Written by Student Rights on 13 November 2014 at 7am

Interfaith events host intolerant speakers

Three events over the next week at Durham University, the University of Northampton, and Cardiff University, highlight the ease with which extreme speakers can find platforms on campus.

These events, interfaith debates on a variety of topics, all advertise speakers with a history of intolerant views.

The first event, this Friday at Durham University, features Yusuf Chambers - a senior member of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA).

He has condoned brutal punishments, including execution for sex outside of marriage, and claimed homosexuality “is bad for you”, saying: “there’s a question mark about why you should be doing this”.

The second event, next Tuesday at the University of Northampton, will host Abdullah Al-Andalusi.

He has referred to liberal democracy as a “totalitarian system”, and to “Democracy, Secularism, Feminism, Humanism and Freedom” as “blatantly un-Islamic concepts”.  

The final event, at Cardiff University on 19th November, will see Hamza Tzortzis debate on behalf of Islam against an atheist speaker.

Tzortzis has suggested apostates who “fight against the community” should be beheaded, and stated: “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.

That these events are debates rather than unopposed lectures is to be welcomed, and represents an improvement on many talks featuring extreme speakers which take place on our campuses.

Despite this, the invitation of these intolerant speakers remains an issue, with the fact that they are seen as appropriate choices for interfaith debates concerning.

Here at Student Rights we hope that in future speakers with intolerant views from any religion will not be seen as representatives of their faith, and that students will refrain from offering them invitations.