The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) has threatened the Gatestone Institute with legal action over an article detailing its speakers' expressed support for terror and hatred towards Jews, homosexuals and women. The iERA claims it is neither "pro-terror," nor are their speakers "hate preachers."
A letter from Saleem Chagtai, Head of Media at the iERA, reads:
I am writing to you after coming across the following article posted on your website by Samuel Westrop:
In this article are some outrageous allegations made against the Islamic Education & Research Academy (iERA) such as labeling us as "pro-terror" and calling some of our staff members "hate preachers."
We condemn terrorist acts and have actively spoken against them. Our work is about dialogue with the wider community and that is very clear from the activities we conduct. We do not advocate "hate" as this goes against the very nature of our work which is "dawah" or inviting people to Islam.
The letter goes on to claim that comments about one iERA speaker, Abdurraheem Green, has been taken out of context.
Unfortunately, this denial flies in the face of the evidence.
He recommends that death is a "suitable" punishment for adultery and homosexuality:
"Such crimes thus need suitable and effective punishments that act as a sever [sic] warning to others. A public crime deserves a public punishment. Adultery is punishable by death, and a slow and painful death by stoning. All of this also goes some way to help understand way acts of homosexuality are similarly treated so harshly."
According to Green, beating women, in order to "bring them to goodness," is permissible:
The husband is allowed, to prevent her from evil, to apply some type of physical force … It is not allowed to break the skin, does not allow to break a bone or even leave a mark on the skin. A beating that is that severe is forbidden and this is a type of assault, and is haram, and a crime in Islam to treat your wife like that. But a type of physical reprimand in order to bring her to goodness is allowed.
Green is particularly disparaging about non-Muslims, describing them as "evil" and their schools as "sewers":
"If we leave (Muslims) in these (non-Muslim Australian) schools they will be destroyed … You know very well what takes place in these schools ... it is all about evolution, Christmas, Easter, St Valentine's Day - a barrage. And you expect your children to survive? You think you live in a sewer and you come up smelling of roses? … Merely living in the company of evil people will inevitably begin to rub off on us and we will begin to acquire their characteristics."
He condemns criticism of the Taliban:
"Supporting the disbelievers against the Muslims is in fact kufr, it is disbelief. This is something that has been clearly stated by Allah in the Quran, that to aid the unbelievers against the believers is an act of kufr, of disbelief.
"Brothers and sisters you can support the kuffar [disbeliever, infidel] against the Muslims even by a word...For example, slandering and attacking the Muslims unjustly, such as you find many Muslims have done this about the Taliban. Slandering them and attacking them and reviling them based upon news that has come from the disbelieving media, helping the kuffar against the Muslims."
Green does not attempt to hide his distaste for Jews. In one video, Green has said, "Why don't you take the Yahudi [Jew] over there, far away, so his stench doesn't disturb us, okay?"
Green also claims that Turkish leader Ataturk was "an extremely, thoroughly unpleasant, nasty kafir [unbeliever of Islam]. He was a Jew, he was a Jew. And not only was he a Jew, he belonged to a sect of the Jews that even the Jews think are far astray."
In 2005, Green gave a speech at University College London, uncovered by the Daily Telegraph, in which he said that a "permanent state of war exists between the people of Islam and the people who opposed Islam." Referring to Bin Laden, he added, "His rational [sic] is … we are going to keep on killing your women and children until you stop killing our women and children. How do you argue with that?" Citing the Irish Republican Army, he added: "The other thing is that it seems that terrorism works. We certainly have precedent." Green initially objected to the Telegraph's report but later withdrew his complaint.
Other iERA speakers include Bilal Philips, described by the US an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the 1993 al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center; Zakir Naik, banned from the UK for saying that "every Muslim should be a terrorist;" and Shady Sulieman, who has said that for those who commit adultery, "their punishment is stoning to death."
Green has hinted a few times that these views are no longer his. The continued presence of other unrepentant pro-terror speakers in the iERA, however, indicates that this is not true. In 2009, Green told the BBC, "I surely have said some pretty radical things and maybe even written some radical things in the past. But one thing I have been very consistent on is terrorism, participating in terrorist activities, violent revolution – is not something that I have ever thought was part of the religion of Islam."
Since then, Green has failed to put his words into action.
Several months after speaking to the BBC, he invited two supporters of terrorism -- and fellow iERA speakers -- Bilal Philips and Hussein Ye, on a speaking tour. He has called on his website for the release of Ali al Timimi, whom he describes as "a treasure of this ummah [nation of Islam], but a treasure purposely buried by the opposer's [sic] of divine guidance." Timimi has been convicted of terrorism offenses in the United States and sentenced to life in prison. Green has also testified in defence of Yassin Nassari, another Islamist convicted of terrorism offenses.
The iERA's letter states that "labeling us as 'pro-terror' and calling some of our staff members 'hate preachers'" is "outrageous."
Three of the iERA's "advisors" have been banned from entering the UK, because of their extremist statements and support for terror. It is noteworthy, however, that the iERA does not consider stoning women and homosexuals to death extremism. But if this is not enough to constitute hate preaching, what is?