Haitham al-Haddad is a London-based Islamic scholar, Muslim community leader and television presenter of Palestinian origin. Al-Haddad sits on the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations in the United Kingdom, including the Islamic Sharia Council. He is the chair and operations advisor, and a trustee, for the Muslim Research and Development Foundation. Some of his views have been described as controversial.
According to the Islamic Research Foundation's website, Haitham al-Haddad has a BSc (Honours) in Law and Shari'ah from Omdurman Islamic University in Sudan and a BSc in Computer Science from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia. He earned a PhD in Islamic Law from SOAS, University of London in 2012.
In 2001, Haitham al-Haddad allegedly said "I will tell you the truth about the fight between us and Jews who are the enemies of God and the descendants of apes and pigs". He later said that "this is the translation of what has been attributed to me" and that it had been incorrectly translated from Arabic to English.
A journalist for Radio Netherlands Worldwide wrote, "Strikingly, the cleric omits the definite article "the" before "Jews." In the Arabic language, this omission could be taken to mean he was not speaking about Jews in general but only about those Jews who are enemies of God and descendants of apes and pigs.
In a socially conservative article called ‘Standing up against Homosexuality and LGBTs’, Haddad has written of “the scourge of homosexuality”, which he calls a a sin and forbidden in Islam for muslims.
His 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”. He has claimed that there is a "proper" way of performing FGM, further saying "it is consensus of all the scholars that female circumcision is sunnah [proper]".
In addition to this he has also believes 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”
2012 Netherlands visit
In February 2012, the Dutch parliament majority tried to prevent Haddad speaking at VU University in Amsterdam. The university subsequently cancelled the event. Haddad blamed the opposition to him on a "Zionist lobby".
London "mega-mosque" project
Haddad called for a 15,000-people march to put pressure on Newham council to permit building of a large mosque in West Ham, London Borough of Newham, which would have been three times the size of St Paul's Cathedral.
"Halal Fun Day"
In February 2014, al-Haddad's leadership of the MRDF caused controversy after the organisation booked Legoland Windsor for a private event, which it called a "Halal Fun Day". A local UKIP councillor claimed that residents were "up in arms", and called for a demonstration, while nationalist groups Casuals United and the English Defence League also stated that they would protest. Later that month, for safety reasons after threats from right-wing groups, Legoland cancelled the planned event. Further safety concerns led the park to shut completely for an indefinite period in March 2014
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- Haitham al-Haddad, 'A critical analysis of selected aspects of Sunni Muslim minority fiqh, with particular reference to contemporary Britain' (unpublished PhD thesis, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2010). "Islamic Research Foundation". Haitham Al Haddad. http://web.archive.org/web/20130119082309/http://irf.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=219%3Abio-data-haitham-al-haddad+&catid=57%3Aorators-international&Itemid=174.
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- Jeory, Ted (16 February 2014). "Far Right targets LEGOLAND after park hired by Muslim cleric for kids' HALAL fun day". Daily Express. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- Rahman, Khaleda (26 February 2014). "Family day out at Legoland for Muslims cancelled after far-right group threatens safety of staff and children". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 February 2014.