Written by Student Rights on 17 November 2011 at 5pm

Haitham al-Haddad... Queen Mary University of London... tonight.

images-1Following the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring earlier this year it comes as no surprise that the issue is hot on the agenda for student societies across the country.

At Queen Mary however, they will be being discussed by a man whose divisive views Student Rights have tried to raise awareness of in the past. Haitham al-Haddad has been a regular fixture on UK campuses over the past few years, speaking at events at UCL, the University of East London and Westminster University, as well as at Queen Mary previously. He also spoke at the Federation of Student Islamic Societies’ (FOSIS) annual conference in 2009. He has claimed that the Gaza war (2008) was a good thing as “many Muslims who left their religion became more convinced that they have to go back to their religion”.

He has also stated that the solution in the Middle East would be for “the leave Palestine and to go back to their own countries”. As well as this, he has regularly appeared at events alongside speakers whose violent ideas are beyond question, including being billed alongside a video link to Al Qaeda linked cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2006 at the University of Westminster. Giving Al-Haddad an unchallenged platform such as this runs the risk of giving such views legitimacy by proxy and Student Rights calls for the University authorities to ensure that a fair debate on the issue takes place.

If no balance can be provided, then the inflammatory nature of Haitham al-Haddad’s past statements must be made clear to those who may attend.