Muslim students are demanding their embassies lobby City University to overturn a ban on them using their prayer room.
The University, which has students from Muslim countries including Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan, padlocked the prayer room on Whiskin Street because of security concerns after six Muslim students were attacked in November.
Hundreds of male members of the Islamic Society (ISoc) have been gathering twice a day to pray in Northampton Square in protest. Up to 400 students have been attending sermons in the square during Friday prayers.
The University have offered the students space in a multi-faith prayer room, but the students say they cannot use a space that is shared by all faiths
The Islamic Society is a pretty moderate student group.
Relations between the City University Islamic Society members and other student groups have been strained since last year, when the society invited cleric Abu Usamah to a fundraising event.
The preacher featured in a Channel 4 documentary, Undercover Mosque, in 2007, in which he said homosexuals should be “thrown off a mountain” and labelled women intellectually deficient.
The Inquirer ran an article and editorial criticising the society for inviting Mr Usamah.
In its response, also published by the paper, the society warns The Inquirer and City staff to “submit to Allah” or face “severe and painful punishment” in the “next life”.
A second response, from anonymous Muslim students at City, points out that “male chauvinists are everywhere” and asks non-Muslims to “take a critical look at the myriad media reports of angry Muslims shouting ‘death to the infidels’. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and if Islam advocated violence and sexism, the whole world would be up in flames by now,” they write.
City’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Society also demanded an apology from Julius Weinberg, acting vice-chancellor, for allowing Mr Usamah on to campus.
Okay, maybe not. But they are not doing themselves any favors.