Article
Written by Student Rights on 27 March 2012 at 12pm

Gay Star News: Muslim gay hate preacher barred from second university

By Matthew Jenkin

26th March 2012

A Muslim gay hate preacher has been barred from speaking at a university in northern England, days after he was banned from another college.

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem was due to speak about women in Islam at Sheffield Hallam University tomorrow (27 March), but the event, organized by the student union Islamic Society, was cancelled today (26 March) amid growing pressure from campaigners, some of whom planned to picket the lecture.

Al-Hakeem, who calls homosexuality an 'illness', 'unnatural' and compares gay people to 'animals', was also stopped from appearing at the University of Hertfordshire on 22 March after pressure from extremism watchdog Student Rights.

The group has applauded Sheffield Hallam’s student union for standing up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

‘Too often, speakers who preach these vile opinions are given free rein to lecture students from positions of authority,’ Rupert Sutton, Student Rights head researcher, told Gay Star News.

‘Here at Student Rights we welcome the fact that universities are beginning to accept that freedom of expression does not extend to homophobia and commend both Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Hertfordshire for their decisions to cancel Sheikh Al-Hakeem’s appearances.

‘This shows the benefits of positive activism and how working together on these issues can enable us to challenge intolerance and bigotry.’

However, Dan Littauer, executive editor of Gay Middle East, told GSN that while he is shocked by Al-Hakeem’s extremist views, he doesn’t believe banning him is the answer.

‘People are angry and hateful, so you have to give them speech. If you push it under the carpet, it’s just going to explode in another way. I’m not sure that crying wolf is the best strategy.’

He added that he would prefer to see the preacher involved in an open debate, where his views could be questioned.

‘We should be engaging, not with him as a person, but him as a symptom,’ Littauer said.

‘He’s appealing to young people who feel disempowered and letting them feel special. He is capitalizing on feelings of misery and alienation and we have to deal with that. Otherwise we are just waiting for another Al-Hakeem and there will be lots of them. It’s not about rationality. These people are fulfilling a need.’

Gay Star News have approached Sheffield Hallam University’s student union for a comment.

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem has been booked to appear at an end of term dinner at the University of East London on Wednesday (28 March).

READ THE FULL STORY HERE