The East London Mosque Trust has written to Pride in London organisers after initially raising a complaint about Council of Ex-Muslims for Britain (CEMB) and its Islamophobic placards last month. The Trust released a full statement about the incident, which can be found online here.

Our latest letter to Pride in London can be found below:

Dear Alison Camps and Michael Salter-Church,

Thank you for your correspondence dated 13th July 2017. We trust your Community Advisory Board will make the right decision concerning our complaint.

As the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) has written to you to excuse its appalling placards, then published its letter, we wanted to put on record our concerns about CEMB’s extreme views.

Incitement to murder is a terrible crime, one that would rightly be prosecuted by the British authorities. CEMB has repeated its blatant lie ‘East London Mosque incites murder of LGBT’; when such a disgraceful falsehood is displayed in a high-profile parade, it has to be challenged. We have publically spoken out against homophobia. We condemned without reservation the single instance of homophobia CEMB refers to, which happened ten years ago when, without our prior knowledge, an external third party hirer of our venue allowed its speaker to invite the audience to “spot the fag”. We agreed this was completely unacceptable, and have taken action to prevent this ever happening again. In the context of our immediate action against this incident of ten years ago, it is dangerous and irresponsible to say the ‘East London Mosque incites murder against LGBT people’.

Just as Islamophobia is defined and understood to refer to hatred and discrimination against Muslims, homophobia and anti-Semitism for example, are defined and understood to refer to hatred and discrimination against LGBT and Jews respectively. This is why their placard ‘Islamophobia is an oxymoron’ is so disgraceful, as well as their shocking obfuscation. Let there be no mistake: Islamophobia is real, hateful and often violent, as we tragically saw in the recent Finsbury Park terrorist attack. It is CEMB who deliberately conflates Islamophobia with criticism of Islam, as a way to excuse hatred directed at Muslims.

CEMB also shamefully conflates reasonable criticism with hostile vilification. Their placards which included ‘F*** Islam’ are designed to cause the maximum possible offence, and certainly to alienate all Muslims from Pride in London, including LGBT Muslims. You have seen our concerns are shared by LGBT Muslim groups and individuals, a matter conveniently overlooked by CEMB, and by Peter Tatchell who claims in his letter to you to be concerned about these groups. For the record, Tatchell asserts that our meeting with him “many, many years ago” (2012 actually) was “just a PR exercise”; however, we issued no PR about the meeting whatsoever.

There can be no doubt that such a barrage of abusive placards has an adverse impact on Muslims, feeding anti-Muslim hysteria especially in the current climate of increasing attacks against Muslims.

We hope that, despite the bullying tone of CEMB in its egregious letter, Pride in London will uphold its code of conduct, and reject the divisive, anti-Muslim words and actions of CEMB who sought to hijack your parade to promote its bigoted agenda.

Yours sincerely,

Dilowar Khan

Executive Director

East London Mosque Trust