Rainbow Hamlets Letter to the East London Mosque

Here is a link to the Rainbow Hamlets letter to the East London Mosque.

The full text is as follows:

Sent by email to:

Dilwar Hussain Khan,
Director, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

Dear Dilwar,

Re: Community concerns re homophobic speakers

We welcome the conversations we have had with ELM and LMC and the statement on your website that says:“those hate preachers who circumvented our bookings policy in the past are now barred; our vetting procedures for speakers and guests appearing at our mosque and centre have been significantly tightened over the past year”.

All too often, these issues are dealt with in ways that create enormous tensions and hurt, reinforce ignorance and disrespect, and build anger and hatred. At the same time, whatever good words are said to us in meetings in private, they are only of value if they lead to public action. Otherwise, what use are they in building understanding between communities when tensions exist?

At present there are too many unanswered questions. This letter is our effort to establish a publicly accountable process of dialogue to resolve these issues as respectfully, and with as much integrity, as possible.

With that in mind, we enclose information about the eight preachers as requested during the recent conversations with yourself and, latterly, Azad Ali. We believe the material highlighted in this document crosses the line into a religious interpretation or a rhetoric that deliberately dehumanizes and demeans a class of humanity, namely LGBT people.

Several speakers explicitly laud homophobia, or blame gays for AIDS, and some incite violence by reference to death penalties.

We are available to discuss them with you, so that together we can explore why we believe they cross the line, find out from you whether you can share that perspective, and then finally discover if they are amongst the hate preachers you reference, but do not identify, online.

Today, all moderate communities have a simple unequivocal duty: to be seen to show all their neighbours respect – whether or not they agree or approve of their beliefs or lifestyle.

What we need here is a paradigm shift that enables us to speak publicly of respect and joint-working, and at the same time address patterns of prejudice on all sides without fear or favour.

Our approach, as we have already discussed with you, is to treat the ELM like any other body in which homophobia has occurred.

A policy change has been referenced, but to date no one has seen it. This creates distrust. Last week you told me it was still in draft. We are available to give you feedback and to suggest ideas for implementation. Whether you choose to take us up on that offer is up to you.

However, it is entirely reasonable to expect within say a month of making such an announcement that both the policy and the implementation plan would be made public, along with a clarification about which preachers you meant.

We look forward to continuing and expanding our private dialogue, as soon as it can be arranged. In August we have undertaken to report back on progress.

We will make this letter public now.

Yours sincerely,

on behalf of Jack Gilbert & Rebecca Shaw, Co Chairs, Rainbow Hamlets

cc Azad Ali

Share this article.