About


Out East is a voluntary community group that formed in 2010 to organise HACKNEY QUEER PRIDE MARCH which will now be an annual event. We are responding to the rise of homophobic and transphobic attacks in the borough and want to show the unity of all communities in Hackney against not only homophobic and transphobic attacks, but all hate crime and intolerance.

We are taking a stand against the de-politicisation and commercialisation of 'pride' events globally and also campaigning for a progressive position on gay rights discourse. We stand in clear opposition to gay imperialism, homonationalism and the instrumentalisation of LGBTQ communities to justify the contravention of human rights internationally.

We want our annual event to become a touch point and a platform for all the LGBT and queer community groups and charities in the Borough, as well as organisations who support LGBT, queer and human rights. We want to encourage all of these groups to share information and increase their visiblility.

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Hackney Queer Pride March?

Come along and discuss what you would like to see happen this September. Everybody welcome.

THURSDAY 30TH JUNE 2011
7.30PM
@ POSITIVE EAST
159 Mile End Road
Stepney Green
London
E1 4AQ

http://www.positiveeast.org.uk/

If you can’t make this there will be a meeting happening almost every Thursday leading up to the action. Please call  020.7791.2855  - They will be able to tell you when ‘Out East’ has next booked a meeting room.

Discussions

Feel free to join in the debate at:

(We apologize for non-facebook users. We are looking into ways to change this)

East London Is A Hate Free Zone

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_143355789061521

INCOMING: Beck Munken Heiberg

Letter from Local Queer Activists: An Open Letter to London Pride and all other groups and individuals that supported East End Gay Pride

This is a belated statement regarding the East End Gay Pride. As a group of local queers we had felt it was necessary to  write something from our perspective, but as we are not part of one singular organisation but were working on this as a group of individuals, this took slightly longer than expected. We invite anyone to support this statement by signing under any name they wish in the comment section.


An Open Letter to London Pride and all other groups and individuals that supported East End Gay Pride

(source: http://nonameasofyet.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/an-open-letter-to-london-pride-and-other-groups-and-individuals-who-supported-east-end-gay-pride/)

By a group of white local queers, in collaboration and with the input of local queer people of colour.


We feel ashamed that as vocal figures of the London LGBTQI community, you unquestionably endorsed, and in some cases condoned the organisation of East End Gay Pride. We are calling for an apology for Paul Birrell’s behaviour regarding his attitude during the debates surrounding East End Gay Pride.


Firstly, we would like to remind Paul Birrell of his statement in is article in Pink News on Monday the 14 of March 2011, in which he states:


‘Leaving aside the admitted similarity in appearance between the far right and quite a few gay men – it’s the boots and cropped hair – the idea that the far right has decided to re-brand itself with a bit of Kylie and some rainbow flags is laughable.’


Leaving aside the apparent ignorance of this comment, homosexual individuals and politicians have most definitely in the past years aligned themselves with far-right racist groups (as seen the Netherlands with Pym Fortuyn to give one of the most prominent examples from recent national press), it has been revealed on Tuesday the 15 of March 2011 in full light by IMAAN that one of the main organisers,Raymond Berry, was indeed part of the EDL. There is something extremely worrying about community ‘leaders’ to jump to the defence of any gay initiative without checking their sources, and apparently not reading the news, as Birrel’s flippant comment about gay fascism demonstrates.


Secondly, and beyond the now irrefutable proof that organisers of he EEGP have links to the EDL and other unsavoury groups like ‘Stop The Islamification of Europe’, the continual disregard towards the coherent criticism of the nature of an event like a Pride March through East London has been at best insulting for the large part of the queer inhabitants of the East End that have been working in the borough for years in order to build bridges and combat all forms of hate. Critics have been attacked on the validity of their activism, sexuality or gender, their race and nationality or simply censored through the deletion of their comments on Facebook pages.

There has been a sense that groups like Rainbow Hamlets were completely ignored in the statement they co-signed with Tower Hamlets council, the Muslim Association of Britain and The East London Mosque, being called ‘traitors’ on various gay forums and comments pages. To claim that a Pride event is not political is ludicrous, as challenging structures of oppression, such as sexism, racism, homo/lesbo/trans/biphobia are inherently acts that destabilise received prejudices on which our societies are built. Therefore, the politics to march through an area that is a home to many marginalised communities will be a political act of re-enforcing white gay visibility through pointing the finger towards the large Muslim community living in the area, hence continuing the racist idea that all Muslims (and through the same extent, dispossessed communities) are intrinsically more homophobic and ‘less civilised’.


