“INEXPLICABLE ABERRATION”: Cam Lecturer Slates Homosexuality

Divinity Faculty lecturer Tim Winter labels homosexuality an "inexplicable aberration" in a hastily removed YouTube video.

– Last Updated: Thu 2 May 10.21am to include a statement from LGBT+ President, Charlie Bell



An eight-minute clip of Tim Winter, a Cambridge lecturer and a Director of Studies at Wolfson College, has gone viral on Facebook after he referred to homosexuality as an “inexplicable aberration”. 

The clip appears to have been taken from his recent DVD, Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul, in which Winter, a practicing Sufi Muslim, discusses at length the Sharia’s  “emphatic, unqualified condemnation and prohibition of all forms of homosexual behaviour”.

Winter is a Divinity Faculty lecturer and fellow at Wolfson

Winter graduated from Pembroke with a double-first in 1983

Drawing from the Sharia but expressing his own personal opinion, Winter, also known as Abdal Hakim Murad, refers to homosexuality as a “denial of [our] manifest creative purpose”, labelling it the “ultimate inversion”.

He goes on to refer to homosexuals as “ignorant people…[who] don’t understand what their bodies are for”.

He adds, “How ignorant can you get? Even the animals know”.

Have a look at the video, taken down off YouTube but saved by us.  Scratch that it’s been taken down as well.


Winter also refutes the fact that genetics in any way legitimises homosexual behaviour, stating that “the fact that somebody is born with a tendency is no moral argument for the actualising of that tendency”.

Qualifying his argument, the Cambridge supervisor continues with reference to arson. Winter points out that many scientists attribute arson to a “genetic configuration”, but it is still seen as a perversion – and then questions the fact that homosexuality is not.

He goes on: “I do not say that the tendency is a sin, but acting upon – gratifying the tendency – is a sin”.

At one point in the clip, Winter utters in Arabic “aslaHahum Allah” (lit. ‘may God fix or reform them’).

Sidgwick Site's Divinity Faculty - where Winter lectures

Sidgwick Site’s Divinity Faculty, where Winter lectures

Winter goes on to dispute the much-cited Kinsey Reports and their findings, which suggest that around 10% of the US population is homosexual. Winter calls these findings an “absurd estravgance”, labelling Kinsey a “very strange, perverted individual” – possibly a reference to the fact that the late professor was bisexual and polyamourous.

A comparison is also drawn between the act of smoking and homosexuality. Winter argues that homosexuality is worse for one’s health than smoking, even though the latter is perceived as more dangerous and receives coverage in government campaigns.

He also claims that homosexuality “inevitably plays a greater role in sexually transmitted diseases than the more normal promiscuity”.

Commenting on the video, Mr Winter told The Tab, “These are not ‘recent comments’ – I think this clip is from a Q+A I did after a talk in America in the mid-90s, during a fit of youthful zeal. My views and manner of exposition have moved on since then.”

Mr Winter has subsequently had the video taken down.

It should be pointed out that the DVD is still available to buy on islamondemand.com and through iTunes – and that a second video in which he again compares homosexuality to arson, posted below, was recorded in 2011.


In 2006, Winter also published an article in which he wrote that “it is unarguable that homosexual acts are a metaphysical as well as a moral crime”.

"Imam al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul" - iTunes lecture series

“Imam al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul”: iTunes lecture series


“Homosexuality”: Lecture 85

Despite the removal of the latest footage, reaction from the student body has been unmitigated outrage.

Alex Bradley-Stitch, a Law student from Wolfson, told The Tab: “Everyone is entitled to their views and opinions; I have mine and I don’t expect people to like them.

“However, when you take a platform, and YouTube is THE platform now, you have to be mindful of repercussions. Here, Wolfson’s reputation is at risk at, and however brief my time here, that makes me sad and ashamed.”

Winter is a fellow at Wolfson College

Winter is a fellow at Wolfson College

Another student, supervised by Winter earlier this year, commented, “He’s an extremely intellectual man, or at least appears so.”

He continued: “I wrote an essay on gender and the feedback did not seem biased in any way. I would never have had him down as someone who would come out with something like this. I’m very shocked.”

The Tab has approached Wolfson College for comment but as yet has received no response.

It will no doubt be a matter of debate how far Mr Winter’s views are protected by laws guaranteeing freedom of religious expression; the matter is complicated further by the fact that Mr Winter – as a Director of Studies – plays a pastoral role in college life.

UPDATE: Charlie Bell, President of CUSU LGBT+, released a statement this morning:

“Whilst we, like the vast majority of students, absolutely disagree with [Mr Winter’s] views on homosexuality, and indeed the tone in which they are made, he is an academic and the university has a duty to allow freedom of speech in its academical disciplines.

“We know that Mr Winter has asked for the video to be taken down; it remains for his college to decide whether these past remarks are incompatible with his current role in the college, especially if it has a pastoral nature, and we are currently in communication with them over this.

“It is our role to be a campaign open to student views and opinions, and to remind the university that whatever academical views might be expressed, LGBT+ students and staff have the same rights as any others, and should be treated with the same respect and decency as any other member of this university, by every member of this university.

“We encourage any students who do not receive this respect or who otherwise need our support to contact us.”


Wanna write news for The Tab? Get in touch: news(@)cambridgetab.co.uk.

  • what a


    • Big Timmy W

      Knee deep in it since 1980 #noturningback

    • Rick Ross

      lol @ phaggut lovers

      take a chill pill he is simply stating the truth.

      • Ricky Rozay


  • not exactly

    pussy magnet

  • Winter

    is bumming.

