LONDON: Extremist websites are abuzz against Muslim members of the British parliament who voted in favour of gay marriage legislation and there are fears that the Muslim parliamentarians could face serious hostility after clerics issued fatwas against these MPs declaring them “apostates”.
On February 5, 2013, the House of Commons voted — by 400 votes to 175, giving the bill a 225 majority — to legalise gay marriage in Britain. Muslim MPs Sadiq Khan, the Labour high-flyer, Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood and Anas Sarwar voted for gay marriage. Benazir Bhutto’s former adviser Rehman Chishti voted against the move while Yasmin Qureshi and Khalid Mahmood MP abstained from voting, fearing opposition from their constituents.
At least three Pakistani clerics have said that these MPs needed to repent and renew their faith, which means that they stand expelled from the circle of Islam for supporting same sex marriages. They have also said that their Islamic marriages stand annulled and they needed to read Kalma again to become Muslims. The News understands that police forces in Britain have taken notice of the fatwas and the threats against the MPs. Also, the MPs have privately said that they fear for their lives after the delivery of fatwas on them by clerics.
Anjem Chaudhry, former UK head of extremist group Al-Muhajiroum who has organised demonstrations against the MPs, said the Muslim MPs have committed “apostasy by declaring war on Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) by voting for gay marriages”. He added: “These MPs have allied themselves with parties that are responsible for the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.”
Mufti Muhammad Aslam Naqshbandi of Jamia Islmai Rizvia Southfield said Muslim MPs stand outside Islam after voting in favour of gay marriages and rebelling against Islam’s teachings.
Hizbut Tahrir Britain said “some people hold up these MPs as examples for young Muslims to follow yet nothing could be further from the truth”.
UK’s main religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, most Muslim organisations, Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi and several leading figures from the Conservative Party have opposed the bill on the basis that the marriage is between man and a man and this needs no redefining.
Sadiq Khan felt it necessary to issue a statement on his website outlining his reasons for voting in favour of gay marriage. He stated: “I firmly believe in marriage. Marriage is an important statement of love and long-term commitment, and has long been the main way that the state recognises and shows support for loving relationships. I believe that couples who love each other and want to make that long-term commitment to each other should be able to have a civil marriage regardless of their gender or their sexuality.”
Renowned human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told The News that gay community is proud that Muslim MPs supported the right of gay people to get married. He called on Muslim preachers to stop preaching hatred and going against Islam’s teachings of love and compassion as discrimination is not an Islamic value.
He added: “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 intolerance. In Britain, there is a huge gay Muslim population and openly gay Muslim organisations. They believe it is possible to be both Muslim and gay. More and more gay Muslims are accepted by the wider Muslim community.”