Goldsmiths University Islamic Society president Muhammed Patel quits after tweeting ‘homophobic remarks’ about Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queen documentary

The Islamic Society made headlines just days ago when a YouTube video surfaced showing its members disrupting an Islamism talk being given by Maryam Namazie 

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Thursday 10 December 2015 14:40 GMT
One of many tweets sent from Mr Patel's Twitter account which eventually led to his resignation
One of many tweets sent from Mr Patel's Twitter account which eventually led to his resignation

The president of Goldsmiths University’s Islamic Society (ISOC) has quit from his post after allegations he sent a series of homophobic messages from his Twitter account.

Muhammed Patel’s resignation was announced on Facebook by the ISOC who didn’t reveal any specific details of the claims against him, but did say his termination notice was accepted by the society.

The full statement read: “In light of recent allegations attributed to Muhammed Patel, a meeting was called to discuss a motion of no confidence. Soon after, Muhammed tendered his resignation and it was accepted by the committee.

“In the interim, the committee will appoint an acting president to serve for the remainder of the academic year.”

Extending its gratitude to all societies on campus - the Feminist and LGBTQ societies, in particular - for their “continued support in the face of inaccurate assertions, threats, and Islamophobic messages,” the statement concluded: “Hate speech of any kind has no place in our society.”

In August, Mr Patel, 19, voiced his opinions on his Twitter account about the Channel 4 documentary Muslim Drag Queens which explored the life of Britain’s gay Muslim and drag queen community.

His Twitter account has since reportedly been hidden. However, a cached version of it and the tweets sent from his account have surfaced on the microblogging site.

One message from his account appears to say: “Homosexuality is a disease of the heart and mind #MuslimDragQueens,” while another reads: “Can you fag lovers get out of my mentions pls, thanks.”

Another from Mr Patel’s account to Channel 4 regarding the documentary asked: “What kind of rubbish is that,” while one, speaking about Asifa Lahore - who claims to be Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen - read: “This asifa has always p’d me off how can you be trying to justify why it’s ok to be Muslim and gay #MuslimDragQueens.”

Goldsmiths Students’ Union also shared the ISOC’s statement, and added: “Equality, diversity, and respect for others within the Goldsmiths community are core values at Goldsmiths SU and we welcome this news.”

Mr Patel’s tweets are said to have been brought to the attention of the students’ union after the Goldsmiths LGBTQ+ Society, last week, released a statement in support of the ISOC after a talk from ex-Muslim and feminist campaigner Maryam Namazie was disrupted by protesters and members of the ISOC amid claims it was “Islamophobic.”

The LGBTQ+’s statement said: “We find personal and social harm enacted in the name of ‘free speech’ is foul and detrimental to the wellbeing of students and staff on campus.

“In our experiences, members of ISOC have been nothing but charming, patient, kind, and peaceful as individuals and as an organisation.”

According to media reports, Ms Namazie described: “After my talk began, ISOC ‘brothers’ started coming into the room, repeatedly banging the door, falling on the floor, heckling me, playing on their phones, shouting out, and creating a climate of intimidation in order to try and prevent me from speaking.”

ISOC released a statement shortly after the incident and said: “Hateful statements that encourage Islamophobia by Namazie...can lead to very serious and violent consequences towards the Muslim students at the university.”

Ms Namazie took to her blog and said the chief executive of the students’ union asked her to remove a YouTube video of the disruption because “a number of students have complained about the video as their consent to be filmed was not asked at the start of the meeting by your camera-operator, and this is now viewable on a public website.”

Describing it as “irony” that the Feminist Society and LGBTQ+ Society had released messages of support for ISOC and not for her, Ms Namazie said she replied: “We won’t be removing the video of my talk at Goldsmiths.

“Given that some ISOC members have made their own selective clips of the meeting and publicised it on social media, a video of the entire meeting is needed to clarify any misinformation and provide the full facts.”

As well as this incident, Bahar Mustafa - welfare and diversity officer at the students’ union - also caused controversy and was initially charged with sending a threatening message and sending a grossly offensive message via social media after she reportedly tweeted “#killallwhitemen.”

Defending her tweet, she said: “I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.”

Police confirmed, last month, the charges against her had been dropped.

Watch Bahar Mustafa refute accusations of racism and sexism:

The students’ union also announced on Facebook, last week, it is looking at how it can continue fulfilling its duties “as a representative and campaigning body,” adding how it was looking for student input after three of its full-time officers decided to leave the organisation.

It’s announcement didn’t go down well with users. Referring to the Ms Namazie incident, one user replied: “No wonder people are leaving. Your organisation is an absolute disgrace and has handled this whole thing incredibly poorly. I don’t think decision-making positions should be in the futures of anyone involved, as more harm than good has been done.”

Mr Patel and the ISOC have yet to respond to the Independent’s request for comment.

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