Journalist: Opponents of equal marriage are not ‘un-British extremists’

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Social conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage risk being unfairly demonised, Muslim campaigner and journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah claims.

Ms Francois-Cerrah believes parents and governors in the ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy in Birmingham schools were “simply old-fashioned social conservatives”, but not extremists.

The journalist questioned the merit of David Cameron’s recent speech against tolerating extremist language.

She also believes it risks inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment and amounts to double standards when extremists such as British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been allowed in the past to appear on Question Time.

“The reason we tolerate fascists is because we value free speech and freedom of conscience”, she said.

Ms Francois-Cerrah told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “If opposing gay marriage makes you an un-British extremist, then there are plenty of Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Jews and even non-believers who could be lumped into that definition – starting with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Twenty one schools in the city were recently investigated by education watchdog Ofsted amid allegations of extremism.

Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, an extremist preacher who is known to support the stoning of gay people, was previously invited to address students at Park View School.

At Golden Hillock School, any discussion of sexual orientation or intimacy was banned, affecting “the broad and balanced teaching of many subjects, including art and English literature”, Ofsted warned in a report.