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Extremist to speak at the University of East London

This article by Houriya is cross posted from The Spittoon

East London Islamic Societies are at it again. University of East London Islamic Society (UEL ISoc) is hosting its annual dinner event today on UEL premises hosting ‘Sheikh’ Abu Usama Adh Dhahabee.

Abu Usama, an African American convert, advocates holy war (jihad) in an Islamic state; preaches hatred against non-Muslims; that apostasy and homosexuality is punishable by death; and women are inferior to men. He alsospoke at two Queen Mary Islamic Society events in March and November 2008.

You may remember Dhahabee from Channel Four Dispatches’ documentary Undercover Mosque (2007) [See here for transcript]. His statements include:

Holy war:

“Verily Allah is going to bring a group of people that he loves and they love him. These people will be soft and kind to the believers, and they will be rough and tough against the kuffaar [derogatory term for non-Muslim]. They will fight in the cause of Allah. I encourage all of you to be amongst them, to begin to cultivate ourselves for the time that is fastly approaching where the tables are going to turn, and the Muslims are going to be in a position of being uppermost in strength, and when that happens people won’t get killed, unjustly.”

“We ask Allah to bring about the means and the ways in which the Muslims will get the power and the honour of repelling the oppression of the kuffaar, where we can go out and perform the jihad. We ask Allah to bring that time so we can be participants in that.”


“No one loves the kuffaar [non-Muslims]. No one loves the kuffaar! … […] Whether these kuffaar are from the UK, or from the US … We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of the kufr [non-Muslims]. We hate the kuffaars.”


“Whoever changes his religion from al-Islam to anything else kill him in the Islamic State.”


“Do you practise homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”


“Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a Phd, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal one witness of the man.”

Following the documentary’s broadcast Abu Usama was interviewed by Channel 4 news where he refused to reject these statements.

UEL ISoc initially invited Dhahabee, with Hittin Institute’s Uthman Lateef, to speak at their Annual Dinner that was due to take place on 28 April 2009.

The Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), my organisation, corresponded with University staff, informing them of the April event. The event was promptly cancelled by UEL. This is the letter I sent on 14 April 2009:

Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is in regard to a planned 28 April 2009 University of East London Islamic Society (ISoc) annual dinner event, featuring two guest speakers: Abu Usama adh Dhahabee and Uthman Lateef, aka Abu Mujahid.

[Information on Dhahabee as noted above]

Uthman Lateef

Lateef is a preacher from the Hittin Institute, an organisation whose work reflects the separatist mindset of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamist group. Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned by the National Union of Students in 2004.

Addressing an audience at a Queen Mary ISoc event (12 December 2007), Lateef was recorded promoting homophobia:

“We don’t accept homosexuality … we hate it because Allah hates it”

We are very concerned that these individuals will have a negative effect on the young and impressionable audience who will be given a very confused and extreme interpretation of the Islamic faith.


Uthman Lateef, the lesser of the two evils, was then supposedly banned from speaking. A UEL staff member rather rudely corresponded with me by email, saying that the event was banned, the Secretary and Registrar will decide on speakers for future events by the ISoc to do an event will be considered then, and that speakers who are banned by the NUS are banned by ‘default’ at UEL. The staff member also mentioned that permission to enter campus is required for every non-staff/student member.

This is interesting, as it shows the inept nature of UEL staff, who clearly have no grasp of what to actually do. They seemed to have banned Uthman Lateef, supposedly because the NUS have. It appeared they took no position n Dhahabee.

At the time UEL told me they would rather not have any publicity, perhaps this was because jihadist sympathiser, Anwar al-Awlaki was due to speak at City University Islamic Society’s Annual Dinner earlier that month. His speech was cancelled after press took an interest in Awlaki – with the help of a CSC press release.

When I saw that UEL ISoc decided to have an Annual Dinner with Dhahabee, I contacted UEL staff again, including the Student’s Union office, and the Secretary/Registrar office. After repeated correspondence, speaking to a number of individuals, I finally got a response from the secretary of the Secretary and Registrar – at the moment, the state of affairs is that the Registrar is in talks with the Student’s Union. They said this yesterday afternoon and this morning. Dhahabee is speaking TODAY, at 4.30pm!

In my last correspondence, after the telephone conversation this morning, I sent UEL staff members this email:

Dear XXX,

I have been in contact with your secretary, XXX, who informed me yesterday afternoon and today morning that UEL and the Student’s Union have not come to a decision yet on Abu Usama adh Dhahabee, invited to speak at a UEL Islamic Society event today (See ) at 4.30 to 9pm at West Building Main Lecture Theatre, Dockland Campus, University Way.

I would like to remind UEL on the government’s university guidance for preventing violent extremism on campus states that unacceptable extremism on UK campuses includes “incitement of social, racial or religious hatred.” The guidance warns that external speakers may “seek to exploit feelings of alienation and sometimes offer “religious” justifications for extreme actions.” Such speakers, it continued “can be forceful, persuasive and eloquent, and often have a scholarly background, the latter fact being emphasised in order to give them greater credibility in the eyes of students.”

The whole document can be found here:

I have also informed the press about this event and they are interested in attending.


I have also just spoken to the press office – who, as soon as I mentioned ‘press’ in my email [Jerome Taylor of the Independent just blogged on this after I informed him], have decided to take an interest. They were more worried about which members of the press are attending than what Dhahabee has said in the past. I mentioned there is a problem if hate preachers such as Dhahabee come and address students, and masqarade as ‘Sheikhs’. To which they responded with ‘that’s your position’. I replied that this should be the university’s position, to which they said it was not for me to decide what their position is. So will UEL actually take a position on a man who said “…Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain”? How many positions are there on homophobic murder. This is a disgrace.

My point is this: The Islamic Society must not be inviting speakers who are bigoted and should not legitimise them as ‘Sheikhs’. Inviting hate preachers like Dhahabee should not be the norm – students, Muslims and non-Muslims, cannot be abused into thinking that ‘Sheikh’s’ such as Dhahabee are the best to understand matters of faith. The guy is intolerant. Though freedom of speech must be held at university campuses, this should not be abused by the likes of Dhahabee when it comes to those who preach religious intolerance, hatred and misogyny.

I really hope UEL staff stop Dhahabee from speaking based on the above grounds – UEL said they will get back to me with any updates – so let’s hope they come to their senses.

UPDATE – UEL has refused to bar Adh Dhahabee:

Dear XXX
Sorry for this belated response.
We are aware that there has been some controversy surrounding this speaker and remarks attributed to him in a recent Channel 4 documentary. We have been in consultation with our Students’ Union about this event, and have been advised that the speakers are not on any official or NUS ‘blacklist’. As this is a private event organised by a student society, we are satisfied that there is no risk of public disturbance. UEL a multicultural university with a strong record on equality and diversity. The speakers have been advised that we do not tolerate homophobia or other offensive views, and they in turn have assured the Islamic Society they will respect this policy.
Kind regards,

Here he is on video, ranting about jihad and the kuffar: