Haitham al-Haddad is a British Ikhwani Muslim scholar 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 considered as controversial, including remarks on Jews, homosexuality and female genital mutilation.
Haitham al-Haddad gained a PhD at SOAS, University of London and is a Saudi-trained Imam. His PhD thesis, submitted in 2010, was on Islamic law and entitled "A critical analysis of selected aspects of Sunni Muslim minority fiqh, with particular reference to contemporary Britain."
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 an article called ‘Standing up against Homosexuality’, Haddad wrote of “the scourge of homosexuality”, which he calls a “criminal act”. On women, 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 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]".
2012 Netherlands visit
In February 2012, the Dutch parliament majority tried to prevent Haddad speaking at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The university subsequently cancelled the event. Haddad blamed the opposition to him on a Jewish 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. Opposition to al-Haddad and the mosque project as a whole was led by a local councillor, Alan Craig, who eventually in 2014 would join UKIP.
"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 councillor claimed that residents were "up in arms", and called for a demonstration, protest groups Casuals United and the far-right English Defence League also stated that they would protest. Later that month, due to backlash and threats from those nationalist groups, Legoland cancelled the planned event.
University of Westminster
In February 2015, the University of Westminster postponed a talk by al-Haddad after it was revealed that Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John", became radicalised at that university. Over 3,000 had signed a petition for him to be banned from campus, stating that his presence could endanger LGBT students.
University of Kent
In March 2015, the University of Kent postponed a talk by al-Haddad, hosted by the university's Islamic Society as part of "Discover Islam Week". The university's Vice-Chancellor cancelled the talk after controversy spread among some students regarding al-Haddad's messages.
Cases against the media
Libel case against 'The Times'
In August 2015 al-Haddad successfully claimed for libel against The Times newspaper. Following the settlement the Sunday Times published a correction (16 Aug, 2015) clarifying amongst a number of false allegations, that al-Haddad had not praised Osama bin Laden, and neither had he been banned from speaking at the London School of Economics nor London Metropolitan University.
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