Birmingham court hears of shocking ways Muslim extremists ‘inflamed tensions’ around LGBT lessons debate
The lead Muslim protester against LGBT-inclusive lessons allegedly “inflamed tensions” by inviting a controversial imam, who falsely claimed schools were teaching anal sex, paedophilia and ‘transgenderism’, to take part in the demonstrations.
A High Court hearing to determine whether to uphold an exclusion zone banning protests around Anderton Park primary school is currently underway.
Attending the hearing, BirminghamLive reported that Shakeel Afsar, the lead protester in the LGBT+ lessons row, was accused of giving a contentious Muslim imam called Mullah Bahm one of the two ‘guest spots’ at the protests.
At the largest protest Bahm was filmed holding up an image of a gingerbread man with genitals. He pointed towards the school and shouted: “There are paedophiles in there. Paedophiles in there. They are pushing a paedophile agenda.”
Bahm claimed gay people “want to take our children” and called for mass protests, saying there was a need to show “Muslims are not asleep” on this issue.
Addressing a rally of approximately 300 people, including young Muslim children, he described the school’s headteacher as “shatani” (devilish) and told them: “That woman needs to be broken.”
During cross-examination Afsar denied inviting Bahm to the protest, claimed he had never met him and said he was unaware of Bahm’s intention to make such a controversial speech.
“I do not endorse what he is saying,” he claimed. “I was doing as much as I could to get him off the microphone.”
However, in footage shown to the court, Afsar can be seen standing next to Bahm and holding his microphone as he speaks. At one point he holds up the illustration of the gingerbread man for people to see. Afsar told the court he “did not realise what was on the paper”.
Jonathan Manning QC also questioned Afsar about tweets and WhatsApp messages sent from his personal accounts. He highlighted one photo shared by Afsar which depicts children being shown images of men dressed in provocative women’s clothing.
Manning said: “You are the elected spokesperson of the parents’ group, many of them as you say who don’t speak any English, and you know that suggesting this is being taught in classrooms … is totally irresponsible and designed to do nothing but inflame concerned parents.”
Afsar denied this, saying: “These are just a number of accusations made against me. [The tweet] was nothing to do with Anderton Park school.”
— Balvinder Sidhu (@BalvinderITV) October 14, 2019
The court also heard that he had appeared on Russia Today (RT) TV talking about a new health and wellbeing programme called All About Me, which “encouraged self touching and masturbation” by young children.
Afsar suggested that it was “purely coincidental” that a speaker concerned about All About Me turned up at the next protest and was invited to share her concerns over a PA system, including references to porn and masturbation.
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He told the court she turned up “as a concerned citizen” and “I did not feel she was saying anything wrong”.
Afsar said the protests were “a cry of help” and said the whole campaign was meant to be “conciliatory” to find a solution.
Despite his supposed good intentions, an official probe by the Commission for Countering Extremism found evidence that the school protests were stoked by Hizb ut-Tahir and other pro-Islamist organisations in order to foster division against the LGBT+ community.