A spokesman for the mosque insists the conference organizers are just using their facilities. But no one seems perturbed enough about this “misunderstanding” and “hijacking” of Islam to cancel the conference or appearances by speakers like Anwar al-Awlaki and others named below. The full schedule of festivities can be found here.
“Muslim groups ‘linked to September 11 hijackers spark fury over conference’,” by Gordon Rayner for the Telegraph, December 27:
The End of Time event at the East London Mosque, which is being publicised on internet sites including Facebook, will feature a videotaped lecture from Anwar al-Awlaki, who is banned from entering the United States after allegedly acting as a spiritual adviser to three of the September 11 terrorists.
Mr Awlaki, who lives in Yemen, has been described as “an al-Qaeda supporter” by the US Department of Homeland Security, which has accused him in recent months of using video lectures to “encourage terrorist attacks”.
He is due to deliver a video lecture at the mosque in Whitechapel on New Year’s Day. Speeches will have titles such as The sound of the trumpet — the real terror starts.
Other speakers will include Suhaib Hasan, who advocates implementing sharia in Britain, and Khalid Yasin, who has described the beliefs of Christians and Jews as “filth”.
More on Khalid Yasin can be found here.
The publicity material for the all-day event appears to be a clear reference to the attacks on New York, and features meteors raining down on Manhattan, setting fire to the city and shattering the Statue of Liberty.
It has already drawn comparisons with the “Magnificent 19” poster, which praised the September 11 hijackers and was used to publicise a 2003 event organised by Al-Muhajiroun, whose leader Omar Bakri Mohammed was later banned from Britain.
Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “I would be extremely concerned if the East London Mosque, which has said it is committed to peace, diversity and interfaith dialogue, is giving a platform to such individuals.”
In October, Charles Allen, America’s undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis, described Mr Awlaki as “an al-Qaeda supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11 hijackers”.
He claimed the cleric “targets US Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen”.
A trial in New Jersey this month heard that three men accused of plotting to attack a US Army base had watched one of Mr Awlaki’s internet sermons, Constants of jihad, the day before they agreed details of the alleged plot.
An informant told the hearing that the message the three men had taken from the video was that: “The time is now.”
On his website, Mr Awlaki says: “We will implement the rule of Allah on earth by the tip of the sword whether the masses like it or not”.
Publicity material for the event lists other lectures titled Flat line — the point of no return and Your just reward — paradise or hell.
Robin Simcox, of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “That these extremist speakers are being given a platform by such an allegedly mainstream mosque, in one of the most Muslim-populous areas in the country, should be cause for serious concern.”
Tickets for the event are being sold on the internet by a little-known company called Noor Pro Media Events, based in East Ham in London.
No one from the company was available for comment.
A spokesman for the mosque said: “We didn’t organise this event, they are just using our facilities.”