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Written by Student Rights on 19 March 2014 at 12pm

Extreme speakers invited to student society annual dinner

As the end of the Spring Term approaches, many student groups around the UK are currently planning and advertising their Annual Dinners.

Whilst the majority of these events will be no cause for concern, a small number are likely to feature extreme or intolerant preachers, and at one organised by students from Brunel University this is certainly the case.

Due to be held at Nadi Park Royal on the 29th March, the Islamic Society’s Annual Dinner ‘A Journey through the Quran’ will see Dr Khalid Fikry and Uthman Lateef invited to address students.

Lateef’s homophobic preaching has seen him criticised by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, while a student reported that at a recent event at the University of Nottingham he stated “...we are not homophobic, we just hate homosexual acts”.

More worrying though is the presence of Dr Fikry, a deeply sectarian speaker who claims "Shia are one of the worst and greatest enemies against our Ummah nowadays”.

He also states that Shia are not Muslims, and that they believe that “killing the Sunni is to raise your rank in Paradise, raping a Sunni woman is a matter that pleases Allah”.

Concerns already exist within the Muslim community around an increase in sectarianism in the UK, particularly related to the conflict in Syria, and Fikry’s invite could see such views spread to students.

In October 2012 students at London Metropolitan University ‘liked’ an anti-Shia Facebook page just days after a visit from Fikry.

This page claimed that Shia were not Muslims and said “we must destroy all false beliefs that were added into Islam after the death of the Prophet”.

Meanwhile, in November 2013 Student Rights alerted a London university to online posts by its Islamic Society attacking ‘treacherous’ Shia who “only wish to spread their filthy Raafidhah [derogatory term for Shiite faith] corruption”.

However it is not just Dr Fikry’s sectarianism that is likely to concern Brunel University as he has also shown rhetorical support for terrorists, and claims that when Muslims are oppressed “...it is compulsory for the Muslimeen to help, support, back, fight, raise the flag of Jihad!”

He has also written a tribute  to the former mufti of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) Omar Abdul Rahman, claiming to have spent time with him in prison after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in the US for conspiracy to commit terrorism, something Fikry declares is the result of “a false accusation and a political court” and a “Jew Judge”.

After he spoke at Kingston University in October 2013 the Student Union Faith Representative Hassan Al-Abbadi said "I have major disagreements with Dr Fikry and I challenge his position" and stated that he would encourage students "to invite somebody with a less questionable history in the future".

Given Fikry's views we agree, and hope that Brunel University will encourage the Islamic Society to reconsider this invite, and make them aware of the damage to campus cohesion inviting speakers like these can do.