Religion

UK-based Muslim charity hosts sermons insisting gay people are diseased and need to be cured

Nick Duffy February 3, 2021
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Islamic scholar Khalid Zaheer delivers a 2014 anti-gay lecture hosted on the charity website

Islamic scholar Khalid Zaheer delivers a 2014 anti-gay lecture hosted on the charity website

A newly-registered Muslim charity is facing scrutiny over sermons on its website that suggest homosexuality is a disease that needs to be cured.

The Cheshire-based Ghamidi Centre of Islamic Communication, which registered as a charity in December, hosted videos and audio clips in which speakers discuss “the right to beat wives” and liken gay people to murderers.

Islamic scholar Khalid Zaheer delivers one 2014 lecture hosted on the charity’s website, titled: “Is There Room for Gays and Lesbians in Islam?”

In the clip, Zaheer says: “There’s no denying the fact that there are some people who have their own nature, inclined unnaturally towards people belonging to their own gender. It’s a disease, and this disease needs to be cured.”

Muslim scholar suggests gay people help to ‘overcome disease’

He continues: “The existence of a disease does not justify that the person who is suffering from it should be allowed to go for it.

“There are people who lose their senses and are inclined to killing others. Of course we’re not going to allow killing, because there is somebody who has a problem in his mind or is is mentally ill.”

The charity's website likens gay people to murderers
The charity’s website likens gay people to murderers (File photo/Envato)

Zaheer adds: “What is wrong morally is wrong. It needs to be stopped. It needs to be curved, and there are people who are suffering from diseases, which are causing them to be inclined to do things which are illegitimate.

“Well, we need to cure such patients and prevent them from coming close to doing what is otherwise unacceptable and illegitimate.

“So, we will sympathise with such people, we will help them to overcome this problem, but we will most certainly defend the principle that what is obscene is obscene, and therefore it cannot be allowed, it cannot be promoted, and in no way it can ever be declared as legitimate.”

Other clips preach that husbands “hold a degree of superiority over their wives”, with a sermon titled “The Right to Beat Wives” appearing to conclude that husbands should have a right to “punish” their wives – though only in ways that do not leave physical injuries.

In its registration with the Charity Commission, the centre lists its purpose as “the advancement of the religion of Islam for the benefit of the public, primarily but not exclusively through the provision of online information, learning and study”.

Challenge over charity status for ‘gay cure’ body

The sermons were challenged by the National Secular Society, which has called for the centre’s charitable status to be reviewed.

NSS head of policy and research Megan Manson said: “The Charity Commission should quickly review the status of the Ghamidi Centre and consider whether the material on its website is compatible with the expectation that charities provide a public benefit.

“And this should prompt questions over the status of ‘the advancement of religion’ as a charitable purpose in law.”

LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell also challenged the “shocking” material and questioned why the body has charitable status, which enables it to claim tax relief and taxpayer-funded Gift Aid on donations.

The Ghamidi Centre of Islamic Communication told PinkNews: “The videos and audios in question had been uploaded some time ago. They were removed from the website soon after they were brought to our attention.

“We are in the process of reviewing all our content on the website. For this purpose we are also seeking advice from our charity advisor, and following the guidance of Charity Commission.

“We are committed to work within the rules, regulations and guidelines of the Charity Commission.”

In an email to National Secular Society, a trustee for the centre agreed that “some of the content does not seem compatible with our charitable status”.

The trustee added: “Some of these videos are old and their titles may give wrong impression about their intended message. Certainly, there is no intention of imposing any religious ideas or values on others.

“We believe in freedom of expression, and the right to freedom of religion and belief are protected by the Human Rights Act. We all enjoy this freedom in a democratic country.”

Though the sermons in their video form have been removed from the centre’s website, they remain available as audio files.

Related topics: Charity, charity commission

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