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Written by Student Rights on 29 August 2012 at 4pm

IERA retreat aimed at new Muslims features Hamza Tzortzis as its instructor

Here at Student Rights we have highlighted the role that the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) plays in preaching to new Muslims before, and have raised our concerns about the individuals involved in such activity.

In our article on the group’s Olympic Park Da’wah project we also drew attention to the way in which it utilises student activists to carry out its work, and the way in which many student Islamic Societies promote its events.

Today will see the start of yet another IERA workshop, run by a department of the organisation called 'Muslim Now'. This claims to be aimed at enabling “new brothers and sisters to build solid foundations and to learn with qualified instructors they can interact with on a personal as well as academic level”.

The ‘Journey of Life Retreat’, taking place at Harbden House in Newport Pagnell over the next four days and costing a hefty £200 for those who choose to attend, is being publicized as “beneficial” for both new and practicing Muslims alike.

In keeping with the promotion of these events to students, we also found the London Metropolitan University Islamic Society advertising this event to its students back at the beginning of August.

Unfortunately, the instructor at this week’s retreat will be Hamza Tzortzis, an individual whose intolerant views have been documented on this site a number of times, as he is a frequent speaker on the UK’s university campuses.

Tzortzis, a former member of the non-violent Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir, is perhaps most famous for declaring that “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.

He also believes that “the Islamic Social Model cannot be established successfully without a fully functioning Islamic Government, also known as the Khilafah” and has written that society must turn to “cohesive values that will bring us out of this social decay. It can be argued these cohesive values must be the Islamic values and the workable solution is the Islamic Social Model”.

supporter of barbaric punishments including amputation, Tzortzis has also claimed that homosexuality should be a criminal act and that those who object to that “cannot escape the social constructs in their own societies”.

Given that one of the express purposes of this retreat is to provide new Muslims with guidance, the fact that the instructor has expressed such views is particularly concerning, as are IERA’s links to several extremist individuals.

We would urge any new Muslims who considering attending IERA events to carry out some research into the organisation, and to speak to their local religious leaders if they need guidance, rather than accidentally getting into bed with intolerant organisations