Now Reading
Anti-gay preacher to speak at University of Westminster day before Student Pride

Anti-gay preacher to speak at University of Westminster day before Student Pride

A homophobic preacher will speak at the University of Westminster a day before Student Pride.

Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad, a UK broadcaster, imam and advisor of the Islamic Sharia Council, is confirmed to speak at the London unversity on 26 February.

He has spoken several times about the ‘scourge of homosexuality’, and has described LGBTI people as ‘evil’ and akin to burglars, thieves and sexual abusers. Al Haddad also agrees with female genital mutilation and believes women should be subservient. He has spoken at the University of Westminster once before.

In an event put on by the Islamic Society, he is scheduled to speak on ‘Who is Muhammed?’.

The LGBTI society at the University of Westminster is fighting the preacher’s platform. A petition has so far got over 500 signatures.

‘As students we should never be met with the possibility of facing hate in the hands of our own Student Union,’ Eve Hartley, the spokesperson for the LGBTI Society, said.

‘University is not the place to welcome controversial attacks on specific parts of our community and we will not stand for it.’

‘Considering Westminster is a Stonewall Diversity Champion and is such an advocate of our event it is disappointing that on the eve of our tenth anniversary such an anti-gay speaker has been allowed to speak on campus,’ Jamie Wareham, a spokesperson for Student Pride, said.

‘Homosexuality is not a scourge, and Student Pride has been fighting views like this from its foundation, it’s clear and unfortunate news that there is clearly much work to do.

‘We are going ahead with the event at Westminster, because we need to highlight homophobia and transphobia on campus.’

The University of Westminster has defended the event, claiming it is committed to maintaining ‘freedom of speech’. 

‘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,’ a spokesperson said in a statement to Gay Star News.

‘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.’