iERA

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Not to be confused with the Islamic Research and Educational Academy: Australia
Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)
iERA logo
Founded 2008
Registration no. 1134566 (charity)
06941044 (company)
Focus education, research, Dawah
Location
Revenue
£795,691 (2011)
£882,810 (2012)
£817,582 (2013)
£711,179 (2014)
£657,892 (2015)[1]
Employees
6[2]
Volunteers
35[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 Anthony ("Abdur Raheem") Green[5] in 2009 for proselytizing Islam. The iERA has been characterised as a hate group by some anti-religious organisations and pundits.[6][7][8][9][10] iERA has denied these accusations.[11]

Management[edit]

iERA is registered as a charity in the UK.[2] In addition, the charity was incorporated as a company on 23 June 2009. The charity is a company limited by guarantee. It has no share capital.[12][13] (There was also a private limited company called "Islamic Education and Research Academy Ltd" ran by the same people who run iERA, which was registered as a company on 23 December 2008 as company number 06778858, and dissolved on 24 September 2013.)[14]

In the year ending 30 June 2015, the charity's income and expenditure were as follows:[2]

  • Income: £657,892, made up of:
    • Voluntary: £637.8k
    • Charitable activities: £20.0k
  • Spending: £634,946, made up of:
    • Generating voluntary income: £140.2k
    • Charitable activities: £463.7k
    • Governance £31.0k

Board of trustees[edit]

As a UK charity, iERA has registered trustees. The trustees in the period 2010 to 2016 were:

The board of trustees oversee the running of the charity. They are not paid for their work as trustees (though did receive travel and subsistence expenses). The trustees are also directors of iERA for the purpose of company law. The charity pays staff and consultants to do the work of the charity. The charity has paid for the professional services of three of the trustees, and of the sister of one of the trustees.[13]

Advisory board members[edit]

Former advisory board members are said to have included: Zakir Naik, Hussein Yee, Abdullah Hakim Quick, Haitham Al-Haddad, and Bilal Philips.[21]

  • Zakir Naik was at one time an advisor to the iERA.[22] Zakir Naik has publicly said that all Muslims should be terrorists and was banned from both Canada and the United Kingdom for his inflammatory comments.[23] His speeches were also posted to the YouTube channel The Merciful Servant which Tamerlan Tsarnaev followed in the months before the Boston Marathon bombing.[24] He has also been the subject of a fatwa that argues his teachings are un-Islamic and contradict the Koran.[25]
  • Bilal Philips is or was an advisor to iERA.[22] He has been banned or deported from Kenya,[26] Germany,[27] America, Australia,[28] and Britain.[29] He was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[28]

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.[30]

In September 2012 iERA wrote a lengthy critique challenging writer 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".[31][32]

iERA projects its message in two main ways. One is by acting as a proactive organization, facilitating missionary activities to promote Islam. The other is by serving as an aggregating organization which coordinates and pays its affiliate preachers. iERA does not have a stated constitution, but the core group, and affiliates that it aggregates, all tend to have ideas centered on the beliefs of Islamist organizations and hate groups such as Hizb ut Tahrir and of Wahaabi and Salafi Islam as a whole.[22]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

Seating arrangements at UCL[edit]

iERA, under its platform The Big Debates, organised a debate on 9 March 2013 in a room iERA hired at University College London (UCL) between Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Andreas Tzortzis entitled "Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?". IERA’s original intentions were to segregate the audience by gender.[33] This was directly contrary to UCL policy, and UCL required the organisers to make it explicit to attendees that seating arrangements were optional, and guests were welcome to sit wherever they felt comfortable.[33] However, UCL was notified by some individuals that attempts were made to enforce segregation at the meeting.[33] 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".[34]

iERA has been banned from holding events at UCL, which concluded that iERA: "had attempted to enforce segregation at the debate on 9 March" 2013.[35][36] 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".[35] 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".[33][35]

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."[37]

Charities Commission investigation[edit]

In 2014, the Charity Commission started investigating the IERA over a number of “regulatory issues” surrounding its policies for organising events and inviting external speakers.[38] The Telegraph wrote 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".[5]

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][39][40] iERA has posted a response to the report arguing it is: "filled with spin and statements deliberately taken out of context, it is designed to sensationalise and misrepresent."[40][41]

"Portsmouth jihadis"[edit]

On 30 November 2014, the The Daily Telegraph reported that the iERA was: "closely linked to a number of the 'Portsmouth jihadis', who were 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'".[42] iERA responded that anyone could obtain those T-shirts as part of its campaigns.[41] In addition iERA later wrote an open letter to the editor challenging the report, saying that Andrew Gilligan, the Daily Telegraph reporter, quoted its speakers out of context and was: "fuelling an atmosphere of hate and fear of Muslims".[11]

Speaker bans[edit]

In 2012 Green was barred from speaking at the Emirates Stadium following community concern and, in 2015, "after concern from the local community, including local Jewish people", he was banned from St. James's Park.[43][44]

Controversial leaders and speakers[edit]

Hamza Tzortzis[edit]

