Muslim leader will not face charges over gay comments

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, will not face charges over allegedly homophobic remarks he made in a BBC radio interview, it was confirmed yesterday.

It emerged earlier this month that Sir Iqbal would face investigation over the comments made on civil partnerships and gay rights in an interview for Radio 4’s PM programme.

The investigation was instigated by the Metropolitan Police following a complaint made by a member of the public under the Public Order Act/

On Monday, a Metropolitan Police spokesman revealed that there would be: “no further action on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Sir Iqbal’s remarks sparked condemnation by religious and political leaders, after he claimed in a radio interview that gay relationships are damaging the foundations of society, and that homosexuality carries unusually high health risks.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme on the 3rd January 2006, he claimed that introduction of gay marriages: “does not augur well in building the very foundations of society: stability, family relationships. It is something we would certainly not in any form encourage the community to be involved in.”

Sir Iqbal went on to claim that homosexuality “is a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society, it is not acceptable.

“Each of our faiths tells us that it is harmful and, I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the forms of various illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area.”

Sir Iqbal did end the interview by saying that everyone in society should be tolerant of one another.

The comments sparked fierce reaction from across the religious and political spectrum.

Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism told “This type of prejudicial comment sadness me. It is supremely ironic that a leading representative of a group that itself suffers unfair prejudice has made such comments that may in themselves lead to the prejudicial treatment of another minority group.

“Liberal Judaism affirms the right of gay men and women to openly celebrate their relationships.”

Alan Duncan, the first openly gay Conservative MP said: “This is an absurd medieval view. One should separate the religious from the secular. Such general condemnation is no longer acceptable in a civilised modern world.”

Stephen Pound, the Labour MP for Ealing North, said: “It’s a cruel and vicious blow to strike against people who are born the way they are. We are living in 21st-century northern Europe, not 7th-century Arabia. It may come as a shock to Mr Sacranie, but I know many gay Muslims who are living perfectly normal, decent lives.”

Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on human rights, said: “To imply that homosexuality itself was unacceptable is a form of intolerance that’s deplorable.”