    • Maybe he will

      Take the black

      • What do we say to the god of sex?

        Not too gay.

        • Lannisters

          Always go gay for debts

  • Animals

    don’t know better. Pretty much every primate species and most mammals have homosexual individuals. Only one species talks into the air for help. Which one is unnatural again? Total fuckwit

  • yeah but

    religion is shit

  • Why

    …does an institution based on reason and intellectual debate still fund a Divinity faculty anyway? This man and his views belong in the Dark Ages.

    • Proves

      You can get a double first and still be a massive retard

    • Richard Dawkins

      yeh m8 religion is well shit it should fuk off even though i never read none and no nuffin about it it fuks up science even though it doesnt and pisses me off i dont care about ur arguments catholic priests rape kids i win u fukin religious cretin lmao

    • Clearly

      You don’t know anything about what goes on at the Divinity faculty, which is understandable, but we’re not all religious nuts (a good proportion of us are atheists). Furthermore it betrays an extreme lack of cultural awareness that you’ve ignored the huge part religion has played in both history and still does play in the modern world.

  • Believer

    Very poor journalism from the Tab. Old news, and acceptable beliefs.

    • WRONG

      Fantastic journalism from The Tab! Beliefs like this are not acceptable in modern society, especially for someone in that position. Exposing people like this in such positions is an important role of journalism.

      • Kim Jong Un

        That’s horse poo. Journarism’s importance lies in quarity news pieces, not in ones that rery on exposing the private opinions of public figures.

        He’s a homophobe, get over it. If he does his job well and keeps his opinions to himself in Cambridge then he should be allowed to berieve what he preases.

        • Private Public

          Shurely the difference between a private opinion and a public statement is that you announce one of them in front of an audience, in public? Given that there are recordings of him saying this stuff at public meetings all over the internet, how can you say he “keeps his opinions to himself?”

          On the other hand, according to TCS he no longer believes what he said in the video, and claims to have been “in the grip of a zealot enthusiasm” at the time. ‘I was going through a phase’ might seem like a weak excuse, but surely we’re allowed to change our minds?


        • Kim Jong Il

          Son, why have ru storen my woice? Evlywon may berieve in what they prease, as long as that is the suplemacy of Best Korea.

        • Hah

          I only liked this because of the accent thing. The post was rubbish.

    • Liberal Bigot

      If you don’t agree with me, you should fuck off and die!

      • Bobo

        What a load of shiite

    • Anonymous

      “acceptable beliefs”? Reminded me of this http://i.imgur.com/aF0iU06.png

      Personally, I support freedom of speech so I kind of agree with what you are saying, that he should be able to express his beliefs. However, we are equally able to express our beliefs and to deconstruct his logic. It’s not right that ‘religion’ gets these special privelleges of being able to say whatever they like without fear of repurcussion – a religion is surely not so different from any other belief, bigoted or not, that a person has put significant effort into.

    • How is …

      ..old news? People are complaining about it *now*. This is reporting an online furore which happened yesterday afternoon. The video was posted to youtube yesterday, the complaints were made yesterday. The recording may have been old, but the reaction is fresh.

  • We may not agree with him but surely…

    The fact he believes homosexual behaviour (not being homosexual, but the actual actions) is a sin in his belief – that is perfectly allowed. We all have beliefs and that right is to be protected…

    The important thing is that as a DOS and academic he treats those in his care all the same in his professional life (which he seems to do according to the quote?) So surely this is a non-story. Many many people believe in their faiths that “homosexual physical acts” (not “being homosexual”!) are wrong, but still treat everyone with respect and love, and that freedom of expression is ok to most people!

    • YO.


    • Bisexual divinity student

      From about 10:00 in the second video he says that condemning homosexual behaviour is part of “standing up for fundamental rules about what it is to be human.” I don’t care if he treats me professionally, the fact that this person (whose salary I’m paying) regards me as subhuman because of my behaviour makes me uncomfortable.

      • And?

        I’d put money on the fact that your bisexuality makes him uncomfortable, but he isn’t calling to have you expelled from the university because of your sexual practices. Oh, and the smug assertion that you pay his salary is idiotic.

        • Anonymous

          Would this claim be made about racism? Fucks sake. If someone’s racist they get fired. Homophobia is no different.

          • And?

            Of course homophobia is different, especially given that Winter’s objection is the homosexual act itself. The only way I can imagine anybody considering the two analogous is if they belong to the (itself racist) school of thought that people “act black” etc.

            • Or?

              Because as we all know, homosexuality is a choice, and that they choose to act that way is therefore fair game. Although I suppose black people are born that way and choose to go on living. Can we condemn them for that now? They might not ‘act black’ but they do choose to ‘act, black’ (i.e. to act when black).

              • And?

                But they don’t ‘act black’, as you admit and as is my point. The rest of what you say is beside the point. Now fuck off.

              • Obviously

                He isn’t saying homosexuality is a choice, but the act. The same way I presume he considers sexual acts outside of married relationship a choice that he wouldn’t agree with,

          • freedom

            Yes actually.

            When it comes to political correctness you lefty thugs just go into mob mentality, don’t you?
            You should not give a damn what his personal opinion is of you as long as it does not hinder or interfere with his job.
            Show me some evidence that Winter has not been performing his duties adequately or fuck off.

        • Sex Before Marriage

          If he’d said, as he probably believes, that sex before marriage is a disgusting sin, would we care? I’m sure he’s aware that plenty of people under his pastoral care are unmarried and sexually active. That view might also seem bizarre and unfounded, but he’s probably not actively discriminating or inciting violence against the students based on it. Just let him do his job, and allow time to pass and make his views seem foolish.

