A university Islamic society, which has been linked to “extremists” and Islamists, is campaigning to have CCTV cameras removed from Islamic prayer rooms on campus.
The cameras were introduced to protect the “safety” of students at the University of Westminster two years ago, following “incidents” in the prayer rooms and after an internal report found Muslim extremists undemocratically controlled a “hostile” Islamic society guilty of sexism and bullying.
Now, the Islamic society claims to be “working hard to… bring about a policy change to reverse the CCTV installation” by working with the Student Union (SU) to mobilise opposition to the cameras as the university begins a consultation on their existence.
Shelly Asquith, the far-left National Union of Students’ (NUS) Vice-President for Welfare, commented on the CCTV. “Absolutely shameful that [the University of Westminster] installed CCTV cameras in the prayer rooms. Spying on Muslim students who already feel targeted,” she tweeted.
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— Uni Westminster ISOC (@UWIsocOfficial) April 11, 2017
The university, however, says the cameras had been installed “for the purpose of ensuring the safety” of students using the rooms.
An internal report into the Islamic society, published in September 2015, found members policed other student’s behaviour, acting as self-appointed “apostles of a self-contained faith, concerned very largely with matters of religious orthodoxy and perceived heresy”.
A separate study found the institution has consistently topped the table for universities inviting the most extremist Islamic speakers onto campus. In 2015, the government “named and shamed” Westminster for failing to uphold “British values”.
The university was also attended by Islamic State executioner “Jihadi John”, and in 2011, the SU elected a president and vice-president with links to the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which works to establish a global caliphate.
Freya Thompson, the current president of the SU, denounced the cameras and called on students to share their views.
“We have worked tirelessly this year to show the university that CCTV in a prayer room is an invasion of privacy and trust,” she wrote online. “But now we need you. Fill out the consultation. Tell them once again how you feel. Students, it’s now in your hands.”