UK Muslim Cleric: ’Okay to Kill Gays’

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday March 23, 2009

A Muslim cleric known for promoting the discarding of civil law in England in favor of Muslinm religious law has pronounced that gays should be put to death by stoning.

A March 21 article in the UK newspaper The Daily Mail detailed the message put forth by Anjem Choudary, a Muslim cleric whose past sermons have included warning Muslims to "protect" their families from Christmas or face "hellfire."

The article said that the cleric also prescribed stoning for heterosexual adulterers.

The cleric ntoed, "If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow."

Added Choudhury, "You don't stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.

The cleric continued, "There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right."

The remarks were made at a London press conference, the article said.

Patrick Mercer, a conservative Member of Parliament, was quoted in the article as saying, "These statements show the depravity of this man's beliefs.

"They must incite hatred and encourage terrorism, and I would encourage the Metropolitan Police to investigate them as rigorously as possible."

Calls for a police investigation were echoed by leaders in the GLBT community. Said the head of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Rev. Sharon Ferguson, "This is appalling.

"The police should look very closely at what has been said to see if there is any action they should be taking."

The article said that the London press conference was set up to provide Muslim protesters a chance to explain their jeering of British troops last week. The soldiers had just returned from Iraq.

The same week, the Daily Mail ran an expose on Choudhury's conduct as a younger man, printing pictures of the cleric smoking marijuana, drinking beer, and socializing with members of the opposite sex.

The article pointed out that these were all considered punishable offenses under Sharia law, of which Choudhury now considers himself to be a "judge."

Under Sharia law, such offenses are punishable by flogging or even stoning, the article said.

The article quoted Choudhury as saying, "Yes, I was not always practising Islam. Certainly in my student days I was not a practising Muslim."

The press conference was also attended via phone by Muslim cleric Omar Bakri, who issued a warning that the British must conform to Muslim religious law or suffer terrorist attacks from resident Muslims who, the cleric predicted, would retaliate for "evil" deeds by Western nations in Afghanistana and Iraq.

Bakri resides in Lebanon, the Daily Mail reported.

A third cleric was present; Ishtiaq Alamgir attended the conference physically, and accused Britishj troops of having "blood on their hands," the article said.

Still another cleric was in attendence. Abu Abdullah exhorted followers not to "relax, do not recline, or you will be touched by the fire of hell."

Choudhury has issued many warnings and threats in revent years. Last year, he warned Muslims to avoid Christmas celebrations of any kind, including holiday decorations and traditional Christmas dinner foods.

As quoted in the Dec. 10, 2008 edition of UK newspaper The Telegraph Choudhury warned, "In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas.

"Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners," the cleric added.

"Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah," Choudhury said, adding that, "Many still practice this corrupt celebration as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus."

Demanded Choudhury, "How can a Muslim possibly approve or participate in such a practice that bases itself on the notion Allah has an offspring?

"The very concept of Christmas contradicts and conflicts with the foundation of Islam."

Warned the cleric, "Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire.

"Protect your Paradise from being taken away--protect yourself and your family from Christmas."

In years past, Choudhury has issued warnings against Jews, telling them not to support Israel, and spoken in support of terrorists who committed bombings in the UK on July 7, 2005.

Late last year, Choudhury declared that Islam is not a peaceful faith, saying, "It is a religion of brutality, murder, rape, anti-semitism, and submission."

Added the cleric, "We need to submit to the will of Allah."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.