Andrew Gilligan notes the latest promise by the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre to ban homophobic hate preachers, and observes that this is the THIRD time that such a statement has been issued by the institution. On each occasions, after a short lull, the hate preachers returned.
Here’s his description of the ELM/LMC’s strategy for ducking accusations that it promotes bigotry, hatred and extremism:
The East London Mosque’s response to accusations of extremism has three stages. First there are the injured protestations of its deep commitment to community cohesion, democracy, etc, often accompanied by straightforward lying – in 2009, for instance, the mosque’s assistant director, Shaynul Khan, claimed that “Anwar Al-Awlaki did not give a lecture via video link at an event held at the East London Mosque.” Then there are silly legal threats from its libel lawyers, again often based on lies: tedious, but perfectly easy to see off if you know what you’re doing.
Finally, if none of that works and their backs are absolutely against the wall, the mosque will crank out one of their statements claiming they’ve banned hate preachers. The supply of bad guys will dry up for a month or two, then as soon as the coast is clear they’ll start creeping back again. Let’s hope it’s different this time. But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for being a little sceptical about the East London Mosque’s “good faith.”
Andrew is quite right. The hosting of extremists is continuing at the London Muslim Centre; but alternative venues are also being used.
I should add: Andrew has missed a trick. The East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre can also count on the support of the London Citizens network, who will back up the absurd claims of these Jamaat-e-Islami activists that they are doughty fighters for community cohesion. Then, when it is shown beyond doubt that they are, in fact, promoters of hatred and division, they’ll wheel out some bemused Rabbi as an example of their commitment to ‘interfaith’ activity.
Those who are conned into supporting the ELM/LMC on the grounds that they’re showing solidarity with Muslims, or even “building bridges” or “starting a dialogue” with extremists, need to understand two things.
First of all, they’re being used, cynically, as cover.
Secondly, they’re betraying Muslim liberals, and indeed liberals of all stripes, who desperately need solidarity as they stand up against the far Right.