iERA

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Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)
iERA logo
Founded 2008
Registration no. 1134566
Focus education, research, Dawah
Location
Revenue
£817,582 (2013)[1]
Employees
5[2]
Volunteers
50[2]
Slogan A new era in dawah[3]
Mission Dawah
Website Official website

iERA (Islamic Education and Research Academy) is an Islamic missionary group[4] founded in the United Kingdom by Abdur Raheem Green[5] in 2009 for proselytizing Islam. The iERA has been characterised as a hate group by some secular and rationalist organisations or pundits.[6][7][8][9][10]

Board of trustees[edit]

The board of Trustees consists of:[11]

  • Saqib Sattar
  • Yusuf Chambers
  • Nasser Khan

Activities[edit]

In 2010 iERA commissioned a study (undertaken by DJS Research) on negative perceptions of Islam and found that three-quarters of non-Muslims believe Islam was negative for Britain.[12]

In September 2012 iERA wrote a lengthy critique challenging historian Tom Holland's Channel 4 documentary Islam: The Untold Story that questioned parts of the story of the origins of Islam. The Islamic Education and Research Academy said it was "historically inaccurate" and "clearly biased".[13][14]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

Seating arrangements at UCL[edit]

iERA, under its platform The Big Debates, organised a debate at UCL between Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Andreas Tzortzis entitled "Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?". It was claimed that iERA attempted to separate the seating of women and men in the audience.[15] Krauss was quoted on Twitter as saying that he almost "walked out of IERA debate as it ended up segregated." However, the debate went ahead as planned after seating arrangements were discarded.

Zayd Tutton of the iERA disputed Krauss' account of events. Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, he said: "There were three sections as agreed with UCL prior to the debate. This was agreed clearly with UCL representatives. Muslim women choosing to adhere to orthodox Islamic principles in sitting in their own area had their own section. As for those who wanted to sit together, male or female, they had their own section where they freely mixed and sat together from the beginning." Tutton also said the "three kids" mentioned by Krauss were in fact two men who forcibly tried to sit in the female section.

He said: "When arguing it was about sitting in any area in the auditorium, they were offered an entirely free aisle in the aforementioned Muslim female section, but insisted that they wanted to sit in between the Muslim females, with a view to offending their religious beliefs." [16]

iERA have been banned from holding events at UCL, which concluded that iERA "had attempted to enforce segregation at the debate on 9 March".[17][18] UCL released a statement stating ""We do not allow enforced segregation on any grounds [but] it now appears that, despite our clear instructions, attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting."[17] The statement went on to say "that their interests are contrary to UCL's ethos and that we should not allow any further events involving them to take place on UCL premises."[17]

A report from Universities UK states “concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system”…”if imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully”.[19][citation needed]

Charities Commission investigation[edit]

The Charity Commission is currently investigating the IERA over a number of “regulatory issues” over its policies for organising events and inviting external speakers.[20] The Telegraph speculated that the iERA was being investigated by the Charity Commission "amid allegations that its leaders promote anti-Semitism and have called for homosexuals and female adulterers to be stoned to death." The Telegraph reported that Abdur Raheem Green "has been caught on camera preaching at Hyde Park Corner, calling for a Jewish man to be removed from his sight. 'Why don’t you take the Yahoudi [Jew] over there, far away so his stench doesn’t disturb us?' he can be heard to say."[5][21]

CEMB report[edit]

On May 19, 2014, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) released a 44-page report that contains direct quotes from iERA staff and guest speakers condoning female genital mutilation, the killing of apostates from Islam, the death penalty for homosexuality, and wife beating.[5][22][23] The report is free to download and contains citations for each quote by an iERA member, staff, or affiliate. iERA has posted a response to the report claiming it is "filled with spin and statements deliberately taken out of context, it is designed to sensationalise and misrepresent".[23][24]

"Portsmouth jihadis"[edit]

On 30 November 2014, the Telegraph reported that the iERA was "closely linked to a number of the 'Portsmouth jihadis' - six young men from the Hampshire city who travelled together to fight for Islamic State (ISIL) in Syria." The report called Green an "extremist preacher". It noted that the iERA denied that the Portsmouth group were part of the IERA organisation, but added: "However, Portsmouth Dawah Team members, including Hassan and Jaman, dressed in IERA T-shirts to proseltyse and used IERA banners and literature on their street stall. The group was last year described by Mission Dawah, part of IERA, as 'our team from Portsmouth.'"[25] iERA later wrote an open letter to the editor challenging the report.[26]

Affiliations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Financial history". apps.charitycommission.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Charity overview". apps.charitycommission.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "iERA | Our Work - iERA". iera.org. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "University alert over Muslim missionaries | The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Robert Mendick and Ben Lazarus. "'Anti-Semitic' charity under investigation". The Telegraph, 26 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ex-Muslims call for Islamic education charity to be classified as a "hate group"". National Secular Society. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Namazie, Maryam. "iERA: Islamic far-Right and Hate Group not Charity". Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Al-Razi. "Groups like the iERA should be viewed no differently than the BNP". Left Foot Forward. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Woodward, Edward. "The curious case of iERA and homosexuality". The Rationaliser. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Gamble, Dave. "UK based Hate Group has charitable status for promoting intolerance". Skeptical Science. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ ISLAMIC EDUCATION AND RESEARCH ACADEMY (IERA) FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 30 JUNE 2013, p 1.
  12. ^ Three-quarters of non-Muslims believe Islam negative for Britain | World news | guardian.co.uk
  13. ^ "BBC News - Channel 4's Islam film sparks row". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Islam TV show triggers deluge of Ofcom complaints | World news | The Guardian
  15. ^ ucl "IERA event at UCL on 9 March". ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Segregated Seating Row At UCL Debate Between Islam And Atheism". huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Batty, David. "UCL bans Islamic group from campus in row over segregated seating". Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "University College London bans Islamic group iERA for segregating men and women at debate |". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "iERA | Universities UK Report Vindicates iERA Policies - iERA". iera.org. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  20. ^ David Churchill. "London university bans preacher who calls homosexuality a 'filthy' disease". Evening Standard, 24 Nov 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov 2014. 
  21. ^ "Investigation launched into educational charity". Charity Commission, 8 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)". Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, 19 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Sam Burne James. "Islamic charity rejects report labelling it as a 'hate group'". Third Sector, 27 May 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Press Release: iERA Responds to Anti-Religion Extremists". iERA, 21 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Andrew Gilligan. "'Terror link’ Charities get British Millions in Gift Aid". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  26. ^ Saqib Sattar, Vice-Chairman, iERA. "Define Extremism: An Open Letter to the Editor of the Telegraph". iERA. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 

External links[edit]