Manchester’s leading Imam has confirmed that he thinks the execution of sexually active gay men is justified. Mr. Arshad Misbahi, who is based at the Manchester Central Mosque, confirmed his views in a conversation to Dr John Casson, a local psychotherapist.
Dr Casson said: “I asked him if the execution of gay Muslims in Iran and Iraq was an acceptable punishment in Sharia law, or the result of culture, not religion. He told me that in a true Islamic state, such punishments were part of Islam: if the person had had a trial, at which four witnesses testified that they had seen the actual homosexual acts.”
“I asked him what would be the British Muslim view? He repeated that in an Islamic state these punishments were justified. They might result in the deaths of thousands but if this deterred millions from having sex, and spreading disease, then it was worthwhile to protect the wider community.”
“I checked again that this was not a matter of tradition, culture or local prejudice. ‘No,’ he said, ‘It is part of the central tenets of Islam: that sex outside marriage is forbidden; this is stated in the Koran and the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had stated that these punishments were due to such behaviours.'”
“He told me that no Muslim would have spoken to him as I had done – they would have been too afraid, ashamed or inhibited: he admired my courage and openness.”
Commenting on Imam Arshad Misbahi’s views, Dr John Casson said:
“I support the human rights of all people peacefully to practice their religion, including the right of Muslim women to wear the veil if they choose. Equally gay men and women must enjoy the right to be themselves without the fear of being beaten, killed or condemned by homophobic religious people. These condemnatory attitudes have an adverse psychological impact on lesbians and gay men, especially lesbian and gay Muslims.”
Gay and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, of the gay rights group OutRage!, added: “It is disturbing that some British imams are endorsing the execution of gay and lesbian Muslims.
“Imam Arshad Misbahi’s homophobic attitudes give comfort and succour to queer-bashers. They encourage conflict and disharmony between Manchester’s large gay and Muslim communities.
“Muslim and gay people know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should be working together to challenge homophobia and Islamophobia. I hope liberal Muslims will speak out in defence of the human rights of lesbians and gay men,” said Mr Tatchell.