PinkNews.co.uk Exclusive

Britain is in no position to blame the Middle East for the harsh treatment of homosexuals, according to George Galloway.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk, the Bethnal Green and Bow MP claimed that years of military intervention and interference in Arab countries by Britain and the West meant they couldn’t complain about homophobic attitudes in the Middle East and said anti gay laws could be justified by the Koran.

Mr Galloway told PinkNews.co.uk: “Intervention by Britain in the Middle East has a bad name unsurprisingly. In the context of military intervention that you have to see it. If you go around the world invading other peoples’ countries, slaughtering their compatriots, and occupying them and then arming and training the puppets that you install in your wake, you’re not in a position to make interventions of other kinds in terms of their attitude to issues like this.”

“There are a very large number of homosexuals in the Arab world, the official rhetoric is often well short of the actual practical situation is on the ground.”

Meanwhile he defended the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein for its position on gay rights, he said: “We took a prominent Canadian politician, Sven Robinson [to Iraq], who made a speech which opposed sanctions, opposed the upcoming war, and then launched an attack on Iraq for a perceived witch-hunt against gays and many people said to us afterwards, if you had only have spoken to us about that you would have found out in practice that’s not true at all.”

The controversial political figure added: “Obviously homosexuality is disapproved of in the Koran as its disapproved of in the bible and I don’t know, but I presume also in the Torah. Therefore the official position of Islamic states is always going to be well short of what you want.”

“I don’t think you should be surprised that in explicitly Islamic countries, the Koranic injunctions against homosexuality are the official policies of the state, none the less, many homosexuals continue to practice their way of life, mostly without intervention from the state.”

He questioned whether last year’s media reports on Iranian teenagers hanged for homosexuality were true: “Were they publicly hanged for being homosexuals? I don’t know if they did or did not. If they raped a young boy, then the penalty in Iran is to be hanged. But whether they raped the boy or not, I denounce the hanging of them.”

Mr Galloway insisted that gay Muslims should have the right to asylum in this country from regimes where their way of life is persecuted, he said: “This is one easy thing that the British government can do without intervening in other people’s counties, you could intervene in the lives of citizens of other countries who fled here.”