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Written by Student Rights on 10 June 2011 at 4pm

UEL hosts extremist preacher Haitham Al-Haddad

Haitham Al-Haddadpic

Update 23 June 2011: A UEL spokesperson said: "The University of East London is guided by the Education (no 2) Act 1986, section S43, which requires a university to permit speakers who operate within the law to come on site. As a university, we welcome and celebrate freedom of speech and democracy in the University and we work extremely hard to ensure campus life is a safe and welcoming environment for our 28,000 students and 4,000 staff members. We achieve this by working in close partnership with Newham Council, the police, student unions and local community."

Over the coming weekend the University of East London will host a course given by Haitham al-Haddad.  The course called ‘Literally Life Changing Course: Productive Lives’ is organised by Sabeel, a sister organisation of al-Haddad’s organisation, the Muslim Research and Development Foundation. Al-Haddad is a controversial character, renowned for his highly controversial points of views.  

Al-Haddad has claimed that conflicts such as the Gaza War have “clearly encouraged Muslims to prepare themselves for Jihad, all over the world”. In addition to this violent standpoint, al-Haddad has also displayed his disdain for western values, such as secular governance. He implores Muslims who live in the “shadow of man-made law to take all the necessary steps and means to make the law of Allah, the creator, the sustainer, supreme and manifest in all aspects of life”.

Al-Haddad also shows his opposition to the other prized Western principle of the emancipation of women. Al-Haddad has previously stated that the main role of a wife is “supporting him (her husband) with full happiness”; his reasoning for this is that “there are some responsibilities that sisters cannot bear”. The question that needs to be asked is whether such a dangerous individual should be allowed platform at the UEL?  

Al-Haddad has worryingly been invited to speak at UEL before and yet thus far university management appears to have not made the slightest effort to open up al-Haddad’s events to become balanced debates, let alone ban his egregious views from their campus. This situation is worrying in itself but it is made all the more worse by the fact that UEL accepted a Department for Business Innovation and Skills grant to help combat violent extremism on their campus.

This money is clearly not being used for its purpose. Student Rights is investigating this on-going situation.