In February this year, Hidayah was invited to MEA Central as part of an “Equality and Diversity Day” to teach children in Year 7 and 8 that being Muslim and LGBT is acceptable in Islam.
The course was led by Hidayah representative, Ezra Stripe, and included a whiteboard brainstorm with the title: “Can you be LGBTQ and religious?”
Leaflets were also handed out to children at the school (which has a 75% Muslim intake) asking isn’t being transgender haraam? The leaflet then quoted Quranic verses seeking to justify LGBT relationships in Islam.
Hidayah says its objectives are:
- To raise awareness of the needs of LGBTQI+ Muslims;
- To provide educational resources and projects to support LGBTQI+ Muslims;
- To develop opportunities for LGBTQI+ Muslims to access welfare services;
- To campaign to provide social justice for the LGBTQI+ Muslim community;
- To increase the visibility and voices of LGBTQI+ Muslims.
One concerned parent, Hassan, told 5Pillars: “We saw the whiteboard in an article in the Metro which clearly shows their brainwashing intentions. They are clearly trying to indoctrinate Muslim children.”
Another Muslim parent, Riga Afinnih, explained to 5Pillars that none of the parents had any idea about the “indoctrination” course until after it took place.
“I was initially told by my son about the amount of LGBT teaching going on. So I did a bit of research and found out that they (the school) had invited Hidayah to do an exhibition on LGBT and how Islam accepts it. All the while with no consent from the parents.”
Hidayah has been causing controversy among Muslim communities up and down the UK in recent months amid the ongoing row over compulsory LGBT relationship education lessons in UK schools.
The LGBT group have been reportedly targeting Muslim majority areas of several cities in northern England with the aim of teaching young children that homosexual relations are okay, even though there is a consensus in Islam that they are strictly forbidden and a major sin.
Following the incident, a group of parents secured a meeting with the Head of School, Mrs Emily Reynard, to discuss their worries.
Riga Afinnih explained: “At the meeting, I and a group of other parents discussed our concerns with the head teacher, Mrs Raynard, who apologised and said the school was unaware of what they were going to teach the children and they ensured us it wouldn’t happen again.”
Despite this, many Muslim parents remain deeply concerned as it is known that teachers from MEA Central have been encouraging students to accept homosexuality in Islam.
Via their twitter accounts, teachers at the school have admitted that they aim to “normalise and increase acceptance” of the LGBT community amongst Muslims.
In January, one teacher from the school, Mrs Adson, could be seen tweeting from her private account signing a “staff pledge” to help normalise queer relationships to Muslims.
Then in February, another teacher, Mrs Taylor, tweeted on her account students waving gay pride rainbow flags and signing LGBT student pledges.
Homosexuality in Islam
Hidayah’s promotion of homosexuality to Muslims has been condemned by senior Islamic scholars.
Sheikh Tauqir Ishaq, a scholar seeking to address the issues of LGBT in the UK, told 5Pillars: “This is an issue which we call Qat’ee – which means indisputable. Practising homosexuality or lesbianism is completely haraam and there is no dispute over this. So anyone who tries to say homosexuality is OK is promoting something which Allah has completely forbidden.”
5Pillars contacted the Head of School, Mrs Reynard, and she confirmed the meeting with the parents did take place. Mrs Reynard stressed there were no lessons delivered by the Hidayah group as part of an “Equality and Diversity Day” at the school where it had a stall, but didn’t wish to elaborate on what was said to parents afterwards.
“It is not our policy to make public what is discussed at a parental meeting. Our parents are extremely supportive of the school and everyone involved was happy with the outcome of the meeting. We continue to work in partnership with parents and provide forums through our coffee mornings, parents evenings and PTA to ensure their voice is heard.”