Middle East studies student films meeting where extremist says God would support the stoning of gay men
A Manchester student has secretly filmed an extremist Muslim saying gays should be executed.
Middle East studies student Colin Cortbus was attending a meeting at the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union on 13 February.
The city in north-west England is famous for its cultural diversity, big student population and thriving LGBT community.
He asked others at the event, organized by the Global Aspirations of Women student group, whether God would agree to gay men being stoned to death. He was told he would.
He asked if ‘in the Islamic society in which you strive for’ they would ‘feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man?’
The chair of the meeting said: ‘Absolutely.’
She said even two gay men kissing outside the Students’ Union building would be justification for the death penalty.
And if gay men were executed: ‘I wouldn’t feel remorse for that. No offence to you.’
She added: ‘It is an atrocity. In an Islamic society your basis for life is obedience to God. [Two gay people kissing] it goes against what God says.’
She argued that gay relationships do not lead to ‘social cohesion’. When pushed on the reasoning behind this argument, she said gays and lesbians can’t ‘procreate’.
Another attendee interjected, asking: ‘If they can’t have kids, why didn’t they die out ages ago?’
Cortbus was at pains to point out that many Muslims wouldn’t share such extreme views but were told ‘a lot of people would’.
Stoning adulterers and cutting the hands off thieves were also discussed at the meeting.
The news was picked up by the Mancunion, the city’s student newspaper, and the Student Rights group, which aims to tackle extremism on campuses.
In response the Global Aspirations of Women group posted a statement accusing Cortbus of being unethical by making the secret recording.
They said he ‘slyly chose to record the workshop we were holding without our permission or the permission of anyone else that was present’.
They added: ‘It was a hypothetical discussion in which people were open to discuss their views, which or may not have necessarily been that of the society’.
The group appears to be a small one, with only 92 likes on Facebook.
Now the university’s students are debating whether their union should give space to people expressing ‘fascist’ views. But others have said it falls under the category of freedom of speech.
Students’ Union wellbeing officer Cat Gray told the Mancunion: ‘We are deeply concerned with the covert filming of a student event within the union.
‘We are also deeply concerned by the suggestion that comments of a homophobic nature have been made. The union operates a safe space policy where students should not be subject to any form of intimidation or discrimination.’
Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights, said Cortbus’ film exposed the extremism of a small minority of students on UK campuses.
Kassam added: ‘That young people studying in diverse environments can host and endorse messages of hatred and violence such as the one displayed here is cause for great concern and we hope the authorities at the University of Manchester will be investigating this incident in a swift and transparent manner.’
UPDATE: Leading gay British Muslim advocate Omar Kuddus told Gay Star News the police should investigate the incident.
He said: ‘Having viewed the video the question what I must ask is if they have actually read the Koran?
‘Their comments are un-Islamic and have no foundation in my religion. I can only assume they have been indoctrinated by fundamentalist extremists and imams who would like their own interpretation of my religion taken as gospel.
‘As I pointed out numerous times, even on GSN, Islam does not condemn homosexuality in the Koran. As such their views are no more than going against Islam.
‘I hope the British police take action against their comments as inciting hate crime, that liberal Muslims stand up and demand justice and the university ban the group as their comments and actions go against British and Sharia law. In 2013 such comments are unacceptable and have consequences in law.’
See the video here. (The date on the video is incorrect due to a problem with the camera’s settings.)