    • This

      With you 100%

      “It will no doubt be a matter of debate how far Mr Winter’s views are protected by laws guaranteeing freedom of religious expression”. Really? I think removing freedom of speech is far more dangerous than a man supporting his interpretation of a religious text. Are we going to ban the bible next?

      Not that we have true freedom of speech anyway – you can get arrested for making Tom Daley sad.

      • That

        Freedom of speech isn’t this get out of jail free card. Go call the vice chancellor a cunt and see what happens. People are allowed to think, for example, that black people will all go to hell. The University of Cambridge should not employ those people, however free they are to spout their views. This is a case where platform denial is appropriate. The university shouldn’t legitimise views like this, it should condemn them as archaic bigotry. But apparently he doesn’t think it any more so I don’t really care.

    • Confused

      How can so many people agree with this point?? Surely it’s pretty easy to see that as a homosexual student it would be pretty unnerving to go to Mr. Winter with a welfare problem when he has expressed views like this.

  • How do we

    get rid?

  • Captain Obvious

    He looks like Liam Neeson in the first picture

    • Captain bananas

      I like turtles

  • Most people

    This makes me sad

  • Im enjoying…

    ….the recommended article: ‘Cam Most Gay-Friendly Uni’

  • Rett Babram

    I could turn him gay.

  • Couldn’t

    watch the whole video.

    • Two girls one cup


  • Fact checker

    Much as I find his views repugnant, isn’t some of what he says true? For example, the website of Centers for Disease, which is hardly a mouthpiece for religious fundamentalists, says that ‘Gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States’ and ‘Unprotected receptive anal sex is the sexual behavior that carries the highest risk for HIV acquisition.’

    I also think it is fairly uncontroversial to say that Kinsey’s estimates were probably an exaggeration. In developed, generally gay-friendly nations, only about 2-4% of people identify as gay, which, even accounting for under-reporting because of social pressure, discrimination and so on, would make the 10% figure a bit of a stretch.

    Again, I say this not because I agree with Winter’s conclusions, but out of respect for the facts.

    • Wait

      some of his facts being true does not mean that his argument is acceptable as a whole

      • Fact checker

        I never said it did. In fact, I explicitly said i didn’t think so, twice.

        • Logic checker

          The article doesn’t say that all of his facts are wrong – they say that his argument is wrong. So it doesn’t make sense to ‘respect his facts’. Also, he clearly uses facts to misrepresent the truth – gay men may be statistically more likely to get HIV, but lesbian women are statistically less likely to get cervical cancer. Strangely, no-one mentions that when trying to illustrate the ‘dangers’ of homosexuality.

          • Yeh but

            “statistically” cervical cancer reduction is tiny compared to HIV increases

          • Fact checker

            It presents his facts alongside his clearly barmy ‘argument’, as if to discredit them. That was the impression I got, anyway. And yes, his presentation of the facts is selective, but that doesn’t make them wrong.

            • To summarise

              You pointed out his facts were right.


              Nobody was saying they weren’t. Problem wasn’t with facts but his beliefs.

              • Fact checker

                The article alternates crazy opinion (‘…gratifying the tendency… is a sin’, ‘…homosexuality is worse for one’s health than smoking’) with fact (‘Winter goes on to dispute the much-cited Kinsey Reports and their findings…’, ‘homosexuality “inevitably plays a greater role in sexually transmitted diseases than the more normal promiscuity”.’) One could therefore be forgiven for thinking that it was trying to cast doubt on the facts themselves, as well as his beliefs.

                • Popcorn eater

                  Loving the soft heat of your flames coming through my screen, crack on guys

                  • Fact checker

                    I aim to please.

      • Loucifer

        His facts are not true!!!!!

    • Statistics or facts?

      And you could say certain areas of Africa are even more likely to have it (not as a necessarily as a result of things they had any control over).Being gay does not inherently lead to unprotected anal sex so it is incorrect to use the stastics to describe the entire group. The percentage of men who have sex with men is higher than 2-4% (different to gay) and even in Cambridge from my own experience there are 1-2 men in the closet for every man who’s out.

      • Fact checker

        Of course being gay doesn’t inherently lead to unprotected anal sex. There would be little point advising against it if it did.

        I agree with you that the proportion of men who have a same-sex sexual experience at some point in their lives is probably a good deal higher, but as you say, this says nothing about the rate of homosexuality (although it may suggest that sexuality is more fluid than we tend to think).

        I don’t know to what extent your anecdotal experience of people in the closet is evidence of anything. Your sample may not be representative, and they can’t be that far in the closet if they’ve told you (either that or you have a very good gaydar).

    • Loucifer

      Aids is vastly more prevalent in Africa than the USA, or indeed anywhere else in the world, and the overwhelming route of transmission in Africa is heterosexual sex, ERGO, HIV is spread mainly by heterosexual sex, check your numbers buddy!!! You might be USA-centric, but there is a world out there, and it ain’t The World Series…

      • Fact checker

        Yes, because heterosexual sex is far more prevalent than homosexual sex, especially (I imagine) in Africa. I said gay men were at the greatest risk of contracting HIV, at least in the West, not that they were most responsible for spreading it.

    • More facts

      That and any kind of anal penetration massively increases the risk of colon/rectal cancer… being homosexual or not.

  • BiFurious

    To be honest, I agree with his argument about the lack of moral force given by homosexuality being innate or otherwise. It would be fine even were it a choice.

