Organizers have cancelled a UK university tour by a Muslim cleric who says gays are ‘worse than those animals’.
Ismail Menk was due to visit nine venues around Britain next week, including the universities of Oxford, Cardiff, Leicester, Liverpool, Leeds and Glasgow.
While often viewed as a moderate, he has been criticized for calling lesbian, gay and bisexual people ‘filthy’.
As a mufti, or religious legal expert, he is authorized to give definitive rulings, called fatwas, based on Islamic law.
He carries popular influence too – with over 193,000 followers on Twitter and 630,000 likes on Facebook.
In a video about homosexuality he argues against Muslims who feel homosexuality does not conflict with the Koran.
He says: ‘These people are blinded because the Koran says when someone begins to engage in this kind of action, Allah says they become blind, meaning they can’t see right from wrong.
‘With all due respect to the animals, they are worse than those animals. We are saying, with all due respect to the animals, because to the animals it is an insult to them to even suggest this to them. Automatically the pigs and the dogs do not engage in this. By nature.’
And he says that while the secular world is free, all Muslims have to abstain from gay sex or they stop being Muslim.
Menk was trained in Saudi Arabia but lives in Zimbabwe and his words reflect those of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who famously said gays are ‘worse than dogs and pigs’.
Menk’s British tour was being organised by Tayyibun Institute in Whitechapel, East London. But a message from them to GSN confirmed it has been cancelled.
A joint statement from Menk and the institute sent to us reads: ‘It is our duty to promote peace, tolerance, equality and justice, acknowledging the presence of the diverse faiths and inclinations in our midst.
‘As we travel and develop we learn more about the cultures and ways of others and respect their right to follow what they wish to and vice versa.’
GSN had contacted all the venues hosting Menk.
At the universities, it seems the talk had been organized by student Muslim groups, some of whom appeared to have re-thought the invitation after they were alerted to Menk’s previously expressed views.
LGBTI campaigners also reportedly put pressure on various authorities to prevent the talks.
So far three of the universities – Oxford, Cardiff and Glasgow – have also told us he was never officially invited by them or allowed to use university property. Leicester is still investigating, while Leeds and Liverpool are yet to respond.
Openly gay Muslim and GSN contributor Omar Kuddus commented: ‘I am so pleased my fellow LGBTI Muslims are being respected and this tour has now been cancelled.’
Mufti Menk has now issued a new statement appearing to indicate a change of heart:
'I am very disturbed by being labelled a hate preacher etc by gay rights activists. The truth is that I have never promoted hatred, violence or intolerance against gays or any others for that matter. I have worked hard to promote peace and tolerance which is evident from my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
'Coming from Zimbabwe, I had not been exposed to gays, but travelling to the West has given me a better understanding of the situation.
'I have had the chance to meet up with some of them and even share a few jokes and discuss their point of view.
'They have explained to me how as time passes more people are understanding them from politicians to church leaders too.
'The only difference is with those who say Islam allows gay behaviour. That's all.
'We still promote peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and tolerance and shall continue to do so even in the face of untrue, hurtful, defaming comments by some based on an OLD comment taken out of context.'
You can see Menk make his case against gay Muslims here: