The Scottish National Party (SNP) will lose the support of Muslims if it pushes ahead with plans to redefine marriage, Muslim leaders have warned.
Muslim leaders from across Scotland met Nicola Sturgeon, the party’s Deputy First Minister, at Glasgow Central Mosque to express their position on the issue.
Bashir Maan, a prominent figure in Glasgow’s Muslim community, said: “We have made it clear to Nicola Sturgeon that we have been very pro-nationalist but if they go ahead with this we will not be happy.
“There are about five or six thousand Muslims living in her constituency and we hope that she will listen to us.”
And Saleem Aslam, the chairman of Taleem ul Islam mosque in Pollokshields, south Glasgow, said: “This isn’t personal for us it is our religion.
“Another government could get elected and abolish the opt-out or it could be challenged under human rights laws and then we are back to square one.”
The Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage received 77,000 responses. Reports indicate that they are 2:1 against any change.
The response, the largest since devolution, dwarfed that of the independence consultation which received just 26,000 responses.
A spokesman for Nicola Sturgeon said: “The cabinet secretary met leaders at the Glasgow mosque and had a very good discussion.
“The consultation on same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnerships has closed and time has been taken for these to be analysed and properly considered.
“We fully expect to be in a position to publish the way ahead this month.”
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has called for a referendum on redefining marriage.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien said: “The Scottish government’s consultation on redefining marriage had three times more respondents than the consultation on the constitution, demonstrating clearly that far more people are concerned about fundamental matters of morality at the present time.
“Clearly, if it is sensible to hold a referendum on independence, it is crucial that we have one on marriage. It is the only way the country can move forward on this issue.”
But yesterday the Scottish Government rejected calls for a referendum.