Muslims and Jews to Join Gay-Laws Protest
Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY
PROMINENT Muslims and Jews united with Christians yesterday to voice concern at laws boosting gay rights.
Churches are organising demonstrations next week against the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which are due to come into force in April.
Campaigners claim the rules will force religious groups to promote homosexual rights in contradiction to their teachings and could persecute those who disapprove of homosexuality on moral grounds.
Dr Majid Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, yesterday urged Muslims to join protests against the 'unjust' laws, including a torchlight parade in Westminster to coincide with a Lords debate next Tuesday.
And for the first time the Board of Deputies of British Jews voiced concern over the legislation.
The regulations, which are in line with EU requirements, will punish businesses and organisations which discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.
Hotels which refuse to let double rooms to gay couples could, for example, be taken to court.
Christian campaigners fear churches which refuse to let out parish halls or conference centres to gay groups would face legal action, as could schools which fail to teach that homosexuality is equal to marriage.
The Church of England has complained that vicars who refuse to bless civil partnerships may be also targeted. And the Roman Catholic church has threatened to close its nine adoption and fostering agencies if they are forced to place children with homosexual couples.
The outcry has piled pressure on Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly - a devout Roman Catholic who is thought to have approved the regulations reluctantly - to rethink the legislation.
Dr Katme made his plea to Muslims in a letter circulated to several hundred supporters and 40 imams, who are expected to publicise the issue during Friday prayers. Urging Muslims to 'join our Christian friends in their campaign against the new proposed law on sexual orientation', he said: 'It is against our religious rights and against our human rights and against our conscience and religious beliefs to have this new unjust law forced on all of us British Muslims. …