Refuting the East London Mosque – ELM Denies Promoting Extremism (again…)
The East London Mosque (ELM) has posted an item on its website titled, ‘East London Mosque Refutes Extremism Allegations’, in which it claims to have “refuted” its promotion of extremist speakers highlighted by Stand for Peace.
In a letter to Stand for Peace, the ELM claims that our details of speakers invited to the mosque are false. In fact, the ELM chooses to identify speakers invited to address the mosque but who – either because of outside pressure from organisations such as ours or, simply, routine cancellations – did not turn up.
Missing an opportunity to spread hate does not absolve the East London Mosque of its apparent willingness to let their institution be used to spread hate in the first place.
We believe the ELM knows full well that these hate preachers were invited to speak at the mosque, despite their denials – the invitations were certainly widely publicised.
The ELM claims:
Muhammad Al-Arifi has never been invited to speak at the London Muslim Centre
– Yes, he was. Here’s the original poster.
Abdul-Rahman Al-Barrak has never spoken at the ELM or LMC.
– He was invited to speak by videolink (Most people do not see a difference between providing a platform to an extremist preacher in person or electronically).
Abu Abdissalam never spoke at the ELM
– Certainly, he was invited – here’s the poster.
Khalid Al-Fikri did not speak at the ELM
– He was supposed to, here’s the original poster.
…and so on – same for the ELM’s other speaker ‘refutations’.
It is puzzling that the East London Mosque would fail to anticipate this. Or, perhaps, they feel a baseless denial is all that is required.
Certainly, if a Church or Synagogue, for years on end, consistently invited BNP, EDL, Neturei Karta or Jewish Defence League activists to address its members; and then cited a few cancellations as proof of its brave stand against extremist thought, few would accept such a feckless and disingenuous response.
Most interestingly, the ELM justifies its claim to oppose extremism by citing the case of Muhammad Al-Kawthari, a Deobandi preacher who calls for the stoning of adulterers, claims it is permissible for a husband to rape his wife, tells Muslims to push Christians and Jews out of the way, inter alia.
On the 9th February, Kawthari was listed as a speaker at the ELM. The ELM claims that Kawthari was not listed on the speaker application form and “his name was presented to us after another speaker dropped out.”
Al-Kawthari himself, however, tells the story very differently. According to a note posted on his Facebook page, Al-Kawthari claims:
This evening, the East London Mosque management denied they banned me from speaking at the event, saying: “The ELMT has not banned Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. We have no issues with matters, as clearly defined in Islamic jurisprudence raised by the Mufti.” However, we spoke again with the event organizers – The Inspire Youth Group – and they are in no doubt that the Mosque Management refused for me to speak at their venue. The event organizers said that after booking the event at the ELM, the management called us and said Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam is not allowed to speak, and commanded them to remove my name within 30 mins from the poster; otherwise they will cancel the event. Later on, the management said the reason was due to some of my views regarding amputation and stoning, etc…
ELM management have assured me that some miscommunication may have taken place, and that they will do a press release very soon stating that I am not banned from speaking at their venue. We give them the benefit of the doubt, and eagerly wait for the statement, in sha Allah…
Here’s a picture of the ELM’s Twitter feed. Just below their claim to have refuted extremist allegations, there is another tweet proudly listing an ELM event with Yasir Qadhi, a deeply anti-Semitic preacher who said in 2001:
“All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, the Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they’re talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We’re not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct.”
– more details of that event here.