Article
Written by Student Rights on 14 November 2013 at 4pm

Homophobic speakers on campus: Mufti Menk just one of many

Tonight the last of a series of talks at universities as far afield as Glasgow and Cardiff, and featuring Mufti Ismail Menk, was due to take place.

However, when previous homophobic statements that he had made were highlighted in the press and by campaign groups, all six of the planned events were cancelled.

Menk has described homosexual acts as “filthy” and stated that LGBT people are “worse than animals”.

 

Student Rights had logged these events, and welcomes the scrutiny that was paid to the invitations by university authorities.

It is also encouraging to see reports that the Islamic Society at the University of Leeds cancelled their talk on learning of his views, though comments on Facebook suggesting they had tried to host the event off-campus instead suggests these may not entirely accurate.

Menk has since replied to accusations of homophobia by declaring that:

I am very disturbed by being labelled a hate preacher etc by gay rights activists. The truth is that I have never promoted hatred, violence or intolerance against gays or any others for that matter.

[...]

Coming from Zimbabwe, I had not been exposed to gays, but traveling[sic]to the West has given me a better understanding of the situation.

[...]

We still promote peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and tolerance and shall continue to do so even in the face of untrue, hurtful, defaming comments by some based on an OLD comment taken out of context”.

Despite the success of campaigners in highlighting Menk’s views however, there remains concern surrounding the wider issue.

The criticism and attention faced by this tour suggests such events are rare, yet Menk is just one of many individuals with homophobic views invited to speak on our campuses recently.

Just the week before these events Haitham Al-Haddad, who has called homosexuality a “scourge” and a “criminal act”, was approved to speak at the University of Westminster despite these views.

The same was true of an event at Brunel University featuring Uthman Lateef, who has been  recorded telling students “we don’t accept homosexuality...we hate it because Allah hates it”.

In the same week Student Rights also highlighted the invitation to Aberystwyth University of Robert Winnicki, the Honorary President of Młodzież Wszechpolska, described as “an extremist homophobic grouping” by Amnesty International.

As such, it is clear that whilst the decision by universities and their affiliated societies to decide not to host one particular homophobic preacher is a sign of progress, there is still much work to be done.