In recent days, the Greenwich Islamic Centre (GIC) has faced accusations of promoting hate, discrimination, and antisemitic speech. The GIC categorically denies these allegations, asserting there is no foundation for such claims. A thorough investigation of the sermon given by Imam Muhammad Abdullah Shakir on October 20, 2023, including an interview with the Imam and an examination of the translated supplications, revealed no evidence supporting these allegations. The Imam neither discussed nor mentioned Jews in Greenwich, the UK, or elsewhere, nor did he utter any remarks that could be interpreted as hate speech or discriminatory against Jews.
The supplications were directed at those who position themselves as adversaries of Muslims, specifically referencing those who have unjustly seized and occupied lands, aligning with the UK government’s stance and UN security resolutions.
Additionally, the GIC:
- Reaffirms its support for the oppressed Palestinian people facing severe violence, indiscriminate bombing, and significant loss of life and property.
- Joins calls for an immediate halt to Israeli military actions and urges the opening of channels for humanitarian and essential supplies to Gaza.
- Is committed to promoting education, dialogue, and critical examination of complex issues.
- Upholds the importance of free speech and open debate as pillars of a democratic society, mindful of the broader community’s well-being.
- Draws a clear line between the State of Israel, Zionism, and Judaism, echoing prominent UK and international voices in stating that criticism of Israel should not be conflated with antisemitism.
The GIC Board of Trustees concludes with a statement: “At the Greenwich Islamic Centre, we continue to uphold the significance of interfaith dialogue and the value of diversity in our community. We stand with all individuals facing discrimination in our local and broader society. We unequivocally reject any form of hate speech.” The GIC believes that specific words have been deliberately misinterpreted to sow discord within the community and asserts that unity is essential to counter those with hidden agendas seeking to exploit situations to foster division. The Centre advocates for communal harmony to ensure the well-being of all communities.