This is a guest post by Rupert Sutton from Student Rights
Late last month Student Rights revealed that the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University had been using its Facebook page to share videos featuring the Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlakiwith students.
As the society continued to post videos which included Awlaki’s speeches throughout the early days of July, we updated our story and alerted the university authorities.
Since then the videos now no longer appear on the Islamic Society Facebook page, though one of them can still be viewed by clicking on the link in our story.
If this is as a result of the university raising concerns with the students involved then we feel that London Metropolitan University deserve some credit, particularly after their robust response to the Islamic Society inviting Haitham Al-Haddad and Uthman Lateef.
Since then though the Islamic Society has shared another video, this time of a Saudi Arabian cleric called Muhammad Luhaidan. Called ‘True Men’, the video features a prayer recitation of verses 21 to 27 of Surah Al-Ahzab complete with a translation and is described as “Beautiful” by the Islamic Society.
It includes the line “Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah” which is accompanied in the video shared by a picture of an armed Taliban fighter and the phrase “The few, the proud, the Mujahideen”.
The video also places an image of a dead man alongside the words “Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death] (square brackets in original)” and an illustration of armed fighters next to the phrase “and among them is he who awaits [his chance] (square brackets in original)”.
Another Luhaidan prayer recitation found on YouTube by Student Rights is called ‘Dua for theMujahideen’ and is set to footage of insurgent fighters and bomb attacks.
It asks “Oh Allah grant victory to the mujahedeen those who struggle for your sake everywhere” and continues to say “Allah give them victory in Palestine, and in Chechnya, and in Kashmir, and in Philippine…Allah give victory to the commanders of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan”.
When added to the stream of Awlaki material shared by the London Metropolitan University Islamic Society, the presence of the first video on the group’s Facebook page is deeply concerning.
Whilst it does not break the law, it implies that violent activity is a religious duty, something which is seen as one of the key tenets of Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism by the Prevent Strategy.
For students to be exposed to this could have tragic consequences, as seen in the case of Roshonara Choudhry, whose online viewing of extremist material led to her attempted assassination of Stephen Timms MP.
Here at Student Rights we would urge London Metropolitan University to engage with their Islamic Society in an attempt to highlight the danger of this material and to help spread a civic intolerance of it within the society.
In this way they can continue to protect freedom of expression on their campus whilst challenging those who would put their students at risk.