“…ensure they have proper risk assessment processes for speakers and ensure those espousing extremist views do not go unchallenged.”
While there has been a focus on Islamist speakers, it is equally important that this challenging of intolerance extends to Christian activists with a history of extreme views.
Last week, Obianuju Ekeocha, the president and founder of ‘Culture of Life Africa’ addressed students at the Dundee University Life Society.
The event on 29th September, at which Ekeocha appears to have been the sole speaker, focused on “western influence in the culture of life in Africa”, a subject Ekeocha frequently writes about.
What is concerning about this is that Ekeocha has a history of virulent homophobia, and has spoken out against the West’s imposition of the “hegemonic homosexual agenda” on Africa.
She has actively supported anti-homosexual legislation in Africa and praised Ugandan MPs who voted to punish homosexuality with life imprisonment.
She has also conflated homosexuality with paedophilia and abuse, saying:
“This may be a difficult truth for many to accept but paedophilia festers in any society where the homosexual lifestyle is promoted.”
“…the International community has chosen to elevate and celebrate the perverse homosexual lifestyle…despite the mounting reports of child sexual abuse, rape and paedophilia all inherently couched in the hedonistic homosexual culture.”
Ekeocha’s hateful views appear to have gone unchallenged at this event, potentially because the university and student union were unaware of her background or history.
This highlights how important it is institutions are provided with the right training in spotting speakers with controversial views – and that they encourage an atmosphere in which such speakers can be challenged.
Hopefully, shining a light on Ekeocha’s beliefs will ensure students are aware of her previous homophobic statements in future, and that such challenge takes place.