Muslim leaders have demanded the same legal exemptions as the Church of England in legislation to introduce gay marriages.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with more than 500 affiliated mosques, charities and schools, said it was "appalled" by "utterly discriminatory" legislation on same-sex marriage set out by the government.
The proposals would allow faith groups to conduct gay marriages but would ban the CofE and the Church in Wales from doing so.
The MCB secretary-general, Farooq Murad, said his organisation had strongly opposed gay marriage alongside other religions and was seeking an urgent meeting with culture secretary, Maria Miller, to express the concerns of many Muslims over the proposals. "No one in their right mind should accept such a discriminatory law," he said. "It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions."The Guardian itself is still a tad confused over the proposals (which really aren't that difficult to understand) and it's suggestion that the Church of England and the Church in Wales are "banned" is a little misleading in itself. Maria Miller explained how it would really work in this DCMS blog.
But if we ignore that, I can barely understand what Murad is trying to say. He appears not to understand the unique relationship the Church of England has with the state nor the responsibilities it carries out for the state. It is an established church and this press release from the Church of England explains why it isn't getting "special privileges" but just sensible protection.
This call of "discrimination" seems bizarre. No religion will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. All religions will be able to opt-in to doing so if they want (yes, even the Church of England). What exactly does Murad means when he says "It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions."? Does he mean all religions, whether they like it or not, should be banned from perform same-sex marriages? Does he not understand the triple lock which protects mosques from having to do anything that they don't want to do?
What he is asking for is for the Government to take the choice away from the mosques (and everyone else!). Not only does he claim to speak as the religious leader of Islam (which, quite plainly, he isn't) but he seeks to speak for every religious organisation. How very presumptuous It was at that point I realised he probably hadn't a clue what the Government was proposing. That was when my anger disappeared and was replaced by glee.
I was gleeful because there are two scenarios here:
1) Either he hasn't got a clue. Which would be amusing and make me more confident that we can easily defeat people who don't know what they are talking about
2) He knows very well what the proposals mean and is trying to add fuel to the flames of "Church in Walesgate" with some hijinx. If this is the case, I think it shows our opponents have so exhausted their supply of arguments that they are down to silly political machinations to try and derail marriage equality.
So I take heart that we can win against such people as this. And that cheered me up after a week of silliness.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist