The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain stands with Hidayah, Andrew Moffat, Anderton Park School and all LGBT of Muslim heritage
CEMB supports the recent legal injunction prohibiting homophobic protests outside of Anderton Park School in Birmingham for the use of LGBT inclusive educational material.
The presence of Muslim parents and others holding homophobic banners calling for the erasure of the LGBT community in educational material and the resignation of the head teacher are unacceptable.
The climate of fear and intimidation around a primary school is nothing short of abhorrent and reminiscent of the abuse faced by African American children during attempts to desegregate schools in Little Rock in 1957 or children running a gauntlet of abuse in Belfast in the early 2000s to get to Holy Cross school. These hate-filled protests, led by the religious-Right, are no different. They will only make the situation for LGBT of Muslim heritage significantly worse and further normalise Islamic homophobia, including via the consistent fundamentalist teachings against LGBT in Muslim homes and mosques, the use of Islamic Hadith and Quranic justifications for the execution of homosexuals in 14 countries under Sharia, and the shunning, intimidation and honour-based violence faced by LGBT from Muslim backgrounds across the country.
The protests will also spread if LGBT rights are not defended. Just last month, MEA Central Secondary School was asked to apologise to parents for having Hidayah, a Muslim LGBT group, speak to children in Years 7 and 8 about how it is acceptable to be Muslim and gay.
With 52% of British Muslims polled stating that homosexuality should be criminalised, it is imperative that a counter narrative to this homophobia be developed early on in schools. Children of Muslim parents, some of whom WILL grow up to be gay, must be presented with the teaching that it is acceptable to be gay, that LGBT are part of society and that it is not shameful, haram or perverse. As ex-Muslims, we understand more than most, the effects of this hatred on the lives and rights of children and the young in particular.
Whilst believers clearly have a right to their beliefs however abhorrent, freedom of conscience and expression do not include the right to incite violence, discrimination or persecution.
CEMB stands with Hidayah, Andrew Moffat, Anderton Park School, amongst others, as well as all LGBT of Muslim heritage. A secular education is key to normalising respect for the human rights of all despite differences, including in opinions and beliefs, race, sexuality, sex and so on. Respecting people’s rights, though, is not the same as respecting opinions that incite discrimination and persecution of minorities within minorities.
If the homophobes win, the LGBT of Muslim heritage will continue to learn that their existence is a sin that warrants execution abroad or honour-related violence, shunning and worse here at home.
The Government must take immediate action in all such cases to put the welfare of children above and beyond the demands of parents and the religious-Right and to defend the No Outsiders Programme and the Equalities Act.
For more information, please contact:
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain