Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

'Anti-gay' cleric talk cancelled

A London university union has cancelled a talk by an Islamic preacher who allegedly endorses killing homosexuals.

Abu Usamah, recorded by Channel 4 saying gay people should be "thrown off a mountain", was due at University College London Union (UCLU) next week.

A university spokeswoman said: "UCLU has decided to cancel this event due to concerns that the health and safety criteria cannot be met."

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell had called the visit "disgraceful".

In 2007, the Channel 4 programme Undercover Mosque recorded Mr Usamah referring to gay people as "dogs".

Abu Usamah has advocated violence and hate speech, which has no place on university campuses
Raheem Kassam, director, Student Rights

He was also filmed saying: "Do you practise homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain."

The preacher has said his comments were taken out of context by the film-makers and that he was explaining it was an opinion featured in some books that he did not support.

Anti-extremism group Student Rights was instrumental in applying pressure to get the event cancelled.

Director Raheem Kassam said:"It's great to see that after the combined efforts of Peter Tatchell and Student Rights, UCL have decided to cancel this event.

"Abu Usamah has advocated violence and hate speech, which has no place on university campuses."

The UCLU spokeswoman said the union was autonomous and it had been the students' choice to invite the preacher to speak on 30 November.

Earlier this month Mr Usamah gave a speech at London's City University.



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