Ban ‘gay hate’ extremist preachers, East London Mosque is urged

Gay rights campaigners have called on the East London Mosque to ban homophobic speakers at public meetings on its premises.

They have sent an open letter signed by 12 activists which lists anti-gay Muslim clerics who have been hosted by the mosque, including Abdul Hattin with his ‘spot the fag’ jibe in 2007 and Abdullah Hakim Quick who is on record calling for the death penalty for homosexuals.

The demand follows last week’s conviction of a Muslim youth who plastered ‘gay hate’ stickers across London’s East End.

Mohammed Hasnath, at 18-year-old from Blair street in Poplar, was fined just �100 by Westminster magistrates for public disorder. He admitted putting up stickers at Bow Church DLR station, a bus-stop in Whitechapel, on a 25 bus and outside the Royal London Hospital in February, quoting the Koran and declaring a ‘gay free zone.’

The letter to the mosque claims he was part of a wider campaign to intimidate gays. It talks of homophobia being “covered up or ignored in order not to endanger community relations.”

The problem was the law treating a “coordinated anti-gay intimidation campaign as nothing more serious than illicit flyposting or spitting in the street.”

One of the 12 activists signing the letter was Time Out’s gay rights editor Paul Burston, who told the East London Advertiser tonight: “Lawyers tell us the charge should have been under another section of the Public Order Act and treated as intimidation and hate. Instead it was just ‘a minor street offence’.”

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The stickers exposed a wider issue of Islamic extremists the activists say are being allowed to peddle their views through the East London Mosque. They are demanding that it took ownership of its platform and stopped allowing it “to be used to promote gay-hate campaigns.”

The mosque says it has no responsibility over those who speak there. But a spokesman assured: “Any speaker believed to have said something homophobic will not be allowed to use our premises, whether we are organising an event or someone else.”

He acknowledged, however, that the �100 fine for putting up ‘hate’ stickers was a mere “slap on the wrist.”

The stickers sparked a ‘love bombing’ move by actress Wendy Richardson who toured the streets with other activists removing them and putting up ‘love’ posters in their place, after spotting one sticker outside her home in Shoreditch.