I was disappointed to learn that the obnoxious hate preacher Haitham al-Haddad had apparently spoken at the Cambridge Mosque yesterday, as part of a Qur’an Camp organised by FOSIS. There is plenty of coverage of Al-Haddad’s deplorable views in the HP archives, and he also has been the focus of a recent Hope not Hate campaign. If the talk had been given at certain other mosques – this would have comes as no great surprise. However, as far as I know, the Cambridge Mosque has no links with extremist elements, so I thought I’d find out if this was an officially sanctioned visit.
The representative from the Cambridge Mosque committee to whom I spoke on the phone this morning said that they hadn’t known he was going to speak, but had simply given the university group permission to use the mosque for their meeting. (I should note that Haddad’s name doesn’t seem to feature on the official publicity for the event.) He also said, after I explained that Haddad had been prevented from speaking at some universities because of his controversial views, that they might want to consider looking more carefully at proposed speakers in future.
But – if the Mosque seems not to have been at fault here – FOSIS certainly can’t be let off the hook. The fact that Haddad’s name was not included in the publicity material reflects their awareness of exactly why he is controversial – and the fact that he was allowed to speak reflects the fact that his antisemitism and other repellent views don’t, it would seem, worry them in the slightest.
Update It has been pointed out to me (and I should have tracked this down myself, apologies) that Haddad’s presence was in fact clearly advertised (although his name has now been removed) on the Cambridge Mosque’s own website. The person I spoke to may not have been aware of this – and those responsible for the website may just have pasted in information passed on to them by FOSIS without knowing much about the speakers.