A Muslim Students’ Association office hosted the controversial speaker.

The national office of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) has distanced itself from its Western Cape division, after the latter hosted a controversial speaker accused of sexual misconduct.

International Islamic scholar Nouman Ali Khan, a man accused of having “inappropriate interactions with various women” and an abuse of power, according to reports from the BBC, was hosted by MSA Stellenbosch at a seminar at Stellenbosch University on Friday, May 3.

Through a statement released on Thursday, April 29, the MSA national office said it  “respectfully distances itself from [the] event and does not endorse it, despite being hosted by MSA bodies”.

“We also know that this issue is especially relevant because of the increasing rates of sexual harassment, rape and violence against women,” the statement read.

The MSA Western Cape division released their own statement on April 29 which countered the stance of the national office, saying, “[We] are obliged to presume his [Khan] innocence [and] cannot be hasty in validating unproven accusations as this goes against Islamic teachings.”

MSA national president and Wits law student Kaamil Alli declined comment on the matter saying the office had decided not to engage with the media.

A politics student, Ali Ridha Khan, from the University of the Western Cape agreed with the national office’s stance saying that Khan has a “questionable character” due to the allegations against him.

“We should always take the side of the accusers,” Ridha Khan said, adding that this was particularly important due to the gender based problems South Africa faces. “Faith is justice,” Ali Ridha Khan said, adding that religious belief should lead people to social justice.

Nouman Ali Khan is currently in Cape Town for the Bayyinah Institute’s Dream Worldwide Quran programme until Friday, May 17.

FEATURED IMAGE: Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) Cape hosts Nouman Ali Khan at MSA Stellenbosch. Photo: MSA Stellenbosch twitter account