Article
Written by Student Rights on 11 February 2013 at 3pm

Haitham Al-Haddad to speak at Roehampton University (Update: Statement from Roehampton University)

UPDATE: Roehampton University has provided Student Rights with a statement outlining its position on this talk which reads:

"Roehampton Islamic Society has followed the correct procedures in requesting an external speaker for their forthcoming event. This speaker has spoken at a previous Islamic Society event where both he ,and the society, complied with all the regulatory measures put in place and staged a successful event open to all students.

Roehampton Students’ Union has a No Platform Policy and the event will be monitored to ensure that this is adhered".

It is good to hear that Roehampton University will be taking this event seriously, and the presence of a staff-member to ensure the application of the 'No-Platform' policy should be welcomed. However, Haddad's views should still raise concern, and questions should be asked as to why he is being invited onto campus in the first place.

Following Student Rights' exposure of Haitham Al-Haddad’s offer of discount prices for a weekend retreat with him over Christmas, we have found that another university Islamic Society has invited him to speak on campus.

Roehampton University Islamic Society will tonight hold an event called ‘Before You Say I Do’, which will focus on the topic of marriage and feature an “exclusive 45min Q&A” with Haddad.

How this event was given the go-ahead given Haddad’s extreme views, which include his suggestion that the death penalty for apostasy “does make perfect sense” and thatthe scourge of homosexuality” is a “criminal act” is uncertain.

 

Haddad has also supported the Islamist paramilitary group Hamas, proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK, declaring that it is only opposed by the West as “there is a high level of enmity and hatred against Hamas as a Muslim group”.

Given that this event will focus on relationships, his viewthe most honourable and worthy role for a woman is striving to be a fine wife...this role does not only secure the best for a woman in the hereafter, but also fits perfectly with her natural disposition” also begs the question of what advice he will be giving any women in the audience.

In March 2012 London Metropolitan University refused a request by its Islamic Society that Haddad be allowed to speak on campus, and in February the London School of Economics cancelled an event after complaints from students.

In the same month VU University Amsterdam also cancelled a talk by Haddad, which he argued was in response to a “smear campaign conducted by the British Zionist lobby”.

This was also his response when questioned by Norwegian journalists in December, claiming that “there is a Zionist lobby in the UK, within many other European countries, and these people do not like to see anyone speaking loudly against the crimes of Israel”.

As such, Student Rights will be contacting Roehampton University today in order to ascertain why this event was allowed to go ahead given other institution’s moves to prevent Haddad speaking on campus.