A university speaking tour by a Muslim cleric has been cancelled after concerns were raised over his extreme anti-gay stance.
Universities have been forced to cancel a visit by a homophobic Muslim cleric after it emerged he had preached that gay people were “worse than animals”.
Mufti Ismail Menk was invited to speak at six respected institutions next week but the tour was scrapped when student unions and university officials raised concerns about his extreme anti-gay views.
The Zimbabwean cleric had been planning to address students at Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow.
But the institutions were left red-faced after learning that Mr Menk, who studied in Saudi Arabia where same-sex acts are punishable by death, had been recorded saying: “With all due respect to the animals, [gay people] are worse than those animals.”
The preacher has branded homosexual behaviour as “filthy” and “wrong” and claimed gay people take part in “acts of immorality”.
The National Union of Students said his views were “very concerning”.
All the universities insisted they were not responsible for officially inviting the preacher to speak.
He is believed to have been requested by Muslim students’ associations from each of the institutions on the tour.
Leeds, Cardiff and Glasgow Universities said he would not be allowed to host his event on campus.
Leeds University Union Islamic Society withdrew its invitation two days ago after learning of his homophobic views.
But a number of other student groups behind the invites were still promoting the event on Facebook on Thursday.
Glasgow University Muslim Association described the event as a “wonderful opportunity” while Cardiff University Islamic Society changed its Facebook photo to a picture of Mr Menk.
University of Leicester’s Islamic Society described him as “entertaining, yet very pious”.
Speaking to The Independent, Ruth Hunt of the gay rights charity Stonewall said: “Universities should always remain mindful that they have a duty to protect all of their students and to ensure balance in university discourse.”
The Tayyibun Institute, which was organising the tour, issued a statement saying: “It is our duty to promote peace, tolerance, equality and justice, acknowledging the presence of the diverse faiths and inclinations in our midst.”
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