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Gay hate row mosque opens boys school

Rights groups express concern over a mosque in Birmingham, England, where clerics were secretly filmed allegedly preaching gay hate
Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham, England
Photo by Oosoom

A UK mosque where scholars were accused of preaching gay hate will open a boys school.

The Green Lane Masjid Independent Boys School in Birmingham will offer pupils, aged 11 to 16, lessons on the Koran and Arabic, in addition to the traditional subjects of maths, English and science.

The school, which charges £3,500 a year, will open its doors in September 2012.

However, the mosque was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary in 2008 which showed secret footage of Islamic clerics allegedly preaching hate against gays and non-Muslims.

Gay rights groups are concerned that the school will provide an 'equal' education, regardless of sexual orientation.

'Any educational establishment which doesn’t celebrate diversity of all ethnicities, sexual orientation or religious beliefs is a concern to us,' said Sue Sanders from Schools Out, which has campaigned for LGBT equality in schools since 1974.

'There are religious schools that have done brilliant jobs around LGBT issues and other which don’t. So I don’t necessarily leap to a conclusion that because it’s a faith school it’s going to be a mess.

'But we have indeed seen all forms of religious beliefs leading to some difficulties against us. Let’s hope that all educational establishments support the full diversity of all forms of human nature.'

Andy Wasley, from UK-based gay rights group Stonewall, says the Equality Act 2010 places a clear duty on fee-paying schools to make sure every young person receives an equal service, regardless of their sexual orientation.

He said: 'We’re crystal clear that Green Lane Masjid’s school must make sure all its young men can look forward to a good education, including those who are gay or perceived to be gay.

‘Our work with state-funded faith schools shows they can help people from different communities to work together effectively and that they work hard to deal with homophobic bullying.'

Independent schools are currently inspected differently from government funded schools and Stonewall is working with education regulatory body Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate to make sure schools in England, Scotland and Wales prevent and challenge homophobic bullying.

The Green Lane Masjid was unavailable to comment on the planned boys school but claimed the TV program, Undercover Mosque, misrepresented the preachers.

However, after a complaint about Channel 4 by West Midlands Police to media watchdog Ofcom was rejected, the force later made an apology.

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