UK: Anti-hate crime Muslim campaign group attacked for supporting gay rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Muslim anti-hate crime campaign group Tell MAMA has been criticised for having a “reformist agenda” after it appointed human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell as its patron.

Last month, Peter Tatchell became one of the first openly gay persons appointed to a senior role in a mainstream, non-gay Muslim organisation.

However, Fiyaz Mughal, the chairman of Tell MAMA has said he is now facing backlash from members of the Islamic community for overstepping a “stated remit.”

According to The Sunday Express, the backlash started after he had responded to statements made by Dr Mohammed Naseem, the chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, after Naseem compared being gay to being a “compulsive gambler, murder, peadophile, etc.”

On a Tell MAMA article, Mr Mughal wrote that Dr Naseem was “fundamentally wrong” and “disgraceful”.

Following this, an anonymous ‘Muslim Community Alert’ started circulating warnings to people about Tell MAMA’s “reformist agenda,” including criticisms of its recent appointment of Peter Tatchell.

Responding to these attacks, Mr Mughal told the Sunday Express: “We’re clear. If you are homophobic or anti-Semitic, you can’t campaign against anti-Muslim prejudice.

“The two things just do not go together. If you’re an intolerant figure against someone else, you can’t then cry wolf when something happens to you. We’ll stand against intolerance in all communities.”

Commenting on his appointment, Peter Tatchell said: “I am honoured to become a patron of Tell Mama, which does vital work monitoring, reporting and countering anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination and hate crime – and supporting the victims.

“While the tiny minority of Islamist extremists – and fanatics from all faiths and none – must be challenged, we also need to challenge the unjustified demonisation of the general Muslim population.”