PinkNews.co.uk Exclusive

The fifth annual Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund meeting was held in London last night despite the pulling out of the guest speaker, the liberal Islamic theologian, Sheikh Dr Muhammad Yusuf due to death threats.

Instead the main speaker was the Iranian born secularist Maryam Namazie who claimed that supporters “should pay more to hear me speak than some Imam.”

She called for an end to “political Islam” and what she described as its inhuman treatment of women, children and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community. She criticised her home country Iran for policy of public executions, citing the law which states the size of the stones used to kill women found to have committed adultery. “The stone can not be so small that it does not cause pain, but not to large that it hastens their death. It must be just the right size to cause a slow, painful death.”

In a vocal attack on the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacraniem, she said: “He may be a ‘Sir’ but he is still a proponent of political Islam, the fascism of today.” Reacting to public charges of Islamaphobia, she asked: “how can it be Islamophobic to say that people should be able to live a 21st century life?”

Peter Tatchell, making his annual address to supporters of his human rights fund, expressed his disappointment at the absence of Dr Yusuf: “I was looking forward to giving a platform to a liberal Islamic cleric.

“Sheikh Yusuf is afraid of very serious retribution to him and the ones that he loves. The threats came from people who are members of so called moderate, mainstream Muslim organisations. This shows the scale of the threat from even these moderate groups.

“When there is no space for liberal progressive views in the Muslim community then alarm bells must start ringing. For me the fact that Sheikh Yusuf is not here means that we must redouble our efforts. Human rights must be for all not just for some.

“I get death threats all the time, a couple this week but I haven’t had the time to tell the police about them- and there’s no point. The police refuse to act. When I’ve reported death threats in the past, nothing ever happens.”

“We get the same police inaction, when other members of OutRage! and gay Muslims get death threats. One day someone is going to get seriously attacked, maybe even killed. Remember that the Met are doing nothing to protect us.”

Separately, the human rights campaigner expressed dismay at the treatment of gay people in prisons: “Whilst there are many good prison officers and even some good prisons, there are many prison officers whose political views seem to be akin to the BNP and they appear to be letting their politics effect the way that they conduct themselves. Too many prisoners are being abused with impunity, most of them are being victimised because they are black, gay or Muslim and those who are all three.”

PinkNews.co.uk is awaiting a statement from the Metropolitan Police in response to the allegations made by Peter Tatchell in his speech.