Press Release: iERA Responds to Anti-Religion Extremists
For immediate release:
iERA Responds to Fraudulent Document Written by Anti-Religion Extremists
21st May, 2014
London, UK – It is with a sad sense of amusement that the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) finds itself subject to a self-serving and self-styled “report” from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB). The report entitled “Evangelising Hate: Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)” targets iERA as part of its anti-Muslim and anti-religious rhetoric. Filled with spin and statements deliberately taken out of context, it is designed to sensationalise and misrepresent a charitable organisation whose aim is to reduce misconceptions and fears among the British public about the religion of Islam practised by almost a quarter of the world’s population.
The document makes some very serious yet laughable blunders thereby destroying its own credibility. For instance, it claims that Hamza Tzortzis is a co-founder of the charity when he is but a senior researcher and lecturer, it falsely attempts to link Ifthekar Jaman to iERA just because he wore one of iERA’s T-Shirts (which anyone is free to do, even Maryam Namazie) and it unscrupulously cites Hassan Farooq as a “senior member” of iERA when he has no affiliation to the organisation. The document quotes out of context, outdated or clarified statements from iERA speakers1 whilst at the same time trying to link other individuals who are not at all connected with the charity.
CEMB’s accusations are outdated and blatantly false as iERA have rolled out a policy and procedure on extremism in line with the Charity Commission’s recommendations, a copy of which is available on request.
The document adopts a selective “trial-by-google” methodology. If the authors had been sincere and nuanced in their approach they would have been able to access readily-available clarifications and responses to the statements they have blindly taken from other websites. In this light, the conclusion that its authors have bigoted views about Islam and mainstream Islamic speakers is hard to ignore. A sincere reader will appreciate the unethical spin and misrepresentation presented throughout the document. This is exacerbated by the fact that not once have CEMB contacted iERA to ask for clarification or to enter into a positive discussion about their fears and suspicions. This clearly exposes the fact that they do not want to understand the truth behind their accusations and it reveals an agenda to destroy the great work of iERA. This is not surprising, as iERA have spent hours detoxifying CEMB members and its rhetoric. iERA has had direct experience of the impact of the negativity, distortions and hatred espoused by the group. Many of its previous supporters and members have come to iERA to seeking assistance to remove the poison and falsehood the group infects its supporters and members with.
What the document fails to recognise is the tremendous amount of community work that iERA embraces as part of its core ethos. All of our staff and volunteers are involved in a range of outreach efforts including tackling homelessness, working in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), promoting the work of AgeUK, active support of anti-domestic violence campaign groups and many other community cohesion activities. Some of our staff and trustees including Abdurraheem Green have in fact been bestowed with international awards for their positive contribution to humanity.2
iERA is dedicated to open and frank discussions on philosophy, religion and humanity – indicative of the fact that it has recently received a public written endorsement for one its speakers by a distinguished academic – and would like to extend a cordial invitation to the CEMB to have a roundtable discussion where they can air their concerns and issues about the religion of Islam and our work specifically.
1 An example of clarification by iERA speakers can be found here www.hamzatzortzis.com/clarifications-and-responses/
2 Further details of our community activities can be found here www.iera.org/community.
iERA is an international organisation committed to educating and informing humanity about, and inviting to, the truth and noble message of Islam.
For further enquiries please contact:
Saleem Chagtai, Head of Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0) 7947 511605