Written by Student Rights on 22 September 2012 at 9am

Student society social media continues to promote extremism

The use of Facebook to share extremist material with students around the UK takes a number of forms, including the promotion of events on and off campus and the posting of videos featuring extremist preachers.

On occasion, these videos also include material which glorifies insurgent groups or encourages the idea that terrorist violence is a religious duty.

This week a link to a YouTube channel shared on Facebook by a student with both the University of Sheffield Islamic Circle and Sheffield Hallam University Islamic Society does two of these, whilst an event invitation shared with Aston University Islamic Society does the other.

Featuring a large number of videos that consist of speeches by the former Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) facilitator Anwar Al-Awlaki, the YouTube channel in question also includes a video called ‘Powerful Dua for the Mujahideen’.

This prayer by Muhammad Luhaidan, who Student Rights have written about in the past, asks for the success of insurgent fighters around the world and contains footage of fighters training and firing their weapons.

Alongside this, videos by Murtaza Khan and Zahir Mahmood also appear on the YouTube channel that an administrator at Sheffield Hallam University Islamic Society told members “like this page and share”. 

Khan has claimed that homosexuality is an “abominable action which goes against humanity” and that the correct punishment for such acts is death.

He has also 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”.

In 2007 he was filmed asking “for how long do we have to see our mothers, sisters and daughters having to uncover themselves before these filthy non-Muslim doctors?” That his speeches can be found alongside Mahmood’s, who has stated that “Hamas are not terrorists”, demonstrates the dangers posed by channels like this one.

At Aston University on the other hand, the use of Facebook to promote extremist events is demonstrated by an invitation to an event titled ‘Show your love for RasoolAllah’.

Organised by the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, the event features a “response to the insulting movie about the Prophet Muhammad”.

In our report ‘Challenging Extremists: Practical Frameworks for our universities’ we called for government to take developments in social media into account, and for universities to make clear to their societies the kind of online conduct that is unacceptable.

Given that the material described above is still being shared it looks like this is yet to happen.