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Written by Student Rights on 19 February 2014 at 4pm

Haitham Al-Haddad's invite to SOAS was not unusual

There has been outrage today as the Evening Standard has reported on Haitham Al-Haddad’s appearance at SOAS on Monday.

Booked to speak on Islamic finance, students were angered that his views on domestic violence, homosexuality, and FGM were not challenged.

However, whilst this event has garnered attention, invitations to Al-Haddad to appear on campus are not actually unusual.

In fact, he has been invited to address students at Aston University in Birmingham today on the topic of Sharia law, an event which is likely underway as this article is published.

Last week, on the 13th February, the Islamic Society at the University of Westminster announced that Al-Haddad would be speaking on Islam and law less than six hours before the event was due to take place.

As with other events around the country, this late announcement was likely an attempt to avoid the scrutiny that individuals like Al-Haddad and the students who invite him to speak should face.

This view was highlighted by a post from a student which stated:

I am pleased to see that your ISOC is not bowing to the Zionists who want to dictate which scholars Muslims are allowed to learn from”.

Prior to this event, students at Kingston University decided to bring him onto campus at an event called ‘Time to Reconnect’.

As Student Rights reported at the time, this event had replaced a cancellation at London Metropolitan University, and highlighted the ease with which Al-Haddad can access a student audience.

These events and the frequency with which they occur also show that, while the criticism faced by the odd university or student society is encouraging, many events are simply not covered at all.

As students around the country hold the majority of their events in February and March this is an issue which will likely resurface in the upcoming weeks, and we hope that universities and students will remember this story when deciding who to invite.