The international Ibis hotel chain as been accused by lesbian and gay human rights campaigners of “irresponsibly hosting conferences by extremist anti-gay hate preachers”.
The next conference by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) will be held on Sunday 16 January at the Ibis Hotel in Earl’s Court in London.
The Ibis group is being urged to cancel the iERA booking and “stop hosting speakers who variously incite homophobic hatred and the killing of gay people”.
“The Ibis Hotel group should not facilitate speakers who promote homophobic discrimination and violence. They should cancel this booking,” said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group OutRage!
The iERA has previously featured Muslim fundamentalist preachers who advocate the criminalisation of homosexuality and even the death penalty for same-sex acts, claimed Tatchell.
He said that these preachers argue that it is necessary to execute gays to keep society pure and defend their extreme teachings about homosexuality as a model that should be followed by contemporary societies.
The headline speakers at Sunday’s conference are associates of the preachers Dr Zakir Naik and Bilal Phillips (who were banned from entering Britain by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, last year). Another iERA advisor, Hussein Yee is also banned from entering the UK.
Tachdell cited examples of two of the speakers scheduled for the conference: Abdur-Raheem Green has reportedly stipulated “a slow and painful death by stoning” against homosexuals while Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick has said that the Islamic position on homosexuality is “death”.
“Lesbian and gay people – and straight people of conscience – should not use Ibis Hotels while they continue to host extremist anti-gay preachers. A boycott campaign might be necessary if Ibis does not change its policy,” noted Tachdell.
Brett Lock, also of OutRage! added: “This is not the first time Ibis Hotels have hosted such extremist events. It is quite shocking. I doubt they would host racist and anti-Semitic conferences.
“We do not wish to ban people with religious convictions from expressing their moral opposition to homosexuality. People should have the freedom to say that they think homosexuality is a sin and incompatible with their religious beliefs. However, supporting the execution of lesbian and gay people and equating them with rapists and paedophiles is dangerous incitement. It crosses the line,” he said.