Muslim activist in the UK lashes out at homophobic campaign

Muslim activist in the UK lashes out at homophobic campaign February 1, 2019

FIYAZ Mughal, well-known for opposing anti-Muslim bigotry in the UK, has lashed out at an anti-gay campaign started in Birmingham by a Muslim mother.

Image via YouTube

Writing for the Independent, Mughal, above, Mughal said:

The very values that allow for Islamophobia to be challenged need to be defended and re-enforced to challenge other forms of bigotry. You simply cannot accept human rights and reject them when they do not fit into your conservative worldview.

His article came in the wake of reports that an outraged Muslim mother objected to an LGBT+ awareness programme being provided at a local community school.
The “No Outsiders” programme was launched to teach tolerance and accept differences in British society, according to the headteacher of Parkfield Community School.

Screenshot

The mother, Fatima Shah, above, went public with a complaint that:

Children are being told it’s okay to be gay, yet 98 per cent of children at this school are Muslim.

She added:

It’s a Muslim community.

Mughal hit back, writing:

The view that there is only one type of Muslim community is as bizarre as it is archaic. Furthermore, the perception that there are no gay Muslims or that gay and lesbian Muslims have not shaped the history of Islam through literature, the arts, military campaigns, astronomy and other social disciplines, shows the bankruptcy of thinking that makes up the view that being gay and Muslim are two separate and incompatible things.

Anyone who has travelled within Muslim-majority countries, from Morocco through to Iran, will tell you that there is a hidden, but extensive set of LGBT+ communities, many of whom are practising Muslims.

Moreover, within Pakistan and India there has been a history of trans-Muslim communities, many of whom are of Muslim heritage and can only find work in the sex industry.

They have also shaped the history of music, poetry and the arts in Islamic Mughal times, such that many of the artistic pictures of the time depict men and women in passionate clinches and sometimes clad with nothing but the embraces of many and with courtesans watching them as they made love.

This homo-erotic and deeply sexualised culture was embedded in Islamic India in the last 200 years before its disintegration by the East India Tea Company and the British. This was the 18th and 19th century Islam from which the very country of Pakistan was shaped, and from where the majority of the Muslims originate in the UK.

‘There is a moral bankruptcy in cheerleading courses that tackle Islamophobia or anti-Muslim
hate and objecting to courses that tackle homophobia’

No-one is denying that there is a social conservatism within large sections of Muslim communities in the UK. Indeed, this is what the mother who led the Birmingham protest has symbolised through her views.

Yet, it is perverse in the extreme to believe that all Muslims object to socially liberal values and that all Muslims in her local area would object to a school’s project that challenges bigotry.

Mughal claimed that  Shah’s comments have been a gift for groups looking to foment “them and us” views which seek to marginalise Muslims.

Shah has in effect, given them a gift which they can point to, painting all Muslims as homophobic – and Ukip has already taken up the mantle by tweeting out on just this issue.

What is so painful about this story is that I remember how hard it was for my colleagues and I to get anti-Islamophobia training and development courses identical to the ethos of the “No Outsiders” programme into schools, further education colleges and universities. It was no easy feat as some institutions shied away from engagement, almost fearful that tackling bigotry was too sensitive for them.

He concluded:

There is a moral bankruptcy in cheerleading courses that tackle Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hate and objecting to courses that tackle homophobia.

The very values that allow for Islamophobia to be challenged need to be defended and re-enforced to challenge other forms of bigotry. You simply cannot accept human rights and reject them when they do not fit into your conservative worldview.

I truly hope that Shah reflects on her actions and realises the following: You can’t teach someone to be gay. You can’t accept and benefit from human rights values and reject them when they are utilised to defend other communities.

Last but not least, if Muslims are to be defended against bigotry, so must every community group in our society. If you start picking and choosing who to protect and defend, then you have inadvertently given up your own rights.

