“Learning Jihad”: new report on campus extremism has launch event cancelled by the University of West London

Posted: Tue, 11th Nov 2014

A new report from Sharia Watch UK (SWUK) has revealed the shocking reach of Islamist speakers on UK university campuses. The report, which warned of the dangers of censorship on campuses, was due to be released on Wednesday 12 November at an event at the University of West London. However, the University has now cancelled the launch, apparently citing concerns over "PR" and the "balance" of the event.

The SWUK research is littered with examples of Islamist speakers making anti-Semitic remarks, deriding 'Western' notions of Human Rights, advocating female genital mutilation and calling for a raft of strict sharia punishments like stoning adulterers to death.

The speakers (all male) in question have all appeared between February and July of 2014 at events on British university campuses.

They include men like Saleem Chagtai, who equated apostasy with "treason", and Yusuf Chambers, who "supports the death penalty for homosexuality".

Other men to have spoken at UK universities include Azzam Tamini, who described suicide bombing as "a noble cause" and told an audience that "you shouldn't be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist". Tamini is quoted as saying, "if fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist. The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland, I'm a martyr and I long to be a martyr".

Another guest speaker, Asim Qureshi, made statements that Sharia Watch have called "direct incitement to engage in acts of terror". Qureshi said that suicide bombings should be called "martyrdom operations" and that it was "incumbent" upon all Muslims to "support the jihad of our brothers and sisters" when they are "facing the oppression of the west".

One of the common themes throughout the statements cited in the report is a complete rejection of any human-made law, in principle. Abu Salahudeen said his belief that, "voting for man to make law is shirk [forbidden]," was what "made him a Muslim", alongside "rising against the apostate leaders of Muslim countries today" and "believing that all innovations are bad".

Murtaza Khan, whom Sharia Watch call a "staunch misogynist, Islamic supremacist, and anti-Semite", argued that "the reality of Islamic law" is that "it has come to supersede, to override all other ways of life".

Many of the men in question are affiliated with the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), which is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain published research in May which labelled the organisation a hate group. It found iERA affiliated speakers had praised the holocaust, advocated for the "divine mandate" of domestic abuse of women and called jihad a "responsibility" for all Muslims.

Aside from collating statements made by Islamist speakers, the Sharia Watch report also draws attention to the growing danger of "censorship that is widespread on UK campuses on matters deemed insulting to Islam".

This also follows news last month that the National Union of Students had refused to condemn the Islamic State, after fears that the move could be seen as 'Islamophobic'. A vote on a new motion with alternative wording is now to be considered, but the University of Exeter is already holding a student referendum on whether to disaffiliate from the NUS after the Union's failure to condemn ISIS.

Anne-Marie Waters, of Sharia Watch UK, said that "none of the information we have put together in this report should come as any surprise. For decades now, Islamists have had a tight grip on British universities - much of it propped up by Saudi Arabia. We've seen a rise in anti-Semitism - even from lecturers towards Jewish students - gender segregation, anti-Western rhetoric, and all of it is facilitated and defended by a Left-wing elitism within student unions".

Waters added, "it is high time it was acknowledged and tackled, and it is time we recognised the impact that Islam on campus is having on young British Muslims, and their increasing contribution to global terrorism".

One 'judge' of the Islamic Sharia Council of East London, who spoke at British universities this year, is quoted asking: "Who is going to put a system to stop fornication? Or to lash those who fornicate? Who can put a legislation to stone the adulterers and the adulterer? Who can do that? It is the lawmakers. Those who can do that are the people in charge. Those who are having power. Those people they can establish the Islamic system in its totality."

The National Secular Society, which campaigns for the separation of Church and State, said that the "prevalence of Islamist speakers on UK campuses is extremely disturbing. Attempts to undermine, or replace, the institutions of the British state with parallel sharia systems must be exposed."

The Sharia Watch research also takes note of formalised links between British universities and the Islamic world, and the large number of donations to UK institutions from majority Muslim countries.

The report cites the example of the London School of Economics, who accepted a gift of £1.5 million from Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and names Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, University College London, the London School of Economics, Exeter, Dundee, and City University as recipients of donations from "Arab and Muslim donors".

The "Learning Jihad" dossier raises concerns that these donations are influencing the teaching at recipient universities, and serving to promote Islamism in British institutions.

The report is due to be released on the Sharia Watch UK website on the 13 November. At the time of writing, the University of West London has not commented on their decision to cancel the debate.

Tags: Free speech