It is also political act to reaffirm one’s identity through disregarding another.


This is a racist political act, which carries, amongst others, the name of fascism.


LGBTQI Pride has its roots in a form of activism that defied oppressive state structures towards sexuality and gender orientation. Its contemporary emergence in the West was part of a larger historic moment of civil disobedience that included the struggle for People of Colour’s rights, Women’s rights and a general emancipation from authoritarian, colonial and patriarchal capitalism. As queer local activists, it saddens us that the slow and fraught path towards gay liberation has erased peoples empathy and memory for the struggles of others who suffer from similar structures of oppression. It angers us that gay people are so easily co-opted into discourses that justify wars and the killing of thousands of civilians on foreign soils under the banner of so-called civilised democracy, in the name of homosexuals and women. The Western powers that are murderously, militaristically and culturally interfering in other nations and communities’ agency are the same that violently repressed homosexuality not so long ago.

One of the most shameful contemporary examples is Theresa May’s invitation by Stonewall to accept an award as ‘Employer of the Year’. So this lady, who not that long ago was standing against the repeal of Section 28, is being celebrated for the continual imprisonment and deportation of asylum seekers and migrants ?


It is the same limited perspective, selfishness, and frankly, lack of awareness that you align yourself with.


We stand proud against Homo-Lesbo-Bi-Transphobia, but also against the rise of Islamophobia and Racism. We denounce any scapegoating and violence done to any marginalised group.


We would also like to express our support for The Safra Project and IMAAN for their hard work over the years.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of intelligent reactions you repeatedly ignored, as well as complementary educational material that has been available in the public domain:

http://www.safraproject.org/

http://www.imaan.org.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_143355789061521&view=doc&id=147368475326919

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_143355789061521&view=doc&id=148183581912075

http://www.decolonizequeer.org/

http://nohomonationalism.blogspot.com/2010/06/judith-butler-refuses-berlin-pride.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/02/gay-lesbian-islamophobia

Again, we ask you to apologise publicly for your support of the racist East London Gay Pride,

Sincerely,

Luca Darkholme (GMB Adult Entertainment Branch), PG Maciotti (Xtalk), Simon Leahy, Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Billy Phoenix, Info Andersson (Bar Wotever / Wotever World), Ronan McNern, A.L. Gust, Phoebe Queen

University of East London: UEL LGBT Society withdrawal of support for the East End Gay Pride event

UEL

Following further deliberation and continuing ambiguity over the nature and extent of EDL support for the East End Gay Pride event, and taking into account the damaging effect this could have on the local community and the society, we’re once again withdrawing our support until there is a greater consensus in support for the event from other LGBT organisations.

UEL LGBT Society does not support the presence of EDL at the event and apologises to our members for the roundabout manner in which we came to this conclusion.

However, if individuals wish to attend this event then they are of course most welcome to and will not be in any way shape or form made to feel guilty over such participation. We only note that we as a society are not attending in an official context and ask your banners reflect this in being free of our name/ logo etc.

http://www.uel.ac.uk/lgbt/join-us.htm

STATEMENT FROM OUTRAGE REGUARDING ‘EAST END GAY PRIDE’

OUTRAGE

Postpone East London Pride

Call for Muslims and LGBTIs to unite against hate

 East London Mosque urged to dialogue with LGBTI communities


London – 16 February 2011

Commenting on the planned East London Pride march scheduled for 2 April, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

“OutRage! is not supporting East London Pride, following the revelation of links between some of the organisers and the English Defence League (EDL). I have also withdrawn my personal support. We fear the march will be exploited and hijacked by the far right to create divisions and stir up intolerance against Muslim people,” he said.

“OutRage! opposes both homophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. All forms of intolerance are wrong. The gay, Muslim, Jewish, Asian and black communities know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should stand together, united against hate. Let’s celebrate East London’s multicultural diversity. Don’t let bigotry divide us. Together, we can defeat the hate-mongers.


“While defending the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people to protest against homophobia and the ‘Gay Free Zone’ stickers, it would be best if the march was postponed until a later date and organised by a broad-based grassroots and community coalition, untainted by associations with the EDL.

“Muslim organisations and speakers should be invited to participate in the rescheduled East London Pride.

