Hotel denounced for Islamist hate speakers

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2011

A major hotel group has drawn criticism for hosting a conference featuring several Islamist hate preachers.

Speakers at the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) at the Ibis Hotel in Earl's Court on Sunday included Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, who has previously called all Jews and homosexuals "filth".

Other speakers included Abdur-Raheem Green, an Islamic convert from Catholicism. He has been outspoken on Israel in the past, claiming the Jewish homeland is a "myth" and "brainwashing."

He told Islamic Voice magazine in 1997: "I realised that popular opinion in the West was totally hostage to the Zionist-controlled media."

Another speaker, Shady Suleiman, who holds Australian citizenship, posted in an online sermon: "The real jihad, when the Muslims get attacked, it is obligatory on every Muslim in that area to fight back. And what's going on in Palestine, it is jihad."

Tatchell: Why the double standards here?

Three members of the iERA's advisory board, Hussain Yee, Dr Zakir Naik and Bilal Phillips, are banned from entering the UK.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust said: "We disapprove of Sheikh Quick speaking here. This appearance by him is a reminder of the scale of the overall problem and we will continue working with the relevant authorities to address it. On the meeting itself, of the nine people on iERA's advisory board, three appear to have been excluded. So, there are clearly significant issues; and the Ibis group needs to show some responsibility."

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell threatened a boycott campaign. He said the speakers promoted violence against homosexuals.

He said: "The Ibis Hotel group should not facilitate speakers who promote discrimination and violence. Neither the government nor the police would allow an event with speakers who had called for the killing of Muslims to 'keep society pure' and stop the spread of their religion.

"Why the double standards?"

In response, Thomas Dubaere, UK managing director of Ibis, said: "The hotel management and security sought the advice and guidance of the Metropolitan Police to stop the conference in the event that anything deemed contentious was said.

"The hotel rejects all forms of discrimination and pledges to support cultural diversity. We maintained regular dialogue with the Metropolitan Police Service throughout the day, who advised that at no time was there any risk to our guests, staff or members of the public."

Last updated: 2:12pm, January 20 2011