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Written by Student Rights on 14 September 2012 at 5pm

'Burma is Bleeding' event promotes Uthman Lateef to students

An article by Student Rights researcher Rupert Sutton published in the Huffington Post today highlighted the way in which compassion for the victims of conflict overseas can bring students into contact with extremism.

It focused on an event which took place at The Water Lily in East London last Saturday called ‘A Night with the Rohingya’, and pointed out that by promoting a charitable message extremists could gain a platform from which to preach.

Tonight, another charity event in support of the Burmese Muslims will take place in East London, this time at the London Muslim Centre.

 

Entitled ‘Burma is Bleeding’ and presented by Al-Buruj Press, an organisation which regularly runs courses on university campuses, the main speakers include Uthman Lateef, one of those present at The Water Lily last weekend.

Lateef, whose intolerance Student Rights have described in detail in the past, is also listed as a ‘teacher’ on the Al-Buruj Press website.

This places him alongside Zahir Mahmood, who has been filmed declaring that “Hamas are not terrorists, they’re freedom fighters”.

Mahmood also claims that there is a conflict between Islam and the West, saying that “...the reality is, a glance at European history, you will see that they are only doing what their forefathers have done for over 1,000 years. They have been vilifying, demonising the Muslims, Islam, and especially the prophet...there’s been a deep enmity and a deep history. The only difference today is that they use the spin of freedom of speech”.

Another ‘teacher’ at the organisation, Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari, caused controversy when he was invited to speak at Cardiff University in July 2012 as he has said in the past that a woman “must obey her husband in his request for sexual intimacy unless she has a valid reason”  and that the Hadith states ““it is unlawful (haram) for the wife to refuse her husband for sexual intimacy without a valid reason”.

He has since issued a clarification for this statement, arguing that the Hadith quoted “does not in any way mean that the husband may force himself over her [his wife] for sexual gratification”. However, the fact that he believes women need a reason to refuse their husbands sex demonstrates a deeply unpleasant misogyny.

Al-Buruj Press also employ Sulaiman Ghani, the Imam of Tooting Islamic Centre, as a ‘teacher’ despite his sectarian beliefs.

During the run-up to the 2010 General Election he was a speaker at an event organised by the extremist Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Whilst arguing that Muslims should involve themselves in voting he said that “one of the candidates is a Qadiani (derogatory term for Ahmadiyya)...people who go there, they may think that he’s a Muslim”.

He also appears in a video called ‘Beware Deception of the Qadiani Ahmadiyya’ and was secretly recorded in May 2010 saying that “The majority of Muslims in this area are voting Lib Dem, because they think Nasser Butt is a Muslim”, again reflecting the bigoted attitude that Ahmadiyya are not Muslims.

Given the number of upcoming Al-Buruj Press events on UK campuses, universities should surely be rethinking their decisions to take bookings from an organisation which employs individuals like Lateef, Mahmood and Al-Kawthari as ‘teachers’.

Furthermore, as this event has been promoted to students at several London universities, the argument made today that student’s support for Muslims overseas continues to expose them to intolerance now looks even stronger.