Legoland Hires Itself Out to Islamist Hate Speaker
UK theme park Legoland has been heavily criticised after allowing a hard-line Islamist cleric to hire out the park for a "Muslims Family Fun Day" on March 9th.
Haitham al-Haddad, who heads the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), has previously endorsed gender segregation, stated that Jews are descended from “apes and pigs”, and affirmed his support that the death penalty for those who leave Islam.
The Daily Star reports that Haddad "is one of 25 Islamic clerics being scrutinised by the Home Office for spreading extremist ideology at British universities and mosques". He is also thought to be one of the first clerics who could be subject to proposed Terror and Extremist Behaviour Orders (TEBOs), civil orders effectively silencing extremist preachers.
He has previously been banned from speaking at London School of Economics after concerns were raised by the university’s Jewish Society.
Dr Taj Hargey of Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford strongly criticised Legoland for allowing the event to go ahead:
"I would ask Legoland that if they are happy to let his group hire the park, then would they be happy to let the BNP and other extremist far-right groups hold their family fun day there? Both groups promote hatred and intolerance."
There are concerns that far-right groups such as the English Defence League and Casuals United will hold protests outside Legoland on the day. Members of these groups are reported to have already sent the theme park abusive phone calls and messages on Facebook and Twitter.
Speaking of Haddad, Usama Hasan of the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation, said:
"Like all extreme Islamists, he uses fascist language about non-Muslims. He refuses to sit at the same table as women and opposes men and women mixing in the workplace."
A Legoland spokesman defended the park's decision, saying, "We certainly do not discriminate in any way".