The University of Westminster has postponed an event hosting a controversial Islamic speaker after security concerns following the identification of the Islamic State murderer 'Jihadi John' as former student Mohammed Emwazi.
LGBTI students had started a petition gaining more than 3,000 signatures to stop the preacher Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad from speaking on campus at an event entitled "Who is Muhammed?"
The event had been scheduled to go ahead until revelations that Islamic State murderer 'Jihadi John' was a former student at the University of Westminster, which led to increased security concerns according to the university.
Tonight’s Student's Union event, 'Who is Muhammad?' has been postponed due to increased sensitivity and security concerns.— Uni of Westminster (@UniWestminster) February 26, 2015
The university's LGBTI society had called Al-Haddad an "anti-gay preacher" and "homophobic".
The University of Westminster's Islamic Society (ISOC) released a statement on its Facebook page apologising for the inconvenience after the event's postponement. ISOC had originally organised Al-Haddad to speak on misconceptions surrounding the Prophet Muhammed, with the University of Westminster Students Union backing the event.
"The University of Westminster has postponed the "Who is Mohammad" event due to the rumours about the "Jihadi John" story and this has been used to postpone the event," ISOC said.
"Details about the new date for the event will be posted very soon in sha Allah, so please watch this space!"
- Mohammed Emwazi Revealed As Jihad John: What We Know About Islamic State's Most Wanted Man
- Westminster University On Amber Alert Over Security Fears Following 'Jihadi John' Revelations
Some students posting on Facebook were outraged about the event's cancellation. One student wrote: "Disappointing that the university's knee jerk reaction is to call off an event that is in no way related to 'Jihadi John' or ISIS. To postpone the event on those grounds makes it seem as if the ISOC is somehow responsible for his actions, which is just going to fuel Islamophobia on campus".
Another student stated: "Shame on the university for alienating the ISOC, and then they wonder why Muslims aren't integrating well!"
However, other students were pleased Al-Haddad's visit had finally been postponed, with one student writing: "Let's be honest, it's not just about Emwazi, this speaker was a man who has clearly been involved in producing and spreading hate speech. His visit has been opposed since the moment that it was announced. They had a petition up long before this discovery."
Another student posted: "Inshallah the university will use this time to acknowledge their mistake and ban him from the event."
In a recent Facebook post, ISOC categorically denied any link between the society and Mohammed Emwazi, who graduated from Westminster in 2008. The post stated the society "is not associated with any extremist organisations and that should be obvious and not need stating, but given the climate, it has become necessary to clarify such things in statements such as this.
"We also regret the timing of this story breaking, given that the media fervour around it directly led to the event scheduled for this evening, "Who is Muhammad" to be postponed, with the event having been ready to go ahead."
The University of Westminster released a statement regarding the identification of Mohammed Emwazi, stating: "If the allegations of terrorist activity are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families."
The National Union of Students declined to comment whether they had any plans in place to protect students against radicalisation.