A familiar figure is in unsurprising trouble:
Students are mounting a last-minute campaign to prevent a preacher accused of having homophobic views from speaking at their university the day before it hosts a national gay pride event.
Haitham al-Haddad, who is alleged to have described homosexuality as “a scourge” and “a criminal act”, has been invited to talk to students at Westminster University on Thursday at an event entitled “Who is Muhammad?”
Members of the university’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) society have launched a petition, which has attracted nearly 2,500 signatures, in an attempt to block the visit and stop him from “preaching hate on our campus”.
“Alleged”? See for yourself on the man’s own website, in a piece attributed to him.
The Guardian report then notes that the petition “accuses the Saudi-born Haddad of making controversial comments about the “proper” way to perform female genital mutilation”.
“Accuses”? Excuse me?
The student union’s response too is wearisomely familiar:
The University of Westminster students’ union (UWSU) said Haddad, who was invited by the Islamic Society, had undergone the external speaker-vetting process. A statement said: “UWSU wishes to reflect the diversity of our students and enable our student leaders to deliver events which are important to them.”
Here’s some student news on that “vetting process”:
At the University of Westminster, the Interfaith Adviser is Yusuf Kaplan. As the Interfaith Adviser he not only considers and looks out for students with faith, but any with protected characteristics. There are nine protected characteristics which are protected in discrimination laws, these include age, sexuality and faith.
Last time Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad came onto campus the LGBT Society had a meeting with the Yusuf Kaplan to raise concerns. Smoke Radio can exclusively reveal that the adviser studied with the Sheikh in the years after he converted to Islam.
A member of the LGBT society who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal also told Smoke Radio that when they challenged Mr Kaplan on the use of the word “scourge” in the Sheikh’s article he claimed that it didn’t have homophobic connotations but it was just badly translated from arabic.
Yeah yeah. In any case, there’s plenty in English, Mr Kaplan, don’t you know. Mr Haddad is proud to be a hate preacher. Quite explicitly so, as reported here recently.
“Out of justice, the kaffir (disbeliever, widely considered highly pejorative), you should have hate for him because of the kufr (disbelief) that he is carrying and you have to have love for him to endorse Islam, to endorse the haqq (truth).
We tell them [non-Muslims] the hate in our religion is different from the hate in any other religion. We might hate a person but we love good for him, OK. This is the difference. Is that clear? And therefore brothers you have to be careful. Although you hate a kaffir but you love good for him. You love that he accepts Islam. You love that he becomes a better person, although you hate him. This is difficult, but you have to have this. This is out of justice.”
Plus jihad, of course, always ever so close to Haddad’s heart, even if prison is the price:
“We cannot delete jihad from our literature. We cannot delete jihad. It is in the Qur’an, it is in the sunnah of the prophet, all the scholars agreed upon, OK.
So if someone says there is no jihad, at this moment it’s just spiritual jihad, this is not an acceptable opinion whatsoever, OK. Whether they like it, they don’t like it, whether they will take us all to prison, or they don’t, OK, it is up to them. This is the haqq (truth), we follow the haqq, OK, this is part of our deen (religion), yeah?
This is recorded, huh? Oh. But we did not say something wrong.”
Going back to the Guardian report, the university’s position seems rather odd:
The university, in response, highlighted its commitment to freedom of speech and promised the event would be monitored carefully. A spokesman said: “The University of Westminster is committed to maintaining freedom of speech and a range of views as set out in the Education Act 1986.
“As a diverse community of local and international students of many faiths, respect and tolerance is our foremost concern and we will be monitoring the event carefully and any student concerns.
“The university has a strict speaker policy, which means that all speakers are required to give their agreement to abide by a code of practice. Speakers who do not comply with this policy while on campus will not be permitted to speak at the university in the future.”
So I guess Nick Griffin would be welcome for, um, British Cupcake Day or something?
The National Secular Society has weighed in too. It notes:
“There’s no doubt that the influence of political Islam in British universities is growing and with Islamic societies frequently hosting extremist preachers, universities need to be mindful of the effect that such speakers are having on young British Muslims.
“But the best response to their poisonous narrative is open discussion and debate, where it can be systematically exposed, ridiculed and defeated.”
Oh, how to bring out my wistful liberal nature.
But I am a realist first and foremost.
Many student Islamic society meetings are nothing more than brainwashing sessions for eagerly budding extremists. Sharp debate is most unwelcome. Try it and heated accusations of “Islamophobia” and “racism” are very likely to come flying your way, hurled in no small numbers by foolish left wing students.
It’s a bit like Mr Pickles’s bind. He wants help from outside. He needs it. He’s not getting it. For asking politely, his reward was a barrage. So “tougher measures” gain more and more support in government, which is the ultimate guarantor of any “safe space” for all of us.
In this case we have Yusuf Kaplan as an arbiter. He really doesn’t seem suited to the task, to say the least.
No wonder many people just want Haddad stopped. Liberal it’s not. Understandable it is. They’ve had enough.