The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) remembers Dr Nazim Mahmood (UK) and Dr Priya Vedi (India) whose death brings to light grim attitudes grounded in religious and cultural perceptions. AoBM also lends support to Naz & Matt Foundation as Matthew Ogston walks a 130 mile distance in the memory of Dr Nazim Mahmood to raise awareness about religiously-motivated homophobia.
In the spirit of Islamic doctrine of free will, a core principle at the heart of AoBM is that people should be allowed to fashion their lives freely. Everyone is responsible for own actions on the Day of Judgement. AoBM appreciates that some people may have reservations about certain ways of living; however we advocate strongly the view that such disagreement gives no right to any of us to act in homophobic manner. We urge all communities to initiate and support a dialogue from within to further a better understanding of the issues related to sexuality – both culturally and religiously.
AoBM has always stood by the rights of the people irrespective of their caste, sexuality, colour and religion. In this spirit, we call upon the politicians contesting the general elections next month, to make a clear pledge in the memory of Dr Mahmood to outlaw all the remaining types of discrimination in the British society and further the anti-discrimination cause by tackling homophobia in all its forms, whatsoever and wheresoever in the UK. AoBM maintains that tackling forced marriages and domestic violence will assist in reducing homophobic tendencies.
While recognising other freedoms essential for a healthy society, AoBM also calls upon all segments of the government and the wider society to respect the freedom of expression which includes debating difficult theological issues surrounding sexuality and homophobia. The debate on these issues should remain open, frank and inclusive in letter and spirit with the aim of evolving a consensus rather than hegemony.
Zahid Ali Akbar, Human Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims