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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 12pm

London's City University shuts down Muslim prayer room

Authorities at London’s City University have closed down a Muslim prayer room on campus after students refused to have sermons vetted.

Officials had requested students to submit the content of Friday sermons after a counter-extremism think tank said hardline views were being encouraged at prayer meetings.

Muslim students say they are being discriminated against and have set up the Muslim Voices on Campus calling for the University to reverse its decision. 

Wasif Sheikh, who leads the group, told the BBC: "We feel we are being unjustly targeted. All of our sermons are open, we welcome all students and all staff.

"But when you start submitting your sermons to be monitored and scrutinized then there's a chance for it to be dictated what's allowed and what's not allowed. We, as students, don't accept that."

In 2010, the Quillam Foundation revealed that hard line views and a “confrontational atmosphere” were being encouraged during Friday Prayers at the University’s Central London campus.

 

In one sermon, which was recorded, the speaker said: "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."

 

Dr Usama Hasan from the Quilliam Foundation said: "If there was no past history at the university, I think what the students are saying would sound extremely reasonable. However, there has been quite a vicious and nasty history there.

"They have to deal with that and give a bit more to the university.

 

"Both sides need to compromise here and negotiate with some difficult conversations."

The University said in a statement it needed to be certain of the “appropriateness” of what was being discussed during prayers .

The statement went on: "The university could not continue to condone an activity taking place on its premises where it cannot exercise reasonable supervision."

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