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Written by Student Rights on 3 June 2014 at 11am

Goldsmiths ISOC holds event 'in support' of CagePrisoners

Yesterday, the prisoner support organisation CagePrisoners released a statement defending five Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo Bay, labelling the men as “innocent”.

The group has been criticised in the past for supporting the Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, and director Moazzam Begg is currently on remand awaiting trial for providing terrorist training and funding terrorism overseas.

Despite this, it is still able to operate unchallenged on UK campuses, and tomorrow an event taking place at Goldsmiths organised by the Islamic Society will be held “in support” of the group.  

‘Ummah on Trial’ is due to feature the group’s Executive Director Asim Qureshi, who has been accused of supporting violent activity, stating at a Hizb ut-Tahrir rally in 2006:

...when we see the examples of our brothers and sisters, fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies...

We know that it is incumbent upon all of us to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West”.

It also appears the original plan was for the event to feature Dr Uthman Lateef, whose controversial views on homosexuality have been featured here on numerous occasions.

Posters shared online listed Dr Lateef as speaking alongside Qureshi, but have since been replaced by new promotional material stating that Dr Salman Butt will speak instead.

That events supporting organisations like CagePrisoners and promoting their worldview can occur without any attempt to balance the debate highlights a real problem facing our universities.

In addition, there is a risk that an affiliated society hosting an organisation like CagePrisoners could associate Goldsmiths Student Union with an entity that could bring it into disrepute.

Here at Student Rights we hope that the authorities at Goldsmiths, which may already have intervened to challenge Dr Lateef’s invitation, are aware of CagePrisoners and Qureshi’s history, and will work to ensure that extremism is not given an unchallenged platform on campus tomorrow.