“Sadly, the East London Mosque and its London Muslim Centre must bear some responsibility for previously stoking homophobia. They have hosted anti-gay hate preachers such as Abdul Karim Hattin who delivered a presentation called ‘Spot The Fag’. See here:

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/03/05/the-video-someone-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

“Hattin is not the only homophobe who has been given a platform. So have anti-gay clerics Muhammad Alshareef, Abdullah Hakim Quick and Bilal Philips.

“These fundamentalist hate preachers fuel a culture of homophobia that first and foremost intimidates and threatens LGBTI Muslims. Our Muslim sisters and brothers must be defended against those who advocate harming them.

“We welcome the East London Mosque’s assurance that it will not give a platform to anti-gay speakers in the future. We urge them to establish a regular, permanent dialogue with LGBTI organisations, including Muslim ones, to foster solidarity between the LGBTI and Muslim communities and to combat both homophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

Further information: 

Peter Tatchell – 0207 403 1790

SAFRA PROJECT STATEMENT ON ‘EAST END GAY PRIDE’

Safra
13/03/2011


The Safra Project has been working on issues affecting Queer Muslims for over a decade. This work includes making the areas in which we live safer for all. Our approach in doing this work seeks to avoid adding to the alienation and further deprivation faced by many in our communities because of ethnic, cultural, class or other material factors.

As many of us are residents and members of East End communities we are also dismayed by the homophobic sticker campaign and what we view as the subversion of our Muslim beliefs to instil fear and mistrust amongst communities. This is echoed by further members of the local Muslim community such as the East London Mosque and the Association of British Muslims.

We are similarly opposed to the ‘East End Gay Pride’ march as a response to the sticker campaign which we believe only compounds the problem, particularly for us as Muslims that are Queer, as it fuels what has now become a virulently Islamophobic climate for us to live in. Unfortunately, the claim by the East End Gay Pride march organisers that they are not being anti-Muslim is insufficient to stop their effective complicity in fuelling the various stereotyped ideas about Muslims. It also undermines the important work that our organisation and others are involved in around issues of gender, sexuality and Islam (www.safraproject.org/sgi-intro.htm).

Moreover, we are particularly concerned that the march organisers’ have refused to disassociate themselves from the far-right organisation English Defence League (EDL) especially as it seems that anti-fascist supporters have been told they will not be welcome at the march. This not only disregards the history of embedded racism that our communities have suffered in the area and more generally but also, as Queer Muslims, we feel that there are more productive ways to address the concerns that the East End Gay Pride march organisers have raised. For example by getting involved with the important cross-community projects that are ongoing in East London (http://www.onesocietymanycultures.org).

Therefore, we, as Queer Muslims who are most likely to suffer the fall out of this march, ask:


•The organisers to cancel this march on all of our communities, neighbours and families in East London.


•The local Queer people in the East End of London to engage with the wider local community in collaboration to better understand and work productively on all forms of prejudice.


•For everyone to voice their opposition to overt and covert racism and Islamophobia especially in the name of gay rights. All forms of prejudice must be understood in their overlapping ways and to ignore this lived reality, particularly that of Queer Muslims, is to avoid engaging with underlying issues of social, economic and political injustice and disadvantage (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/02/gay-lesbian-islamophobia).

If the march continues it does so without the support of our organisation and with little regard for the complex work that we as Queer Muslims do in Britain.

Safra Project Board

STATEMENT FROM BENT BARS

BB

Why Bent Bars will not be marching at the East End Gay Pride


(Source: http://www.co-re.org/joomla/index.php/next-meeting/95-bent-bars-news)

The Bent Bars Collective joins with other groups[i] who will not be participating in the East End Gay Pride March[ii] proposed for April 2, 2011, and we wish to publicly express our concerns about this event.

First, we are very concerned about the links between the organisers of East End Gay Pride and the English Defence League.[iii] Given that the English Defence League and other groups are increasingly using “gay rights” as a tool to further nationalist, Islamophobic, and military agendas,[iv] we believe that it is more important than ever for LGBTQ groups to take a firm and explicitly anti-racist approach in all our work.


