MP defends meeting with anti gay Muslim group

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Former cabinet minister Clare Short has defended a meeting she held with a radical Muslim group last week amid anger from fellow Labour MPs and gay rights activists.

The former international development secretary invited Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, wishes to ban from Britain, to speak to MPs.

Fifty members of the Houses of Parliament attended the meeting which the MP touted as a way “to dispel much of the lies and propaganda surrounding Hizb ut-Tahrir.”

She was criticised by gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell who told her he had received death threats from the group because of his defence of gay people.

He said in a letter to her, “Since this thuggery was exposed, Hizb ut-Tahrir has sought to project a less extreme public image. But I have no doubt that many of its members continue to hold, in private, violent homophobic and misogynistic views.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir still endorses Sharia law, which stipulates the death penalty for gay and lesbian Muslims, apostates and unchaste women.”

Ms Short told “Parliamentarians should see what an organisation is about if the Prime Minister is banning them.”

At the meeting the group promised to respond to Mr Tatchell’s letter and said it never engaged in violence or harassment.