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Written by Student Rights on 26 March 2012 at 12pm

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem barred from speaking at Sheffield Hallam University (Update: Statement from Sheffield Hallam University)

UPDATE: Student Rights have received an email from the Vice Chancellor's Office at Sheffield Hallam University stating that the event was cancelled because the correct booking procedures for the event had not been followed. The email said that:

"It has been brought to the University’s attention that the Student Rights Organisation are stating on their website that, and I quote ‘Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem barred from speaking at Sheffield Hallam University’.  

This is not the case, the event has been cancelled because the organisers (the Sheffield Hallam University Islamic Society) did not follow the correct procedure for booking the event.   The University would be grateful if this inaccuracy could be rectified with immediate effect".

Last week, following news that homophobic hate preacher Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem had been barred from speaking at Hertfordshire University after Student Rights raised the issue, we learned that Al-Hakeem was booked to speak at Sheffield Hallam University on Tuesday 27th March.

Student Rights therefore contacted the University authorities and Students’ Union to make them aware of his intolerant views.

Called ‘Pearls of Islam’ and advertised as an opportunity to learn about the position of Muslim women, the event soon had a protest organised against it by students opposing Al-Hakeem’s homophobia and misogyny who had contacted Student Rights with their concerns and asked for advice on the issue.

This morning we have received a reply from the Students’ Union on the subject which said “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This speaker will no longer be on our campus”.

This is likely because he has given advice that female circumcision is recommended and that a woman should not be able refuse her husband sex.

In a question posed to him on his website which asks “my husband libido is too high, he is requiring me three times a day. What can I do?” he replies that “It is not permissible for a wife to refuse fulfilling her husband’s desire. You should answer his calls as this is not physically hurting you. If you can’t do that for no legitimate reason you are sinful”.

That a man who believes such things should be promoted as someone who could give advice to students on the position of women in society is deeply worrying, yet it is his views on homosexuality that provoke greater concern. 

In the Q&A section on his website he answers a number of questions on the topic, stating in one that homosexuality turns LGBT people into “animals that seek only their sexual satisfaction through their weird ways”.

He responds to another question which asks “how can I deal with this problem homosexual? I can’t stop or control it” by saying that “homosexuality is an illness and something that Allah despises” and that the individual should “try and stay away from whatever reminds you of this filth”.

He has also responded to questions on the topic on his TV show, declaring in this video that homosexuality is “not something that is natural” and is “an abnormality which must be treated”, which the Old Testament states the punishment for was death by stoning. With regards to brutal punishments like this Al-Hakeem has also repeatedly stated that the punishment for apostasy is death.

It is encouraging to see universities and their Student Unions accepting that there must be a line drawn between free speech and hate speech. Despite this, Student Rights have recently discovered that Al-Hakeem has been booked to address students at an end of term dinner at the University of East London on Wednesday 28th March, and will be contacting the university authorities on this issue today.