Compared to previous years, the number of hate preachers invited by University Islamic Societies this year has been relatively low. However, an upcoming guest of the UCL Medical School Islamic Society has dampened our hopes.
On October 28th of this month, the UCL Medical School (a branch of the University College of London) Islamic Society will be hosting a hate preacher. His name is Zahir Mahmood. He's an apologist for terrorism, an extremist and a supremacist.
He is obsessed with telling young people about death. "People are asleep, only when they die they wake up", he told the very same UCL Islamic Society inviting him. "Only when you die, you realise ... the dunya [an Islamic term for the earthly world, or just reality to you and I] was deception."
This obsession with death is characteristic of Islamic hate preachers. We've seen it before. Jalal Ibn Saeed, another hate preacher who has been hosted by UCL ISoc, joyfully told a packed audience at an event "A sudden death is a problem ... A believer wants a slow death, sweat, [let it] build up, let me feel everything". The words are harrowing to read. Just imagine if this is the only Islamic education you receive at University. Sadly, this is often the case for many Muslim students away from home.
Back to Mahmood, at a talk to an audience, Mahmood calls the terrorist group Hamas "freedom fighters" (if you look carefully, you can see disgraced former MP George Galloway smirking away). Hamas is a terrorist group and is recognised as such by the EU, United States, Canada, Jordan and Japan to name a few.
According to Yale Law School, the Hamas charter clearly endorses a disputed saying of the Prophet (a hadith) endorsing genocide on Jews: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
Mahmood uses the Arab-Israeli conflict to portray the idea that the conflict is a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is despite the fact that over one fifth of Israel's population is Arab and play a full and wide role in Israeli society. Indeed, an Arab Israeli sits on the Supreme Court. In his rhetoric, Mahmood denies the undoubtedly historical fact (pdf) that Israel is the historical homeland of the Jews and supports the idea that Israel belongs to 'every single Muslim on the face of the earth.' Who can compromise with such an extreme position?
For Mahmood, the idea of Muslims living a fully integrated life is truly shocking. He castigates an audience on the idea of assimilating to the British way of life. For moderate, integrated Muslims, Mahmood complains that "Knowingly or unknowingly, many of us give preference to our nationality over our Islamic identity ... and that is the reality of it". You read that correctly. Mahmood rubbishes the idea that a good Muslim is one who can be at peace with his faith and his identity; Mahmood seeks ultimate supremacy of religion over his duties as a citizen. For him, being a Muslim is not only a faith but a political ideology.
Zahir Mahmood is a first-class bigot and an accomplished hate-preacher. Sadly, not everyone thinks the way we do.
UCL Provost Malcolm Grant denies there is such a problem in his University telling reporters that extremism is 'made-up'. This, coming from the head of an institution whose glittering alumni include the failed underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (who was President of the Islamic Society when he was at UCL), is ridiculous and insulting.
Whilst Abdulmutallab was President of the Islamic Society, a number of hate preachers were invited including Abu Usama adh Dhahabee who told an audience that Muslims should 'take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain', on women Dhahabee says 'Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient'.
The society hosted Abdur Raheem Green who once told an audience that Islam was incompatible with democracy. Is it really any surprise that our universities have been conveyor belts for violent Islamic extremism?
In 2005, the society also hosted Taji Mustafa (pdf) who has been the spokesperson for the radical Islamist group Hizb-ul-Tahir (think: the BNP for radical Muslims) despite the fact he had been banned from campuses by the NUS a year earlier.
Have a look at this witness account of a talk hosted by the Islamic society by the former Guantanamo inmate, Moazzam Begg (a man who prefers Afghanistan to be ruled by, the Islamic militant group, the Taliban rather than the people):
"When we sat down, they played a video that opened with shots of the twin towers after they'd been hit, then moved on to images of mujahedeen fighting, firing rockets in Afghanistan," ... "It was quite tense in the theater, because I think lots of people were shocked by how extreme it was. It seemed to me like it was brainwashing, like they were trying to indoctrinate people."
It's extraordinary that the Provost of UCL, a man of such influence, refuses to acknowledge that the problem of extremism on campus exists and one of its main arteries is in the Islamic society of his University.
How many underwear bombers must the world see before Mr Grant wakes up to the problem of extremism on his campus? Mr Grant has a duty of care to his students, if he continues to pretend their isn't a problem then perhaps the taxpayer should pay some £376,000 per year to someone who will take Islamic extremism more seriously.
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