Hamza Tzortzis was chairman of the launch event of iERA.[45] Tzortzis was a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain.[45][46][47]The Telegraph says that Tzortzis "has called for an Islamic state, expressed his hostility towards Western values and stated that: 'We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom.' He is a former researcher for the hardline Hittin Institute and chaired the launch event of iERA, an umbrella organisation hosting many well-known British Muslim extremists who preach opposition to democracy and hatred against homosexuals and Jews."[45] Noting that Keele University had cancelled a speech by Tzortzis, in 2016 the Stoke Sentinel called him a "radical Islamic speaker ... a former member of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir which believes in the idea of an Islamic state ... who supports Sharia law ... [and has] also been linked to controversial comments on homosexuality and a series of other issues."[48] According to Metro, Tzortzis has "claimed that those who leave the Islamic faith 'should be killed.'"[49]

Affiliations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), financial history". Charity Commission. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), charity overview". Charity Commission. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  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; 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. ^ a b Saqib Sattar, Vice-Chairman, iERA. "Define Extremism: An Open Letter to the Editor of the Telegraph". iERA. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Companies House, Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), company number 06941044, Overview.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) Financial Statements, 30 June 2015, Charity Number 1134566, received 10 March 2016.
  14. ^ Companies House, Islamic Education and Research Academy Ltd, company number 06778858, Overview.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) Financial Statements, 30 June 2011, Charity Number 1134566, received 7 December 2012.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) Financial Statements, 30 June 2012, Charity Number 1134566, received 29 April 2013.
  17. ^ a b c d e Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) Financial Statements, 30 June 2013, Charity Number 1134566, received 30 April 2014.
  18. ^ a b c d e Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) Financial Statements, 30 June 2014, Charity Number 1134566, received 14 April 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d Charity Commission, Charity 1134566 Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), Trustees
  20. ^ a b Stand For Peace, Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), 18 February 2014.
  21. ^ Westrop, Samuel (18 May 2015). "Legitimizing the Groups that Hate You". Gatestone Institute. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  22. ^ a b c "Evangelising Hate: Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)" (PDF). Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. May 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926038-1-6. Retrieved 30 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Home secretary Theresa May bans radical preacher Zakir Naik from entering UK". Telegraph.co.uk. 18 June 2010. 
  24. ^ David Churchill. "Boston bombing suspect signed up to Islington Muslim YouTube channel". Islington Gazette. 
  25. ^ "Storm over 'fatwa' against scholar Zakir Naik". dna. 7 November 2008. 
  26. ^ Stewart Bell (24 February 2012). "Controversial Canadian Muslim preacher Bilal Philips deported from Kenya over security concerns: report". National Post. 
  27. ^ "Islamist preacher ordered to leave Germany". thelocal.de. 
  28. ^ a b "Exclusive: Interview with Dr Bilal Philips". austrolabe.com. 
  29. ^ "Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)". Stand for Peace. 
  30. ^ Haroon Siddique. "Three-quarters of non-Muslims believe Islam negative for Britain". the Guardian. 
  31. ^ "BBC News - Channel 4's Islam film sparks row". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Ben Quinn. "Islam TV show triggers deluge of Ofcom complaints". the Guardian. 
  33. ^ a b c d "IERA event at UCL on 9 March". ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  34. ^ "Segregated Seating Row At UCL Debate Between Islam And Atheism". huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  35. ^ a b c Batty, David. "UCL bans Islamic group from campus in row over segregated seating". Guardian. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "University College London bans Islamic group iERA for segregating men and women at debate |". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  37. ^ iERA | Universities UK Report Vindicates iERA Policies - iERA, iera.org, retrieved 6 November 2014 
  38. ^ David Churchill. "London university bans preacher who calls homosexuality a 'filthy' disease". Evening Standard, 24 Nov 2014. Retrieved 24 Nov 2014. 
  39. ^ "New Report: Evangelising Hate – Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA)". Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, 19 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  40. ^ a b Sam Burne James. "Islamic charity rejects report labelling it as a 'hate group'". Third Sector, 27 May 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  41. ^ a b "Press Release: iERA Responds to Anti-Religion Extremists". iERA, 21 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  42. ^ Andrew Gilligan. "'Terror link' Charities get British Millions in Gift Aid". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 December 2014. [unreliable source?]
  43. ^ Proctor, Kate (20 May 2015). "Islamic preacher Abdur Raheem Green banned from St James Park by Newcastle United". Chronicle live. Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  44. ^ Andrew Gilligan (18 Jul 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn, friend to Hamas, Iran and extremists". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 August 2016. [unreliable source?]
  45. ^ a b c Andrew Gilligan. "Speaker with extremist links to address Detroit bomber's former student group". The Telegraph, 18 January 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2016. [unreliable source?]
  46. ^ "Hamza Tzortzis and new generation of extremists preaching at British universities - News - The Week UK". The Week UK. 
  47. ^ "Cornered and bleeding heavily, he opened fire on the FBI - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. 
  48. ^ Kathie McInnes. "Keele University cancels visit from radical Islamic speaker Hamza Tzortzis". The Sentinel, 1 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  49. ^ Nicholas Reilly. "Islamic preacher 'named' on the leaked list of Ashley Madison members". Metro, 23 August 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 

External links[edit]