Second, whether or not the main organisers are directly linked with the EDL, the website’s use of aggressive white masculine imagery (see “It’ll be massive” poster), the call to bring Pink Union Jacks to the march, and other comments on the group’s website collectively convey broader patterns of racism, nationalism and Islamophobia. Several posters make a clear association between homophobia and Islam, which furthers dangerous stereotypes and false assumptions about Muslim people. While the organisers say they are not intending to be anti-Muslim, the website’s overall content, use of the Union Jack, and refusal to ban the EDL from participating undermine these claims.


Third, while the East End Gay Pride march claims to be a non-political event, the call for pink Union Jacks is clearly contrary to this claim, particularly in the current political climate. The union jack is a symbol that has been and is still used to represent the racist far right. Asking people to bring this symbol on the march positions the event as one for white LGBTQ people who wish to associate with this nationalism, and therefore (whether intentionally or not) against the communities of colour, gay or straight, who live in the East End. The union jack is a particularly ironic symbol to use in the representation of gay rights, as this country has a long and violent history of homophobia both at home and abroad.[v] Although many overtly homophobic and transphobic laws have been overturned in recent years, the problem is still very much present in our society and on the streets.


Finally, we are concerned that this event contributes to larger patterns of using concerns about “safety” and “hate crimes” to justify increased policing, imprisonment and gentrification in certain neighbourhoods, particularly in communities of colour. It is not clear that homophobic attacks are actually on the rise in East London.[vi] But even if this were the case, we do not believe this march or calls for increased policing will in any way prevent homophobia and violence in our communities.


As a group which works with imprisoned lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and gender non-conforming people, we are well aware of the role that racism, poverty and discrimination plays in funnelling LGBTQ people into the prison system. We are also painfully aware that criminalisation and imprisonment do not stop, but perpetuate, cycles of violence. Bringing more police into our communities—particularly those that are already highly targeted by the police and subject to racial profiling—is unlikely to increase safety, particularly for those who are most targeted by violence. Such initiatives are more likely to funnel disadvantaged people (particularly poor people, people of colour and people with disabilities)[vii] into prison, and more likely to exacerbate the causes of violence in the first place.[viii]


Safety for all LGBTQ people in this country cannot be taken for granted, and is an ongoing struggle to fight for. Queer Pride marches have historically been and can be extremely positive expressions of LGBTQ presences on the streets; however, in this case, we believe that the East End Gay Pride march will be divisive and harmful. We therefore call for East End Gay Pride to be cancelled and urge all groups to engage in further discussions about how we can collectively work together to fight for social, economic, racial and sexual justice.

The Bent Bars Collective


The Bent Bars Project is a letter writing programme for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and gender non-conforming prisoners in Britain. We aim to develop stronger connections and build solidarity with queer/trans communities inside and outside prison walls. bent.bars.project [at] gmail.com




[i] See Safra Project, http://www.safraproject.org/; Imaan, http://www.imaan.org.uk/ ; OutEast, http://hackneypridemarch.tumblr.com/post/3787925551/open-letter-from-out-east-to-the-organisers-of-east-end

[ii] See: http://www.eastendgaypride.com/Home.html

[iii] See: http://hackneypridemarch.tumblr.com/post/3787925551/open-letter-from-out-east-to-the-organisers-of-east-end; See also: http://lattelabour.blogspot.com/2011/03/east-end-gay-pride-update.html; and http://lattelabour.blogspot.com/2011/03/theres-more.html; More evidence of the links between the EDL and East End Gay Pride organisers is now available; see press release by Imaan 15 March 2011: http://www.imaan.org.uk/;

[iv] See Haritaworn, Jin, Tamsila Tauqir, and Esra Erdem. 2008. “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’”. In Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality, edited by A. Kuntsman and E. Miyake. York, England: Raw Nerve Books; see also http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/02/gay-lesbian-islamophobia; and http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/07/racism-islamophobia-homophobia-far-right

[v] Many of the anti-sodomy laws that were enacted in former colonies are the direct result of British colonial rule. See: w.org/en/reports/2008/12/17/alien-legacy-0”>http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/12/17/alien-legacy-0

[vi] See: http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2011/2/28/are-muslims-responsible-for-a-huge-rise-in-homophobic-attack.html

[vii] See: http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/FactfileDec10small.pdf

[viii] See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/01/gang-injunctions-policy

PRESS RELEASE FROM RAINBOW HAMLETS ON ‘EAST END GAY PRIDE’

rainbow

Jack Gilbert and Rebecca Shaw, co-chairs of Rainbow Hamlets commented on news that EEGP organiser Raymond Berry was a founder member of the EDL as follows:

"The correspondence from Raymond Berry that has today come to light is shocking. We are calling on the organisers to withdraw and make way for Pride London to run this event jointly with Rainbow Hamlets, the umbrella for the diverse local LGBT community. This will enable East End Gay Pride to become truly representative of LGBT life in the East End, and in particular enable LGBT Muslim groups to participate.

