Written by Student Rights on 12 March 2014 at 12pm

FOSIS event speakers highlight its hypocrisy

Last week Student Rights reported that the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) had allowed its name to appear on promotional material for a protest featuring a number of extreme speakers.

The organisation frequently attacks those who criticise it for not doing enough to challenge extremism as ‘demonising’ Muslim students, yet it continues to invite deeply intolerant speakers to its events.

This weekend the FOSIS Palestine Conference will feature Daud Abdullah, who was criticised by the British government in 2009 for signing a declaration which praised “the victory that Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza”.

This declaration stated of the Gaza Strip that:

“...closure of the crossings or the prevention of the entry of weapons through them should be regarded as high treason in the Islamic Nation, and clear support for the Zionist enemy”.

It also attacked an "international and local military and political conspiracy against the jihad and the mujahidin in Gaza" and called the Arab Peace Initiative "a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause".

Alongside Abdullah will be the former BBC journalist Tim Llewellyn, whose claims that “no alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement” draw on deeply anti-Semitic tropes.

Perhaps most worrying though is the fact that the conference partner is the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), banned in Israel in 2010 and described as “an affiliate of the Hamas movement... involved in initiating and organizing violent activity against Israel in Europe”.

The Israeli government also stated that:

...the Center functions as Hamas’s organizational branch in Europe and its members are senior Hamas leaders who promote the movement’s agenda in Europe, and directly interact with various Hamas leaders”.


During recent Center conferences, taped speeches were broadcasted of Hamas leaders, who are banned from entering Europe”.

These accusations are rejected by the PRC, which "denies any association with or membership of any political party within the United Kingdom or abroad".

Meanwhile, it is clear that this is not a one-off incident, with the FOSIS London Annual Dinner next week promoting Sheikh Sulaiman Ghani.

Ghani has been criticised for his sectarian views, referring to an Ahmadiyya candidate in the 2010 election by the derogatory term ‘Qadiani’ and claiming that he was not a Muslim.

He has also spoken at protests in support of the imprisoned al-Qaeda facilitator Dr Aafia Siddique, convicted of attempted murder in the United States in 2010.

If FOSIS wishes to organise events with speakers like this, or partner with groups like the PRC, that is its right.

However, it must accept that it will face scrutiny for this, and that its claims to represent the ‘mainstream’ are unlikely to be taken seriously.