14th October 2011
Sheraton Hotel cancels iERA Conference
The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel has taken the unprecedented step of cancelling the upcoming iERA Launch Conference in Toronto, Canada that was scheduled to take place on the 23rd October 2011. Although the reason given was that a final payment was not made by iERA within a specified timeframe, the main reason for this rash decision would appear to be due to pressure brought to bear by the Jewish Defence League and LGBT activists. This came to light on The Arena Show anchored by Michael Coren on October 9th 2011 and in The Toronto Star on October 11th
2011 and October 13th
This situation is similar in nature to the one we faced in January of this year where LGBT rights activists put pressure on the Ibis Hotel in London to cancel our international conference, Changing the World Through Dawah on January 16th. Although the conference took place, Ibis had said they would not return our deposit.
Following the iERA Action Alert sent out on Wednesday 19th January 2011 the Ibis received complaints from you the Muslim community numbering in the thousands. Following this the deposit was returned which demonstrates the very real impact that we, as individual Muslims can make.
This latest action by the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel potentially sets a dangerous precedent, where Islamic events get cancelled or venues refuse to host them due to pressure from extreme activists. This is not about iERA, but how truth is being trampled upon by some members of minority groups who are showing ignorance of the facts and are stereotyping key members of the international Islamic community.
As a result, iERA is now starting an Action Alert, asking its supporters and members of the Muslim community to write in to the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and their parent company Starwoods Hotel to complain about this unfair action and encourage them to accept the payment that iERA has agreed to make and reinstate the conference.
We are an ummah alhamdulillah that is much larger than Jewish and LGBT activists andas an ummah both in Canada and Globally we are already contributing immensely to the social welfare of our society and so our voices cannot be drowned out and the truth will not be silenced with the permission of Allah.
Dear Sir / Madam,
I would like to state my disappointment with the way the booking by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) for their international conference, Calling the World Back to Allah, scheduled for 23rd October has been cancelled. It appears that although the reason given for the cancellation is that the final payment was not made, it is emerging, however, that the real reason is due to pressure by the Toronto Star, and fringe groups such as the Jewish Defence League and LGBT groups.
iERA is a mainstream Islamic organisation, and the speakers it was planning on hosting are also considered both mainstream and highly influential in the Muslim community, with them having the global support of hundreds of millions of Muslims like myself. The conference had nothing to do with homophobia or anti-semitism, and was simply talking about the universal values of Islam. I believe iERA clarified this in their press release as of the 13th October 2011.
We cannot allow extremists, driven by political motivations to bully law abiding citizens who hold different ethical values.
I would therefore urge you to accept the payment that iERA has agreed to make and reinstate the conference as I do believe that if it is not reinstated this will create a very severe backlash against the global Sheraton brand.
There are over a million Muslims in Canada and 1.5 billion Muslims globally who will refrain from using the Sheraton and brands of the Starwood Hotel Group. Furthermore, I believe iERA should seek legal recourse if the matter is not resolved within 24 hours.
I am hopeful you will reconsider your position and allow this peaceful conference to continue as planned for the betterment of the community in Canada.