    But I do think it’s strange given that the rest of his argument seems to be an argument by design – that the human body is designed explicitly for heterosexual practices and so going against this is going agains the will of god. Surely, on that basis, the fact that some human minds are ‘designed’ for homosexuality also has moral weight?

    • agreed

      So true. I don’t know why people still engage in these debates about whether it is natural/unnatural when it is so clearly a moot point. Speaking English as opposed to Chinese is not ‘natural’, it is completely learned behaviour, but that is obviously neither here nor there with regards to the morality of these practices! ‘unnaturalness’ seems to be neither necessary nor sufficient for immorality, whether we are talking about a suppressed ‘urge’ or acted upon impulses. Surely it is the consequences of the behaviour that matter to any normal, half-rational person

    • Anonymous

      Not if he is saying that the human body is undamaged by heterosexual acts, whilst the act of rectal penetration is not really as safe. (See cancer rates and other rectal problems) This applies to heterosexuals too though

  • seems like an ass

    but I think he is entitled to his opinion. As long as he doesn’t act upon it to make anyone’s life worse. Stopping people from having opinions, whatever they may be, is a dangerous road to go down.

  • Gay man

    It’s God’s choice that I’m gay. He predetermined my life.

    What a prick.

  • Wait a sec…

    The Tab usually stands for freedom of speech….there’s always that one article/column that puts across some wacky/highly controversial opinions. This guy’s views aren’t very different to many conservative MPs in Parliament, most Christian/Jewish scholars, etc. Yes, the way he phrased his views weren’t wise (to say the least), but I’ve actually had a conversation with him before and he’s actually a seriouslyyyyy intelligent guy and yes, it seems unlike him to put his opinion across like that. This article makes him look like a crazy person and he really really isn’t. Don’t just focus on this article’s hyperbole and the seemingly outrageous quotes that are highlighted here, go speak to him directly and get the explanation/details for why he holds this (very common) view on homosexuality (which, might I add, I disagree with….)

    • Right

      So even though he compares homosexuality to “arson” he should be given the benefit of the doubt? You’re right. Lots of people have abhorrent views. And Tory constituents elect Tory MPs with similar opinions all the time. But we’re a university – he’s unelected and it’s his job to teach. If the vast majority of the student body find his views offensive, why should he be allowed to remain in his post? We pay enough. Imagine if he was your superviser and you were gay and that you knew he thought you were akin to being an arsonist, more ignorant than an animal, an “aberration”. Education is not like politics.

      • Gay Divinity Student

        I agree with the first comment. Ummm he’s my supervisor and well, I’m openly gay….he hasn’t said/done anything that I’ve found offensive–so don’t judge him based on this.

    • By the way

      Interestingly, he says that he *was* a crazy person at the time he made these remarks: http://tinyurl.com/bsp5tq3

  • Someone at Wolfson

    Well-researched, well-written article. Good work.

  • Rowan Williams

    BUT I AGREE….does that mean I should be fired too?

    • Theologian

      ummmmmm actually he doesnt.

      ‘When looking for a language that will be resourceful enough to speak of the complex and costly faithfulness between God and God’s people, what several of the biblical writers turn to is sexuality understood very much in terms of the process of “entering the body’s grace”. If we are afraid of facing the reality of same-sex love because it compels us to think through the processes of bodily desire and delight in their own right, perhaps we ought to be more cautious about appealing to Scripture as legitimating only procreative heterosexuality.

      In fact, of course, in a church which accepts the legitimacy of contraception, the absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous texts, or on a problematic and non-scriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures.’ http://www.igreens.org.uk/bodys_grace.htm

    • Interesting…

      Up-voting this incorrect comment (presumably based either on hatred of religion or great ignorance) doesn’t seem all that different to me for what this man is being (rightly, in my opinion) condemned for.

  • Rule of thumb

    White western muslim converts are generally bonkers

    • Nicholas Brody

      Tell me about it.

      • Carrie

        I love you

        • Abu Nazir


  • Even the animals know

    Yes, they know how fun it is and they all love it.

    • Flipper

      I love it


    Sign this petition and be a force for good, don’t let this man be in charge of students’ welfare

    • Freedom of speech

      we gone

      • No

        Would you be saying that if he were racist?

        • irrelevent

          Yes. Infact I’d be saying that if he were a pedophile or holocaust denier or scientologist or communist.

          Before forcibly removing someone from their job I want evidence that they aren’t performing that job properly, rather than carrying out a witch-hunt. If you want then randomly select a hundred wolfson pupils and ask them whether the welfare service they have received from Winter has been acceptable or not.

        • Freedom of speech

          Well no, the expression of racist views isn’t unlawful in itself, though it can of course be used as evidence that a crime was racially motivated or aggravated. So yeh, unless he was trying to incite hatred, or committing a crime on the basis of these views, which he isn’t, why shouldn’t he be allowed to say what he wants? Think the law’s spot on to be honest

          • Anonymous

            Lies: illegal isn’t the point. In most working environments if someone is openly racist- and this is pretty fucking open- that is grounds for them to be fired.

    • No we shouldn’t

      As much as I find his opinion (to put it lightly) disgusting, academic freedom must be respected. By your same logic Copernicus should be (and indeed was) silenced. However, it seems fair enough that he should be removed from non-academic posts.

      • But

        would you be in favour of free speech if he was in charge of admissions?

