The Chair of the University of Wollongong's Student Advisory Council has hit out at those "responsible" for stopping Sheikh Jamil El-Biza from speaking at an event organised by the newly formed School of Liberal Arts.
Ranjith Raj was particularly "appalled" with comments National Tertiary Education Union branch president Georgine Clarsen made about the anti-gay Berkeley preacher after he pulled out of the April 5 event.
Clarsen told the Mercury at the time she was "astounded" workshop organisers invited a "fundamentalist" to represent a Muslim point of view.
The school, set up to house the controversial Ramsay Centre-funded Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation, had invited the sheikh to speak at its "Understanding others through narrative practices" workshop.
Raj, who is also a member of the NSW Young Liberals, said he was appalled with the role Clarsen played in ensuring the Sheikh withdrew from a speaking event where he was invited to give an Islamic point of view.
"Clarsen might believe inviting a local Muslim community leader to engage on a topic of discussion is shameful. I certainly do not," he said.
"What is shameful is inciting hate against Muslims by calling Sheikh El-Biza a fundamentalist for holding a traditionally Islamic view of marriage and for making comments that he's since regretted and apologised for."
The sheikh made headlines during the debate over same-sex marriage in 2017, when he said gay marriage was "evil" and homosexuals were "f- - -ts".
I profoundly disagree with Sheikh El-Biza's views on same-sex marriage but I will continue to defend his right not only to speak, but to be challenged.Ranjith Raj
Raj, who works as a staffer to Immigration Minister David Coleman, said he supported the YES campaign during the marriage equality debate.
"I profoundly disagree with Sheikh El-Biza's views on same-sex marriage but I will continue to defend his right not only to speak, but to be challenged," he said.
"In fact, Clarsen would have had an opportunity herself to challenge his views had he not been intimidated into withdrawing. But Clarsen made the reasons for her opposition to him attending quite clear when she referred to him as "people like that".
"Senator Fraser Anning would be celebrating with glee.
"After the Christchurch horror we should be looking to engage with our Muslim community - not isolating them.
"Students do not need Clarsen telling us what viewpoints we can and cannot hear. If university is not the place to hold vigorous debate and critique on a range of contentious issues - where is?
"I have lodged a complaint with the University of Wollongong and the National Tertiary Education Union relating to Clarsen's conduct."