Anti-gay Muslim forced out by protests

A gay rights group are claming victory after anti-gay Muslim leader pulled out from speaking at a anti-fascist conference after gay protests.

Submitted by libcom on February 20, 2006

Sir Iqbal Sacranie was to have been a keynote speaker at a trade union-sponsored Unite Against Fascism conference at the weekend; however his views on homosexuality were widely condemned as echoing the anti-gay hatred of the BNP.

"This climbdown is a victory for humanitarian values over homophobic prejudice. We want Muslim leaders like Sacranie to be part of the anti-BNP alliance, but only if they respect the human rights of gay people and other minorities," said Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group, OutRage!, which helped coordinate the protests against Sacranie being invited to speak.

The conference organisers claim Sacranie withdrew because he had another engagement. But this is disputed by Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

"Three days ago the conference organisers were adamant that Sir Iqbal would be a speaker,” said Tatchell.

“After being deluged with protests they are now saying he is no longer available. This is not a credible explanation. We believe the organisers realised they could not secure the acceptance of a homophobe at an anti-fascist conference, so they dumped him.

"Sacranie's attitude to gay people is similar to the homophobia of the BNP. He should have never been invited in the first place.

Fellow OutRage activist and gay Muslim, Ramzi Islam, added: “Sir Iqbal is leader of the anti-gay Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). As well as actively campaigning to maintain homophobic laws like Section 28, he last month publicly denounced lesbians and gay men on BBC Radio, saying they were immoral, harmful and spread disease.