Homophobia,  Islamism

Ibis Hotel: Extremists Welcome!

An important part of the campaign against extremists is the denial of venues for their events.

This is especially significant in the public sector. Barring extremists underlines the government’s opposition to hateful Islamist politics.

It is not about denying freedom of speech. It is simply a clear “not here” message of disapproval.

This message even gets through in Tower Hamlets, where the council insisted British preacher Abu Abdissalam be withdrawn from an event at the Brady Centre earlier this month.

A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Abdissalam was on an original list of speakers for this event, but was flagged up in our booking protocols (the Conditions of Hire) as someone of concern. The organisers were therefore asked to remove him from the list of speakers, which they did, and the event went ahead without him today.”

“Concern” is the least Abdissalam should inspire. This is his view on the fight against terrorism:

I don’t think it is at all possible for any sincere Muslim to be an ally of the ‘West’, natural or otherwise, in its war against extremism and terrorism.

Anybody who works with the Muslim communities knows that these same anti-terrorism personnel that you addressed are abusing our religion and brutalising our youth. Look how they assaulted people like Babar Ahmad, the Forest Gate brothers, among others. Therefore, the perception is that this is not a war against terrorism but a war against Islam itself. We can never work with people who are at war with Islam.

The private sector too should play a role as an act of minimal social responsibility.

But some in the sector don’t give a damn and will happily host some of Britain’s most appalling extremists just to make money.

Of late one of the worst in this camp has been the Ibis Hotel in Earls Court, London SW6. It has become a favoured venue for people who support terrorism, loathe gays, Jews and other minorities, and preach the most base hatred.

The hotel is aware of the nature of the events it is hosting but does not care and has no intention of changing its behaviour.

In fact, on 16 January it will host another set of nasty hate preachers. This time it is the self-styled Islamic Research and Education Academy (iERA) crowd.

Iera was set up by convert Abdur Raheem Green, who engages in apologetics and conspiracy theory idiocy on behalf of terrorists, supports vicious corporal punishments, opposes democracy, and tours fellow extremists around the UK.

Consider iERA’s “advisors“. Three of the nine have been excluded from the UK: Bilal Philips, Zakir Naik and Hussein Yee. Another advisor is Abu Abdissalam.

The speakers at this iERA conference include Abdullah Hakim Quick, who is also an iERA advisor, and Shady Al Suleiman.

Quick is the American preacher who has a simple solution for the problem of gays: death.

They said “what is the Islamic position [on homosexuality]?” And I told them. Put my name in the paper. The punishment is death. And I’m not going to change this religion.

You can listen for yourself on this MP3 file.

As for Jews in Israel and “kaffirs” in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are “filth“.

You can read Quick’s risible defence of his record here. On gays:

With regard to my comments about the punishment for homosexuality, about 15 years ago I was approached by a group of gay Muslims who wanted me to re-interpret the basic principles of Islam. I refused and indicated to them the very serious condemnation in Islam toward homosexuality. My statements were a moral reprimand only. I understand now that they did give off the wrong impression. For that, I am sorry. I have never advocated violence, vigilantism or disregard for the rule of law.

Islamic scholarship is crystal clear that Muslim minorities must respect the laws of the countries in which they reside or leave to find another homeland. The overwhelming majority of Muslims living in the West are respectful of this fact and feel duty-bound to recognize the rights of others even if their views are contrary to what Islam holds as sacred.

The debate among those who support homosexuality and those who do not is an intensely polarizing one. Nevertheless, I think that this debate is essential and must continue for the common good of us all. I have always articulated my concern, both within my community and without, in a manner that has been respectful of the rights and duties of individuals in a pluralistic democracy.

Right, so the problem is the law, not his position. Which he expects people to “debate” with him. There is nothing to debate. Anyone who supports the death penalty for homosexuality should simply be shunned.