Mariam Ahmed, whose daughter attends the school, organised a petition against the “No Outsiders” project. She said:

Sorry at this age it’s totally wrong. Children at this age don’t even know if they are coming or going, let alone knowing what sexual orientation they will become.

And parents Asma and Mohammed Jdaitawi added:

It’s good to teach children about respect and values but the sexual orientation aspect is against our principles.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob Hutton

    Romans 1 v 24-28

  • Barry Duke

    If you’re wondering who Bob Hutton is, follow this link: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/thefreethinker/?s=When+evangelical

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Two Corinthians v 98-110.

    Two Corinthians, need I remind you, is our President’s favorite book of the Bible, and Christians felt the man was Godly enough to elect and continue to defend their choice to do. So I win. My clobber verse is superior to your clobber verse, because mine comes with the Presidential seal of approval.

  • Phil Rimmer

    Children at this age don’t even know if they are coming or going, let alone knowing what sexual orientation they will become.

    So exactly the right age to take the pressure off them. No need to worry about what comes later.

    Too late is the essence of the problem.

  • Raging Bee

    You forgot to quote the Bible verse where JESUS HIMSELF talks about homosexuality.

    Oh wait, Jesus never said anything about that. Neither did the Ten Commandments. Just lots of stuff about don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, and treat others like you want yourself to be treated.

  • Daz

    Bob, me ol’ mucker! How the devil are you? Did you ever come out and profess your undying desire to bounce up and down with unbridled joy upon Stephen Green’s private parts?

    As for your Bible citation; so what? Morals and ethics are the product of thought and reflection. You ain’t doing them. You’re just blindly following rules laid down by a long-dead writer who was himself merely echoing rules laid down by even longer-dead writers.

  • Otto T. Goat Jr.

    These schools are putting indoctrination ahead of education. Instead of anti-Islamophobia and anti-homophobia training the focus should be on teaching practical subjects.

  • Daz

    The nature of a diverse society and how to live in one is a very practical subject when one is preparing pupils for their future lives in a diverse society. It’s most definitely not indoctrination; quite the reverse. The name may have changed, but when I was at school such things were covered in a class named “Citizenship.”

  • Otto T. Goat Jr.

    Just think, if diversity hadn’t been brought about students would be missing out on hours of “practical” unindoctrination, and would instead be wasting time on things like history and science.

  • Daz

    Also: I get a bit annoyed at the constantly displayed supposition (call it neoliberalism, Thatcherism, whatever) that “practical” subjects, generally meaning those which are deemed necessary for getting a job, are more important than less easily definable but equally important subjects which teach how to think about morals, ethics and so on, and which might, if properly prioritised, result in those pupils creating and contributing to a society which is nicer to live in.

  • Daz

    See below.

  • Daz

    But, “brought about”? Really? Who “brought about” the existence of diverse sexualities and genders, political goals and priorities, religious and philosophical schools of thought and everything else that makes us different from one another?

    You’re talking nonsense.

  • guerillasurgeon

    You’re on Patheos nonreligious. And yet you use the Bible as meaningful evidence of something? We don’t believe in it.

  • Anne Fenwick

    That’s an impressive rant from Fiyaz Mughal. Good for him.

  • Anne Fenwick

    I thought you were obsessed with free speech at all times and in all places, Goat? I know I’ve previously said to you something to the effect of ‘instead of masses of insults and walls of abuse internet conversations should focus on intelligent discussion of the issues’, but it seemed like you weren’t having it.

  • kaydenpat

    It’s never too young to learn about the fact that normal people are diverse in terms of sexual orientation. I assume the “No Outsiders” program isn’t teaching children about graphic sex acts but instead just letting children know that there is nothing wrong with people who are part of the LGBT community.

  • wannabe

    …the focus should be on teaching practical subjects.

    Where did I… oh, yes:

    The Free Thinker: NY religious leaders vehemently oppose teaching practical subjects (January 31, 2019).

    That was the post immediately preceding this one.