LGBT Muslim charity condemns spike in hate crimes after Birmingham school protests

LGBT Muslim

A leading Muslim LGBT+  charity has spoken out against the rising level of hate crimes in the city after the protests against LGBT-inclusive education outside schools last year.

The LGBT+ education row centred on two Birmingham primary schools and was led mainly by Muslim parents. The disruptive protests began in March 2019 and continued for months until they were finally banned by a High Court order.

Figures released by police show a significant spike in LGBT+ hate crimes during the time of the protests, with a total of 453 homophobic hate incidents reported from February to July – nearly double the rate of the previous six months.

There was also a rise in attacks on Birmingham’s Muslim community around the same time, although on a smaller scale (22 complaints in March compared to the monthly average of 10).

Speaking to BirminghamLive, the LGBT+ Muslim support charity Imaan LGBTQ urged for greater understanding between the two communities.

“We are well aware of the intersection that we as LGBT Muslims are in and do our best to support those who are LGBT and of faith,” a spokesperson named Faizan said.

“We walked the Pride parade in Birmingham this year and we have contacts on the ground who have been keeping us informed on everything going on with No Outsiders.

“These spikes in hate crimes show what happens when there is a lack of understanding and LGBT Muslims have been forced into the middle. It is ridiculous that this is what happens.”

Parents, children and protesters demonstrate against the 'No Outsiders' programme, which teaches children about LGBT rights, at Parkfield Community School on March 21, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

Potesters demonstrate against the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which teaches children about LGBT+ families, at Parkfield Community School (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

He continued: “We stand firmly against all LGBT and Islamophobic hate crimes. People need to realise that when they are being Islamophobic, they are still impacting us.

“We are as Muslim as we are LGBT. We have a unique perspective when it comes to this as we are the only ones who can say we are directly impacted by both.”

A year-long probe by the Commission for Countering Extremism found evidence that the school protests were stoked by Hizb ut-Tahir and other pro-Islamist organisations in order to foster division.

A High Court judge ruled that the protestors “grossly misinterpreted” the true nature of the educational programme, which teaches tolerance of diverse groups and families through age-appropriate picture books.

LGBT-inclusive education will be compulsory in all UK schools from September 2020.