University of Westminster in central London
University of Westminster in central London

A hard-line Muslim preacher has been banned from addressing Westminster university students after it emerged that the notorious Islamic State executioner, previously known as "Jihadi John", used to be a student there.

Cleric Haitham al-Haddad was due to address Muslim students at the university's Islamic Society, on 26 February.

But education chiefs at the institution in central London scrambled to scrap the event, following reports one of its former students, revealed to be Mohammed Emwazi is "Jihadi John", who is wanted for beheading Western hostages in a series of gruesome videos. Emwazi, aged 27, graduated in computer studies from Westminster in 2011.

In the wake of news a university spokesman said: "Tonight's event has been postponed due to increased sensitivity and security concerns."

Controversial Al-Haddad has previously called for the execution of people who leave Islam and has branded homosexuality "a crime."

Westminster students opposed to him being given a platform on the campus garnered more than 3,000 signatures in a petition.

Meanwhile, an emergency team offering advice and support has been set up for students dealing with news that one of the world's most infamous terrorists is among their alumni.

But the fact Al-Haddad was invited to speak at Westminster University does pose questions about anti-radicalisation measures on campus.

A spokesman for the university said it implements the government's Prevent strategy, designed to stop students from succumbing to extremist beliefs.

He said: "A Mohammed Emwazi left the University six years ago. If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families."

"We are setting up a dedicated pastoral team to provide advice and support. In the meantime, we urge any students who are concerned to contact the Student Support and Well-being team."

Jihadi John
Jihadi John poses in gruesome Islamic State execution videoSITE Intelligence