Muslims feel sidelined in Scots Govt push for gay marriage

Mon, 18 Feb 2013

Muslims in Scotland are concerned their views are being “ignored” by the Scottish Government over its plans to redefine marriage.

Muslim groups, including the Muslim Council of Scotland and the Glasgow Central Mosque, are set to meet with the Government minister responsible for the issue.

Dr Salah Beltagui, of the Muslim Council of Scotland, said: “We know of people who have actually withdrawn from the SNP as a party member because of this”.

Negative

Dr Beltagui also said that after the first consultation on the issue, “people gave their opinion and that was ignored – which is really not good for the political process in general”.

He added: “There is always the call for people from ethnic communities to be engaged in politics and this was an exercise where people engaged but that proved negative.”

Dr Muhammad Kausar, President of the Glasgow Central Mosque, said they will say to Alex Neil – the minister in charge of the plans – that same-sex marriage is unnecessary.

Civil partnerships

Dr Kauser said: “We will tell him this is not what the Muslim community are going to favour at all.

“There are already civil partnerships – why do they want to change the definition of marriage?”

The Scottish Government said meetings were taking place with religious groups to hear their views.

Opposed

A spokeswoman for the Government said: “Same-sex marriage should not impact on religious freedom and no religious body will be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages – and those which do wish to will have to opt in.

“Where a body does decide it wishes to be able to conduct same-sex marriages, we will also protect individual celebrants who consider such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith.”

In the first Government consultation on the issue, two thirds of the 80,000 responses were opposed to the move.

The Government is now running another consultation, which closes next month, on the details of its same-sex marriage Bill.

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