Last week Andrew Gilligan at the Telegraph blogs claimed: ‘East London Mosque breaks its promise on homophobic speakers after just eight days’.
East London Mosque has now released a statement hitting back, which shows how disingenuous Gilligan actually is. Here is part of their statement
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The story Mr Gilligan presented was that of an extremist sect coming to our mosque, with our blessing, to campaign against homosexuality and promote homophobia in ‘clear breach’ of undertakings he claims we have made.
If Mr Gilligan bothers to read the local newspaper today, he can see a rather more mundane (and accurate) version of events, with no attempt to hijack the story.
The facts are these:
• A set of local Muslim parents have been concerned about aspects of sex education in their children’s primary schools.
• Specifically, they have objected to animated scenes of (heterosexual) intercourse being shown to their children as part of science education lessons. They want to exercise their right to excuse their children from those particular lessons and feel their concerns have not been listened to.
• A meeting was called by a Christian organisation, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, alongside a local Islamic group, SREIslamic, to debate these concerns. Our director will be chairing the discussion.
Mr Gilligan did not present these facts. Instead, he attempted to turn a small local story into a national story, by editing the facts to whip up the gay community’s fears over apparent rampant homophobia in Tower Hamlets. (As has been pointed out elsewhere, the number of homophobic incidents has actually risen higher in areas such as Islington and Westminster than in Tower Hamlets.)
Mr Gilligan also failed to point out that a Christian organisation was jointly organising the event. He then failed to even clarify that the actual parental campaign at the centre of the story was not even talking about homosexuality at all. In order to try and make this a ‘homophobia’ issue, Mr Gilligan trawled back to a defunct blog, two years old, in order to link a quote from one of the SREIslamic leaders about the “unacceptability of homosexuality” – a quote that is in fact (however much some may disagree with it) an Islamic/theological position on homosexuality, not an out and out call to attack gays.
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Not so clear-cut as Andrew Gilligan explained then.
Update: I’ve also been informed the head of the local LGBT group in the area (*who is also Jewish) attended the parental meeting to observe events.
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Filed in: Muslim,Organisations