16 February 2012
Amsterdam’s Free University (VU) has cancelled a debate organized by the Islamic
Student Union of Amsterdam, which was to see Haitham al-Haddad, a controversial
Saudi-born scholar living in London, in conversation with Yasser Ellethy of the
Centre for Islamic Theology. The subject of the debate was the role of the Muslim
scholar in the west.
Al-Haddad has faced criticism for making anti-semitic remarks, including reportedly
describing Jews as ‘the enemies of God and the descendents of apes and pigs’. The
Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), opposed his presence
in the Netherlands and requested that the VU rescind the invitation. MPs from the
country’s Freedom Party (PVV) and Christian Union Party urged the government to
bar al-Haddad from entering the Netherlands.
The VU initially continued with plans for the debate but cancelled the event on 16
February, following complaints from Jewish students.