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A model of diversity

19 February 2013

7:25 PM

19 February 2013

7:25 PM

There’s nothing quite like diversity. Take Manchester. It has a large Muslim population and a lot of gays. What could possibly go wrong?

Last week Manchester University’s Student Union played host to the ‘Global Aspirations of Women Society’. This appears to be a front group of the extremists of Hizb ut-Tahrir and therefore by no means does what it says on the tin.

Anyhow – as the university’s student newspaper puts it:

‘A speaker at a Students’ Union affiliated society workshop said that homosexuals would be executed in an ideal Islamic state, describing the practice of two men kissing as an “atrocity.”

1st year Middle Eastern studies student Colin Cortbus attended a public meeting at the Students’ Union last Wednesday 13th February organised by Global Aspirations and asked the chairperson of the meeting whether “in the Islamic society in which you strive for,” they would “feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man.”

She responded, “Absolutely,” and added later that homosexuality was an “atrocity, because it goes against what God says.”

Mr Cortbus sent an undercover recording of the talk to The Mancunion the following day.

In the meeting Mr Cortbus also asked whether in the Islamic state they were advocating they would feel confident to kill him if he “did something as completely innocent as kiss another man outside the Students’ Union.”

In response, the chair of the meeting said to the small group, “Yeah, absolutely,” adding, “But it’s the fact that you can’t just see it as it is. People have this issue that the punishment, penal code, everything is so completely inhumane, but who even says that these things are inhumane?”’

Indeed. Who are we to say that chopping someone up or stoning them, or throwing them off a cliff is inhumane? British universities are certainly fertile ground for such pseudo-thought.

The discussion moved on once the chair rightly pointed out that gays cannot procreate. At this stage one of the other students in attendance demonstrated the analytical skills that make our 21st-century graduates the envy of the world, by asking:

‘If they can’t have kids, why didn’t they die out ages ago?’


The filming man, Mr Cortbus, appears to be a reasonable sort of chap:

‘Mr Cortbus also asked for the chairperson’s position on stoning adulterers. She reasoned: “Who’s to say that someone else might see that and think ‘well if he’s allowed to do it why can’t I do it’.”

When Mr Cortbus argued that stoning was not an Islamic practice, the chair¬person said: “Even if you went to some¬one who was a Muslim, whether they like the idea of stoning an adulterer or not, they will still say to you that it is something that is in Islam.”‘

In fact Mr Cortbus is too kind and benefit-of-the-doubt-giving on this one. There’s actually quite a lot of stoning in Islamic history.

But anyway, this is all just throat-clearing. Because one of the nicest things about diverse 21st century Britain is demonstrated by Manchester University Student Union’s ‘Wellbeing Officer’. This person – named Cat Gray – has had to respond to the video and has put her finger on the point by saying:

‘We are deeply concerned with the covert filming of a student event within the Union. We are also deeply concerned by the suggestion that comments of a homophobic nature have been made.’

You see. Wrong done on both sides. If everybody only admitted that then perhaps we could all just get along. Can’t we?

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