August 6 2016
President & Vice-Chancellor
1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way
St Catharines, ON
Dear Mr. Lightstone:
I am writing on behalf of LGBTory Canada, a national network of LGBT conservatives, to express our grave concern about the activities of Mr. Mustafa Khattab, a volunteer chaplain at Brock University. As has been recently reported in the media, Mr. Khattab is on the record as making some seriously homophobic comments to a group of young students in Edmonton in 2012.
Video of his complete remarks can be found here:
Mr Khattab has stated in his defence that his remarks were taken out of context. Here is a transcript of most of his speech to the Edmonton students – we believe that the context is clear:
For me, someone who is a homosexual is like someone who has diabetes or someone who has cancer, or AIDS. He has a special case and this person needs a special treatment. Can I talk to them? Why not? Just like I talk to everybody, OK? But personally, I don’t like to be associated with them. One day, when we were in California, and we’re sitting around the table, people from different things and people from different countries, and a guy was sitting next to me, we’re talking for some time, and we were talking about discrimination against people of different faiths, Muslims, Christians in some countries, and Jews, whatever, and this guy was sitting next to me, he seemed all right, and we were talking about abuse and discrimination against homosexuals. And he said, “I personally, I’m gay,” [laughter] “and people abuse me all the time.” And I’ll tell you, listening to the guy, I’m just like [moves to opposite end of table] [laughter]. I moved my chair. I didn’t feel comfortable sitting next to the guy.
Needless to say, these comments are completely unacceptable in any context. They are especially troublesome coming from a man charged with counselling young students at a Canadian university. We can only imagine the hurt and pain that would be experienced by young LGBT students at Brock, away from home, perhaps struggling with sexual identity issues, exposed to this message from someone supposedly responsible for their spiritual guidance.
Brock University spokesperson Dan Dakin said concerning Mr. Khattab, “The university is not in the business of dictating or policing the religious belief system of any faith-based organization. "The fit between his religious beliefs and those of the Muslim Students Association membership is entirely the business of the MSA."
This is not acceptable. We urge Brock University to formally condemn Mr. Khattab’s remarks and to end any association with him. We also urge the Brock MSA to formally condemn the remarks and to cease any relationship with him.
Bigotry of any kind under the guise of religion is completely unacceptable in a free and democratic society. It is especially disturbing when it takes place under the auspices of a public university. Please do the right thing and send a message that LGBT students are welcome and safe at Brock University.
VP – Communications
10 Sherbourne St N