Peter Tatchell is outraged that Reading University’s Muslim Society invited Abu Usamah at-Thahabi to speak, given that Thahabi has endorsed the murder of gays and “apostates.”
A joint statement by the Reading University Muslim Society, Reading University Students Union and the University of Reading praised the “laudable aims” of the Muslim Society.
Laudable aims? Are the university authorities and student’s union bonkers or bigots? Do they, too, justify murder?
I find it impossible to believe that the Muslim Society was not aware of Thahabi’s extremist opinions. He is a well publicised hate preacher. How can an organisation be laudable if it hosts a person with such intolerant, murder-endorsing views?
Well…because if you don’t say the aims are laudable, maybe someone will call you Islamophobic. That’s how.
The joint statement went on to say:
“Both the University and RUSU (Reading University Students Union) are committed to supporting the Muslim Society in its aims of raising awareness of Islam and building mutual understanding. We are delighted that other events in the week’s programme will be going ahead as planned.”
Building mutual understanding? Has Reading University taken leave of its senses? How is mutual understanding advanced by hosting a preacher who advocates murdering ex-Muslims and gay people? Who disrespects women as inferior, lesser human beings? And who calls for the beating of littler girls?
By ignoring that part, and pretending that raising awareness of Islam is all about good things with no possibility of bad things creeping in.
At the last minute, the university decided to cancel Thahabi’s talk but not because of his sexism, homophobia and de facto incitement to murder. The reason the authorities cited for cancelling was, they said, “the increasing threat of violent protest by extremist groups.” These groups were not named.
Some people interpreted this as a smear against the peaceful counter-protest planned by the anti-extremist group, Student Rights, and by the Reading Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society (RAHS).
However, a post on the English Defence League-linked Casual’s United blog stated that “local activists will be turning up to disrupt” the event. It also posted a telephone number that its readers can call to “tell them [the university] what you think of them for hosting this rodent.”
More fodder for the EDL. Bad move. Next time just don’t invite murderous clerics.