Current Affairs

Muslim MSP: Voters should not ‘deny others freedom’ on imams’ equal marriage call

Stephen Gray April 19, 2012
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A Muslim MSP has called on the country’s Islamic community not to ‘deny’ others their freedom after a group of imams said they should not vote for candidates who favour equal marriage.

Scottish papers were reporting a statement issued by the Council of Glasgow Imams yesterday that said Muslims should avoid candidates who favoured marriage equality in upcoming local elections.

Reports said the call for voters to avoid pro-equality candidates was led by Bashir Maan, a former Labour councillor and Police Board chairman.

The Herald Scotland reports that he was removed from an honorary post as chairman of an equalities charity after claiming children were being “robbed of childhood” by gay sex education.

Mr Maan is recorded as having said yesterday: “Every voter will have to make sure the person they are voting for is not in favour of same-sex marriage. It is up to them who to vote for but they should ask every person who comes to them and asks for their support.

“Catholics within the SNP and Labour also feel the same. We’ve worked with Catholics in the past. There’s no dividing line here. With many Catholics doing the same, how people vote could be critical in the election’s outcome.”

But Hanzala Malik, a Labour member for Glasgow and one of only two Scots-Asian MSPs, said in response: “No religious faith will be forced to hold a gay marriage within their place of worship. Assurances have been given on that. And while Bashir Maan is voicing an opinion, and that’s the cornerstone of democracy, people of any community are living in the real world and want more than a single view on faith to be the focus of an elected representative.

“The Muslim community expects others to give us freedom so why would we deny it to others? And to say this could affect the outcome of the election is just pie in the sky.”

Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network told today: “Many Scottish Muslims, like Hanzala Malik, will not agree with the Council of Glasgow Imams’ view on this. Glasgow SNP MSP Humza Yousaf, and Labour’s deputy leader, Glasgow MP Anas Sarwar, for example, have both signed up to the equal marriage pledge, supporting changing the law to allow same-sex marriage while protecting the rights of religious groups that disagree with it.”

An SNP spokeswoman said: “It will be MSPs, not councillors, who vote on any legislation that may be brought forward as a result of the consultation. The Scottish Government is clear that, whatever the way forward, faith groups and their celebrants would not be obliged to solemnise same-sex marriages.”

More: equal marriage, gay marriage, imams, Islam, marriage, marriage equality, Muslim, Religion, Scotland, Scotland

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