Written by Student Rights on 26 March 2012 at 1pm

Gay Star News: Students to protest banned Muslim gay hate preacher

By Matthew Jenkin

23rd March 2012

Students are planning to protest against a Muslim gay hate preacher who was banned from speaking at an English university yesterday (22 March).

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem was stopped from talking on marriage in Islam at the University of Hertfordshire after pressure from extremism watchdog Student Rights.

However, the preacher, who calls homosexuality an 'illness', 'unnatural' and compares gay people to 'animals', is still due to appear at Sheffield Hallam University on Tuesday (27 March) at an event organized by the Student Union Islamic Society.

Campaigners are calling for the talk, called Pearls of Islam: Position of Women in Islam, to be cancelled and will be protesting outside the university about an hour before the lectures starts.

Raheem Kassam, the director of Student Rights, told Gay Star News he welcomes the fact that students are standing up against extremist speakers at universities.

'You’re sending these radical, hateful people to talk to 19 and 20-year-olds about their faith and trying to shape what they believe,' he said.

'We’re not saying Muslim students are homophobic, what we’re saying is they’re closing these people into a room and drilling it into their heads that this is what they should believe as Muslims. It’s just wrong and there’s just no call for it.

'What’s really worrying is that vice chancellors and the university themselves are still too cowardly to take these guys on.'

Kassam is calling on the organizers to hold an open debate with Al-Hakeem and allow other people's opinions to be heard.

However, he says most Islamic societies don’t want a balanced discussion because 'they will look like idiots and will lose'.

He added: 'If there is somebody at Sheffield Hallam who wants to go to the talk, stand up and take this guy on, all power to them and we advocate that'

In a video on YouTube in which he is asked whether being gay is wrong, Al-Hakeem says homosexuality is ‘unnatural’.

‘If you refer to the Old Testament, you will find that homosexuality is forbidden and the punishment for that is stoning to death. In Islam, the same thing applies.

He added: ‘Homosexuality is an abnormality which should be treated and should not be accepted as a normal thing.’

In answer to a question on his website, Al-Hakeem also compares gay people to 'animals that seek only their sexual satisfaction through their weird ways'.

Gay Star News has contacted Sheffield Hallam University's Islamic Society for a comment.