As for the “15 years ago” ruse, nice try. He got in trouble with the New Zealand broadcasting authority just six years ago. This is an excerpt from its ruling:

Voice of Islam was broadcast on 29 September 2003 at 3.00pm on Triangle Television. During the programme, Brother Abdullah Hakim Quick addressed viewers about “Challenges Facing Muslims in the New Millennium”. Toward the conclusion of the lecture, Brother Quick expressed views about homosexuality. In summary, he said:

– AIDS is caused by the “filthy practices” of homosexuals
– Homosexuals are dropping dead from AIDS and “they want to take us all down with them”
– The Islamic position on homosexuality is “death”
– Homosexuals are “sick” and “not natural”
– “Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it’s not enough to call names”.

Then there’s this:

Toward the end of my talk I made a supplication for God to purify Islam’s third holiest shrine from the “filth of the Christians and the Jews.” The implicit — and obvious understanding for anyone who heard my lecture — was that I was asking God to heal the spiritual corruption that afflicts some members of religious groups which in turn leads to injustice against innocent people.

Listen to the tape yourself from 3:44 in. He makes no such distinction in any implicit way. Quick is a liar.

Last year opposition to Quick’s participation in a conference in Sweden was so intense that he withdrew. We shall see if the UK matches this performance.

Let’s turn to Suleiman. He is an Australian preacher who has promoted al Qaeda preacher and recruiter Anwar Al Awlaki long after it was clear that Awlaki was in the business of the most extreme hatred and jihad.

Suleiman has been coy:

Yesterday, no one involved with the Lakemba mosque would take responsibility for procuring Mr Awlaki as a speaker. According to a director of Lakemba mosque, Ziad Ghamraoui, Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman was in charge of organising evening youth events at the time of the sermon. Sheikh Suleiman refused to comment. He would not say whether Mr Awlaki was paid and would not comment on the subject of his speech.

This is silly when you can see the event advertised on one of his own websites.

Furthermore, he has critics in his own mosque:

But senior Muslims associated with the mosque have told the Herald that Shady has divided the congregation and its leadership. ”At the start we were with him. He was getting these young people off the streets. But then we found these people were being radicalised. His sermons are not just fire and brimstone,” said one, who did not wish to be named said.

Dandan dismisses the schism but Hilaly, the most senior imam at the mosque, has condemned the young imam. ”Shady and those who speak like him are like fast food who give no substance and no spiritual nutrition,” he said through his translator, Keysar Trad.

This criticism from peers is all the more remarkable when one notes that the mosque has been a centre of hostility to the police:

SYDNEY’S Muslim community leaders last night condemned authorities over the conviction of five men under terrorism laws, describing their sentencing as a “travesty of justice”.

Senior Muslim figures, including 10 imams and 20 community leaders, met privately at Lakemba Mosque before releasing a statement to The Australian late last night demanding police produce the evidence proving the criminal “intentions” of the men.

“Until we see the real evidence, we believe that the reason for the arrests and convictions is that these young men expressed or hold opinions that contradict Australia’s foreign policy towards majority Muslim countries,” the statement said.

“No civilised society can pretend to know the intention of people. It is a travesty of justice to penalise people on suspected intention.”

Hundreds gathered at the mosque in Sydney’s southwest to hear the outcome of the meeting.

Outside the mosque after the meeting, a group of young men pumped their fists in the air and accused ASIO [Australia’s security service] of being “dogs”.

Suleiman is not exactly keen on gays either:

Also homosexuality that’s spreading all these diseases. Let’s not deny the fact. Don’t call it the name of freedom. Don’t talk about freedom and, you know, this is the freedom of action and we could do whatever we want. It doesn’t mean that freedom of action you destroy a nation. These are evil actions that bring evil outcomes to our society.

Or sex outside marriage. Here too there is a handy solution: death.

Remember that if there is an Islamic state the punishment of zina (sex outside marriage), the punishment of those who commit zina, if they have never been married before, they will be lashed 100 lashes. If they are married while they committed zina, or previously been married and divorced, and they committed zina, then their punishment is stoning to death.

If you would like to ask the Ibis Hotel if it really wants to be known as a welcoming place for Islamist extremists who are every bit as bad as neo-Nazis, the person to write to is Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, Economy Brands UK & Ireland, via [email protected]

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