LSE cancels extremist speaker event

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2012

An extremist speaker will no longer address students at the London School of Economics after complaints from Jewish students.

Haitham Al Haddad, who is alleged to have described Jews as "the enemies of God, and the descendants of apes and pigs" and stated that it is necessary to hate Jews and Christians, was due to speak at the university this evening.

The event had been organised by the LSE Islamic Society.

Members of the LSE JSoc and the Union of Jewish Students prevailed on the union to prevent Al Haddad from appearing, following an LSE Students' Union vote last month on strengthening its challenges to antisemitism.

Jay Stoll, LSE JSoc president, praised the union for deciding to stop the event and taking "a strong stance against antisemitism and all forms of discrimination". But he added: "There's something deeply flawed in the LSE's procedures on speaker events when someone like Al Haddad is approved without due consideration."

Dan Sheldon, UJS campaigns director, said that while he was committed to safeguarding freedom of speech on campous, it should not come at the expense of student welfare. "We should have no truck with those who seek to spread hate on our campuses," he said.

The event was arranged just weeks after a Jewish LSE student was left with a broken nose after he confronted fellow students playing a Nazi card game on an Athletics Union ski trip.

Last updated: 10:42am, February 9 2012