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Written by Student Rights on 15 April 2014 at 12pm

'Segregated' Annual Dinner at UEL features extreme preachers (Event Cancelled)

UPDATE: Following letters alerting UEL to the nature of this event by campaigners including the Peter Tatchell Foundation the university has released a statement which reads:

"The Islamic Society will not be permitted to use any of UEL’s facilities or premises to host this event.  We have made it very clear to the organisers that the University will not tolerate segregation or hatred in any form".

In response Peter Tatchell has said:

"This a victory for equality and humanitarian values. Sincere thanks to the University of London for rejecting hate preachers and discrimination".

He adds:

"The swift, positive response of UEL stands in contrast to some other universities which, in the name of tolerance, collude with Islamist intolerance by allowing extremist preaching on university premises".

Last month Student Rights reported how ‘Annual Dinner’ events held by students from the University of Westminster and Brunel University had given platforms to extreme or intolerant speakers.

On Thursday this will be repeated at the University of East London, where the Islamic Society’s ‘Annual Dinner’ will feature Uthman Lateef and Murtaza Khan.

Khan was invited to the University of Westminster before being cancelled at short notice, and has been accused of encouraging communal division, declaring of non-Muslims “people are still not waking up to understand the fact that these people are enemies towards us”.

In 2007 he was shown in a documentary asking “for how long do we have to see our mothers, sisters and daughters having to uncover themselves before these filthy non-Muslim doctors?

He also believes that homosexuality is an “abominable action which goes against humanity” and should be punished with death, as well as supporting brutal punishments for 'crimes' such as ‘fornication’.

Lateef meanwhile has been criticised by the Peter Tatchell Foundation for claiming that “we don’t accept homosexuality...we hate it because Allah hates it”.

After being challenged by a student journalist at the University of Nottingham last month he is also reported to have said “...we are not homophobic, we just hate homosexual acts”.

In addition to these invitations this on-campus event is also being advertised as “segregated”, a practice that organisations including Student Rights campaigned against before Christmas.

This is likely in breach of UEL’s ‘Equality and Diversity Policy Statement’, which states the university is “committed to ensuring that all students...enjoy equality of opportunity and are free from any experiences of any form of discrimination”.

UEL’s ‘Gender Equality Scheme’ also stresses the institution’s “commitment to promote equality of opportunity between men and women”, something allowing segregated events hardly demonstrates.

As such, here at Student Rights we hope that both the Student Union and the university authorities will investigate this event immediately, and ensure that the organisers are not permitted to segregate seating by gender.

Given the past views expressed by Khan and Lateef, we also hope that they will encourage the students responsible to reconsider their invites to these speakers, and make them aware of the damage to campus cohesion inviting speakers like these can do.