Thursday 1st November 2018
On 8th October 2018, the Times Newspaper published several articles mentioning Dr Haitham Al-Haddad and his relationship with The Muslim Research & Development Foundation (MRDF). The articles mentioned the work MRDF does and several quotes from ‘right-wing’ organisations and government appointed experts on so-called radicalisation. The Times went further and quoted some of these sources as credible ‘Muslim’ representatives.
Over the past decade Muslim organisations and Muslims in general have not only had their reputations maligned but have lived with media fabrications without consequence. In the climate of hate and Islamophobia you would have expected this from the tabloid press but now the Times has decided it needs to attack those working for the betterment of the British Muslim Community.
In August 2017, the Times published a frontpage story in which it claimed that a Christian child was forced into Muslim foster care. The words used were ‘White Christian Child’ and the article pointed to the child being placed with two Muslim households by Tower Hamlets council. The Times then followed with another story claiming the attention it had bought to the case had resulted in the child being moved. Tower Hamlets Council forwarded a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and their ruling was upheld, IPSO found that almost the entire story was incorrect. The full ruling can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y7dcdwwe.
The reporter was the well known right-wing agitator Andrew Norfolk. This is the reporter who the Times used to write about Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad, MRDF and several reputable British charities who provide valuable services to the community.
The Times, with the help of Mr. Norfolk decided to publish material which was not only factually incorrect but more decisively, determined by quotes from right-wing think tanks and government appointed ‘Muslim’ representatives.
MRDF has been working for over 10 years in providing both guidance and education in building and educating the British Muslim community. MRDF has carried out hundreds of educational programs and leadership building initiatives throughout the UK benefitting thousands. MRDF has provided Muslims throughout the country with guidance on matters affecting every aspect of their daily life and existence.
The Times decided to mislead and misinform the British public about the status of both the charity and its relationship with Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad. MRDF has worked hard over the last decade to protect those most vulnerable from the attacks on their faith and their position as British Muslims. To speak ill of a charity which has provided so much benefit to the British Muslim community through disregard of how the community works and how it has been constantly maligned by a wider political agenda is tantamount to duplicity.
MRDF is resolute in carrying on fulfilling its charitable objectives in the face of the hate and right-wing political agendas that it has encountered. MRDF will not waver due to the political aspirations of those who use identity politics as a means to forward their political ambitions. MRDF will carry on working tirelessly to help the British Muslim community have the tools and confidence it needs to flourish despite the hate and Islamophobia it encounters.
MRDF will pursue all avenues towards safeguarding its good name and standing in the community and will make sure its beneficiaries are safe from those who want to deny them the services MRDF was established for. MRDF will carry on working with its partner organisations to build the British Muslim community so that it can flourish and be a beacon of hope and unity for all in the United Kingdom.
The articles in question were all published on 8th October 2018 and written by Andrew Norfolk, the titles were:
‘Amazon scheme supports Islamic extremists’, ‘Charities let into Amazon scheme despite warnings’ & ‘Haitham al-Haddad: Adulterous western women’.
MRDF is presently working to not only have the articles corrected and retracted but most importantly to make a stance against Islamophobia and right-wing hatred and hysteria in the United Kingdom. MRDF is presently in contact with the Charity Commission regarding the articles and will further appeal through the correct regulatory channels to take mare sure the allegations and factual irregularities found in the Times articles are retracted and not repeated.
At a time when studies have found media reporting about Muslim communities contributes to an atmosphere of rising hostility towards the Islamic faith, we believe it imperative we all come together and say enough is enough.
Finally, MRDF would like to thank those who sent messages of support from the general public and the British Muslim community. We know it is hard for many to come out and put their heads above the parapet but together we will make sure hate does not prevail in our society, especially with the values we all uphold in a free, democratic society. Download PDF copy here
Thursday 9th April 2015
An article published on 21 January 2015 by Lapido Media entitled ‘Islamic charity blames ‘bigots of France’ for Charlie Hebdo massacre written by Dominik Lemanski makes reference to MRDF and one of its former trustees. The article implied misuse of charitable funds by MRDF without any evidence or basis for querying the same. This is a contemptible and serious insinuation, which is vehemently denied. The article also repeats historically incorrect and defamatory statements and uses extracts from those statements without repeating them fully. This means that these extracts do NOT reflect the subject matter of those statements and are presented completely out of context. We wish to make it clear that MRDF are taking appropriate legal action against those guilty of making or repeating these outrageous and defamatory statements. We therefore fully reserve MRDF’s respective positions in respect of this article. MRDF remains at all times committed to its charitable aims and honourable endeavours.
Wednesday 5th March 2014
The Muslim Research and Development Foundation was setup to help Muslims in the UK better understand their faith in today’s society and also to educate and assist the Muslim community in participating within the wider society in a constructive manner. The overall aim being to portray the correct message of Islam, but also to provide much needed answers to many of the challenges we face in our communities and society.
In working to fulfill these aims, the Foundation organises a number of events that allow for Muslim and Non-Muslims to come together in a peaceful family environment to help establish a real spirit of togetherness and community. One such event that aimed to bring our communities closer was the MRDF Family Funday at the LEGOLAND Windsor on Sunday 9th March 2014. This event was open to people of all faiths and backgrounds, aiming to create an enjoyable, safe and relaxing environment for children and families from all walks of life to have a fun and enjoyable day out. Over 4,000 people had already purchased their tickets for the event with almost 2 weeks remaining.
Unfortunately, during the last few weeks leading up to the event, several right-wing groups including the EDL and Casuals United along with others threatened both the visitors and employees of LEGOLAND in relation to this planned event. They threatened staff at LEGOLAND, staff at MRDF and aimed to disrupt families on the day of the event.
Together with these threats, publication of several articles in the national press helped fuel further hatred and resentment towards the event resulting in further negative impact on the security of the event. It was evident from these hate articles and threats that this was not an attack on MRDF alone but was an outright attack on Islam and Muslims in the UK.
Although we worked hard with LEGOLAND to find a solution to the threats and negative press, LEGOLAND made the decision to cancel the event as they could not guarantee the safety of the attendees and their staff.
We would like to sincerely apologise to all those who purchased tickets and those who worked hard to facilitate the event. God willing we will work harder in the near future to organise and bring about other similar events.
Friday 14th February 2014
The Family Funday 2014 at Legoland is an opportunity for the UK public to gather with British Muslims in a relaxed family environment. It is open to people from all faiths and cultures in an open and welcoming environment without the promotion of any particular ideology.
The real concern here is the threat to the cohesion of our community by far right groups linked to the EDL and Christian Patrols. We should not be intimidated by violent threats to our way of life. MRDF, a charity governed by English Law, has consistently promoted non-violence and political participation in the UK.
All of our volunteers, staff and trustees are well respected members of the community and have worked in various capacities as promoters of harmony and respect among all communities. We ask everyone to join us at the Family Funday 2014 to witness the marvellous work of our volunteers and staff in helping all communities have a wonderful day out with their family, friends and loved ones.