Islamic extremist who brands homosexuality a sin to give evidence at sex education inquiry

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A former member of extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir – who believes homosexuality is a sinful “lifestyle choice” – will give evidence at a House of Commons inquiry into Sex and Relationships (SRE) Education.

Yusuf Patel, the founder of SRE Islamic, gave a speech at the East London Mosque in March 2009, where he condemned a school in Leytonstone for using And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book based on a true story about two male penguins who raise an abandoned penguin chick together.

Mr Patel branded homosexuality “unacceptable” and said homosexuality was being taught to children “through the backdoor”. He criticised the school for using the book as a tool against homophobic bullying.

Mr Patel has now been invited by the House of Commons Education Select Committee to give oral evidence to its inquiry into Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed surprise, concern and alarm over the decision.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal said: “We are alarmed that someone who holds views like those of Mr Patel and whose organisation describes homosexuality as ‘unacceptable’ has been invited to speak by the Education Select Committee.

“We certainly hope that his views will be treated as the fringe views that they are. We are robust supporters of free speech and would defend Mr Patel’s right to hold and campaign on the views he has, including submitting evidence to the Education Select Committee.

“But we equally believe that the views that he holds are so far outside the mainstream that the Education Select Committee should not have chosen to invite him to speak.”

Mr Patel was also a member of Muslims Defending Marriage, a group opposed to the introduction of same-sex marriage.

Labour has already promised to make SRE a statutory requirement for schools if it wins the 2015 general election.

In September, several LGBT organisations, including PinkNews, urged for the government to introduce LGBT-inclusive SRE.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has so far refused to back the measure.

Green MP Caroline Lucas has tabled a bill for the reform. It will receive its second reading in Febuary 2015.