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Sacranie pulls out February 20, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Responses.
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Sir Iqbal SacranieI wrote the other day about the criticisms made against the Unite Against Fascism conference’s speaker invitation to MCB Secretary-General Iqbal Sacranie.

Turns out that he didn’t speak on Saturday after all. According to the OutRage press release, “The conference organisers claim Sacranie withdrew because he had another engagement.” But Tatchell says:

Three days ago the conference organisers were adamant that Sir Iqbal would be a speaker. After being deluged with protests they are now saying he is no longer available. This is not a credible explanation. We believe the organisers realised they could not secure the acceptance of a homophobe at an anti-fascist conference, so they dumped him.

I hope he’s wrong, as he is about so many things. Does anyone know whether someone else from the MCB spoke instead? What other Muslim speakers were there? I see the following names on the UAF website: Mohammed Azam, Sadiq Khan MP, Mohammed Taj, Salma Yaqoob. [I don’t know the two Mohammeds, but I’m assuming they’re Muslims.] Is Tatchell not concerned about these probable “homophobes”, or is it “liberal until proven Islamofascist”?

The press release reiterated the call for UAF to support only “progressive Muslims, not right-wing homophobes”. I recall Martin Sullivan’s point:

Outrage’s intervention is particularly irresponsible, given that the BNP has announced that it intends to turn its campaign in the May local elections into a “referendum on Islam”. Yet Outrage proposes that UAF should exclude from its conference the main organisation of the Muslim communities who are the direct victims of the BNP’s racism.

If attitude to homosexuality is going to be the litmus test for Muslims “we” can talk to, “we” are really not going to get very far. UAF should stand firm against the idiotic OutRage fanatics, just as Mayor Ken Livingstone stood firm against them after the visit of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

EDIT:  Aha, yes, a high-ranking replacement from the MCB did speak: their Assistant Secretary-General, Daud Abdullah. Looks like the OutRage campaign was, after all, the failure it was bound to be. Bob Pitt comments:

In fact, the demand that Tatchell and Outrage had raised was for the MCB as an organisation to be banned from the conference platform. […] Yet, in the outcome, the invitation was not withdrawn and the UAF conference was addressed by an assistant general secretary of the MCB, rather than by its general secretary. So, a bit of a limited victory there then, eh Peter?

See also:
Sacranie: no charges
“Statement on Homosexualist Campaign Against Muslim Scholar” (17/11/04)

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