Scottish Muslims could desert SNP over gay marriage plans

The Scottish Government risks losing votes from the nation’s Muslim community with its plans to redefine marriage, Muslim leaders have warned.

The Government, led by the Scottish National Party (SNP), held a consultation on the controversial issue which closed last Friday after receiving tens of thousands of responses.

Now the Muslim Council of Scotland has warned that the plans could cause many Muslims to withdraw their support from the party.


Salah Beltagui, the group’s convener, said: “Generally, support for the SNP [among Scotland’s Muslim Community] has been strong, but if this goes on, it might change things.

“If you go back a few years, Labour was getting the majority of the vote and after Iraq it eroded very strongly, so it takes one issue like that to change things.”

He added: “Our community as a whole are all of the opinion that the family should not be changed in definition. A family is a man and a woman and children.


“It is important that the children have a family around them and know who their father and mother is.”

The Scottish Government’s proposals to rewrite the definition of marriage have provoked a strong backlash.

The Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church are all opposed to the move.


And the leaders of more than 70 evangelical churches, representing more than 20,000 Christians, in Scotland have also signed an open letter opposing the move.

Last month a new campaign group, Scotland for Marriage, was launched in a bid to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.

The group is supported by religious and non-religious groups.