Tour by cleric “cancelled until further notice”

Cleric Mufti Ismail Menk will no longer be speaking at the University of Liverpool, due to protests over his preaching of anti-homosexual views.

The Tayyibun Institute, a UK based learning centre of Qur’an and Sunnah, organised the tour which was going to run in universities across the UK. The website has replaced the tour page with a notice that the tour is “cancelled until further notice” since the negative response online from various groups and the public.

A YouTube clip which began the controversy was uploaded in June, and features Menk opening with the lines “How can you engage yourselves with the same sex?” Menk focuses on homosexuality within Islam in the clip, saying that the Qur’an rejects homosexuality. Gay sex is compared to “rape” and gay people to “animals”, which has caused the most stir among online gay communities.

“Today we have people claiming to be Muslims . . . and I’ve heard one of them on YouTube recently saying no I have studied the Qur’an, I have studied the Qur’an totally . . . they believe that the Qur’an does not reject this issue of homosexuality . . . Well they don’t understand arabic, they haven’t understood anything that the Qur’an comes with”.

LGBT+ society threaten to protest

UoL’s LGBT + committee threatened to protest if the event was not cancelled, on the basis that the talk would break the Guild’s safe space policy. They contacted the Guild before the cancellation, stating:

“Should the guild not cancel the event we are prepared to organise a protest event, but we are awaiting the Guild’s response before taking further action. We have every confidence, however, that the correct decision will be made.

“we are committed to the freedom of every individual to practise whatever faith they wish, provided the practising of this faith does not impinge on the freedoms and happiness of others . . . Should any further action be taken it will be against the event and is not a protest against either ISOC or Islam as a faith.”

Islamic societies such as FOSIS have expressed “outrage” on Twitter at banning “a speaker loved around the world, especially here in the UK” and the hash tag #lovemuftimenk has been recently trending showing support for the speaker.

The tour cancellation notice states that: “It is our duty to promote peace, tolerance, equality and justice, acknowledging the presence of diverse faiths and inclinations in our midst.

“As we travel and develop we learn more about the cultures and ways of others and respect their right to follow what they wish to and vice versa.”