The Mysterious Campaign Against Haitham al-Haddad


I have been sent a link to an astonishing leaked email which on the face of it appears to have been authored by Usama Hasan of the Quilliam Foundation asking for supporters to sign an open letter against the ‘hate preacher’ Haitham al-Haddad who is due to be one of the speakers at this week’s forthcoming “Family Retreat” event at Nottingham University.

Very worryingly, the email says that the aim of the open letter is to “embarrass the University of Nottingham” and to “Keep up the pressure on Haddad & his students & associated groups such as iERA – a number of their campus & public events have been cancelled over the past few years due to this kind of public pressure.”

I called Usama Hasan this morning to ask if the email was genuinely from him. He said ‘there is no open letter’. I asked him again specifically if the email itself was genuine but he said he was very busy and did not have time to discuss the matter and put the phone down.

Almost three years ago, a secret memo from the Quilliam Foundation to Charles Farr, the head of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, was leaked online. That memo exposed Quilliam’s Witchfinder role and how it was trying to brand mainstream Muslim organisations as being ‘Islamists’ and hence unworthy of engagement with the government: a stance that was naturally applauded by Zionists in parliament and the media who have no wish to see confident British Muslims (as opposed to meek and docile ones) playing a role in our public life.

Now, I hold no candle for Haitham al-Haddad or any of the other speakers. If they are preaching stuff that is objectionable then Usama or anybody else has every right to challenge their views openly via an open letter. That is a perfectly democratic way to hold people to account.

However, the email seems to strongly suggest that the true aim of the open letter is to pressure Nottingham University into cancelling the Family Retreat event. That is totally outrageous and cowardly. Whether you agree or do not agree with the undoubtedly conservative social message that the organisers of the Family Retreat event advocate (and I am pretty certain that they would regard my own views on evolution, gay rights, Salman Rushdie etc as being heretical!), as long as they are not breaking the law or inciting racial or religious hatred at their event, their activities are surely their own business.

There are a number of shady outfits including the Israel worshippers at Harry’s Place – whose motto is laughably Orwell’s admirable line “Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear” – now actively working to undermine Muslim groups and ban their events.

The leaked email is notable for a couple of additional reasons:

1. Usama – if, and it is a big if – he is indeed the author of the email – refers approvingly to a nasty blog in which Haitham al-Haddad is listed. What the author of the email seems to overlook is that Usama’s own father, Suhaib Hasan, is also listed in the very same blog in its roll call of the ‘Islamic far right in Britain’.


2. The email – at the very end in the footnote – says that “Quilliam stands for religious freedom”.

You have to laugh, haven’t you?

This incident reminds me of an episode a few years ago when a couple of pretty young things from the Home Office came to see me to seek my assistance to curtail the public profile of certain Muslim groups. Still, this post has already been too long so I will write about that episode later this week, God Willing.

I hope Usama Hasan will take up this opportunity to clarify if he is the author of the leaked email. I will happily post his response below if he wishes.

This entry was posted in Extremism, Government, islamophobia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Mysterious Campaign Against Haitham al-Haddad

  1. Pingback: Usama Hassan backstabs the Muslim community - AGAIN!!!

  2. Abu Fatimah says:

    I have to say Im impressed with your balanced attitude. Given that more consrvative muslims give you a hardtime you may out of anger jump on the bandwagon but instead you stayed true to your principles and oppose these obviously wrong efforts at silencing muslims rather than engaging with them. That is definitely commendable

  3. I’d like to ask why ‘The Islamic Far Right In Britain’ is a ‘nasty blog’?…being the ex-author of the blog. Too much swearing?

    And if far-right nationalists and Christians are not breaking the law or inciting racial or religious hatred at their events, should venues ignore the concerns of ‘anti-racists’ and ‘anti-fascists’ who campaign against them? What if Nick Griffin was to do a talk on ‘sherbert dabs’?

    I don’t believe in banning anyone (from iERA to the National Front) from speaking – but should Islamic organisations and individuals who have made racist and bigoted comments not face the same treatment as others?

