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Written by Student Rights on 22 January 2013 at 7pm

Aston University Islamic Society invites Uthman Lateef

This afternoon two speakers will address Aston Islamic Society that have been criticised for statements they have made in the past, and include one man who was barred from speaking at both London Metropolitan and Nottingham Trent Universities during 2012.

Speaking at an event entitled ‘Loving the Prophet Muhammad’, Uthman Lateef and Zahir Mahmood have been described by the Islamic Society as “notable speakers”.

Lateef is the former director of the Hittin Institute, an organisation which published research on Islam as a socio-political framework for religious governance, stating that it “regards grossly erroneous any allusion to Islam’s separating of politics with belief”.

 

Its website and much of its material has since been removed from the internet, yet whilst still publishing it released material which called for “the return of the Islamic system... [as]...the only long term and durable solution for Palestine”.

It also suggested an Islamic Social Model as a replacement for liberalism, despite acknowledging that this “cannot be established successfully without a fully functioning Islamic Government, also known as the Khilafah”.

Lateef has been recorded stating that “if we are teaching the way of life of the disbelievers, of the kuffar, Allah will bring humiliation on us” and that Muslims should beware of being sold “a democratic Islam...the redefined, repackaged Islam. The so-called Islam that speaks of abolition of Sharia, like we don’t need Sharia anymore”.

Compounding this, in 2007 an event at Queen Mary University saw him tell his audience that “we don’t accept homosexuality...we hate it because Allah hates it”. 

He will be joined at Aston University by Mahmood, who famously declared that “Hamas are not terrorists, they’re freedom fighters” at a rally for Viva Palestina.

He describes himself as a moderate, but has also told audiences 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”.

That Aston University has given the green light for these two speakers is something that should be investigated by the university authorities, particularly given previous institution’s decisions to refuse Lateef permission to attend events.

Here at Student Rights we have contacted the university to make them aware of our concerns and to ensure that a member of staff is present during the talk, as well a to request a statement on the matter, but are yet to receive a response.