"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word,
which means more to me than any other.
That word is ENGLAND." - Sir Winston Churchill
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Islamic preacher Abdur Raheem Green banned from St James Park by Newcastle United
Abdur Raheem Green has been asked to withdraw from speaking at event Against Racism, Against Hatred held at St James' Park
An Islamic preacher has been banned from St James’ Park following concerns from the local community over his appearance at a conference.
Abdur Raheem Green, who has previously been barred from Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium, has been asked by Newcastle United not to attend the North East Islamic Diversity Centre’s event Against Racism, Against Hatred this Thursday.
Labour peer Lord Jeremy Beecham was due to speak at the event but has withdrawn, while Newcastle based Rabbi Aaron Lipsey said ‘more thought’ should have been put into the speakers.
Muslim convert Abdur Raheem Green is known for preaching at Hyde Park corner in London. He is also chair of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) which is continuing to be investigated by the Charities Commission over its governance, organising events and inviting external speakers.
However after concern from the local community, including local Jewish people, Newcastle United said they had asked him not to attend.
Emirates Stadium barred him from attending a conference there in 2012 after fans complained.
Event organiser Abu-Tayeb, of the North East Islamic Diversity Centre, said it would be a ‘great shame’ that Abdur Raheem Green would not be heard as he would have clarified statements made 27 years earlier which had caused offence. He said the event had been organised to tackle both Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism following the attack on a Jewish man in Gateshead last summer and the aim was to ‘remove misconceptions’ and ‘share that Islam does not promote anti-semitism in anyway’.
A Newcastle United club spokesperson said: “Following concerns in the local community ahead of a privately booked event at the stadium on Thursday, we have made enquiries with the event organisers and have requested that a scheduled guest speaker is withdrawn with immediate effect and does not attend.
“Newcastle United is committed to championing inclusivity and equality in football and across wider society and we will continue to work closely with anti-discrimination groups, supporters and stakeholders to uphold community values.”
Abdur Raheem Green had been billed as an ‘international speaker’ by organisers and would have shared a panel with Grace Dunne from the Anne Frank Trust, Laura Pidcock of Show Racism the Red Card, Bradford District Councillor Alyas Karmani and Abdul Basit from Newcastle Central Mosque.
However the club’s events team were called by at least one member of the Jewish community objecting to him speaking at St James’ Park.
Rabbi Lipsey, Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation in Newcastle, said he had never intended on going to the lecture due to other commitments but that he would be ‘uncomfortable’ to share a platform with Abdur Raheem Green.
He said: “He has made comments, none of which sits comfortably with any sort of liberal democracy.
“The aim of the conference is laudable - it’s clearly something that they want to address and Islamaphobia is a pressing concern for all of our communities and it’s a great thing to do to bring people together but obviously Abdur Raheem Green may not be the best person to present that to the wider community.”
Abu-Tayeb, of the North East Islamic Centre, said: “It’s a real shame that freedom of speech has been inhibited in that way. What was intended was a positive, strong message to reach out to as many people as possible that’s why we have such a diverse panel of Muslims and non-Muslims. He was going to give clarification on a statement 27 years ago.”