    • By all means openly question and challenge the statements made by Muslims (or Jews or whoever) that you disagree with. That is democracy. That is why I said that Usama and anyone else has every right to issue an open letter criticising the statements made by Haddad or anyone else for that matter. What was unacceptable was the very clear aim to pressure Nottingham University into cancelling the Family Retreat event. That vile tactic smacks of McCarthyism and is being increasingly utilised by a number of shadowy groups with rather obscure funding sources.

      Your analogy with the far right is patently nonsense designed to portray these Muslims as being beyond the pale and hence unworthy of engagement with government. All the far right movements like the BNP, NF, EDL have senior activists who have convictions for racism, violence, hate speech.etc. How many in your list of the ‘Islamic far right’ have similar criminal convictions?

      • OK I’m sort of with you about the Nottingham University thing (as long as this applies to other groups with similar views), but what is wrong with informing a venue, in this case a university, of the views of certain speakers and allowing the venue to make a decision whether to host them or not? It seems that once venues are informed of the views of these people they are not so keen to give them a platform. A look at the people demonstrating against Abu Usamah recently shows them to be not EDL types but ‘lefty’ anti-racist student types.

        Why wouldn’t the someone like Haitham al-Haddad be considered ‘far-right’ or ‘extreme right’? Christian groups on par with Haitham al-Haddad or Abdurraheem Green such as Christian Voice are considered to be extreme right. I can’t see how people who openly say gay people should be executed, or make offensive remarks about Jews, Christians and non-Muslims and wish to deny them the same rights as Muslims would be worthy of engagement with the government.

        Yes this is a fair point about some nationalist groups. The threat of violence,or acts of violence puts them in a different bracket, I agree. So where does that leave the issue of Muslims who, through peaceful means, want to bring about violent solutions to harmless lifestyles that they deem to be a crime,or who wish to treat non-Muslims as second class citizens? Should venues not be informed of the views and aims of these (nearly always) men? If not, for what reason?

  4. OK – so we seem to be coming a bit closer to agreement here!

    Christian Voice are most often described as being ‘of the Christian right’ – which I think is a fair description. However, your analogy was not with the right but the far right who are beyond the pale and are known for their regular arrests and criminal convictions. So, if you were to describe those in your blog as being of the ‘Islamic right’ I think that would not be unreasonable or unfair.

    The ‘Islamic far right’ label has been championed by Zionists who are keen to deny Muslims a public voice and prevent engagement with those in government. As you can imagine, they are not so keen on seeing Jewish Zionists described as the ‘Jewish far right’.

    Bigoted views regarding gays are not restricted to those on the ‘Islamic right’ but as you will have seen from the disgraceful remarks against Sadiq Khan (who voted in favour of gay marriage recently), this bigotry is also very pervasive in Barelvi (or more sufi-oriented) circles too and amongst evangelical Christians. The best way to deal with them is surely to openly challenge their bigotry, not try and deny them their right to voice their views.

    Hence, my comparison with McCarthyism in 1950’s America.

    • I do see what you mean about the ‘far-right’ tag, though I don’t think the ‘Islamic right’, or even ‘ultra-conservative’ does justice to some of the ideas that are put forward by Haitham al -Haddad. I’d consider a group such as Christian Concern who are anti-gay marriage or who have other issues with homosexuality to be of the Christian right, while Christian Voice are more extreme and would like to see the death penalty introduced for those engaging in gay sex. Labeling these people ‘the *insert religion* right’ almost feels like it’s letting them off the hook. Anyway, that’s just me personal opinion.

      I’d have no problem with describing some Zionists as the ‘Jewish far-right’ meself. In the case of campaigns against speakers like Haddad, I don’t think that the reason some Israel supporting Jews get themselves involved is to deny Muslims a public voice. From my experience it seems they are more concerned about his comments on Jewish people or non-Muslims. I’m sure there are Zionists who would rather see Haddad kept at bay for the reason you’ve stated though.

