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MCB not to fight homophobia April 24, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Islam, Media.

See this post from 2 weeks ago: MCB to fight homophobia?
(Plus some discussion over at MetaFilter.)

Well, the MCB didn't respond to my emails, but I did come across this in yesterday's Observer: Muslims are accused of gay U-turn

The plan was hailed as a breakthrough by gay rights campaigners and a sign the organisation was looking to distance itself from comments made earlier this year by its secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who described homosexuals as 'harmful, immoral, unacceptable and diseased'.

But it has emerged that the council has rejected Aziz's claims. Inayat Bunglawala, its spokesman, insisted Aziz's views did not represent those of the MCB. He told the Islam TV Channel: 'There is no truth in these quotes. Our position is very clear, our Secretary General was nearly prosecuted for this because we maintain that homosexual relationships are sinful in Islam.'

Aziz declined to comment, telling The Observer that the MCB's attempts to distance itself from his comments was a 'matter for the MCB'.

Note how the writer (Jamie Doward) caricatures and misrepresents Sacranie's comments, placing "harmful, immoral, unacceptable and diseased" in speech quotes as though Sacranie had said these words in succession! Not so. Moreover, Sacranie was discussing same-sex partnerships and homosexual relationships, not homosexuals themselves. There is a crucial difference there, as any writer should know.

More on the matter at PinkNews: Gay policy sparks Muslim council dispute



1. Sami - April 27, 2006

Farzana of the Imaan group says: "I am not surprised in the slightest that 'talks' have broken down. LGBT activist groups would do well to fully engage with LGBT Muslim groups like Imaan who possess a much fuller knowledge of cultural and religious sensitivities before tackling the MCB or other mainstream Muslim organisations."

And LGBT "Muslim" groups would do well to discuss with critical Muslims and thoughtful people like on this blog before thinking that they have any theological/juristic footing, or any excuse before Allah ready for the Day of Judgement.

2. Sami - April 27, 2006

And oh yeah, the quote “harmful, immoral, unacceptable and diseased” comes directly from the OutRage! press release, which is the source for the whole article. The Observer article has no research, just parroting Tatchell’s views. It says that the MCB “was accused last night of a making a stunning U-turn”, but doesn’t name the accuser. It’s Tatchell, in the press release Doward printed in his paper.

3. Yousef - April 28, 2006

It all turned out to be fake and a fabrication. Check out the MCB website announcement:

4. Rasheed Eldin - April 30, 2006

I sent a letter to the Observer with my criticisms (plus Sami’s point, thank you!), but it didn’t get published this week. Here it is for your pleasure:


Jamie Doward wrote that the Muslim Council of Britain was “accused…of making a stunning U-turn” (News, last week), but he did not name the accusers. A look at a press release from Peter Tatchell and his OutRage organisation makes it clear that it was the sole source, which also set the bias of the article. Doward stated that Iqbal Sacranie “described homosexuals as ‘harmful, immoral, unacceptable and diseased’.” Yet this is not a direct quote of Sacranie; rather, it is a summary by Tatchell in his press release. The difference is far from trivial. It is one thing to use these individual words within an extended discussion of homosexuality as a social phenomenon, and quite another to string them together as a description of a certain sector within society. Tatchell – and indeed Doward – may disagree with Sacranie, but it is plainly unfair to misquote him, by any standard.

Rasheed Eldin

5. Rasheed Eldin - May 3, 2006
6. Rasheed Eldin - May 6, 2006

Peter Tatchell has posted this on his blog:

He says: “Nor will the MCB speak to the gay Muslim group, Imaan. The MCB leaders seem to despise their Muslim brothers and sisters who are gay…” – well, the Imaan Chairperson refused to talk to StraightWay, who are considerably better equipped for dialogue than whoever they may have contacted in the MCB. But I rather doubt that Imaan have tried.

Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB posted some clarifications in Tatchell’s comments. I reproduce them here for you:


A few facts:

1. There is no – and has never been a – ‘5 year plan’ by the MCB to confront homophobia. The ‘plan’ is entirely fictitious and was first mentioned on the gay website Pink News. M. Abdul Aziz himself has also denied to us any knowledge of this so-called plan.

2. Consequently, the MCB cannot have done a u-turn on this issue.

3. The MCB occasionally requests people from within the British Muslim community who possess the requisite skills and expertise to represent us on various forums. M. Abdul Aziz has represented the MCB in this capacity in some meetings.

4. M. Abdul Aziz is not ‘the policy advisor to the MCB’ and neither is he a member of the MCB’s elected leadership body – which has the final say on all policy issues.

5. It is true that I refused to speak with Marc Shoffman of Pink News. I had heard from Abdul Aziz directly about how his own earlier interview with the same journalist had been misreported and had no wish to see my own words similarly garbled. It had nothing to do with Shoffman being gay.

6. On the practice of homosexuality, the MCB’s position is clear and unchanged: we believe it is regarded as sinful in Islam and cannot in any way be equated with marriage between man and wife. Tatchell is simply wrong here: I am not aware of any division in the MCB on this issue whatsoever.

7. The MCB rejects the deliberate incitement of hatred against any section of our society, whether it is Arabs, Jews or gays or anyone else.

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