Written by Student Rights on 23 November 2012 at 1pm

Gay Star News:University slammed for allowing anti-gay Muslim cleric to speak

By Ashlee Kelly

21st November 2012

Brunel University has come under fire for allowing a homophobic Muslim preacher to speak at an event.

Abu Usamah At-Thahabi, who has previously compared homosexuals to dogs, will be speaking at an event organised by Brunel Islamic Society on 27 November.

Thahabi’s appearance has drawn criticism from the non-partisan group Student Rights, who tackle political extremism and marginalisation of vulnerable students.

Rupert Sutton, a researcher for Student Rights, said: ‘Universities have a duty of care to their students and providing a platform for an individual whose beliefs will threaten and intimidate a significant part of the student population should not be tolerated.

‘We will be calling on Brunel University to review its decision to allow Thahabi to speak and we would hope that should this event go ahead, it will be monitored by a member of staff to ensure that there is no opportunity for hate speech to be spread.’

In the past, Thahabi has preached hatred against gays, women and non-Muslims, among others. He supports the death penalty for gays, stating: ‘Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.’

He has also said: ‘If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?’

Talking about women, Thahabi has claimed that ‘Allah has created the women, even if she gets a PhD, deficient…her intellect is incomplete, deficient’.

He also believes girls as young as 10 should be forced to wear the hijab, and advocates violence if they refuse.

The press office for Brunel University told Gay Star News: 'The talk is going ahead as we have a legal duty to protect freedom of speech and we have asked for assurances from the Union of Brunel Students that this person will not breach the policies of the university, such as those on equality and diversity.

'However, if we are concerned that that these policies will be breached, the event will not be allowed to take place.'

Brunel Islamic Society have been contacted for a comment but have yet to reply.