Written by Student Rights on 23 March 2012 at 3pm

London Met stands up to extremism

An event organised by the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University has had both of its proposed speakers refused by the University Secretary in a move welcomed by Student Rights today.

Called ‘Silent Tears – Syria’, the event was due to feature Uthman Lateef and Haitham Al-Haddad, “pending uni approval”, at a “fully segregated” event discussing the current humanitarian crisis there.

After Student Rights noticed that the original poster advertising these speakers had changed to say that it would now feature a “special guest” instead of Al-Haddad we contacted the University asking if this was because he had been refused permission to speak.

A response from the Press Office quickly confirmed this, stating that “The University's Secretary has declined a request for both Uthman Lateef and Haitham al-Haddad to come and speak at the University”. 

Whilst they failed to give a reason it is most likely because of the two men’s history of inflammatory comments, which have been highlighted by Student Rights in the past.

Haitham Al-Haddad recently published an article in which he lamented “the scourge of homosexuality” and has stated of women that “the most honourable[sic] and worthy role for a woman is striving to be a fine wife, a good mother, or both. This role does not only secure the best for a woman in the hereafter, but also fits perfectly with her natural disposition”.

He has also declared that that the Israeli Defence Force Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9 was a good thing as “many Muslims who left their religion became more convinced that they have to go back to their religion”. He has also been accused of extreme anti-Semitism after a translation of a sermon he gave at Al-Muntada Al-Islami Mosque came to light in February 2012.

Lateef is no better, stating in 2007 that “we don’t accept homosexuality...we hate it because Allah hates it”. He has also repeatedly attacked the notion of secular Islam and warned of the dangers of integration.

In 2009 he told an audience at the East London Mosque that “if we are teaching the way of life of the disbelievers, of the kuffar, Allah will bring humiliation on us” and that people should beware of being misled by those advocating forms of Islam including a “democratic Islam”.

That universities are beginning to make a stand against speakers of this nature is excellent to see, and Student Rights commends London Metropolitan University for their actions. An event featuring the homophobic preacher Murtaza Khan was also moved off the campus last month on February 24th after “room booking problems”, something which was also welcomed by Student Rights and staff at the University.

We hope that this laudable action will inspire other universities to begin challenging speakers who peddle intolerance on campuses across the country by either balancing their events or banning speakers who promote hatred.