The chairman of one of Europe's largest mosques has launched a tirade against those who criticised him for banning a BBC3 discussion about gay Muslims at his mosque, comparing homosexuality to being "a compulsive murderer, gambler, or paedophile".
The panel show called "Free Speech", was aired last week live from Birmingham Central Mosque, trailing the question ‘When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?’
But after an introductory clip was shown featuring Asifa Lahore, a Muslim drag queen, presenter Rick Edwards said the mosque had demanded the segment not be discussed.
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The change in topic caused anger among viewers
But Dr Mohammad Naseem, the mosque's long-time chairman, defended his decision to bar the discussion in a letter sent to HuffPost UK.
"There are people with homosexual tendency in Muslim countries but they respect the law and control their desire as others do.
"Human beings do have weaknesses and tendencies which are not socially acceptable and so they try to have a control over them and do not give in.
"A compulsive murderer, gambler, paedophile etc. could present the same logic and ask for accommodation by the society. Are we going to accept on the basis of freedom of action?"
It was apparent that Lahore, the Muslim drag queen featured in the programme, "does not know his religion and has not got much links with it," Naseem said.
"He would have, otherwise, known that it is prohibited in Islam. If he wants to persue [sic] his inclination then he is free to leave Islam and follow any ideology that suits him," Naseem continued.
BBC had misled the mosque, and that they had only been informed two hours before the programme that it intended to discuss homosexuality, Naseem alleged.
Dr Mohammad Naseem, chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque
Naseem said the subject of homosexuality was not the topic for a TV discussion show but something that should be investigated by "specialists in the fields of zoology, botany, genetics, sociology etc", adding that the "mosque management will be delighted to join such a group and help to seek an understanding of the subject in depth."
"It is premature to discuss the subject when we do not know much about its causes and effects," Naseem said.
"Not being able to accept them in religion should not be confused with denying them their human rights such as their right to have education, employment, housing and respect."
Panellists on the show were The Huffington Post UK's Mehdi Hasan, Lib Dem peer Susan Kramer, trans activist and writer Paris Lees, former Conservative parliamentary candidate Shazia Awan, and Heydon Prowse, co-creator of ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’.
It is not the first time Naseem, a Respect party parliamentary candidate in 2005, has raised eyebrows with his comments, including hinting that he believes the 7/7 London tube bombings may have been a false flag.
He told a BBC2 documentary Muslims "do not accept the government version of July 7, 2005".
Later, when a videotape emerged featuring suspected bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan, appearing to explain his actions, Naseem said: "We are in the 21st century. The cows can be made to look as dancing, the horses can speak like humans, so these things can be doctored or can be produced."
The BBC said in a statement on the cancellation of the debate: “Out of respect to the Birmingham Central Mosque, who hosted the programme, the decision was made to delay the debate on Muslim gay rights to a future programme".
"The topic will be raised and debated in full in the edition of Free Speech airing on 25 March.”
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