The East London Mosque Trust (ELMT) Management has issued a statement on 6 November 2010, to clarify its position on Anwar Awlaki. A shorter version of the full statement can be read below:

When did Anwar Al-Awlaki visit the East London Mosque (ELM)?

Anwar Al-Awlaki spoke at the East London Mosque in 2003. He delivered a series of lectures on the life of Umar bin al-Khattab, Islam’s second Caliph. He also gave a guest Friday sermon (audio available on YouTube in four parts at time of writing) “that talks [about] the duty of the Ummah to be a support for one another, and the consequences if Muslims ignore the plight of other Muslims.”

Did Al-Awlaki give a speech called ‘Stop Police Terror’?

On 26 December 2003, a guest Friday sermon was given by Anwar Awlaki. A YouTube user has uploaded the sermon (see video description on YouTube) and chosen to name the audio/video ‘Stop Police Terror’. At no point in the sermon does he say that Muslims should not co-operate with the police. This was the last time Al-Awlaki visited the East London Mosque.

Why was Noor Pro Media allowed to show an Anwar Al-Awlaki video in the London Muslim Centre (LMC) on 1 Jan 2009?

A group called Noor Pro Media booked the halls in the LMC for a ticketed event ‘The End of Time… A New Beginning’ planned for 1 January 2009.

On 27 December 2008 The Telegraph published an article about the event. There were no other reports at the time from any other news sources in the British media.

Al-Awlaki posted a refutation to The Telegraph’s article the same day it was published, which can be found online at the Nefa Foundation website.

We consequently acted upon the information put forth by The Telegraph. Our Executive Director spoke with police. The police also spoke with organisers from Noor Pro Media and did not raise any objection to the event going ahead, nor was any concern expressed about the inclusion of a video of Anwar Al-Awlaki.

No other organisations contacted us at the time with any further evidence subject to The Telegraph’s claims.

A review of the video showed it contained no extremist or controversial material. In the absence of any further information available to the mosque at that time, Noor Pro Media were allowed to go ahead with their event and show the pre-recorded Al-Awlaki video and to follow it with a live telephone question and answer session only on matters related to the topic.

What actions did ELM undertake after the event?

Under Dr Abdul Bari’s guidance as chairman, the mosque management has reviewed and tightened its booking procedures for private hire of facilities by third-party groups. The requirement in our hiring conditions for publicity materials to be approved was added in 2009 in the wake of the controversy over Noor Pro Media’s publicity materials. The mosque will not tolerate its facilities being used for extremist groups or speakers and is now vetting all speakers and publicity materials.

The emergence of Al-Awlaki’s extreme views

In late January 2009 Al-Awlaki published his views on Jihad, as more information about him gradually emerged. The East London Mosque decided that Al-Awlaki could no longer be a conference speaker either by live link or pre-recording, even though some hirers of our facilities had already planned to use his materials.

Later in 2009 when Al-Awlaki expressed support of the Fort Hood murders, the mosque went on record to condemn his words. At the end of 2009 when possible connections to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab emerged, ELM again went on the record to condemn his views extreme views.

We also took the decision in 2009 to prohibit the sale or distribution of Al-Awlaki materials in our mosque or centre.

Our position on extremism

We would like to reiterate our position on violent extremism, and the roads towards it, as having no moral or religious justification. We continue to work hand-in-hand with our partners in the law enforcement authorities, regularly taking advice from them, to ensure a safe and mutual environment is sustained for our various communities.

> Download Full Statement from ELMT