Peter Tatchell praises Muslim MPs for supporting equal marriage and blasts anti-gay fatwas

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A small number of Islamic clerics, who have been issuing fatwas against the decision of several Muslim MPs to vote in favour of the same-sex marriage bill, have been criticised by Peter Tatchell.

Mufti Muhammed Aslam Naqshbandi Bandhalev, head imam of the Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Bradford, issued a fatwa against Labour MP and shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, after he voted in support of the Marriage (Same Sex Marriage Bill) earlier this month.

Muslim MPs Rushanara Ali (Labour), Sajid Javid (Conservative) Shabana Mahmood (Labour) and Anas Sarwar (Labour) also voted in favour.

Those who abstained were Khalid Mahmood (Labour) and Yasmin Qureshi (Labour).

The only Muslim MP who voted against was Rehman Chishti (Conservative).

In a statement, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

We are delighted that most Muslim MPs voted in favour of legalising gay marriage. The ban on same-sex marriage is discrimination. Discrimination is not an Islamic value.

The clerics who issued these fatwas are preaching hatred. Islam encourages love and marriage. Religious leaders should welcome the fact that gay couples love each other and want to get married.

The people making the threats are a tiny extreme Islamist minority. They do not represent most Muslims in Britain.

Increasingly, gay and Muslim people in the UK are working together to tackle the hatred, discrimination and violence that affects both our communities. We are taking a joint stand against all intolerance.

There is a huge British gay Muslim population and openly gay Muslim organisations, such as Imaan. They believe it is possible to be both Muslim and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). The acceptance of gay Muslims by the wider Muslim community is growing; although there is more room for improvement.