Mr Berry is by his own admission a founder of the EDL, and is associated with campaigns such as Stop the Islamification of Europe. We have already seen postings on Facebook by his co-organiser David Byatt that the EDL support this event and the open recruitment of the far right to the event. Based on the new evidence we cannot accept the ‘explanation’ that Mr Byatt was simply naive and ill informed when he made these postings, nor can we ignore the possibility that this is an attempt to dupe the LGBT community on a grand scale.

We believe that they have cynically spread misinformation about local life and manipulated concerns about the ‘gay-free zone stickers’ to suit an extremist agenda that promotes hostility and prejudice between communities. We cannot endorse a Pride event, or any other community initiative, led by a person with these credentials.


If the organisers will not make way, Pride London, all politicians and other organisations should withdraw support from this event.”

PRESS RELEASE FROM IMAAN REGUARDING ‘EAST END GAY PRIDE’

imaan banner

 New, hard evidence emerges, proving EDL and other right wing, anti-Muslim allegiances amongst the organisers of East End Gay Pride, 2 April 2011 Imaan, Europe’s largest support group for LGBTQI Muslims calls for removal of the organisers and for the event to be delivered by Pride London and local communities. We have been following with careful interest the unfolding issues centred on the appearance, in the East End of London, of posters or stickers carrying de-contextualised quotes from the Qur’an with text and a logo calling for a “Gay Free Zone”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12526820 We stand united with Muslim organisations, including the East London Mosque and the Association of British Muslims and with secular LGBT and non-LGBT community activists who have unanimously and unequivocally condemned the actions of whomever placed these stickers in our communities for the purpose of seeding fear and division.

Imaan understands better than most, the problems of homophobia within Muslim communities and has been working inside our communities since 1998 to address homophobia and its causes. We condemn unreservedly any and all acts of homophobia committed by Muslims or by any other sector of our society. We join the call for a fully inclusive and community-led demonstration of unity in the face of these homophobic crimes. An event along the lines of a fully community-inclusive local Gay Pride event would be one such welcome response. As the leading organisation working for the rights and support of LGBT Muslims, we have worked alongside local LGBT and interfaith organisations to try to engage with the organisers of what has become known as “East End Gay Pride”, to try to open dialogue with a view to securing a fully inclusive show of unity. http://www.eastendgaypride.com/Home.html The organisers have not been willing to address community concerns during the course of several meetings and have declared themselves unconcerned with the views of local organisations who have worked tirelessly for community engagement and unity over many years.

A “Pride” event is nothing if not political: a supreme demonstration of communities coming together to celebrate their diversity and often in the face of negativity from the fringes of those communities. In that regard a “Pride” event must always confront prejudice and show those who hold prejudices that they are at the edges of society, standing increasingly alone. That is why the full participation of the rest of any community is essential. That is why the motivation behind a Pride event is its most essential attribute. There has been concern that the organisers of this event have associations and sympathies with right wing anti-Muslim extremists, the EDL. That concern is laid out perfectly clearly at: http://lattelabour.blogspot.com/2011/03/east-end-gay-pride-update.html We have not regarded this as “proof” but rather as grounds for serious concern.

We have asked the organisers to explain these details and to condemn, explicitly, the EDL and other right wing extremists and islamophobic philosophies. They have failed to do so. We have now acquired evidence that Raymond Berry, the principal organiser of the event, faced a call for disciplinary measures (revocation of his membership) by officials of the RMT (Rail and Maritime Trades Union) because he was a public and vocal, leading member of the EDL (English Defence League) and promoted the EDL objectives and extremist politics. In correspondence, in September 2010, with union officials, Mr. Berry claimed – in his own words – the following: * That he was a founder member of the English Defence League, but had decided to cease his involvement following disagreements over changes in the EDL leadership. * That in spite of this, he continued to hold firm beliefs with regard to Sharia law and the Islamification of Britain. * That he remained an active member “of such organisations as” S.I.O.E. (Stop the Islamification of Europe) and N.S.B. (No Sharia in Britain) * That he was working, with other disaffected members of the EDL to start new groups with similar objectives.

