Hamza Tzortzis begins university speaking tour
On 10th January Student Rights published an info-graphic which provided figures detailing the number of events featuring extremist or intolerant speakers that were promoted to students throughout 2012.
Leading the way with 48 events was the former Hizb ut-Tahrir member Hamza Tzortzis, most famous for declaring that “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.
Since then, Tzortzis has announced a new speaking tour of universities that began last night and continues until the 18th March, with 24 dates on 21 different campuses.
Focusing on “the existence of God, purpose of life, the inimitability and miracle of the Qur’an, science and revelation and the truth of the Prophet Muhammad’s claim to prophet-hood”, it must be hoped that Tzortzis will not promote some of his more controversial beliefs.
He has argued in the past that “Some people object to Islam making the public expression of homosexuality a criminal act. This is subjective and only strikes a chord amongst those who cannot escape the social constructs in their own societies” and that “those who claim that making homosexuality a criminal act is wrong are totally inconsistent”.
In a university debate on Sharia Law in 2009 he also expressed his support for barbaric punishments including amputation, refusing to condemn the cutting off of people’s hands.
This support for religious jurisprudence was also evident when he wrote that that society must turn to “cohesive values that will bring us out of this social decay. It can be argued these cohesive values must be the Islamic values and the workable solution is the Islamic Social Model”.
To argue that Tzortzis would attempt to radicalise students towards violent extremism would clearly be absurd, yet his presence could reinforce an intolerant version of Islam that would not be recognised by many students.
Here at Student Rights we will be contacting the universities at which Tzortzis is due to speak in order to confirm that a member of staff will be present during his talks.
We will also be asking that they allow students opposed to his views to challenge him from the audience, something too often denied to students fighting extremism on their campuses.