing, the European continent will become an Islamic continent”. In this interview, published on 31st October he also stated that “we must make a distinction between jihadi liberation movements that are judicious and follow the right path, such as Hamas in Palestine”.

Student Rights is concerned that a man who has expressed views such as these will be presented as an authority on how British students should lead their lives.

Rupert Sutton, a researcher at the organisation said:

These views represent an extreme interpretation of Islam that many would not recognise as their religion. It is important that the university ensures that extreme opinions are not presented as mainstream, to prevent the radicalisation of students."