Written by Student Rights on 22 December 2011 at 1pm

Samir Abu Hamza to speak at FOSIS Ireland event

This weekend the Irish branch of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) will be running a winter camp in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, Ireland called FIGO 2011 which includes as its featured speaker Samir Abu Hamza, also known as Samir Mohthadi. The organisation has been criticised by campus watchdog ‘Student Rights’ and a statement from a member of the Irish Dail follows.

In 2009, Mohthadi created a storm of controversy in his native Australia when his lecture entitled ‘The Keys to a Successful Marriage’ was posted on YouTube. In this he was recorded saying of a wife’s duties that “if the husband wants sex and she is busy she must respond”. He followed this by denying that marital rape exists, stating that if “she does not want to…and he ends up sleeping with her by force it is known to be as a rape. Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?

In the same lecture he also claimed that whilst his listeners should not hit their wives, it was acceptable if “you smack them, you beat them…just to shape them up”.  He followed this by stating that if any woman was to ask her husband for a divorce “without a reason…she will not smell the fragrance of paradise”.

Following the publication of these misogynistic views by multiple media outlets, Mohthadi posted an angry response on YouTubein which he said that “it is not Abu Hamza (his nom de guerre) that has been attacked, it is the Muslims in general”. He also mentioned again that once all options have been exhausted it was permissible to “smack” or “tap” a disobedient wife.

As well as this, he reaffirmed the fact that he disagreed with the law that a husband forcing himself upon his wife was rape, saying “I disagree, and I have the right to do so…it does not mean I tell people to rape”. He then went on to compare this to him disagreeing with the laws relating to speed limits, demonstrating a breathtaking lack of understanding of the severity of the issue.

Raheem Kassam, director at Student Rights (a campus watchdog group) said: “It is often important for both arguments to be made on contentious issues that arise on campuses or through university-focused groups. In this instance however, when discussing issues such as marital rape, there can be no flexibility. Not only is this an illegal and disgusting act, it is also a matter of conscience – one that we would insist the Irish branch of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) do not shirk.”

“FOSIS is an organisation that works on hundreds of campuses across the United Kingdom and Ireland – if these are the types of speakers they are endorsing, then both governments need to take a long, hard look at what kind of work FOSIS is doing and how they are shaping the minds of impressionable young Muslims.”

Maureen O’Sullivan T.D., an independent member of the Irish Dail (House of Representatives) said, “I hope the featured speaker will be confronted on his views in a frank and open discussion. Those views cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.”