Prominent gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has joined the Tell Mama charity as a patron in a move which is likely to raise eyebrows in the British Muslim community given that homosexuality is condemned as a sin in Islam.
Tell Mama, which receives government funding, has documented anti-Muslim hatred in the UK since its inception.
In a statement Tell Mama said: “Peter Tatchell has campaigned for nearly 50 years on human rights issues and has been one of the key drivers against homophobia. He has also campaigned against tyranny in Zimbabwe and in Russia, where he was brutally assaulted calling for LGBT rights.
“Peter’s vision encompasses human rights for all communities. He has campaigned against extremist faith preachers who oppose equal rights for women, LGBT communities and people who do not share their perspective on faith.”
Peter Tatchell added: “I am honoured to be a patron of TELL MAMA. It does vital work monitoring, reporting and countering anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination and hate crime – and supporting the victims. With the rise of anti-Muslim hate groups like the BNP and EDL, the work of TELL MAMA is more important than ever.
“While the tiny minority of Islamist extremists – and fanatics from all faiths and none – must be challenged, we also need to challenge the unjustified demonisation of the general Muslim population. Freedom of religious and non-religious beliefs are fundamental human rights that we must defend and promote. TELL MAMA does just that: it takes a stand against hate, in defence of Muslim people. My admiration and congratulations. “
Meanwhile, the Director of TELL MAMA, Fiyaz Mughal, said: “Peter has been a beacon for campaigning on human rights. He has been active for over four decades and we within TELL MAMA are clear: All forms of intolerance and bigotry need to be countered and this includes anti-Muslim prejudice, homophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of bigotry. We are proud to have Peter associated with and involved with our work.”
In the past Peter Tatchell has been critical of “Islamic fundamentalism” but has condemned Islamophobia saying “any form of prejudice, hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims is wrong. Full stop”.
He has described Sharia law as a “clerical form of fascism”on the grounds that it opposes democracy and human rights, especially for women and gay people. Tatchell also described the Muslim Council of Britain as “anti-gay”, asking how “they expect to win respect for their community, if at the same time as demanding action against Islamophobia, they themselves demand the legal enforcement of homophobia?”