Gay children should repent, Muslim parents told at conference

Posted: Fri, 3rd Feb 2023

Gay children should repent, Muslim parents told at conference

A speaker at an anti-LGBT education group's conference told attendees that gay children must be taught to repent.

Yusuf Patel (pictured) said children must be taught that "sexual attraction / desires" are "external drives" which "are not part of you" at a conference by Parents United, according to notes from the conference which took place in November.

He added: "You can and must come back from sinful behaviour through TAWBA – Do tawba after every sin ASAP". Tawba is the word for repentance in Islam.

Around 100 people are reported to have attended the conference. Parents United report that '100% of those who attended were Muslim"

Parents United, who describe themselves as a "Muslim parent action group", formed in 2020 in Redbridge. They campaign for "faith-appropriate" relationships and sex education (RSE) which excludes lessons about same-sex relationships. Their conference was held in November at the Alhuda Welfare Foundation in Romford.

Parents United's homepage was taken down after the Romford Recorder published these findings.

Patel said "every behaviour is changeable - if your favourite football team can change, a night person can change into a morning person, " adding that the idea that sexuality cannot be changed is "not correct".

The notion that sexual orientation can be changed through repentance underpins so-called 'gay conversion therapy', a practice which the government aims to ban due to the serious psychological harms it can inflict on gay people.

Attendees were also told "same-sex relationship tendencies" stem from a "lack of a father figure", a father who is "too strict" or a "lack of masculine role model due to absent fathers".

Patel added: "…man-made terms like 'sexual orientation, gay, lesbian' are fully-loaded terms and not real - When you use these labels, you give life to the false premises, so don't use them."

He said: "We are sitting on a ticking time bomb with schools and society imposing their values on sexuality on our children."

Patel is the founder of SREIslamic, an organisation set up to resist the teaching of sex education in UK schools. He is also a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international extremist Islamist group which the Home Office has recognised as holding "anti-semitic, anti-western and homophobic views".

Other speakers included Ryan Christopher of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)an anti-LGBT Christian activist group that also campaigns against reproductive rights.

Christopher encouraged attendees to raise complaints "constantly" about RSE as this "takes up staff time" and will "encourage the school culturally to remove that [LGBT relationships]" from the RSE lessons.

He suggested that "[I]nappropriate conversations between staff and student that are unnecessarily sexual" might take place, including "stuff that could be on the grooming end spectrum potentially". The conference notes provide no evidence for this claim.

Another speaker, Layla Aitlhadj of Prevent Watch, claimed the government's counter-extremism initiative Prevent is "Islamophobic" and warned parents they could face referrals to the programme, despite admitting there have been no recorded cases of referrals relating to RSE curriculums.

Parts of the conference's presentation also promoted resources from Muslim Engagement and Development' (MEND). Multiple MEND employees, including members of the senior leadership, have faced accusations of extremism, including legitimising the killing of British troops in Iraq, promoting antisemitic conspiracies, and downplaying acts of terrorism.

Conference Report

Parents United issued a report following the conference, which was sent to a number of local and national politicians, as well as schools in Redbridge.

The report provided several examples of what the group considers objectionable:

  • "A Muslim LGBT activist picked as a female role model on International Women's Day"
  • "From all the minority ethnic backgrounds present in Redbridge, parents reported only Muslim LGBT personalities were disproportionately presented to children as LGBT role models"
  • "Parents have reported safeguarding concerns with sexually explicit science lessons"
  • "Schools have not allowed religion to be at the forefront for a child who is religious"

In December an LGBT equalities campaigner, Khakan Qureshi, was sent death threats after speaking to school students in Birmingham about being a gay Muslim.

NSS: Parents United promote "harmful homophobic views"

NSS campaigns officer Jack Rivington said: "Although Parents United like to portray themselves as nothing more than a group of concerned parents, the reality is that it has platformed religious fundamentalists and Islamists with a wider political agenda, whilst also promoting harmful homophobic views.

"Politicians, schools, and the media should bear this context in mind and treat Parents United with according scepticism.

"It is important that all children receive age-appropriate and inclusive sex and relationships education, for their own well-being and their interactions with wider UK society. The religious beliefs of parents should never be privileged over the teaching of accurate science and acceptance of all people regardless of sexual orientation."

Still from Yusuf Patel's December 2022 lecture at Masjid Tawhid Leyton on LGBT-inclusive education

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Tags: Faith schools, LGBT