LGBT Muslims concerned that ban on scholar could contribute to Islamophobia
Imaan, the LGBT Muslim support group, joins those in the Muslim community who are concerned at the Home Office decision to ban Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. The Home Office is reported to have refused a visa for medical treatment on the grounds that: “the UK will not tolerate the presence of those who seek to justify any acts of terrorist violence or express views that could foster inter-community violence.”
This flies in the face of advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which states that acting “against Qaradawi would alienate significant and influential members of the global Muslim community … (and) give grist to Al-Qaeda propaganda of a western vendetta against Muslims…”
This advice, given in 2005 by its Islamic Affairs Advisor, clearly outlines that Qaradawi has made authoritative statements condemning the London bombings, the 9-11 attacks and other acts of terrorism, which he has stated are against the beliefs of Islam (see editor’s notes below for link).
Regarding his views on homosexuality, Imaan makes clear its disagreements with all faiths that are regressive on this issue.
However, we believe that all religious leaders should be treated equally and just as we would not support a ban on the Pope, so we are concerned that by banning Qaradawi, the Home Office is contributing to a climate of Islamophobia, which impacts on all Muslims, including our LGBT members.
Ubaid-ur Reham, Secretary of Imaan said:
“Banning Dr Qaradawi will do nothing to further good relations between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, in fact it will only harm relations, as many Muslims will see this ban as double standards.
“We disagree with his views on homosexuality, but believe it is necessary to engage with those who have different opinions in order to effect change. We also believe the ban is counter-productive and politically motivated, as it runs contrary to advice given by the FCO.
“Members of Imaan already face Islamophobia within the LGBT community and beyond as a result of increased stigmatisation of Muslims in the press and by some politicians. Following the 11 September and 7 July attacks we have seen increased stigmatisation of our members.
“Banning a high profile, widely regarded cleric like Dr Qaradawi can only contribute to the idea that Muslims are synonymous with extremism.
“The Home Office would do well to consider the views of the plurality of the Muslim community on this issue, which is in keeping with the FCO advice, and not politicians whose agenda is motivated by a bias regarding the conflict in the Middle East, if it is to fully engage the hearts and minds of the Muslim community.”
For further interviews and more information contact Imaan on: 07725 463 816
1. Imaan is the largest European support group for Muslim LGBT people. For more information visit http://www.imaan.org.uk/
2. The full advice from Mockbul Ali, Islamic Affairs Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth office can be found here
3. David Cameron’s call to ban Al-Qaradawi is inconsistent with his views when he was an advisor to the Home Office in 1993, when Al-Qaradawi was granted permission to enter the country. See: “Cameron call for ban backfires” http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/story/0,,2250438,00.html