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Written by Student Rights on 23 April 2012 at 5pm

Sheffield Hallam Islamic Society replace extremist speaker...with an extremist speaker (Update: Statement from Sheffield Hallam University)

UPDATE: The event has now been moved off campus and will take place at the Masjid Attaqwa and Somali Community Centre in Sheffield.

UPDATE: Student Rights have received a statement from Sheffield Hallam University saying that:

"Changing the speaker at this late stage invalidates the conditions of the booking and therefore the Pursuit of Paradise event, due to take place on 25 April, will have to be cancelled.  The Society have been advised of this".

The prevalence of extremist speakers being invited to address university societies was demonstrated today when Jalal Ibn Saeed, who had been booked by the Sheffield Hallam Islamic Society for an event called ‘Pursuit of Paradise’, pulled out at short notice.

Criticised in the past for having said that  “we selfishly live like the Jews, who only care about themselves and call the rest a goyim, those who are damned. Those who are enslaved to them”, no reason for his cancellation was given.

Considering that he has also claimed that  “the Taliban were coming into Kabul, they took Kabul, all or most of the country, no bloodshed, because everybody wanted that pathway. And they still do, which is Islam, Sharia, etcetera” this seemed like a good thing.

However, the Islamic Society have since said that “we have managed to book another Ustadh from the city of London, who on such short notice has kindly agreed to help us in our "PURSUIT OF PARADISE" . His name is Murtaza Khan”.

This shows the ease with which these societies often replace one extremist speaker with another, and should be a wake-up call for those who still insist that there is not a problem on our campuses.

Khan is a notorious hate preacher who was filmed in 2007 asking “for how long do we have to see our mothers, sisters and daughters having to uncover themselves before these filthy non-Muslim doctors?

Like Ibn Saeed he has also shown anti-Semitism and preached communal division, telling his listeners that “we have become Jews in our clothing, Jews in our eating, Jews in everything that we do, and the other half is Christian in everything we do. Muslims are following one of these accursed nations. And people are still not waking up to understand the fact that these people are enemies towards us”.

As well as this, he is deeply homophobic, stating that homosexuality is an “abominable action which goes against humanity” and that the correct punishment for such acts is death. Given that the Sheffield Hallam Islamic Society recently invited Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem, who has declared that “homosexuality is an illness and something that Allah despises” and that LGBT people should “try and stay away from whatever reminds you of this filth” this promotion of homophobia on campus is deeply worrying.

In February 2012, London Metropolitan University cancelled a talk by Murtaza Khan, and Sheffield Hallam University stood up to extremism by barring Assim Al-Hakeem from speaking. In both cases the universities cited room-booking issues as the reason behind the ban, though there were suspicions that this was an excuse to avoid accusations that they were stifling free speech.

Despite this, there should be no free speech for hate speech on UK campuses, and here at Student Rights we would call on Sheffield Hallam University to reassess their decision to allow the Islamic Society to host Murtaza Khan.