Adding to a controversy surrounding of censorship at the BBC, the chairman of a Birmingham mosque has defended comments he made linking homosexuality to paedophilia, murder and gambling.
On 12 March, at the request of the mosque, a question was removed from a BBC3 debate show filmed in the Birmingham Central Mosque, of “when will it be right to be Muslim and gay”. The live programme featured Asifa Lahore, who calls himself Britain’s “first and only Muslim drag queen.”
The chairman of the mosque, Dr Mohammad Naseem has now written a letter to the Huffington Post defending the decision to block the question from being asked on the show.
He wrote: “There are people with homosexual tendency in Muslim countries but they respect the law and control their desire as others do.
“Human beings do have weaknesses and tendencies which are not socially acceptable and so they try to have a control over them and do not give in.
“A compulsive murderer, gambler, paedophile etc. could present the same logic and ask for accommodation by the society. Are we going to accept on the basis of freedom of action?”
He even suggested that Lahore is not Muslim, saying he “does not know his religion and has not got much links with it.”
“He would have, otherwise, known that it is prohibited in Islam. If he wants to persue [sic] his inclination then he is free to leave Islam and follow any ideology that suits him.”
According to Naseem, the BBC misled the mosque and only told them that homosexuality would be discussed hours before the live programme.
According to Naseem, the topic should only have been discussed on such a programme by “specialists in the fields of zoology, botany, genetics, sociology etc”. He continued to state that “mosque management will be delighted to join such a group and help to seek an understanding of the subject in depth.
“It is premature to discuss the subject when we do not know much about its causes and effects.
“Not being able to accept them in religion should not be confused with denying them their human rights such as their right to have education, employment, housing and respect.”
In a statement from Free Speech, the producers of the programme denied that the programme had been censored, but that the mosque had received threats on the back of a pre-recorded segment about homosexuality and Islam played on Radio 1 in advance.
Peter Tatchell told PinkNews: “It is outrageous for Dr Naseem to suggest that same-sex relations are a socially unacceptable weakness that is akin to compulsive, murder, gambling and child sex abuse. He is unfit to be the chair of any institution, let alone a religious one that purports to be based on love and compassion.
“He should be sacked as chair of the mosque. The Muslim Council of Britain should unequivocally condemn his incendiary, bigoted views and call for his dismissal.
“Dr Naseem has form. Less than a decade ago he was a senior leader of the Islamic Party of Britain. It’s website allegedly supported the outlawing of gay advocacy, treatment to cure homosexuality and the death penalty for same-sex public indecency witnessed by several people.”