Muslim Council head says gays are sick
“[Homosexuality] is something which is not acceptable in Islam the sameway it is not acceptable under Christianity or Judaism or other divinereligions,” says Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain.
“Our religion, our faith is very, very clear. This is harmful,” he continued.
Sacranie made these remarks during an interview on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme yesterday at around 5:20 pm.
The BBC News website reported on other remarks he made, which included describing civil partnerships as “harmful” to society, and these comments:
"It does not augur well in building the very foundations of society - stability, family relationships. And it is something we would certainly not, in any form, encourage the community to be involved in."
"Each of our faiths tells us that it is harmful and I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the forms of various other illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area."
The Times led with his other remarks, which included claiming that gay people were immoral and spread disease. He also said that same-sex relationships risked damaging the foundations of society, and scientific evidence showed that homosexuality carried high health risks.
The Times also reports that there has been cross-party condemnation of Sacranie’s comments…
- Alan Duncan, the most prominent openly gay Conservative MP, said: “This is an absurd medieval view. One should separate the religious from the secular. Such general condemnation is no longer acceptable in a civilised modern world.”
- Stephen Pound, the Labour MP for Ealing North, said: “It’s a cruel and vicious blow to strike against people who are born the way they are. We are living in 21st-century northern Europe, not 7th-century Arabia. It may come as a shock to Mr Sacranie, but I know many gay Muslims who are living perfectly normal, decent lives.”
- Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on human rights, said: “To imply that homosexuality itself was unacceptable is a form of intolerance that’s deplorable.”
… but it also notes that some Catholic and Church of England leaders agree with him.
In their 2002/3 Annual Report, the Muslim Council of Britain boast about their joint lobbying work with other fundamentalist groups like The Christian Institute to counter gay rights legislation.
In another document, they claim that homosexuality causes AIDS.
There is more and more evidence emerging that religious groups – regardless of creed or denomination – are ganging up to oppose gay rights. The MCB put out a statement after the death of Pope JPII that it was also “a sad day for Muslims” since, with the Catholic Church, they’d jointly campaigned against (amongst other things) “homosexuality and lesbianism”.
Some will claim that Sacranie speaks for himself and not for thw MCB, but the MCB has a history of hostility towards gays and lesbians. It opposed the repeal of Section 28 saying that “This would mean that councils would be free to spend public money on homosexual youth groups, homosexual youth workers, and homosexual festivals. Ordinary people do not want to see councils spending public funds in this way”; and the equalisation of the age of consent, noting that their opposition was "based on a clear injunction given in the Holy Qu'ran and in the Hadith of the Holy Prophet” .
In addition to campaigning against allowing gay people to adopt and, of course, civil partnerships, they have lobbied against gay rights consistently. In fact, there hasn’t been a single piece of legislation granting civil or human rights to lesbian and gay people that they haven’t fought against.
They described the government’s efforts to address antigay discrimination as a “misguided” attempt to ‘to prove that both heterosexual and homosexual orientations are equal”.
However, describing gay people as being afflicted with a condition that leads to “other illnesses and diseases” is a new low.
UPDATE: For more on this story, see Ruth Gledhill's blog at The Times.