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Bangladeshi Muslims to protest over Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus’ gay rights support

Bangladeshi Muslims to protest over Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus’ gay rights support

Islamic groups in Bangladesh have called for nationwide protests today against Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus over his support of a statement in 2012 against the persecution of LGBTs in Uganda in the latest attack on the Grameen Bank founder.

Yunus signed on to a group statement in April of last year along with fellow Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Shirin Ebadi and Professor Jody Williams which was released by the Robert F Kennedy Center and Sexual Minorities Uganda.

Bangladesh’s main mosque and hundreds of imams, many of whom draw salaries from the state, threatened to march against Yunus today, and have said they plan to hold rallies in 600 towns and cities across the country.

‘Yunus must apologize for supporting homosexuality or he must be prosecuted for standing against the Koran and Islam,’ a secretary at the Dhaka National Mosque, Maolana Moniruzzaman Rabbani, told AFP on Monday.

Rabbani said organizers would distribute 600,000 leaflets outlining Yunus’ support for LGBT rights and said organizers planned to culminate their campaign in an event in Dhaka at the end of the month.

‘We’ll hold a massive rally against Yunus in the capital on October 31,’ Rabbani said.

‘We have asked all Muslims to be united against Yunus’s move to destroy our family and society.’

Rabbani is also the secretary general of the Islamic Oikyajote political party – which is allied to the Bangladesh Government – and the effort to bring up the issue over a year after Yunus signed the statement appears to be just the latest effort to smear the Nobel laureate.

The Bangladesh Government stripped him of his position of managing director of his Grameen Bank two years ago, saying he was past retirement age, and is now subjecting him to a tax probe.

‘As a global community of individuals dedicated to a more peaceful and just world, we wish to express our grave concern as to how our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters are being treated across the globe,’ the April 2012 statement read.

‘Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

‘By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognize the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace.’

The statement was released as Ugandan lawmakers pushed to pass the so-called ‘kill the gays bill’ which would see repeat homosexual offenders executed.