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“Muslim conference booted from hotel” – Daniel Dale Urban Affairs Reporter, The Toronto Star – Published On Thu Oct 13 2011
The Star informed a Sheraton convention services manager about the speakers on Wednesday. On Thursday, after the Star published an article on the conference, a hotel spokesperson said it had been “cancelled due to the organization’s failure to satisfy a contractual requirement.”
The conference, which had been scheduled for Oct. 23, was organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), a British organization seeking to establish a Canadian presence. The IERA’s local public relations officer could not be reached Thursday evening.
Jewish and gay organizations had criticized the IERA for inviting four speakers who had disparaged gays, Jews and Christians. Gay activists in Britain denounced a hotel chain in January for hosting a London IERA event involving several of the same speakers.
On Wednesday, the public relations officer for the conference referred questions to an IERA official who did not respond to a request for comment.
A Sheraton convention services employee said Wednesday: “We book things and sometimes we don’t know exactly what they are.”
Howard English, senior vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said Wednesday that he was “very concerned” about both conference and the IERA’s attempt to establish itself in Canada. He called the speakers’ views “reprehensible.”
“The people that are being tolerated, featured and promoted by this organization are expressing views that, if promoted in Canada, can only serve to divide people rather than uniting people,” he said.
iERA Canada responds to baseless accusations of homophobia and anti-semitism.13th October 2011
On the 12th October 2011, an article appeared in The Toronto Star, accusing the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) of hosting speakers who have expressed homophobic hatred and incitement to violence as well as anti-semitic views. Similar views have been aired on broadcast media, such as The Arena show anchored by Michael Coren. iERA unequivocally rejects these accusations as being false and misleading. Similar allegations were made in the run up to another international conference hosted by iERA in January 2011 entitled Changing the World Through Dawah. At this conference, which took place in London, United Kingdom, iERA clearly demonstrated the baseless nature of the accusations and the conference, which was held at the Hotel Ibis (part of the international Accor chain of hotels) passed without incident.
iERA wishes to make it abundantly clear as part of its goal to educate the world about the religion of Islam that we encourage positive civic engagement through dialogue and action. iERA and its international team of speakers, staff and volunteers have never called for violence or hatred towards members of the Jewish or Homosexual communities. These accusations are antithetical to our work in thought and deed. iERA has been working very hard to empower the Muslim community to engage with people of all persuasions in a peaceful manner and to serve humanity.
The aim of the upcoming conference, far from promoting hatred, will focus on getting Muslims to pro-actively engage with the wider society by sharing the true essence of the Islamic faith in both word and deed. This is what the Quran teaches. This message is simply to believe in and worship God and through this, work to improve the welfare of all Canadian citizens regardless of race, colour, culture or creed. The message that iERA aims to deliver is not unique. Muslim communities, in Canada and elsewhere are already contributing immensely to the social welfare of our society, and that is through remaining loyal to the basic tenets and values of their faith. This is the very theme of our conferences.
Most, if not all major religions forbid homosexuality and Islam is no different. To give the issue further context, Islamic ethics forbid any sexual activity outside of marriage. This very point has been discussed by iERA’s speakers with respect to criminal law in an Islamic state.
iERA urges all members of society, especially Muslims to be model citizens and therefore should obey the law of the land. We believe Muslims need to do more to reach out to their Jewish neighbours with whom they share so much in terms of tradition.
The Qur’an, the book of the Muslims contains many stories and information about the biblical prophets, as it is a core part of the Islamic faith to believe that they received revelation from One, All Powerful God, known in Arabic as Allah. Therefore, Muslims believe all the prophets came with one, universal message, with the final messenger being Muhammad, peace be upon him. This universal message was for human beings to voluntarily surrender their will to the Perfect Divine will of God; this submission is known in Arabic as Islam. Therefore, Islam considers all believers of this one, universal message to be as those who submit to God, i.e. Muslims.
iERA is an organisation dedicated to conducting research and educating humanity about Islam.We welcome open and frank discussion on these key issues, and would like to extend an open invitation to all our detractors from the Jewish Defence League and LGBT activists to come and meet us to find out what we really believe as opposed to using innuendo to stifle debate. As part of this, iERA would also offer them gift boxes which contain accurate and authentic information on the Islamic faith. These are made free of charge to members of the general public as well as media or lobby groups. For further information on how to obtain these or to attend the conference, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to the Editors
iERA stands for the Islamic Education and Research Academy
iERA is committed to presenting Islam to the wider society, see http://www.iera.org
To contact our media team please email email@example.com.
iERA is a registered charity in the United Kingdom – #1134566
iERA is a registered Non Profit Organisation in Canada.