Inayat Bunglawala is an Advisor on Policy and Research at ENGAGE, an initiative designed to encourage British Muslims to interact more effectively in politics and the media in the UK. He is also a spokesperson at the Muslim Council of Britain.
Some religious communities are not reciprocating the tolerance and respect they insist on from others when it comes to gay rights, particularly in Muslim and some Christian communities.
That seemed to be the bleak message at the heart of To Be Straight With You, which was performed at the O’Reilly Theatre in Dublin last week following a sell-out three-week run at the National Theatre in London.
I had been invited to Dublin for a public discussion on issues surrounding religious freedom and sexuality alongside the production’s director, Lloyd Newson, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Dr Katherine Zappone and Father Michael Collins.
In Muslim communities the issue of homosexuality is very rarely discussed in a candid manner and is all too often wished away as if it is an affliction that involves other groups, not them.
Not far from the surface, however, are reports of gay Muslim men being pressurised into rushed marriages by parents desperate to avoid any social stigma. The woman’s family is never told the truth about her husband’s sexuality, of course, with the result that another soul has to endure unhappiness due to the initial failure to face up to the issue.
It is a highly dishonest and unethical approach.
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