Oxfam has cancelled an event after Left Foot Forward presented the organisation with homophobic and anti-semitic comments made by one of the organisers.
Oxfam has cancelled an exhibition which was due to take place on Friday after Left Foot Forward presented information to the charity detailing homophobic and potentially anti-semitic comments made by one of the organisers.
The ‘Gaza: Through my Eyes’ exhibition was due to be hosted by Oxfam and Ibrahim Hewitt, a trustee of the Hamas-linked organisation Interpal who has called for the punishment of apostates and homosexuals.
The event was scheduled to take place at the East London Mosque, notorious for hosting a number of extremist speakers.
Speaking to Left Foot Forward, Oxfam said it was “strongly committed to upholding universal human rights” and would therefore be cancelling the event.
“We believe that nobody should face discrimination due to their sexual orientation. We are concerned at comments about homosexuality attributed to Mr Hewitt, of which we were previously unaware, and the event has now been cancelled.
“The ‘Gaza through my eyes’ event – an exhibition of photographs taken by children in Gaza – shows a powerful perspective of life for a lost generation of youth growing up under blockade, and we look forward to working with the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre to show the exhibition in future.”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told Left Foot Forward that, while Oxfam’s cancellation of the event was welcome, “it is hugely disappointing that it did no proper checks on him [Mr Hewitt] before agreeing his presence”.
“Far worse is the willingness is the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre to host Hewitt, after promising many times that it would vet speakers and exclude those with homophobic and other extremist views. I am losing faith and trust in the ELM/LMC. Only last September they allowed another homophobic extremist to preach, Ismail Menk – and only reacted when this was exposed,” he said.
Update —– Mr Hewitt has claimed that the comments were “very old” and taken “out of context”.
As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.
We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.