Scottish council elections: Don’t vote for gay marriage backers, Muslims urged

MUSLIM religious leaders are urging people in their community not to vote for any candidate in the forthcoming council election who supports same-sex marriage.

Muslim religious leaders are urging people in their community not to vote for any candidate in the forthcoming council election who supports same-sex marriage.

The Council of Glasgow Imams yesterday issued a resolution at the city’s Central Mosque opposing same-sex marriage. It said the proposed legislation was an “attack” on their faith and fundamental beliefs.

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The strong views expressed by the Muslim leaders in their statement urged the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to reconsider the SNP government’s proposal to legalise homosexual weddings.

As Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Ms Sturgeon is overseeing the legislation. She also has many Muslim constituents as MSP for Glasgow Southside.

“This is a serious question that deserves very serious consideration by the Scottish Government,” the Council of Glasgow Imams said. “Accordingly, we urge the Nicola Sturgeon to look very seriously at this fundamentally important issue and to reconsider the full implications of what she is proposing.

“We wish to inform both her and First Minister Alex Salmond that we are deeply unhappy and vigorously opposed to the proposed legislation for same-sex marriage.

“There is no scope for compromise on this issue, and we simply say this: no to same-sex marriage.”

The council is based in Glasgow but the message is being sent to Muslims all over Scotland. Spokesman Bashir Maan said: “It’s totally against not just our faith but most of the faiths. So the government would be forcing the groups to break their faith to go against it.”

In January political leaders signed a pledge to support a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage.

Leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Conservative parties signed up at an event at Holyrood which was marked with a specially created “equal marriage” cake.

The Scottish Government has held a public consultation on the issue and has said it “tends towards the view” that same-sex marriage should be introduced but that faith groups and their celebrants should not be obliged to solemnise the ceremonies.

With none of the main parties opposing the legislation, Mr Maan said Muslims do not have to vote at all.

He said: “I would say that if they don’t find anybody who is against the legislation then I don’t think they have to vote. It’s not compulsory that they must vote.

“We will vote for anybody who does not support the legislation, that’s it.”

Mr Maan, a former Labour councillor for the Glasgow Kingston ward, confirmed that same-sex marriages would not be tolerated in mosques.

However, he denied that the view is not discrimination.

He added: “We didn’t say anything when they were being given the right to civil union. If it was discrimination we could have said no, this is wrong. But we said if the government does it and they want it, let them be.”

The Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland have said they do not agree with changing the law to allow same-sex marriage.

Last night Humza Yousaf, SNP MSP for Glasgow, said: “I have met with many Imams, other religious clergy as well as equality groups from across Scotland.

“It is important to listen carefully and respect all views, which is what we are doing.

“It is important to stress that while the consultation has closed no decisions have been made, and will only be made once the government has published the consultation analysis.”