Institutions funded by the British taxpayer could be used to promote the extremist, homophobic, racist, and violent interpretations of Islam used in Iran.

The Tehran Times reports that Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology “feels the necessity to help establish and strengthen departments of Islamic studies.”

“The ministry is currently studying proposals by numerous world academic centres and universities including several universities from Britain, the United States, and Germany,” an official from the cultural department of the ministry announced last month.

“The departments will be set up to train and educate experts on Islam so as to assist in the introduction of Islam and its realities to the world in a proper academic setting,” he explained.

“The ministry’s International Scientific Cooperation Office is in charge of the issue and is to pursue the case to help establish new departments, provide the necessary articles on Islam, and dispatch scholars to the centres.”

Under Sharia law as enforced in Iran, gay sex is illegal, with the death penalty for offenders.

The vast majority of executions of juvenile offenders take place in Iran, where judges can impose the death penalty in capital cases if the defendant has attained “majority,” defined in Iranian law as 9 years old for girls and 15 years old for boys.

Iran is reported to have executed at least six juvenile offenders so far in 2008. More than 130 other juvenile offenders are currently sentenced to death.

In 2005 Iran sparked international outrage when it publicly executed two teenage boys.

Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni were hanged because according to the regime they were rapists, however gay campaigners insist the boys were killed under Sharia law for the crime of homosexuality.

At first it was claimed by Iranian officials that they were aged 18 and 19.

The best evidence is that both youths were aged 17 when they were executed and therefore minors, aged 15 or 16, at the time of their alleged crimes.

Iranian human rights campaigners estimate that 4,000 gay men have been executed since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has expressed alarm at the possible talks to establish, fund and send clerics to Islamic Studies departments across the UK.

Glyn Gaskarth, a Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Universities funded by the British taxpayer should not take money or academic direction from totalitarian Islamist regimes like Iran.

“The prospect of the Ayatollahs setting the Islamic studies curriculum is chilling and would not be conducive to the tolerant Britain we all want.

“The government must not let taxpayer-funded British universities become mouthpieces for the Iranian regime’s warped version of Islam.”