A preacher whose visit to the Muslim Student Association was criticised last week has denied defending the killing of apostates of Islam.
Several students had objected to Kamal El Mekki being allowed to speak on campus on February 25th, and Domhnall McGlacken Byrne, the president of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (SU), had contacted the Central Societies Committee (CSC) with a view to cancelling the event on account of his alleged views on apostasy.
In an email seen by Trinity News, McGlacken-Byrne had said: “While the SU does not have jurisdiction over what societies do with their time, and while I obviously haven’t had time to produce an ‘SU stance’ on this, my personal two cents’ worth is that, regardless of whether someone is Muslim, Christian or nothing at all, nobody who promotes killing people different to themselves should be given a platform, in somewhere where, to quote Trinity’s mission statement, ‘independence of thought is highly valued’.”
He had pointed to the below clip as evidence that the former George Mason University imam supports the killing of apostates.
Kamal El Mekki speaks at an event organised by the AlMaghrib Institute in July 2011. Source: Khalid bin Waleed
Responding to a Trinity News request for comment, El Mekki said that the clip had been taken out of context and was an excerpt from a 39-hour course in which apostasy is dealt with twice.
He wrote: “[In the clip,] I first deal with the issue from the historical standpoint as you have seen, and then I revisit the issue for the sole purpose of explaining to students that apostasy law is not something that we advocate, nor is it something that we are trying to revive or practice. You will be surprised how many people I’ve met while I was the chaplain at George Mason University, who thought they had the right to carry out that law in America.”
El Mekki added that part of his responsibility as an educator is to work against the radicalisation of Muslims and that he runs a course whose main theme is that “bringing Sharia Law to the west has never been one of the objectives of Islam.”
He said: “Extremism is something that needs to be dealt with, yet those who deal with it in the Muslim communities are misquoted and made to appear as the ones that should be stopped from speaking. I believe the best way to stop extremism is through moderate Muslims and Imams speaking against it. If I don’t explain it historically and within a modern context; the youth will find an online insane version to follow. I will continue to be vocal and critique what is wrong. I have not spared anyone or group that advocates violence and that is what all our instructors continue to do.”