15th January 2011
Yesterday the Pink Paper published an article entitled “Ibis hotels slammed for hosting conference by anti-gay Islamic extremists” that stated the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) are hosting “extremist anti-gay hate preachers”. In light of the comments and baseless accusations raised by the paper, iERA would like to categorically express that it does not in any way encourage hatred or violence towards human beings with homosexual inclinations.
Saqib Sattar, Vice-Chairman of iERA, states “iERA and any of its speakers have never called for hatred or violence towards homosexuals; these accusations are antithetical to our work in thought and deed. iERA has been working very hard in empowering the Muslim community to engage with others in a peaceful manner and to positively contribute to the wider society. For instance at the conference, iERA will be supporting the Anthony Nolan Trust by enabling its participants to donate blood, which will be used for the potential benefit of all people in the community. This is not unique, Muslim communities contribute immensely to the social welfare of our society, and that is through remaining loyal to the basic tenets and values of their faith. This is the main theme of our upcoming conference.”
To demystify Islam’s position on this matter we must clarify that the act of homosexual sex is strongly forbidden in Islamic ethics and morality, which is similar to Christian and Jewish perspectives. To contextualise this further, Islamic ethics forbid any sexual activity outside of marriage and views society as being fundamentally family centric. We need to appreciate that Islam is not based on a liberal philosophy and therefore it has its own conception of how society should conduct itself. Any act that antagonises the Islamic conception of society is against Islamic ethical and moral values; hence Islamic Law has mechanisms and rules in place to protect society.
To put a caveat to this all, we do not advocate any hatred or violence to anyone and urge all members of society to obey the law. Significantly we encourage open and frank discussion on these key issues, which unfortunately is yet to occur due to a liberal bias in the media and other institutions. These accusations do an enormous disservice to the Gay and Lesbian community by stifling discussion with mainstream religious traditions. Such actions do harm to our ability to openly and frankly exchange and discuss different ideas.