Fiyaz Mughal, chairman of anti-Muslim hate helpline Tell MAMA, is being criticized by members of the Islamic community after he asked gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to become a patron.
Mughal has been warned his group will be shunned by fellow Muslims for being deliberately provocative.
Tell MAMA, an acronym for Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks, collects data on all forms of abuse against Muslims and has received over £200,000 from the government since it was launched in 2012.
The Sunday Express reports Richard Benson, former president of a Jewish organisation similar to Tell MAMA, will become joint chairman of the helpline next week in an effort to create a multi-faith anti-extremism platform.
Mughal, formerly an adviser to Nick Clegg, says he is frustrated the voices of the ‘silent majority’ of Muslims are often drowned out by those with more extreme views.
Naseem, who refused to allow the topic of homosexuality to be debated on BBC3’s panel show Free Speech in March, said: ‘There are people with homosexual tendencies in Muslim countries but they respect the law and control their desire as others do.’
In response to Naseem’s comments, Mughal wrote an article on the Tell MAMA website calling Naseem’s beliefs ‘fundamentally wrong’ and ‘archaic’.
He wrote: ‘The recent comments made by the long-standing Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, Dr Mohammed Naseem, are so off the mark that they show a complete lack of awareness of how people lead their lives in a rapidly changing and globalised world.
‘Dr Naseem is also fundamentally wrong when he compares homosexuality to being “a compulsive murderer, gambler or pedophile.”
‘For Dr Naseem to compare pedophilia to homosexuality is not only disgraceful, he trots out the worst stereotypes and fear mongering possible against LGBTQ communities.’
As a result of the article, an anonymous ‘Muslim Community Alert’ was circulated warning people about Tell MAMA’s ‘reformist agenda’.
Mughal told the Sunday Express: ‘We’re clear. If you are homophobic or anti-Semitic, you can’t campaign against anti-Muslim prejudice.
‘The two things just do not go together. If you’re an intolerant figure against someone else, you can’t then cry wolf when something happens to you. We’ll stand against intolerance in all communities.’
Tatchell said it was a ‘big honour’ to join Tell MAMA, and is hoping to ‘build bridges between the Muslim and gay communities’.
He said: ‘I’m probably the first openly gay person appointed to a senior position in a mainstream non-gay Muslim organisation. That’s a real breakthrough.’