The president of the Islamic Society at Goldsmiths, University of London has resigned after it was disclosed that he sent out a series of homophobic tweets.
The resignation of Muhammed Patel, a student in the politics department, came a week after members of the Society were accused of “thuggery” for protesting against a speaker giving a talk at the university about Islamic extremism.
The controversial tweets were highlighted by members of the university’s lesbian and gay society who objected to that society’s support for the protesters.
They made public the fact that Patel had sent out a number of offensive tweets from the now-deleted @mopey96 account, one of which read: “Homosexuality is a disease of heart and mind #Muslimdragqueens”. It appeared to be in response to a Channel 4 programme entitled “Muslim Drag Queens”, broadcast in August.
— Hugo Alves (@Ugo_alves) December 7, 2015
The Islamic Society condemned Patel’s actions in a statement released on its Facebook page: “In light of recent allegations attributed to Mohammed Patel, a meeting was called to discuss a motion of no confidence. Soon after Muhammad tendered his resignation and it was accepted by the committee.”
They added later: “Hate speech of any kind has no place in our society.”
Patel also put an apology on the website of The Leopard, the Goldsmiths’ student newspaper, in which he said: “I deeply regret my tweets.”
He continued: “Comments like that should not be tolerated in any shape or form, regardless of the method used to communicate it…I really hope students on campus can forgive me for this huge mistake.’’
He said his views were not representative of the Islamic Society.
The earlier controversy involved a speech on “Apostasy, Blasphemy & Free Expression” by Maryam Namazie, a political actvist and former Muslim, to another group at the university, the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society
After protests by some ISOC members at cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, some at the event alleged they received death threats, strongly denied by ISOC.
Following the controversy, the Islamic Society called for the safety of its students to be prioritised and for action “to ensure students are not harassed/intimidated online or on campus.”
Both Goldsmiths’ LGBTQ+ and feminist society, FemSoc, backed the Islamic Society.
“We condemn [ASH] and online supporters for their Islamophobic remarks attitude, and harassment…we find that personal and social harm enacted in the name of ‘free speech’ is foul, and detrimental to the wellbeing of students and staff on campus”, said LGBTQ+ in a statement on their Goldsmiths’ Facebook page.
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