Controversy on University of Manchester campus as speaker condones killing of homosexuals

An investigation has been launched into a meeting on the University of Manchester's campus where Islamist speakers promoted the execution of homosexuals, the stoning of adulterers, and the amputation of thieves' hands

by The Commentator on 20 February 2013 15:30


The University of Manchester Student Union Executive team has launched an investigation into a meeting which recently took place on the university’s campus.

The meeting, held on Wednesday, February 13th, by the Global Aspi­rations of Women society, featured “various Islamist speakers promoting ideas such as the execution of homosexuals and the amputation of thieves' hands”, according to campus watchdog Student Rights.

Colin Cortbus, a student at the university, attended the meeting and asked the chair whether “in the Islamic society in which you strive for” they would “feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man?”

“Absolutely”, was the response.

Cortbus went on to make the case for a pluralistic Islam, stating that many Muslims would not execute homosexuals. He was told "A lot of people would".


The MancUnion newspaper notes that the meeting also addressed the issue of stoning adulterers, on which the chair reasoned: “Who’s to say that some­one else might see that [unpunished adultery] and think ‘well if he’s allowed to do it why can’t I do it’.”

Similarly, the chair argued that it was not possible to condemn amputation of thieves’ hands “without looking at the specifics” of the crime in question.

After video footage of the event came to light, Khadijah Afzal, chair of Global Aspirations and speaking on behalf of the society, said:

Not once in the discussion was any of this advocated. 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 fact that you have pin pointed only the discussion on the punishment system in Islam shows that you are ignorant of Islam as a political system, and hence decided to play the media rhetoric of Islam equates to harsh punishments and lack of humanity.

People hold various views and opinions about a number of issues on campus, including fascists who are openly allowed to propagate their views under the guise of freedom of speech. What I ask of you is not to be intolerant towards debate especially when it goes against the grain of what you ardently hold on to.

A statement from Students’ Union Wellbeing Officer Cat Gray addressed the event, but bizarrely seemed to focus primarily on concerns over the covert nature of the footage, drawing into question once again how seriously extremism is taken on campus by the relevant authorities:

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.

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