A planned event hosting controversial YouTube star Mohammed Hijab has been cancelled due to security concerns, according to the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA).
The event, which was due to take place tomorrow, had received significant criticism over the past 24 hours due to the misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic views expressed by Hijab on his YouTube channel.
In a statement to Trinity News, MSA President Hasan Ali said: “While we acknowledge that this decision may disappoint some members of our community, we believe it is the best course of action to ensure the safety and well-being of all.”
Ali added that the society remained “committed to providing meaningful and inclusive events that promote unity and peace” in Trinity going forward.
“We welcome feedback from our members and the wider community on how we can better serve our mission. I want to emphasise that our role as the MSA committee is to serve the College community. This is why we pursued this event to begin with, but it is also why we are cancelling it. It is not about our personal preferences on who to invite to speak, but ultimately about what the college community wants.”
Though the event had been approved by College, a spokesperson for College clarified that it was “a student society event organised by students”.
“The event had been approved, however it has become clear that it has grown beyond capacity, so the event will not go ahead tomorrow.”
In a press release earlier this evening, campaign group Students4Change (S4C) condemned the MSA’s invitation of Hijab, pointing to Hijab’s links with misogynist influencer Andrew Tate, as well as his views that “feminism has harmed women”.
Hijab has also compared being gay to incest, and has called the LGTBQ+ community “harmful”, saying that it will “lead to the collapse of civilization”.
The event, which was to take place in the Edmund Burke Theatre in Trinity, was a collaboration between seven islamic student societies across Dublin and Maynooth.
In a statement endorsed by the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Gender Equality Officer and QSoc, S4C said that “such an individual has no place at our College, and that we cannot tolerate intolerance”.
It continued: “The existence of LGBTQ+ people, trans people and women’s rights is not up for debate, and our community cannot give it a platform. The fact that this individual is marketed as an ‘academic’ despite having no credentials is furthermore concerning.”
The group called for the invitation to be rescinded, saying that it was “ready to escalate” its actions if it did not do so.
Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU Gender Equality Officer Jenny Maguire added: “College must support all of its students unapologetically, and it’s shocking that such figures would even be considered to speak at a college that prides itself on inclusion.”
“Actions speak louder than words, and College must do better,” Maguire said.
Ali’s statement to Trinity News also expressed that his “primary objective is to foster unity and peace within our college community”.
“One of our key responsibilities is to organise events that provide valuable insights and perspectives for our members and the wider community.”
It continued: “Over the years it was made clear to us that Mohammed Hijab was a highly demanded speaker within the college community. As such, we began planning the event months in advance, investing our time, effort and resources to ensure its success.”
Hijab, a self-described “comparative-religionist and philosopher of religion”, has been accused multiple times of antisemitism, homophobia and inciting hatred. In September 2022, Hijab was one of the leading figures at demonstrations in London that were condemned as antisemitic by Jewish groups.
Hijab was also criticised for a “direct and deliberate act of incitement” following a video he filmed with another YouTuber where he asked Jewish people to condemn Israel’s actions during the Jewish sabbath. In the video, Hijab asks Jewish people “Did we not learn from the Holocaust?”.
Hijab was also accused of encouraging vandalism on Hindu temples and inciting violence against violence against members of the Hindu community.
According to Ali, all tickets to the event were sold out within three hours of it being publicly announced after publicly announcing the event on February 2, which he noted was “a testament to our community’s interest in the speaker”.
“For 27 days, we received no complaints regarding the event until yesterday. We were informed this morning by Tom Hegarty, Chairperson of the Central Societies Committee that the Student Union had received numerous complaints regarding the event’s potential impact on community cohesion.”
A video circulated yesterday evening by Instagram account @trindrtcd, which fashions itself as “a queer and alternative” platform in the vein of @tcdtrinder, shows Hijab claiming that “one great benefit of LGBTQ [is that it’s] a really powerful way for them to destroy their own civilisation from within”.
In another viral clip online, Hijab was recorded stating “generally speaking men and women are equal […] but there are exceptions”. He has also been linked to riots in Leicester, England, in which local Hindus were violently targeted due to their religion. Regarding this incident, he described the actions as a “Muslim patrol in Leicester”.
Hijab has also previously collaborated with Andrew Tate, a social media personality and businessman who has been arrested in Romania in connection with human trafficking. Hijab interviewed Tate in September 2022, after Romanian authorities had already begun investigating Tate in connection with human trafficking. In January 2023, following the arrest of Tate, Hijab shared an article in support of Tate via Twitter.