        • Umm


  • Sounds to me like

    He needs to shut up and suck some cock

    • Runkle


  • Scandal aside

    Mr. Winter is an absolutely inspiring lecturer and a marvellous supervisor, a fountain of Islamic wisdom. Without wishing to sound like a sycophant or an apologetic, I’d just like to say that, as it seems to me, he is simply expounding Islamic doctrine in these videos. While some of the opinions may be easy to condemn, it is worth remembering that they are the result of vast amount of reflection. Perhaps that makes them even more repellent, but I think that he recognises this himself. It’s important not to write him off as a homophobic nutter just yet.

    • huh

      dont get your logic.

      ‘He has thought about it carefully and come out with this drivel so therefore isn’t a nutter’

      still a nutter to me

    • I simply

      fail to see how anyone can view this issue rationally and without bias and conclude that gay people are harmful to themselves or society. Only through the lens of fundamentalist religion could such twisted reflections be expounded.

  • I can’t really

    take anyone religious seriously

    • At Least

      You don’t sound condescending about it

  • Public School Boy

    In the video from 2011 he compares homosexuality to arson. That’s pretty problematic. I’m not sure we should be jumping to sack him (as a university) but he surely has to face some pretty strong questions from his employers, in the faculty and the college. Even if he does not directly express his homophobia to students, the fact that this is out there is damaging. I would certainly be put off applying here if I were a gay applicant for either wolfson or theology.

  • The Other Paper

    Interesting article from TCS: http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/issue/news/wolfson-college-don-under-fire-over-homophobic-video-theology-lecturer-haunted-by-ghost-from-the-past-2/

    But if it’s a “ghost from his past” then why is it still on iTunes where he presumably makes money from espousing such views? Also, TCS’s article fails to acknowledge the more recent stuff. Questions still need answering.

    • ‘They fail to acknowledge’

      Why would I click on a story that isn’t as full as the one I’m reading?

  • Just wondering

    Does voicing this kind of opinion (as opposed to acting on it, i.e. discriminating) amount to “homophobia” as some suggest? It’s more like academic homoskepticism

    • SelwynsCheifGay

      Labeling someone’s relationship as ‘inherently ugly’ seems pretty homophobic to me.
      In fact, his declaration that we ‘outrage the basic principles of creation’ aren’t too far from the opinions thrown around re. inter-race relationships decades ago, which I think would be widely regarded as racist and not academic race-skeptism.

      • Anonymous

        I before e, except after c.

        • Anonymous


      • dubious

        what does homophobia mean?
        1. is it purely prejudicial, un-thought-out opposition to homosexuality/homosexual acts? (clearly not Winter)
        2. is it any and all opposition to homosexuality/homosexual acts? (obviously Winter, but not a term which adds anything to the discussion or which should threaten his career)
        3. is it committing a crime motivated by your opposition to homosexuality/homosexual acts? (again, clearly not Winter)
        4. is it wanting to change the world so that your opposition to homosexuality/homosexual acts would gain some form of legal basis? (presumably Winter, but if 2. doesn’t make Winter homophobic, surely the relevant insult for this development is not to call him homophobic but to accuse him of being ‘illiberal’)

    • Hmmm.

      Not sure how “academic” it is to base your criticism on what one book says some guy 1400 years ago said God said.

  • Philosopher

    Dear angry angry angry people who want him thrown out, you’re confusing three things:

    1. The right to express a belief
    2. The moral repercussions of expressing that belief (as distinct from 1 – i.e. whether people get harmed by the utterance)
    3. That belief’s being correct

    He has 1
    2 may be negative (remains to be seen – those in his care haven’t said his homophobia have affected his duties yet)
    3 is, in my opinion, false.

    So yes, his views are incorrect (most of us believe) and they may prove harmful, but he still has a right to express them. What kind of place will Cambridge be if we silence people we don’t agree with? What’s more valuable to Cambridge – the ability to engage in rational discourse without hinderance, or a homophobia-free zone?

    • Nice

      Free Speech = Right to communicate “the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence”

      [Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions, 1999]

      Is he doing anything to incite violence? No.

  • Roth

    I like the way he speaks. Not necessarily what he says, but speaks in an eloquent and intelligent manner which engaging and enjoyable to listen to.

    And as it happens I do like his opinions as well. I don’t think they should be enforced in any way or reflect on governmental policy or legality, but I like that people with his views do exist in this world and are allowed to exist. As long as they don’t commit any evil actions.
    I am bisexual.

  • Juan Nightstand

    And there I was, going to invite him out to ‘Spectrum’ at Life tonight. Totally misinterpreted that beard !

  • SelwynsChiefGay

    How people are defending this man is beyond me. It is not acceptable to have someone who teaches and interacts with students regularly, and is paid in part to do so, express such a damning opinion of a not insignificant proportion of the student body. Regardless of his personal beliefs, using these platforms to label the relationships of many students as “inherently ugly” and which “outrage the basic principle of creation” is not acceptable. Even if all of these comments were made before he was awarded his positions at the University (which from the look of it, they weren’t) that simply means he should never have been offered them in the first place. This much less to do with freedom of speech as it is to with responsibility and suitability for his role as a DoS and lecturer. These two things happen to be in conflict and he has made a decision to voice these opinions: the consequences of that have to be that he should not be a DoS or lecturer. Full stop.

    On a wider note, and this is more a point of debate, the Theology at the university baffles me. How can someone who is as deeply religious as this man clearly is ever be an academic of theology? How can you be objective, critical, logical, unbiased regarding other belief systems and still give such talks as these? It is beyond me. Perhaps it’s just the scientist in me but something is unsettling about having religious zealots lecturing on the academic study of religion.

