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Written by Student Rights on 27 November 2013 at 11am

Shady Al-Suleiman to speak on two UK campuses (Update: Statement from Aston University)

UPDATE: Aston University have released a statement on this issue, which reads:

Aston University has a very good working relationship with all of our Student Societies and they are all fully aware of their responsibilities surrounding hosting external speakers and events at Aston.

This includes adhering to our own Code of Practice on freedom of speech at meetings, where the procedure also includes a risk assessment where external speakers are expected.

We are confident that this talk, on the importance of mothers and of valuing your mother, has followed all of our procedures correctly. The University also follows the guidelines drawn up in 2011 by Universities UK to prevent extremism, racial intolerance and radicalisation taking a foothold on campus”.

In June this year the Australian speaker Shady Al-Suleiman, invited to speak at the FOSIS Annual Conference, was removed from the bill after concerns were raised over his views on jihad.

Despite these concerns, this week Al-Suleiman will be speaking on two UK campuses, with events planned at Keele and Aston Universities.  

Compounding this, prior to Al-Suleiman’s talk at Aston, the Friday Khutbah on campus will be given by Haitham Al-Haddad.

Al-Suleiman has claimed that “...the one that neglects jihad, the prophet called him a hypocrite. So a sign of a believer is a believer that reminds himself of jihad”.

He has also made clear that this does not simply mean spiritual struggle, but military activity, declaring in the same speech:

 “...what goes on in Palestine, it is jihad, more than 100%. And whoever says ‘no’ is only a person that’s got hypocrisy in his heart.

For Muslims to get attacked the way they are getting attacked right now, it is jihad. And whoever fights in that position, he is on the path of Allah.

And whoever protects the Muslim countries, he is on the path of Allah. And whoever thinks twice, he’s got hypocrisy in his heart”.

He also states that Muslims around the world should fund this violence, stating:

...the minimum the Muslims should do outside that area, the minimum, the minimum they should do, is support them [militants] financially or with prayers.

Pray for them. Support them financially. For every cent that goes there, Allah will multiply this”. 

In this speech he also concludes with a prayer for the victory of Islamist insurgents around the world, including those fighting against British soldiers, saying:

Give victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Give victory to all the Mujahideen all over the world. Oh Allah, prepare us for the jihad”.

His speeches actively encourage the idea that there is a Western war on Islam, claiming that Hamas are only targeted because they are Muslims:

They have been put under siege, oppressively and aggressively, unjustly. Why? Because they say there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”.

The truth is this is a war not on Palestinians, this is a war not on Hamas, this is a war not on the people of Gaza. This is a war on everyone that says there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”.

In 2010 he was also reported to have organised an event featuring the Al-Qaeda facilitator Anwar Al-Awlaki which was condemned by senior staff at the mosque where it was due to take place.

Al-Suleiman has since stated that Al-Awlakigoes too extreme with regards of dealing with the west”, and stressed that innocent people should not be targeted in the West, yet claims  the "kuffar" kill women and children, and that there are some Al-Awlaki lectures that people could benefit from.

That a man with these views can so easily be booked to speak highlights the ease with which those who promote extremist narratives can access our campuses.  

Given Al-Suleiman’s call to support militants financially it also demonstrates a potential risk of terrorism legislation being broken on campus which university authorities should be aware of.

As such, we hope that university authorities at Keele and Aston will review any decisions made about allowing Al-Suleiman to speak, and will ensure that should the events go ahead staff will be present at all times.