The Mancunion's publication of secret recording of homophobic comments blows into major row

Nick Jaspan's picture
by Nick Jaspan

Mancunion LogoThe Mancunion student newspaper published extracts in its latest issue on Monday, of a secret recording made by a first year student at a workshop organised by Global Aspirations last Wednesday (13 Feb), during which a student society member stated that in an ideal world, homosexuals would be killed.

The student paper, which styles itself as 'Britain's biggest student newspaper, serving Greater Manchester ' has now found itself at the centre of a growing national and international row over its editorial standards and methods and the ethics of its decision to publish the extracts.

The title has also been criticised by the Manchester University's Student Union (MUSU) and the chair of the society whose meeting was 'covertly' filmed.

The recording was made by a Middle Eastern studies undergraduate Colin Cortbus, who attended the society's public meeting and he sent a copy of the undercover recording to the Mancunion the following day.

Cortbus asked several questions including whether: “in the Islamic society in which you strive for..would you feel comfortable, personally and morally, killing a gay man?”

"Absolutely" was the response by a female student who added that: “homosexuality is an atrocity, because it goes against what God says.”

Other questions included asking if the Islam state justified killing a man if he "did something as 'completely innocent' as kiss another man outside the Students’ Union" to which the female student reportedly replied: "Yeah, absolutely. But it’s the fact that you can’t just see it as it is. People have this issue that the punishment, penal code, everything is so completely inhumane, but who even says that these things are inhumane?”

A spokesperson for MUSU said: "The front page of this week’s Mancunion carries a story that many students will find unsettling.

"We are committed to ensuring that the spaces we run and the student activities we support are safe and non-threatening for all of our students. We are opposed to discrimination in all of its forms and consider homophobia unacceptable.

"The Students’ Union will always seek to keep out Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans students free from intimidation and discrimination but we are also deeply concerned with the covert filming of a student event within the Union."

The society Global Aspirations has also issued a statement: "We would like to begin by expressing our concerns regarding the under hand tactics employed by yourself (The Mancunion) as a means to get a scoop for your newspaper.

"You failed to put our discussion into perspective for the aims of global aspirations of women's society endeavours to discuss the plight of women here at home and globally and looks to political alternatives to end oppression, subjugation and the dishonour of women and hence includes Islam as in the debate along with secular/ liberal systems as an alternative.

"When we look at the discontent in which people are living in this society as well as the widespread chaos all we seek to do is to simply raise discussions as to the nature of these problems and how Islam as an ideology (in its true form and not what is currently available in the Muslim world as they defiantly do not represent Islam and its tenants) as an alternative.

"The fact that you have pin pointed only the discussion on the punishment system in Islam shows that you are ignorant of Islam as a political system, and hence decided to play the media rhetoric of Islam equates to harsh punishments and lack of humanity."

The editor of the Mancunion, Richard Crook, could not be reached for comment.


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