Islamic fundamentalists tried to beat up a gay man and threatened to kill him at a London conference on "Islamophobia", designed to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslim values, and attended by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.
The conference declaration claimed that "Islam is wrongly and unjustly portrayed as barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent and aggressive".
During the question and answer session, OutRage! activist and former Muslim of Pakistani descent, Muhammad Khan(*), asked the panel of speakers how negative attitudes towards Muslims among gay people could be overcome, given that Islam advocates the burning alive of homosexuals.
Most of the conference turned on Muhammad. He was surrounded by over a hundred Muslims who screamed abuse and threatened to kill him. "I thought I was going to be lynched", he said. "Some were trying to hit me. It was only the intervention of the stewards that stopped them."
None of the Muslim, Christian or Jewish leaders on the platform intervened to calm the situation or condemn the violence. One, Imam Abduljalil Sajid, a Muslim cleric and member of the Runnymede Trust, shouted that Muhammad had no need to ask what Muslims thought of homosexuals: all he had to do was look at the audience's reaction. The violent scenes led to the abandonment of the conference.
Held at King's College, London, on Wednesday, 18th March, the conference on "Islamophobia -- The Xenophobia of our Times" was sponsored by the Islamic Foundation. It was organised by the Federation of Students' Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and the University of London Union. -- ULU has an anti-homophobia policy that was clearly violated.
As well as Imam Sajid, the speakers included:
"Muslims want tolerance for themselves but not for lesbians and gays", said Muhammad Khan. "They condemn Islamophobia, while zealously promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals."
(*) Name changed, given the violence which exists amongst the fundamentalist community.
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