Two London Universities Facing Student Backlash

Students at one of London’s premier universities ‘King’s College London’ are actively campaigning to have the photo of the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey removed from a display of famous alumni, due to his deeply homophobic attitudes and statements.

King’s College London

King’s College London

The former Archbishop of Canterbury studied at the college and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) 2:1 degree after which he was ordained.

According to various local media reports, the King’s College Student Union have described Lord Carey’s recent comments against equal marriage as “outdated, hurtful and offensive”.

Carey is no stranger to criticism, just a few weeks ago in October many equality campaigners were appalled after he invoked memories of the Holocaust during a speech concerning the religious opponents of same-sex marriage at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event. He said: “Same-sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level. Why does it feel to us that our cultural homeland and identity is being plundered?”

The former leader of the Church of England also warned that equal marriage would pave the way for traditional Mormon-style polygamous relationships, pointing to an application in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a man to enter into a civil union with two women, “That is getting into a Mormon-style relationship,” Lord Carey said after the event. “It’s a slippery slope.”

“For more than two decades, Dr Carey has opposed gay equality and supported the legal discrimination against gay people, suggesting that same-sex love is inferior and a scandal.” stated veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell recently, adding “If Dr Carey said these things about black or Jewish people his display would almost certainly be removed. The stance of the King’s College administration looks hypocritical. They seem to have double standards on racism and homophobia.”

The university board has repeatedly stated it has no intention of removing Lord Carey’s image, thereby pledging support for his views and outspoken attacks on equality and gay people.
Meanwhile another London university is attracting media attention and condemnation for allowing a deeply offensive and homophobic hate preacher to make a speech on campus.

Brunel University in Uxbridge, west London confirms that hate preacher Abu Usamah at-Thahabi is due to make a speech to Brunel’s Islamic Society on Tuesday 27 November.

Thahabi is well known for his homophobic views and has previously urged that gay people should be punished with death. “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain,” Thahabi stated on camera during a national TV programme. “If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?” The controversial preacher was caught on camera addressing worshippers at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham.

He has repeatedly mocked Western attitudes, especially those towards women and verbally attacked both Christians and Jews. However the university authorities are allowing this man to speak – “The talk is going ahead as we have a legal duty to protect freedom of speech and we have asked for assurances from the Union of Brunel Students that this person will not breach the policies of the university, such as those on equality and diversity. However, if we are concerned that these policies will be breached, the event will not be allowed to take place.” claims its statement.

The question that arises for the university is where the lines are actually drawn between free speech and hate speech both in terms of legally and morally. Earlier this year, Thahabi was prevented from speaking at the University of Warwick’s Islamic Society, following a backlash by students.