London: Anti-gay hate preachers to speak at conference this weekend

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On the 8 July 2012, London will host a conference entitled “The Month of Mercy” featuring several extreme jihadist hate preachers, some of which have previously used hate speech against gays and in some cases called for applying the death penalty for this “sin”.

The conference is organised by The Al-Muntada Al-Islami, meaning the “Islamic Forum” in Arabic. This Salafi trust owns a Mosque and a number of schools in Britain, it also runs an Islamic centre in Parsons Green, London SW6, which has a long history of hosting known homophobic hate preachers.

Initially the conference was advertised as taking place in the central London venue of the Grand Connaught Rooms. Following a successful campaign by the blog Harry’s Place the Grand Connaught Rooms cancelled their involvement.

However, according to Harry’s Place bloggers the event is still going to take place this Sunday at an undisclosed location.

Many of the speakers belong to extreme Salafi and Wahabbi sects and are known to have used extreme and virulent hate language against homosexuality. For example, Haitham Al-Haddad will also speak at the event, as well Wasim Kempson and Saad Al-Qaadi, who serve as imams at Al-Muntada and preach crude misogyny and homophobia.

Other speakers who have been invited to speak at the conference have previously condemned homosexuality.

Dr Abdul Aziz Al-Fawzan is a Saudi professor of Islamic law, and popular figure on Saudi television and key member of the trust.

Al-Fawzan has published an essay entitled ‘The Evil Sin of Homosexuality’ which stated that ‘one of the most sinful acts known to humankind is what is termed homosexuality.

‘…The heavens, the Earth and the mountains tremble from the impact of this sin. The angels shudder as they anticipate the punishment of Allah to descend upon the people who commit this indescribable sin. He who is found committing the sin of the people of Lut should be killed along with his partner.‘

He then goes on discuss how homosexuals are corrupted and how they can ‘corrupt’ and influence children.

In another lecture Fawzan said: ‘some people want to Westernize our society in any possible way, but they know that if they advocate fornication, forbidden sexual relations, and homosexuality, the people would stone them. So what do they do? They come up with these deviant fatwas, which lay the ground for these crimes and abominations.’

Muhammed Al-Arifi had this to say about LGBT Rights organisations: ‘they have organizations for homosexuals, organizations for people who marry animals – she marries a dog, a donkey, and so on… The organizations exist, and strangely enough, they are official. They have websites, and they publish magazines with pictures.’

Both Khalid Yasin and Muhamad Al-Salah call for the death penalty for homosexuals.

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem previously barred from speaking at the University of Hertfordshire because he said homosexuality is a sin and abnormality that needs treatment

Nabil Al-Awadhi has said homosexuals and ’emos’ are the biggest threat to society and Islam.

Out gay Imam Daayiee Abdullah, based in Washington DC, condemned the conference, saying: ‘The upcoming Al-Muntada Trust conference again brings together a deluge of one-sided theocratic domination from one of several very narrowly proscribed understandings of Islam as a religion and faith system.

‘Muslims must promote Allah’s Quranic standards that … call to protect the diversity of human rights, whether based upon their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or geographic origins.

‘It is not difficult to assess from the history of the speakers at the Al-Muntada’s conference, they do not promote the Islamic ethics of justice, compassion and mercy, rather the … opposite. In the end, Al-Muntada fails to provide any understanding of the meaning of Bismillah, al-rahman, al-raheem (In the name of Allah, the most merciful and beneficial).’

Tehmina Kazi, the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy also stated her alarm about the upcoming conference: ‘I have read the divisive and sectarian statements of these preachers with great alarm. Freedom of expression is a cherished right, but one which comes with concomitant responsibilities to refrain from using threatening words or behaviour that stir up hatred , incitement to religious hatred is also a criminal offence.

‘British Muslim for Secular Democracy and our friends strongly condemn racism, sectarianism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry.

‘We call for all people of goodwill to join us in opposing racism, sectarianism, and bigotry.

‘Discriminatory or hostile attitudes towards individuals – on the basis of their sexuality – have no place in Islam.’