Advance publicity for the annual Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund fundraiser, which was held last night, made much of the fact that Sheikh Dr Muhammad Yusuf, Chair of the Council of University Imams, was billed as one of the speakers.
However, Sheikh Yusuf withdrew from the engagement, apparently because of pressure from “senior Muslim figures”. Presumably they made clear to Sheikh Yusuf that Tatchell would use his presence at the event to give credibility to Outrage’s anti-Muslim campaigns.
And how did Tatchell spin the news? In characteristically Islamophobic fashion. It was reported under the headline “Liberal Muslim theologian pulls out of Tatchell lecture after threats: Lecture cancelled after fears for Sheikh’s safety”!
Happily, Maryam Namazie of the Worker Communist Party of Iran stepped in to replace Sheikh Yusuf. Yes, that’s the same Maryam Namazie who described the Islamic headscarf as “comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide”. Much more in keeping with the spirit of the event, I’d have thought.