Written by Student Rights on 4 November 2013 at 5pm

Haitham Al-Haddad to address student society Charity Dinner

With Charities Week underway on campuses across the UK, it appears that the Islamic Society at the University of Westminster have attempted to obscure their booking of an extremist speaker for tonight’s main event.

Advertised last week as featuring Wasim Kempson, a Facebook post just 24 hours before the Charity Dinner has announced that the new speaker will be Haitham Al-Haddad.

Highlighted by Student Rights on numerous occasionsHaddad has a history of homophobia, misogyny, religious intolerance and rhetorical support for violent groups.

In a virulently homophobic article called ‘Standing up against Homosexuality and LGBTs’, Haddad has written of “the scourge of homosexuality”, which he calls a “criminal act”.

His appalling attitudes towards women are highlighted by a comment he made in which he declared that “a man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because this is something between them”.

In addition to this he has also claimed that “the 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

He has also defended the anti-Semitic militant group Hamas, proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the UK, claiming that the group is only opposed by the West as “there is a high level of enmity and hatred against Hamas as a Muslim group”.

Believing that the death penalty for apostasy “does make perfect sense”, he accuses those who disagree with him as being part of a “smear campaign conducted by the British Zionist lobby”.

That the Islamic Society has attempted to hide the identity of their guest highlights the challenges faced by universities in tackling the problem posed by extremist speakers on campus.

Given that event promotional material also features a University of Westminster Student Union logo, and the Union is regulated by charity law, it may also be worth the union considering the potential damage to its reputation that this association with Haddad could cause.

Here at Student Rights we have contacted the university to ensure that they are aware of Haddad’s invitation, and hope that they will investigate immediately.