UK Muslim hotline invites gay, Jewish patrons

Founder of anti-Islamophobia helpline launches diverse recruitment drive in fight against all forms of intolerance

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The founder of a UK-based hotline that helps fight Islamophobia is recruiting senior figures from the gay and Jewish communities to send out a message against all forms of intolerance, a local newspaper reported Sunday.

The Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) helpline, whose aim is to help victims and measure the level of anti-Muslim attacks in Britain, has invited the famous gay activist Peter Tatchell to become its patron, the Sunday Express reported.

The daily also revealed that Tell MAMA’s founder, Fiyaz Mughal, will make yet another controversial announcement next week when he officially recruits Richard Benson, a former president of the Community Security Trust (CST), a Jewish organization that battles anti-Semitism, to be the group’s joint chairman.

Mughal, who started the group in 2012, said that by linking up with key figures from these two communities, a message of tolerance will be proliferated.

“We’re clear. If you are homophobic or anti-Semitic, you can’t campaign against anti-Muslim prejudice,” he told the Sunday Express.

He added: “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.”

Mughal's invitation to Tatchell comes after his challenge last month to Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the huge Birmingham Central Mosque, over his stance on homosexuality.

Naseem had likened homosexuals as being akin to “compulsive murderer[s],” “gambler[s]” or “pedophile[s],” adding that gays in Muslims countries should “respect the law and control their desire.”

Mughal, angry by what he called Naseem’s “disgraceful” remarks, wrote an article on the Tell MAMA website in which he described the chairman as being “fundamentally wrong.”

Since his unorthodox announcement, Mughal has faced being ostracized by some fellow Muslims.

An anonymous leaflet under the banner “Muslim Community Alert” was circulated to mosques and other Muslim communities after his challenge to Naseem.

It read: “Beware of the Tell MAMA organization.”

The leaflet criticized the initiative, saying it “exposed its reformist agenda” and it had “overstepped its stated remit.”

In defense, Mughal told the daily that “the leaflets suggest I’m trying to change, that Islam is under threat, and that just plays into a deeply corrosive narrative.”

Mughal, who claims he tries to express the sentiments of mainstream Muslims, described them as the “silent majority.”

The Tell MAMA founder has also been targeted by far-right groups and such as the British National Party (BNP) and English Defense League, the Sunday Express reported.

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