Muslim community condemns MP death threats

Wandsworth Guardian: MP Sadiq Khan MP Sadiq Khan

The Imam of Balham Mosque and Tooting Islamic Centre has condemned extremist Muslims who have issued threats against an MP.

A fatwa has been issued against Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting and a worshipper at the Balham Mosque, after he voted for gay marriage.

Imam Suliman Gani blasted Muslims for the threats, but said he did not agree with Mr Khan's view.

He said: "We don't agree to give anyone a death threat because of his own opinion, that is not acceptable.

"All I am aware of is that people are upset of his view. No Muslim who comes to the mosque was happy, it came as a shock and surprise."

A fatwa is a ruling that can be issued by a senior cleric on Islamic law and can be so serious as to demand the death of the person it is issued against.

According to Pakistani newspaper The News International Mufti Muhammad Aslam Naqshbandi of Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Southfield, Bradford, said Muslims supporting gay marriage had put themselves outside of Islam.

The paper reports three Pakistani clerics said Muslim MPs voting in favour need to renew their faith and stand expelled from the circle of Islam.

Following the support he has recieved since the threats, Mr Khan said: "I am really touched by the amazing level of support shown to me and my family from all sections of our fantastic community locally.

"Thank you to everyone who has been in touch."

The Labour MP said he voted for gay marriage because he believes in equality, but said religious organisations should not be forced into holding gay marriage ceremonies.

A statement on his website said: "I believe that couples who love each other and want to make that long-term commitment to each other should be able to have a civil marriage regardless of their gender or their sexuality.

"Same sex couples should have the same recognition from the state as everyone else."

Muslim MPs Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood and Anas Sarwar also voted for gay marriage.

Conservative MP Rehaman Chishti voted against the move, while Yasmin Quershi and Khalid Mahmood abstained.

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