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Written by Student Rights on 27 March 2012 at 5pm

Edinburgh Napier University hosts "superstar lineup" of extremists

This weekend a conference will take place at Edinburgh Napier University called ‘The Last Testament’. Billed as featuring a “superstar line-up”, the event will host a number of speakers that Student Rights has raised concerns about in the past.

Chief among these is Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem, a Saudi Arabian cleric whose events have been cancelled at Hertfordshire University, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of East London in the past week after Student Rights raised awareness of his virulent homophobia.

On his website he answers questions on a number of issues and when askedhow can I deal with this problem homosexual? I can’t stop or control it” he replies 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 also responds to another question by saying that homosexuality turns LGBT people into “animals that seek only their sexual satisfaction through their weird ways”. 

In this video he declares that homosexuality is “not something that is natural” and is “an abnormality which must be treated”. He also mentions that if you read the Old Testament you would see that the punishment for it was death by stoning. With regards to brutal punishments like this Al-Hakeem has also repeatedly stated in the Q&A section of his website that the punishment for apostasy is death.

Al-Hakeem’s advice is also misogynistic and suppresses the rights of women. In one question he is asked “my husband libido is too high, he is requiring me three times a day. What can I do?” and 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”.

He will be accompanied by Haitham al-Haddad, a speaker who was barred from speaking at the London School of Economics in February, and was recently refused permission to speak at London Metropolitan University this Friday.

Haddad has a history of intolerance and recently published an article in which he lamented “the scourge of homosexuality” and has stated of women that “the most honourable 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.

Another speaker at the conference will be the former Hizb-ut-Tahrir member Hamza Tzortzis, now a lecturer at the Islamic Education and Research Academy. Tzortzis has declared that “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom” and has repeatedly expressed his support for brutal punishments statingthe harsh punishments, such as cutting the hand of the thief...I will not condemn because it is part of what I believe”.

This event is being advertised across the country and students are travelling from universities like Warwick to see these individuals speak. Here at Student Rights we find this deeply worrying and would urge Edinburgh Napier University to reconsider their decision to allow the conference to go ahead.