This Islamic Scholar Railed Against Gays. An Anti-Israel Student Group Invited Him to UPenn's Campus.

'Prepare to be inspired,' UPenn's Muslim Students Association said when announcing Yasir Fahmy as a speaker

Yasir Fahmy (Al Falah Center/YouTube)
November 22, 2023

An anti-Israel student group at the University of Pennsylvania invited an Islamic scholar and cleric to campus who last year argued that gay people are "destructive" and "will not be happy."

The scholar, former Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center senior imam Yasir Fahmy, delivered a June 2022 lecture titled, "Thoughts on LGBTQ+." Fahmy during the lecture argued that gay people and those who "indulge in what you like" are living a "destructive" lifestyle. "We're lost, and a true representation of this loss and this waywardness is this LGBTQ movement," Fahmy said. "You see what's happening with Disney—Buzz Lightyear, now Buzz Lightyear is suddenly gay. Suddenly, he's gay."

Months later, on Nov. 6, 2023, the Penn Muslim Students Association said it was "excited" to introduce Fahmy as a speaker at its annual conference, MSA East, which the group held Saturday. "Prepare to be inspired and join us for an incredible journey through great events led by these amazing lineup [sic] of speakers," the association said alongside a photo and bio of Fahmy. "Register now to be part of something extraordinary!"

Fahmy's denunciation of "this LGBTQ" movement stands in stark contrast to Penn's commitment to "diversity in all its forms." The university says it "draws its strength from a multitude of races, ethnicities, genders, [and] sexual orientations" and hosts an "LGBT Center" aimed at cultivating "a campus climate where all students, regardless of their gender or sexual identity, can live authentically."

The university is also home to at least two dozen "LGBTQ+ student organizations." After the Washington Free Beacon reached out to some of those organizations to inquire about Fahmy's invitation to speak on campus, the Penn Muslim Students Association scrubbed Fahmy's name and photo from its conference program guide. The association, which did not respond to a request for comment, also made private a video of the conference it touts on its website.

In addition to Fahmy's lecture denouncing gay people, the Islamic scholar has delivered anti-Semitic sermons, including one that saw him condemn "the sick sadistic cult known as Zionism" and accuse Jews of "bribing" elected officials. While it's unclear if that rhetoric inspired the Penn Muslim Students Association to invite Fahmy to campus, the group has spewed anti-Israel rhetoric following Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist assault on the Jewish state.

In an Oct. 13 statement, for example, the association lamented "all attempts at normalization of the Israeli apartheid regime" and extended its "support for the Palestinian diaspora as they grieve the decades-long crimes against humanity of their homeland."

The Penn Muslim Students Association's Saturday conference featured the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a top sponsor. CAIR has vehemently defended Hamas's attack on Israel, blaming the terror group's assault on the "Israeli government's apartheid policies." CAIR executive director Nihad Awad similarly dubbed Israel a "settler colonial apartheid state" in the wake of the attack and called on President Joe Biden to condemn Israel, not Hamas.

"You must condemn the occupier not the occupied," Awad said.

Penn is no stranger to anti-Semitic speakers. The university in September hosted a Palestinian literature festival featuring Hamas-linked speakers who have praised terrorism against Israel. One speaker, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, earlier this year dressed up like a Nazi during a concert in Germany. Waters has referred to Jews as "kikes."