Islamic Forum Europe: Not Welcome in the London Borough of Newham

The Islamic Forum Europe tried to book Stratford Town Hall. They were refused permission. This is why:

Please find below a summary of a meeting which took place last week with Islamic Forum for Europe regarding a refused booking at Stratford Town Hall. If you require any further information or for me to brief any other members please let me know.

·         The Islamic Forum for Europe in September made a request for a room booking at Old Stratford Town Hall for a public event. Initially the booking was made in the name of TELCO but OTHS staff were suspicious as the address and contact details were not TELCO.

·         At the time this was declined on the basis of failing to meet the room book requirements (in terms of providing incorrect information regarding the booking organisation) and because in line with the Council’s public room hire policy there were concerns about activity and statements that had been made by individuals who were associated with the organisation or previous events it had organised.

These concerns relate to our duty to promote equality and maintain community cohesion.

·         A formal complaint was made by the Forum and officers from Leisure, PPC and the Prevent Officer met with them this week to discuss their complaint.

·         The outcome of the meeting was that the Council explained its room booking policy and that it would not change its decision or uphold any complaint as proper procedures have been followed. The Council also underlined its position that the decision to refuse the booking could be made not just on the basis of the organisation itself but any publicity connected to it – or any individuals associated with it who have made public statements that could undermine community cohesion or bring in to disrepute the Council’s reputation as a public body.

The Islamic Forum Europe was founded by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who has been accused in a Channel 4 documentary, and in an article in the Guardian, of involvement in genocide in Bangladesh. The Islamic Forum Europe is aligned with Jamaat-e-Islami, a nearly-defunct Islamist party in Bangladesh, whose Al Badr militia abducted and murdered prominent Bangladeshi intellectuals during the War of Liberation.

It is the faction which runs both the Muslim Council of Britain and the East London Mosque.

This is an important precedent. All Local Authorities should refuse the use of their buildings to the Islamic Forum Europe, and to organisations associated with this far Right group. TELCO – which is deeply involved with the East London Mosque and the IFE – should also cut its links.

The Tory Councillor, Andrew Boff, is welcome to defend them again in the comments, if he’d like.