      Of course you’re right that homophobia exists everywhere, I just think that people who advocate punishments for gay people are crossing the line and I can understand why gay people (or others) would want them banned from spreading their ideas. I’d most definitely agree with you that the best way is to challenge their views rather than ban them, I’d prefer to see this happen with someone like Mr.Haddad or Geert Wilders. However, I can’t imagine a Geert Wilders event at a British university going down without objections and major dramas. This is why I struggle with the idea that campaigns against Haddad are necessarily driven by motives other than just finding his views disturbing. To me, he’s just getting some of the same treatment that would be dished out to non-Muslims.

  5. TheAkh says:

    Salaam. Any update on this? Or confirmation whether this is authentic? Would be interested to know what UH’s justification or response to this would be (if it is genuine).

  6. Altaf says:

    “I am pretty certain that they would regard my own views on evolution, gay rights, Salman Rushdie etc as being heretical” please explain your views on these topics.

  7. Sheikh Nasir says:

    Interesting to see BBC Panorama on monday 8th April is against Dr Suhaib Hasan

  8. Laura Stuart says:

    To Andy Hughes the owner of IFRoB The venues hosting these events rarely cancel because of info that you and other NeoCon/Zionists send them, it is more often because of direct threats of violence against the venue and its staff. If there was an issue of hate speech that would be the job of the police to prevent the events from taking place, but the only time the police have advised to close an event is where threats of violence have been made by Casuals United and other such groups. Islamia Village is an example. The hosts and police were not at all interested in closing that event down due to the speakers of attendees of the event, only when there was information given that members of far right racist groups had bought tickets to be inside the venue and threats of a fire bombing made it impossible for the police to ensure public safety. Not something anyone who participated in the campaign should be proud of.

  9. Shafic Essop says:

    Spot on there has been a witch hunt against Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad.

  10. Shlomo says:

    Spot on there has been a witch hunt against Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad.

    Your use of the term ‘mysterious campaign’ and Shafic’s use of the term ‘witch hunt’ implies that you both think that highlighting al-Haddad’s public statements and drawing other people’s attention to them is akin to McCarthyism and that this somehow highlights an ideological campaign to undermine a public figure because of these statements or his sincerely held beliefs. This could not be further from the truth.

    In reality, for most of al-Haddad’s residence in the UK, he has been free to foment hatred amongst London’s Muslims without censure or criticism. To the best of my knowledge, it was only when the public were made aware of the contents of several sermons he gave during pre-9/11 2001 at the Islamic Forum mosque in Parsons Green. The contents of these sermons delivered in Arabic, though hardly exceptional given the pervasive nature of rabid Islamic extremism taught in mosques, madrassas, kuttabs and seminaries countrywide, were sufficiently hateful to warrant posts, articles and, yes, ‘campaigns’ too, about which to educate potential platform and premises providers.

    If it is ethically wrong, to draw individuals’ and organisations’ attention to the abhorrent language used in those sermons and the deep-seated animus towards Christians and Jews that they reveal, then I fail to see how from a deontological or consequentialist standpoint.

    And, let us not forget that Muhammad Haitham al-Haddad is no mere public speaker. He is a trustee, co-founder and co-mufti of the most prominent of England’s Shari’a councils, the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton; he is the former imam of the one time epicentre of British Wahhabism, the al-Muntada al-Islami mosque in Parsons Green; he co-runs the Redbridge Islamic Centre in Gants Hill, which is no doubt familiar to the Bunglawala family; and, he is a popular speaker on the Islamic lecture circuit at universities and mosques countrywide.

    It cannot be unethical to oppose someone with this much putative influence who has declared openly that Jews are ‘the descendants of apes and pigs’ and ‘one of the armies of the devil’, or that Christians are ‘cross-worshippers’ and ‘swine-eaters’ whose religions and religious symbols are ‘symbols of war against Allah and His Messenger’.

  11. Pingback: The Usama Hasan email | The Islamic Far-Right In Britain

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