    • Please explain to me

      i) why his opinion effects his suitability as a lecturer
      ii) whether we have a right to be taught by people whose personal opinions we find acceptable
      iii) the difference between your inability to be objective regarding homosexual rights as a gay person “SelwynsChiefGay”, and his inability to be objective regarding religion, as a religious person

      • SelwynsChiefGay

        1) Because ultimately he has something of a duty of care to the students he is teaching and a responsibility to behave with his position in mind, in that he needs to remain approachable rather than expressing views which are likely to alienate some students, make them uncomfortable around him and consequently compromise his ability to effectively teach them and interact with them. The same applies tenfold to his position as a DoS. This isn’t too different from if a school teacher was in the same position (less severe than a school teacher, but same principles), and I think it’s easy to see why it would be a problem then.

        2) We should, and I’d imagine most people believe we do, have a right to be taught by people who don’t publicly insult or shame us. We have a right to be taught by people who don’t make us feel uncomfortable or upset due to our personal lives and relationships. Students shouldn’t have to be taught and interact with people who publicly, actively condemn them, especially for something as sensitive and common as sexuality.

        3) Because, crucially, I’m not employed to lecture on gay rights. I’m not paid to teach people about homosexuality. And, as much as I might not like to admit it, nor should I be due to my obvious inability to remain objective and emotionally disconnected from the topic.

        You’re welcome for the explanations.

        • Hmm

          1) It just doesn’t effect his role as lecturer. If sitting in a room with another 50 people plus this guy chatting his drivel makes you uncomfortable, you might want to grow some balls. It’s kinda in the definition of what it is to be a lecturer, that 99% of the time it’s going to involve a one-way interaction. Obviously when it comes to being a DOS or tutor, it’s slightly different.
          2) No, just no. You don’t choose your teachers.
          3) Again, you’re just wrong. You suggest that a requirement of teachers should be to be ‘objective and emotionally disconnected from the topic’. I’d say the opposite would be more appropriate.

        • Gay Theologian 2

          You’re clearly a scientist because you don’t understand that asking for objectivity is utterly futile. Should we ban all Marxist historians from Cambridge? Feminist literary critics as well because they have a subjective reading of the text? As well as having some kind of quiz before you take up the post of being a lecturer in divinity? “Oh I’m sorry you’re religious, can’t have that!”. And scientists have biases as well, holding to theories when the evidence doesn’t stack up, favouring one theory over another because it coheres with their own world view. No human is objective, do you want robots lecturing at Cambridge, or just clones of your own views. Don’t you see how ridiculous that sounds? If you actually went to a divinity lecture instead of bitching behind your keyboard you’d see that even the most religious of the professors are, when lecturing, completely honest about the issues that come up against their religion. In supervisions they don’t mind opinions against their own, they don’t start yelling fire and brimstone at you if you disagree with them. Bigotry has nothing to do with religion, it comes from being small-minded, and these men and women, including Tim Winter, are anything but small-minded. They’re open to the fact that you can actually lecture questioning and being objective about even what you believe, as weird as that clearly sounds to you. And if Tim Winter holds this view about homosexuality which I think is utterly wrong mind you, then so be it. It has never affected the way he interacted with any gay person including myself as far as I know. And gay people need to understand that this is not some fantasy world where everyone will be completely open-armed and accepting. We need to learn to be around people who don’t agree with it, because that’s life. It’s not fair we should have this extra struggle but it is what it is. He is in his position because he is the best person for it. As a prominent muslim theologian he is called upon to speak publicly about it, unlike your lecturers. I’m sure some of them hold abhorrent private views as well. But as long as it does not affect the way he interacts with gay people, and there’s absolutely no evidence for that, we can’t fire him simply for thinking the wrong thing.

          • Theologian

            You are exactly right. Many people do not understand the Divinity Faculty, the method of teaching there, or the importance of what is taught there. As a result, they are not going to have a nuanced view on the issues this article presents.

        • Historian

          Couldn’t agree with gay theologian 2 more. Your description of divinity faculty academics as ‘religious zealots’ betrays both your atheistic and ‘scientific’ prejudices. Similarly, in your article on gay marriage you tried to paint everyone who disagreed with you as ‘bigoted’, forgetting that you were tarring groups as diverse as the religious far right, the progressive and enlightened clergy like Archbishop Sentamu, and liberals, with their concern for freedom of religion, with the same brush.

          In your desperate search for black and white categories, on which scientists depend, you forget that the world isn’t that simple. In both your argument on gay marriage and here, your concern to articulate the ‘gay’ perspective, pretending again that as Selwyn’schiefgay it is a monolithic group whose opinion you represent, you ignore or dismiss other issues which must be taken into consideration, namely freedom of religion, expression and thought.

          Unless you want to go down the Orwellian route of punishing people for Thoughtcrime, Winter’s view, while abhorrent to many, is a personal opinion which he has not imposed on his students, and must be accepted even if it cannot be respected.

          I would tell you to go and play with your bunsen burner and leave discussion of the real world to people who understand nuance, but you are, as Winter is, entitled to your own opinion, even if that opinion is cretinous.

  • I find it really funny

    how many people seem to put sexual freedom on a pedestal above freedom of thought and freedom of speech. The people saying he shouldn’t be allowed to say what he is saying are basically just as bad as he is.

    • Pissed-off LGBTQ+ Person

      I can’t stand the bullshit about freedom of speech in this case. This is pure incitement of hatred. This has real effects on LGBTQ+ people, in the form of street-level abuse, violence and in some cases resulting in death. To put the venom he spouts in higher stead than those people he would attack is disgusting in itself. Fuck his freedom to hate.

