Concordia dean to meet with Muslim student group over library controversy

A Concordia University student prays in the university’s Muslim prayer room in Montreal, Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Concordia University’s dean of students has called for a meeting with leaders of the university’s Muslim Students Association to discuss a television report that suggested the association’s library contains books and videos by “extremist preachers.”

The report, which aired on TVA on Friday, said the library, located in the Muslim Students’ Association building on Mackay St., “is in a modest setting but nonetheless has cutting-edge software that allows users to consult online books, (among which) TVA news found dozens of works by radical imams.”

In fact, the library’s holdings can be consulted online from any computer.

The report identified works by certain Islamic scholars who condone controversial practises such as wife beating and female genital mutilation. Others, the report claimed, advocate the death penalty for those who renounce Islam or practice homosexuality.

Among the authors noted in the report were Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamic scholar who launched a popular website called IslamOnline and whose controversial teachings have caused him to be refused entry to the United Kingdom and France. He has advocated husbands using physical force against their wives and female genital mutilation, although some reports say he has publicly renounced the latter.

Another author who was singled out in the report was Abdur Raheem Green, chairman of the Islamic Education and Research Academy. Green was invited by the MSA to speak at the university in 2011 but the invitation was rescinded after a video surfaced in which Green advocates husbands using physical force to correct the behaviour of their wives as long as they do not hit them in the face or leave a mark.

Chris Mota, director of media relations at Concordia, said Dean of Students Andrew Woodall will meet with members of the Muslim Students Association on Thursday afternoon to discuss the controversy. She said that in the meantime, the MSA has agreed to remove some of the books from the library…

That’s really big of them. Of course, the same information is easily available online, on websites hosted in the Middle East and even YouTube.