Controversial cleric Abdullah Hakim Quick cancels speech at Water Lily

Abdullah Hakim Quick
Cancelled: Abdullah Hakim Quick called off his tour due to ill health

A controversial Muslim cleric who has in the past been accused of homophobia has called off a planned talk at the Water Lily centre in Mile End Road, due to poor health.

Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick was invited to speak at four UK events this month, which had been organised by the charity Muslim Aid.

The series of events was called ‘Legends – Untold Stories from the Golden Age’ and was to feature stories on Muslim contributions to science, medicine and aviation.

But a complaint was raised over the booking, citing Shaykh Quick’s comments in 2003 that Islam’s position on homosexuality was “death”.

Shaykh Quick also said that homosexuals were “sick” and “not natural”. He has since apologised for the comments.

Prior to the cancellation, Andy Hughes, a former Tower Hamlets resident, spoke out about the planned speech at the Water Lily venue space on Mile End Road.

Mr Hughes said: “Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick should not be invited to events like this. His actions and campaigns against gay Muslims are not just an expression of opinion – it is a denial of rights. He’s quite happy to discriminate but resists criticism about Muslims.

“Showing that not everyone is happy with these views allows liberals more freedom to operate.”

Muslim Aid has defended its decision to host Shaykh Quick.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “We carry out thorough due diligence checks on all speakers… Our background checks revealed only one incident dating back 15 years, since which Dr Quick has clarified his position and apologised for the confusion.”

“Dr Quick was chosen on the basis of his knowledge, history of tolerance and his standing in communities across the world, which he has used as a platform to speak out against intolerance, including toward the LGBT community. To this end he has conducted some pioneering work.”

The spokeswoman confirmed he had cancelled his plans to travel to the UK for the tour due to ill health.

She also referred to “substantive mitigating statements” Shaykh Quick had posted on his website in 2010.

His statement reads: “I pioneered the first social service agency for Muslims in Toronto whose doors were open to all – rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, gay or straight. As a counsellor I learned first-hand of the terrible violence inflicted upon gay people by bullies and I publicly spoke out against it.”

Apology

Shaykh Quick’s statement also apologised for some of his previous remarks. It reads: “My statements were a moral reprimand only. I understand now that they did give off the wrong impression. For that, I am sorry. I have never advocated violence, vigilantism or disregard for the rule of law.”

However in a video posted on YouTube in 2014, Shaykh Quick says: “There is homosexuality being taught in our schools as alternative sex life – and a homosexual teaches the class.

“That’s what young people have to live in, and then come back to our community and try to be Muslims. This is having a severe psychological and sociological effect upon the young people in our community.”

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