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Posted on Nov 28, 2013

City University

City University


Ahmed Abdulla Ali, who graduated from City with a degree in engineering, was convicted in 2009 of “conspiracy to murder involving liquid bombs” due to his part in a plot to detonate liquid explosives on flights from London to the USA and Canada.[1]


City University’s Islamic Society has come under heavy criticism for its extremist tendencies, and was the subject of a 2010 report by the Quilliam Foundation, which found that the Society had posted extremist material on its website, invited hate preachers to speak at its events, had espoused hardline and extremist views at Friday prayers, and had contributed to increased religious tension on campus. Jewish students and moderate Muslims were described as “scared” by the Society’s behaviour.[2]


In April 2009, a video message by al-Qaeda member and recruiter Anwar Al-Awlaki was supposed to be played at City Islamic Society’s annual dinner.[3] University authorities prevented the Society from playing the message, but the Society told attendees of the dinner that a DVD of his speech would be distributed.[4]

City’s Islamic Society invited Moazzam Begg and Haitham al-Haddad to their annual dinner in 2013, although the event was later cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances” and “logistical issues”.[5] Mr. Haddad has said that the death penalty for apostasy  “makes perfect sense” and argued that a man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because this is something between them”.[6] Mr. Begg, who was described by Gita Saghal, the former head of Amnesty’s Gender Unit as “Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban”, is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.[7] He has admitted to having been responsible for “small arms and mountain tactics” in training camps on the Afghan border, and helping to finance these camps, including to the Khalden training camp, regarded many as al Qaeda’s elite paramilitary training base.[8] [9] Since returning the UK he has become the director of Cageprisoners, and in 2009 invited Anwar Al-Awlaki to speak via videophone at an event in Wandsworth.[10]

Sermons delivered at Friday prayers at City have been known to contain extremist content. One sermon declared, “When they say to us ‘the Islamic state teaches to cut the hand of the thief’, yes it does! And it also teaches us to stone the adulterer… When they tell us that the Islamic state tells us and teaches us to kill the apostate, yes it does!”[11] Another sermon stated, “Allah tells in the Qur’an to tell the believing women to stay in their homes for their homes are better for them.”[12]

On 4 November 2009, the Islamic Society held an event entitled ‘The People of Paradise and Hellfire’.[13] Speakers at the event included Abu Usamah, who was filmed in a Channel 4 documentary telling an audience to “take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain”, and describing women as “deficient” and intellectually “incomplete”.[14] [15] Also present was Murtaza Khan, who was filmed in the same documentary referring to Jews and Christians as “filthy” and “enemies”.[16] [17]

In November 2009, a number of students from City’s Islamic Society were attacked by youths from the local area twice in the space of a week.[18] The students were attacked with metal poles, bricks and sticks, and were subject to racist abuse.[19] Three people, including two students, were stabbed.[20] Following the attack, the head of the Islamic Society, Saleh Patel, issued a statement saying I order every single sister to leave the university by 4pm. Not a single sister is allowed to come to the prayer room, not a single sister is allowed to be in the classes, to be in university, or in the library, or anywhere around this campus at 4pm. Any sister who stays behind by Allah, on the day of judgement, I will speak against you…”[21]





[4] Ibid.


[6] Ibid.


[8] Ibid.




[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.





[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.


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