Thursday, November 24, 2005

"Islam blasted by gay Muslim peer" - Black Information Link

Islam blasted by gay Muslim peer
Exclusive by Urmee Khan 24/11/2005

NEW LABOUR PEER Waheed Alli has attacked Islam claiming the Quran is riddled with contradictions and the religion dominated by rituals.

In remarks which will infuriate Muslim leaders the openly-gay Lord Alli accused clerics of being “intellectually lazy” and called for a “radical democratisation of Islam.”

One Muslim figure who witnessed Lord Alli’s speech reacted: “I’m angry, I think he’s got it wrong”.

The normally low profile peer waded into the religion in a lecture called ‘Islam the Third Way’ at the Canadian Embassy on Monday night.

Lord Alli – who has previously never spoken out on Islam - attacked “Muslim reluctance to tackle the contradictions in Islam.”

Referring to the community’s response to the London terror attacks, Lord Alli issued a stark warning. “Verbal condemnation is not enough. We can no longer be intellectually lazy”.


Lord Alli argued that Muslims must try and understand Islam better and Islam must be reconciled with the modern world, saying: “ritual has overtaken religion”, adding that 7th century values do not fit 20th century life.

“The problem lies in the Quran itself”, he said. “There are contradictions in Quran; we have to stop avoiding them. If you find the Hadith literally, you can kill and maim as many people you can.

"If you use Quran as literal text, you can stone a woman who has been raped and in Iran, two boys were hung up for being gay”.

Lord Alli, a friend of Euro trade commissioner Peter Mandleson, said that Sharia law could be a powerful defence in balancing the rights of individuals against the rights of the state.


“In a Muslim country, I as a gay man, should be able to go to Sharia law for protection, Sharia law should be a source of protection not oppression”

He called Muslims to follow “the third way” which he said was the democratisation of Islam. “We have to take individual responsibility for action, collective responsibility for our religion.

“We are today at a crossroads – modern values in Islam against orthodox values in Islam, this century will be defined by this conflict – conflict of values”

Green Party MEP Jean Lambert found his speech a useful contribution and called for Alli to speak on campuses where many tensions lie. “I think he was good, and he should go and speak to the younger people at the universities”.

However there was some scepticism from the Muslims in the audience. A young hijab-wearing student lambasted Alli for misreading the Quran and argued that Islam guaranteed rights for women.

A Labour politician said privately before the event, “I have great respect for his work in every other area, but I don’t understand why he has chosen to get involved in this debate”.

Voted the most powerful Asian in the media in 2005, Lord Alli first came to prominence in the media through his TV production company Planet 24.

Lord Alli, was given a life peerage at the age of 34 in 1998, became the youngest and first openly gay peer in Parliament. He has been very close to new Labour and was an outspoken critic on Section 28, the legislation that bans local authorities from promoting homosexuality.


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