London Central Mosque has denied that it cancelled an event with the pro-Israel Board of Deputies of British Jews and says it will hold it at a later date.
Eyebrows were raised last week when the Board of Deputies, a proudly Zionist organisation, announced that it would no longer be holding an event on January 30 at the mosque called “A Warning for Humanity,” which was due to focus on the dire situation of the Uyghur Muslims in China.
The cancellation came after a letter of complaint was sent to London Central Mosque by several British Muslim institutions which said that the Board actively supports the Israeli government that is involved in human rights abuses, colonisation, apartheid policies and disregard for UN Resolutions.
But in an email to media organisations seen by 5Pillars, the mosque (also known as Regent’s Park Mosque) said its media department had not even received the letter. The mosque said: “We have not cancelled the event but postponed it to a later date and also talked to the Board of Deputies about supporting a similar event on Islamophobia and Antisemitism.”
It said there were a number of reasons for cancelling the event. “We are a very active community centre and have many events on a weekly/daily basis and could not accommodate this event on that date.”
The mosque added: “The Centre has worked tirelessly to represent the wider Muslim community and engage with all community stakeholders to develop a stronger and more cohesive society. Any form of hate to any member of the community no matter what religion or creed is a crime against the whole of humanity.”
However, despite London Central Mosque’s statement 5Pillars has confirmed that the letter of complaint was indeed sent. Sources have also confirmed that the mosque initially cancelled the event due to “internal and external pressure.”
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London Central Mosque has a long history of engaging with pro-Israel organisations. Its construction was funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both of whom have a policy of engaging with Israel at a low-profile level. It is run by the Saudi diplomat Ahmad Dubayan.
The Board of Deputies tweeted last week that the Uyghur meeting would now take place on the same date at the House of Commons. There was no mention of London Central Mosque in the tweet although the mosque says it is still considering attending.
The World Uyghur Congress is also due to participate in the event as well as the government’s adviser on Islamophobia, Qari Asim.
Meanwhile, MPACUK has launched a campaign to stop Qari Asim from attending the event.
“The BoD (Board of Deputies) been at the forefront of campaigning to stop the showcasing of a pro-Palestinian film, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) events across 30 Universities in the UK, and has put pressure on Universities, such as UCL, to take disciplinary action against students protesting against Israel,” MAPCUK said.
“Their senior members have been seen sharing platforms with the extreme, right-wing Zionist group, Jewish Defence League and share their public anti-BDS stance.
“Discussing the oppression of Uyghur Muslims is extremely important but why does Imam Qari Asim have to share a platform with, and give legitimacy to, a pro-Israel organisation like the BoD, that legitimises the oppression of Palestinians? Does he support the propaganda and work of the Board of Deputies?”
Qari Asim has not commented on the campaign so far.