A UK NGO has reported on the scheduled appearance of a controversial speaker scheduled to address the upcoming annual conference of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). According to the report:
On 28th May Omar Ali, the President of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), wrote in the Huffington Post that his organisation were part of ‘the biggest barrier to violent extremism’.
He also complained of demonisation and criticised the Prevent Strategy as ‘counter-productive’, arguing that there was no Muslim student group that would encourage or promote extremism.
Whilst FOSIS’ condemnation of the Woolwich attack should be commended, it is difficult to take Ali’s words seriously when Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman will be addressing the FOSIS Annual Conference on 26th June.
Al-Suleiman has suggested that Muslims should ‘ask Allah to save your Muslim brothers and sisters all around the world, especially in Gaza right now and for Allah to give them victory over their enemies, and for Allah to destroy the enemies of Islam’.
He also pushes the idea that there is a war against Islam rather than violent Islamist militants, claiming that Hamas are only targeted because they are Muslims:
‘They have been put under siege, oppressively and aggressively, unjustly. Why? Because they say there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger’ … ‘The truth is this is a war not on Palestinians, this is a war not on Hamas, this is a war not on the people of Gaza. This is a war on everyone that says there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger’.
In addition to this, his views on jihad are of deep concern, with a talk entitled ‘Path to Knowledge’ suggesting that:
‘Whoever goes out to fight to uphold the word of Allah, which is ‘there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger’, he is the one on the path of Allah’.
Read the rest here.
In April 2013, the Telegraph reported on extremist and terrorist speakers hosted by FOSIS:
FOSIS has hosted numerous extremist and terrorist speakers at its annual conference and other events, including Azzam Tamimi, who supports suicide bombing, Haitham al-Haddad, who believes that music is a “prohibited and fake message of love and peace”, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda recruiter described as a key inspiration for three of the 9/11 hijackers and numerous later attacks. Several convicted terrorists have been officers of university Islamic societies affiliated to FOSIS and have attended its events.
In May 2013, a post reported on a new study showing that a large number of events promoted by UK student Islamic societies featured individuals with a “history of extreme or intolerant views.” According to a Daily Telegraph report:
13 May 2013 A total of 180 events promoted by union-affiliated societies had talks given by people who had ‘a history of extreme or intolerant views’, according to a study of external speakers at 21 universities, which also included University College London and Birmingham.
More than a quarter of those public talks held by Islamic societies in the year until March are thought to have had segregated seating for male and female students.
Two institutions have announced investigations into segregated meetings, although research by Student Rights – which was set up to tackle extremism on university campuses – suggest that the practice is prevalent across the UK, despite it being forbidden by university equality rules.
Some of the speakers have a history of misogyny, promoting violence against homosexuals and advocating jihad against non-Muslims, as a new generation of extremist speakers inspired by radical clerics such as Abu Qatada tour campuses to spread their version of Islam.
Anthony Glees, an intelligence and security expert consulted by the All-Party Parliamentary Homeland Security Group, said: ‘Clearly, there’s a failing in our higher education system.
For the full report on the study go here.
Last week, a post reported that an Islamic student society from a major London university promoted a video claiming the Woolwich killing was a government hoax. The student society involved has since apologized for posting the video.
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) is an umbrella grouping of most major university Islamic societies in the U.K. A 2008 report by the Center for Social Cohesion outlined the ties of FOSIS to the Muslim Brotherhood and concluded that ISCC’s (campus Islamic societies) and FOSIS members are more likely to hold intolerant views:
Significant minorities of Muslim students – and particularly younger ones – support violence in the name of Islam, endorse punishing Muslim apostates “in accordance with the Sharia” and believe that men and women are not equal in the eyes of Allah and should not be treated equally. Comparable minorities, around 10 percent of Muslim students, also have little or no respect for Jews, atheists or homosexuals and support Islamist proposals such as re-creating the Caliphate, introducing Sharia law to Britain and establishing an Islamic political party. Sizable numbers, between 20 and 30 percent of Muslim students, also hold intolerant attitudes towards minority forms of Islam such as Shi’ism and Sufism. The report additionally suggests that active members of Islamic Societies are more likely than other Muslim students to hold such intolerant views
Read there rest here.
In April 2013, a post reported that Baroness Warsi, the minister for faith and communities, had spoken in March at a FOSIS event that had been organized to attack what the organization calls the ‘demonisation’ of Muslim students by the media.