In October 2010, Mr Berry continued his correspondence with union officials making new assertions, some contradictory to his position in September: * That he would not voluntarily cancel his RMT membership on the grounds of his EDL membership * That he saw no reason why he should not hold membership of the RMT and of the EDL, in spite of his disagreement with some aspects of RMT politics – i.e. that he found the RMT to be more controversial than the EDL. So we now understand that as of October 2010, Mr. Berry – a founder of the EDL – remained connected with the EDL and unrepentant. Indeed, he desires to start other groups with similar right-wing, anti-Muslim objectives as well as retaining active associations with existing right-wing, anti-Muslim groups (such as S.I.O.E.) In light of all the evidence of Mr. Berry’s political involvements, the apparent associations of some of the other organisers and their collective contempt for our communities we can do nothing but conclude that their calling for “East End Gay Pride” is motivated primarily by their political desires to build groups and alliances founded on their anti-Muslim and anti-Islam bigotry and that East End Gay Pride is – in his terms – just a furtherance of Mr. Berry’s stated aims to create anti-Muslim political movements.

Imaan continues to believe that a truly inclusive community-led Pride March would be one of the best responses to these homophobic crimes. We call, as a minimum response, for Mr. Berry and the other organisers of the 2 April event to stand aside from East End Gay Pride and to remove themselves from any further publicity before and after the event, thereby freeing the LGBT and other communities from the taint of Mr. Berry’s political views and associations. We call on the board of Pride London to take over the organisation of East End Gay Pride and to deliver a successful, politically safe and community-engaged event on 2 April or another appropriate date, using the tried and tested Gay Pride principals of community cohesion and celebration of our diversity. If this cannot be achieved, if the integrity of the event cannot be salvaged, we call for all right-minded people to boycott the event; to show Mr. Berry that there is no place within LGBT Society for his brand of prejudice and fear-mongering – however much he might try to dress it in the outward appearance of an authentic community campaign such as Pride. Tawseef Khan, Chairperson of Imaan said “There is no place in Islam for homophobic acts or crimes, as there is no place within our LGBT communities for intolerance of and prejudice against other groups – including against Muslims as a whole. In uniting as a community against these homophobic attacks, we must be vigilant against those who would seek to co-opt or manipulate our actions for other, less honest and constructive purposes.

The evidence of the political motivations of Raymond Berry, and his colleagues, cast a dark shadow on East End Gay Pride that can only be resolved by their removal from the event and for Pride to be restored to our communities, where it belongs.” NOTES FOR

EDITORS: Imaan has been given email exchanges between Raymond Berry and RMT officials, in which Mr. Berry makes the statements we have referred to. The source of the emails is firmly on the record and will stand by the correspondence, and its publication, if Mr. Berry should seek to deny the claims. The emails forms a part of a dossier of evidence of right wing and fascistic associations amongst the organisers, which has been painstakingly collected by Imaan and other concerned community groups and will be part of a complete community publication expected to be ready for release on Thursday March 17. Stop the Islamisation of Europe is a group, which has as its byline “Racism is the lowest form of stupidity! Islamophobia is the height of common sense!” And a lead article at its website - http://sioeengland.wordpress.com/ - titled “The Trinity of Evil: Diversity, Political Correctness, Multiculturalism.” Imaan has not, yet, been able to identify positively a group called “No Sharia in Britain” Further details on Imaan can be found at www.imaan.org.uk All press enquiries should be directed by email to Tawseef Khan: tawseef@imaan.org.uk or by calling 020 3393 5188 and leaving voicemail. We regret it is not possible to offer instant telephone contact in view of the unfunded and unsupported status of Imaan. Email and voicemail will be monitored and answered as quickly as possible. Imaan has supported LGBTQI Muslim people, their families and friends, to explore issues of sexual orientation within Islam since 1998. It provides a safe space and support network to share individual experiences and institutional resources. Imaan is the largest network for Muslim LGBTQI people in Europe. Imaan promotes Islamic values of peace, social justice and tolerance in its work to build a world that is free from prejudice and discrimination against Muslims and LGBTQI people. Imaan is an independent organisation run by volunteers and without external funding.

In addition to international conferences, Imaan holds monthly meetings, provides a free, dedicated counseling service, represents members at asylum tribunal cases and speaks at external conferences.