Pro-Israel, pro-LGBT activist Elizabeth Arif-Fear is employed by Islamic Relief

5Pillars understands that the pro-Israel, pro-LGBT activist Elizabeth Arif-Fear has been employed by Islamic Relief for several years as a copywriter and editor.

Over the last few years Arif-Fear has regularly posted pro-Israel and pro-LGBT content on her various platforms.

Islamic Relief has defended her right to express her private views on her own social media accounts as long as it is clear they are not the views of her employer.

On Israel/Palestine Arif-Fear says she supports a two-state solution with peace, safety and security for both Israelis and Palestinians and stands against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate.

But contrary to mainstream Muslim opinion, she has also expressed support for Israel, including posting an image of the Israeli flag on her Twitter feed with a hashtag which expresses support for Israel, #AmYisraelChai.

She has also said she struggles “to understand Jews who are anti-Zionist,” and that “If Israel had existed earlier we’d maybe have been able to save more lives. A Jewish home is needed. It’s a home with Arab Israelis too, druze, bahai, Roma, many ppl. Its open to all who come in peace and shared values.”

Arif-Fear has also written articles for Israeli newspapers and praised Arab nations which have made peace with Israel.

Sign up for regular updates straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!

Also contrary to mainstream Muslim scholarship and opinion, she believes that homosexuality is compatible with Islam.

Writing on her blog in 2019 in an article entitled: “Allah loves equality – It’s time to stand up as LGBTQI+ allies,” she said: “Whatever our sexuality, gender and faith identity (including those who have no faith), we must support our Muslim peers. It’s our duty to recognise, accept and help carve a healthy inclusive space for queer Muslims – one free from false dichotomies which (attempt to) force people to choose between their faith and sexuality…

“Shouting: ‘Allah loves lesbians!’, ‘Allah loves equality!’ and ‘Allah loves queers!, we were declaring that we don’t merely stand against exclusion and hate, but that we believe wholeheartedly that queer Muslims aren’t ‘haram’. Queer Muslims need to be accepted, celebrated and supported in every way possible and our message was loud and clear: LGBTQI+ Muslims are just as ‘Muslim’ as their cis and heterosexual peers and they’re not going anywhere!”

Arif-Fear has also accused 5Pillars editor Roshan Muhammed Salih of being a racist and an anti-semite despite the fact that he has never made any racist or anti-semitic comments.

5Pillars contacted Arif-Fear for comment but she blocked us on Twitter before accusing us of harassing a woman. She has since made her Twitter account private.

But since the publication of this article she issued the following statement:

“Any current articles being published about myself have been done so without my consultation or agreement. These articles are being published because I have stood against antisemitism, in accordance with the IHRA definition of antisemitism and homophobia.

“As an activist, I remain fully committed to IHRA definition of antisemitism which states Israel has a right to exist, as well as a two state peace solution with Palestine.

“I have become close to my local Jewish community, which has embraced me with open arms and accepted me as a member. I would like to thank them for their continued support. The Jewish community has been repeatedly affected by antisemitism and I will always stand with them against hate.

“I am fully committed to the LGBT+ community’s right to live without fear of persecution. I believe in the human right to love and dignity. The LGBT+ community are equal to everyone else and I stand with my LGBT+siblings, I proudly support same-sex marriage and the right for LGBT+ people to live in freedom and with acceptance.

“This is the immutable truth: all people are equal and should be treated with dignity. I will forever stand against hate in all its forms, wherever and whenever it may present itself.”

We also asked Islamic Relief if Arif-Fear was an employee of the organisation and, if so, how they could justify employing an individual with views that would shock many Muslims.

Islamic Relief responded: “In compliance with GDPR requirements, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) does not comment on whether someone is or isn’t employed by us.

“Islamic Relief wishes to make it clear that we respect the right of non-public staff to use their own personal social media accounts to express their personal views. We understand that some staff will express political, social or religious beliefs that do not necessarily reflect the views of IRW as an organisation. We do not prevent individuals from expressing such thoughts and beliefs online on personal platforms as long as it is clear they are not the views of their employer and IR always ensures that such views do not influence the stance and direction of the organisation.

“If a staff member says anything that brings the organisation into disrepute, however, or if comments are made that are illegal or highly offensive, we take such posts extremely seriously. When concerns about content of this nature are highlighted, we investigate the matter in accordance with our policies and code of conduct with a view to taking any remedial action that is appropriate.

“Islamic Relief is a purely humanitarian organisation with no political affiliations. We work to uphold the highest humanitarian standards of neutrality, impartiality and independence, employing and assisting people of all faiths and none; without discrimination by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

Despite Islamic Relief’s refusal to confirm whether Arif-Fear is an employee, 5Pillars has confirmed with two reliable sources that she does indeed work for the charity.

Sources have also told us that when she joined the organisation she did not necessarily hold the same views as she does today. She also does not publicise the fact that she works for Islamic Relief on any of her public platforms.

5Pillars also spoke to an employment expert who told us that Islamic Relief may find themselves in a difficult position because they will not want to appear to take any action against Arif-Fear which could be perceived as discriminatory.

However, the expert told us that charity employees should not really be expressing strident political opinions given that they have humanitarian rather than political goals.

He added that Arif-Fear’s views may also be causing Islamic Relief “reputational damage” in that they work in Palestine and they solicit donations from the Muslim community.

This latest controversy comes a few weeks after a member of Islamic Relief’s Board of Trustees resigned after The Times uncovered antisemitic social media posts he had made.

In Facebook posts published in 2014 and 2015, Heshmat Khalifa labelled Israeli authorities as “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs.” He also called Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a “pimp son of the Jews.”

Mr Khalifa told The Times that he was sorry for publishing the posts and regretted the “language and sentiments expressed,” which were unacceptable. He said that his comments were “my expressions of frustration with the political regime, rather than beliefs that I hold.”

He said: “I did not intend to insult the Jewish community and neither do I hold views which are antisemitic. I have dedicated much of my life’s work to promoting tolerance and freedom of religion and beliefs.”

Add your comments below

Previous articleCAGE calls on HTS to release Bilal Abdul Kareem and Tauqir Sharif
Next articleAbdullah al-Faisal extradited to face terror-related charges in U.S.