      • LGBTQ+???

        how many letters keep getting added on to this acronym??

        • LGBTQHIV+

          Here’s three

      • Plato

        In what way is he inciting hatred? He is not preaching, in any sort of capacity, he is a lecturing at a university where students aren’t idiotic enough to take offence every time something contradicts their western, liberal perspective. Winters isn’t saying anything angrily, he isn’t saying hatefully – he is laying out his exegesis of a hugely important and relevant religious text. It is crucial for any student of Islam to hear, without prejudice, what he has to say. Again, he does not preach in the lecture-halls of the divinity school, he is not offering his views prescriptively on a social level, he is outlining his interpretation of a text – the student should be bright enough, and mature enough (which is why it baffles me that you’re apparently a cantab), to be able to differ from certain views without taking them as personal affronts.

      • Gay Theologian 2

        Frankly I find this notion that because I’m gay the very idea that someone should disagree with my sexuality means that I will instantly be psychologically damaged and unable to work with them rather insulting. This isn’t a school, we’re all adults now. Show me a causative link between Winter saying this and some real abuse, violence and death then we can talk.

        • Are you

          Chris Douse?

          • Gay Theologian 2


  • parkers piece firestarter

    as a practising arsonist i want this fuking cunt fired asap who does he think he is callin me a queer?

  • To the people

    who are saying ‘he’s entitled to his opinion’, would you still think the same if he had been slated black people instead? (Of course not all his arguments are directly transferable.)

    How do we draw a line of what is ‘just an opinion’ and what is ‘unacceptable’? This guy was sentenced to community service for posting his views on British Soldiers http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9596154/Facebook-troll-who-said-British-soldiers-should-go-to-hell-spared-jail.html

    • Your example

      ain’t great. Again, he’s a troll. Trolls are stupid. Boo. Boohoo.

    • from a person

      Indeed, that ruling was also unjust. Same with the person on twitter who believe received a jail sentence for calling a black footballer a “nigger”.

      I think there are a lot of things about our laws that are not just.

  • To be fair, soldiers are scum

    Not just any British soldiers, it was a reaction to the deaths of soldiers a few days before, and it was made worse by the fact that the mother of one of these soldiers came across the guy’s Facebook.
    ”People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers!
    What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed.
    ”The women who have been raped. The children who have been sliced up!
    ”Your enemy’s were the Taliban not innocent harmful familys.
    ”All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE —— SCUM!
    ”Gotta problem. Go cry at your soldiers grave and wish him hell because that’s where he is going.”
    I think the line is drawn where there is an intention to offend, rather than simply offense being taken


    sign a petition created by someone who’s making a stupid face in a very bubbly bath…! Also, I agree with the above, he’s expressing his RELIGIOUS scholarly views. Firing him isn’t going to change his position, or opinion. And hell, there are a million others with no justification (Winter’s being religious viewpoint) for homophobic views, crimes and whatever else you might want to term this. Winter hasn’t committed a crime. He has just expressed his opinion in a particular context, just as most of you are doing so here. Are we making petitions against your frustration at his words? Are we making petitions to condemn those of you who wish to see him stripped of his freedom of expression? No. Think about it.


    Although I wrote the above, I’m not sure that after this fiasco he should stay in his position on the Welfare board. That said, people interviewed for the article did seem to state that he didn’t express biased views and so on. If he’s received no complaints from students at Wolfson, then surely he’s doing his job OK, if not well…? Perhaps this should be looked into, and that’s how far it should go, unless complaints have been made. I also wonder how many people will come out with something to say against him now that this has been published…?

  • True, Allah didn’t design bums with anal sex in mind

    But Allah also CLEARLY did not design ginger men to grow imam beards.

  • timmy w moonlights
  • take him away


  • Rational Haven

    Woop, woop! TCS article’s great, let’s all head over there, it’s much more sane (Bonus: they apparently got in touch with him…) —->

    • Diversion

      The Tab got in touch with him as well. TCS’ article is shit. It’s just three quotes and no research. They just accepted the fact that the video was twenty years old and left it at that. Didn’t even bother to see if it was on iTunes, or look for more recent videos.

    • TCS can fuck right off

      That article’s pretty pro-Winter… Is he sucking the editor’s dick or something?

      Also, “Rational Haven”? More like “Can’t fuckin’ read for shit-ven”: “Commenting on the video, Mr Winter told The Tab…”

      • Prude

        So many swear words. Everywhere. :O

        • Cunt

          Cunt cunt

  • four lions


    • ArabicGrammarNazi

      your hamza’s in the wrong place. masha’Allah.

  • Old Hand

    Well, you know, young tabbies, when you grow old and reach the ripe old age of 25- shit that is old, you realise that most of what you thought when you were 18, actually correct that, when you were 23 , was mainly nonsense, and you are glad no one recorded what you said and put it up online. You are also glad that all those comments you made on the tab or youtube are anonymous. And one day you will go through your facebook profile deleting as much as you can on all those borderline sexist (though I insist unintentional!) and other insensitive/stupid comments you’ve made over the years,- hoping your crush never checked *all* of your wall (as you did hers) and hoping that isn’t why she avoids you. When you’ve done all that, I suppose then you may like me be a tad forgiving of Dr Winter.

