Reformist Muslim conference to take place in London with Zionists, LGBTQ and ex-Muslims

A reformist Muslim conference is to take place in London this month featuring Zionists, ex-Muslims, secularists, pro-army, radical feminists and pro-LGBTQ speakers.

The British Islam conference will take place on February 23/24 and is being organised by New Horizons in British Islam.

In 2016, the Aziz Foundation awarded a grant to the British Islam Conference.

The conference says it will encourage the “development of British Muslim thought, identity and culture… by promoting an open, inclusive and forward-looking arena for debate, discussion and sharing of ideas that are rooted in the British context.”

“Female imam” Sherin Khankan

Although the organisers say speakers do not represent the views of New Horizons in British Islam, among those who will address the audience are:

Sherin Khankan who runs the Mariam Mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark, where female imamas conduct the Friday prayer. The Mariam Mosque says it works to challenge patriarchal structures in the leadership of religious worship and education, and to challenge men’s monopoly on the interpretation of the Quran.

Rabia Mirza is the Director of Media, Engagement and Lobbying for British Muslims for Secular Democracy. She believes young Muslims need to reclaim secularism now more than ever.

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Andrew Dalton is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sunderland. He is an LGBTQI+ rights campaigner. He will discuss the history, development and work of Hidayah, a nationwide organisation for LGBTQI+ Muslims in the UK.

Gay rights activist Andrew Dalton

Sadia Hameed is the spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB). Her profile on the conference website says she is determined to end harmful traditional practices in the struggle for equality for all. It adds that she not only challenges community members, but also those from outside the community who remain silent about harmful traditional and religious practices.

Imam Asim Hafiz is the Islamic Religious Adviser to the Chief of the Defence Staff at the UK Ministry of Defence, and the first Muslim chaplain to the British Armed Forces. In 2012, he spent eight months in Afghanistan as part of the NATO occupation force.

Hafiz founded the Armed Forces Muslim Association and the Armed Forces Muslim Forum to improve mutual understanding between British Muslim communities and the armed forces.

Dr Usama Hasan is the Head of Islamic Studies at the controversial Quilliam International organisation in London.

And Laura Marks is the Zionist founder of Mitzvah Day and was previously Vice President of the pro-Israel Board of Deputies of British Jews. She is also co-chair of the Nisa-Nashim Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network.

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