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Written by Student Rights on 17 February 2012 at 2pm

Sheffield Hallam Islamic Society share Anwar Al-Awlaki video

UPDATE: Following complaints from students at Sheffield Hallam University the video has now been removed. Student Rights have requested a statement from the Activities and Societies Coordinator at Sheffield Hallam and have been told that they have begun to investigate the video posting but were not responsible for it being removed. They believe that a student may have contacted the society and complained, as a student spoken to by Student Rights said he would.  

In the wake of a Student Rights report revealing that the London South Bank University Islamic Society had been posting videos of the jihadist ideologue Anwar Al-Awlaki on its Facebook page, these videos were removed and a statement condemning extremism was posted by the society.

This was a good sign which we welcomed as it showed that the society appreciated the dangers involved of exposing students to such ideology, even if it took wider scrutiny of the group for them to actually remove the videos.

Today though, Student Rights have been informed of another university Islamic Society posting a video of Al-Awlaki, this time at Sheffield Hallam. In this case, a video entitled ‘How to Respond to the Atheist’, posted by a channel called ‘Nevertrustthekuffar’, was shared with the group on the 7th of February. This was followed by comments including “May Allah (SWT) grant him jannah [paradise]”.

To make matters worse, this video also includes a link to another YouTube channel called ‘TheJihadTube’, and to a channel called ‘Fesabeelillah’ on the video sharing website Veoh which includes videos called Baghdad Sniper which purport to show footage of US soldiers being shot in Iraq. It also includes a link to another video channel called ‘Bible_Jesus’ which also contains numerous Al-Awlaki talks as well as video of Chechen and Somali fighters.

Whilst this does not mean that the Islamic Society endorse these videos or this ideology, and I would frankly be very surprised if they did, it shows a dangerous naivety about the effect that these videos can have on vulnerable individuals. Roshonara Choudhry, the King’s College student who quit her course before stabbing MP Stephen Timms freely admitted in police interviews to being radicalised by Al-Awlaki’s videos.  

Here at Student Rights we would call for Sheffield Hallam University to start an immediate investigation into this incident and to ensure that their students are not placed at risk of radicalisation.