    • Haha yeah I suppose you’re right,

      I guess he really was just a misguided and impressionable thirty-something-year-old! And that time in 2006 when he said homosexuality was a “moral crime”, he was only forty-six and probably didn’t know any better. And then, in 2011, when he called homosexuality a “caricature” and an “insult to the miracle of the womb”, everyone would agree that he was forgivably immature for a fifty-year-old. Poor guy! A couple of silly quotes from his careless youth sure have come back to haunt him, huh?

      • Old Hand

        Didn’t know about his future opinions.

        Previous comment was based on his quote: ““These are not ‘recent comments’ – I think this clip is from a Q+A I did after a talk in America in the mid-90s, during a fit of youthful zeal. My views and manner of exposition have moved on since then.”

        Saying that I suppose he doesn’t have an opinion which is contrary to 1 Billion Muslims, and another Billion and half Christians.

        • You would have known about his later opinions

          if you had actually read the article…

          • OH

            Jeez, I conceded my point. What more do you want?

  • chris

    calm down people so long as he can not be shown to have discriminated leave him where he is for now.freedom of speech is importent i do not think he will do it again.

    • You write…


  • ### heterosexuality is natural…

    Anyone who disputes this is, whether gay or not, is retarded…

    • Sigh.

      I really feel like you’ve solved this whole dispute. Thanks for your valuable contribution.

  • the band wagon

    people shouldn’t express their views if they offend etc…

  • He clearly got a starred first

    in being an absolute cunt

    • Read it properly

      Double first

  • Yes because…

    Arson and homosexuality are clearly similarly damaging to society.

    Great analogy there.

    And I don’t have to accept his views just because of freedom of speech, I can rightly criticise him all I want to. I can’t stop him saying it, but that doesn’t meant I have to accept it.

    Also prefixing the ‘born with it’ argument with the word ‘allegedly’ is simply moronic. Why on earth would anyone choose to be discriminated against.

  • You just can’t

    come to Cambridge expecting everyone to have the same views. He has every right to feel that way, and as long as that doesn’t affect his teaching or the way he treats his students, there isn’t a problem.
    It’s quite possible that, to him, articles or interviews supporting homosexuality are as offensive to him as his interview is to me, but that’s no reason to say that his view isn’t allowed.

  • Rubber Dingy Rapids


  • Law Student

    Whilst I agree that what was said in the video was very wrong, Tim Winter’s response should not be buried in all of this. Not enough attention has been given to the fact that he clearly stated the comments were made “during a fit of youthful zeal. My views and manner of exposition have moved on since then.”. People should be evaluated on the views they currently hold. What kind of a message does it give to the misguided if, nearly 20 years down the line, old opinions are being dragged up? Otherwise how can we encourage people to re-evaluate their views?

    • Ummm

      Have you watched the video from 2011? He says the same thing!

      • Ummmm2

        “What kind of a message does it give to the misguided if, nearly 20 years down the line, old opinions are being dragged up?”

        Jeez, with arguments like that, the Nuremberg Trials sure would have gone differently!

  • Is it just me…

    Or does his voice sound exactly like Derren Brown?

  • but

    where is simon johnson’s opinion? I want to hear what he has to say on this topical debate…

    • Simon Johnson

      manz been too knee deep to be worrying about wastegash that chat breeze, sorry blud that waste is tripping! #blukubluku

  • Well done

    For reading all of these comments, it’s literally the same arguments on a loop.

  • Roper

    This guy needs feminism because he’d rather give women the vote than dirty stinking gays

  • Serious question

    What even is a “double first”, and how do I get one?

  • I don’t know why

    he said homosexuality is the “ultimate inversion” like that’s supposed to be a bad thing. “Ultimate inversion” sounds like a really cool trick you can do on a jet-ski or something

    • Dude


  • Sociopathic Journalist

    I’m going to write an article which includes fascism, communism, homophobia, feminism and lad culture and watch the comments section explode.

  • ### a penis

    doesn’t fit in a penis…

    • My

      penis doesn’t fit anywhere. LAD.

  • Two Birds – One Stone

    Get rid of the entire divinity faculty.

    Hands up anyone who’d notice.

  • Can’t wait

    For my next supervision with this top joker

  • Isn’t all this just a standard issue

    with oldy timey religiousy views? Look on the bright side, most people think gay and bisexual people are equal to heterosexual people :D.

  • Academical?

    A new word for me.

  • Summer

    Don’t listen to this guy… he’s so last season

  • Happy Grad
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  • Weird argument

    Glad this guy can tell us what our bodies are ‘for’ – invoking, of course, that standard of objectivity, ‘nature.’ Fairly absurd reasoning for a distinguished academic (though maybe this is more an issue of faith, in which case it should really be more personal than dictatorial). So when we cull all the gays for their inability to fulfill their sole natural function, we should chuck in all those pesky infertile straights, and maybe those aberrations who choose not to reproduce. The planet really needs more humans, after all.

  • The Simultaneous Man
  • Paul Williams

    Great link Simultaneous Man…

  • There’s no such thing as a

    Double First

  • Pingback: Cambridge Muslim Scholar Criticized for Comments on Homosexuality » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog()

  • Just Saying
  • BOB

    Mr winters has expressed his opinion which i am sure that he is entitled to do like we all are.
    Fair enough his so called comments may have offended a few people but don’t we all exercise the same right of freedom of speech .Sometimes we. intentionally or intentionally may offend people that disagree with our opinion.When mr winters has taken from great scholors of the past on certain subjects and translate there meanings and impact on today’s diverse self-opinionated society. ITS bound to change peoples views. But lets not forget Mr winter has and still is and in my opinion will help the UK in matters of faith ,diversity,education and learning. JUST MY OPINION.

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