“I believe there’s Nothing Holy About Hatred. I am against homophobic bullying, violence and hatred.”
Dilwar Hussain, President of the Islamic Society of Britain and Head of the Policy and Research Centre at the Islamic Foundation, and Phoenix member: Love, mercy and compassion are at the core of all of our faith traditions – whatever moral position people may take on same-sex relationships, there is no excuse for discrimination or hatred. There is nothing holy about hatred!
Stephen Shashoua, Director of Three Faiths Forum, and Phoenix member: There are many reasons to support the Nothing Holy About Hatred campaign, statistics that reveal high levels of physical and emotional violence faced by LGBT people, speak for themselves. Whatever your belief system, we must work towards a society where our diversity can be expressed without experiencing prejudice. Hate is Hate.
Farzana Hakim, Managing Director of Faz Hakim Ltd, and Phoenix member: The thought of a young person taking their own life because they have been shunned from their community for being gay is horrendous, yet it is something that is becoming increasingly common. This campaign is about showing human compassion to people when they are at their most vulnerable and not turning your back on them. Bullying, ostracising and denying people’s humanity no matter what their sexuality has no place in our society.
Tehmina Kazi, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy: British Muslims for Secular Democracy and our friends strongly condemn racism, sectarianism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. We call for all people of goodwill to join us in combating these, openly and unashamedly. Discriminatory or hostile attitudes towards individuals – on the basis of their sexuality – have no place in Islam.
David Brown, Social Action Coordinator, JHub: I want to believe that most of the homophobia I have experienced or witnessed from faith communities is unintentional. I think it mainly comes from an internal struggle for those who focus on certain scriptural verses yet forget their faith’s broader values. This is not about forcing any faith group to change their position on specific acts. It is about highlighting the way conversations about homosexuality need to be had to avoid more people, and particularly young people, feeling alienated from communities that should be supportive and welcoming.
Ian McHugh, Chair, Equalities Task Group, Diocese of Manchester (Church of England): This is something simple and effective people of faith can do to stand up against homophobia – please give it your support too and spread the message.
Gary Kennedy, Priest: I will continue to work for the unconditional acceptance of all in our communities regardless of sexuality, gender, disability, race, marital status… I will continue to preach of a God who created all in the image of God of a God who loves all, unconditionally.
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI, Director of Faith Matters and TELL MAMA: We support this campaign and believe that more needs to be done to stop homophobia and any type of hate. Britain is based on fairness and justice and not on prejudice and hate.
Sara Khan, Director of Inspire: As director of Inspire, a women’s human rights organisation which seeks to address the inequalities facing Muslim women I know how hatred and discrimination can debilitate one’s life. We are one humanity and no-one should suffer any type of hatred, violence or bullying because of their sexuality. I think this is a really important campaign and Inspire supports this initiative.
Simone Abel, Director of Rene Cassin: As the Jewish voice for human rights, we support this initiative and hope to see an end to hatred and homophobia in our society
Jasvir Singh, Director of City Sikhs: As a Sikh, I believe that all people should be treated equally and without discrimination. Homophobia is wrong. Regardless of what one’s views are about homosexuality from a religious or doctrinal basis, homophobia itself can never be defended. Discrimination should be fought wherever it may be, and whatever form it may take, and I am glad to be able to support this project.
Rabbi David Mitchell, Gay Reform Rabbi and Jewish Educator based at West London Synagogue of British Jews. On behalf of my congregation I’m honoured to sign this pledge. There is no place for homophobia in this day and age. An individual’s personal religious beliefs can never justify their acting in ways that denigrate, demean and emotionally damage others. Thank you for launching this important initiative.
Alan Wilson, Church of England bishop: I am a serving bishop of the Church of England who believes gay people deserve the same love and respect as anyone else, equally, I had a letter from an angry man who didn’t like what I had said about marriage equality to say “It beggars belief that a C of E bishop should suggest that “Love thy neighbour as thyself” and “judge not that ye be not judged” should be applied to homosexuals.” That, for me, crystalises the issue. There is an uncompromising inclusivity in the teaching of Jesus, love for all, and the closer the Church can come to believing it and showing it today, the more it is good news. No ifs, ands or buts.
Ray Gaston, Anglican Priest: Great campaign there is nothing Holy About Hatred but there is much holiness in Love
Revd Andrew Wakefield: Pleased to sign the pledge
Jane Richards, Anglican Ordinand: I can find nothing in the Gospel that teaches us to hate others because of their creed, colour or sexuality. The Jesus I follow is inclusive and loves all of humanity. I’m an Anglican Ordinand and proud to take this pledge
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers: My Jewish faith reminds us we were not created to be alone, and God creates each of us according to Gods will- but of course it also holds the basis for homophobic teaching so at some point we have to decide what is right and wrong, and decide to reject hatred and judgement.
M. Manwar Ali, Chief Executive of JIMAS: I am Manwar, Chief Executive of JIMAS, a Muslim organization of some repute and history. I wholeheartedly agree that there is indeed NOTHING holy or sacred about hatred. It is a negative feeling that firstly poisons and hurts the person who holds it, and then stunts spiritual growth, which often leads to unholy/criminal acts of discrimination and violence. Religion or religiosity should never become a means to perpetrate injustice, or blind hatred, or general discrimination, while deluding oneself that such thoughts and actions are anything holy.
Andrew Gilliver, Campaigns Manager, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation: ’Nothing Holy About Hatred’ is a fantastic way to help get the message out about challenging homophobia within faith circles and also support those people who are fearful of discussing sexual orientation, for whatever reason. It is so important to let people know that LGB&T people (just like everyone else) have diverse faith and beliefs and there should be no barriers in feeling free to be yourself . This initiative can really help to discuss these issues with respect, and make sure that there is always an open channel to discuss matters of faith, belief and sexual orientation and remind us all that no-one should suffer homophobia,biphobia,transphobia etc because of who they are or who they are perceived to be.
Amandeep Rai, Public Relations Officer for Leicestershire Sikh Alliance: The 9th master of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur, the selfless-martyr, gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, defending the rights of a separate oppressed religion, indeed a religion he is on record as not even agreeing with. This confuses many, the prophet of one religion sacrificing his life for another religion! But if you take a step back, the narrative is profound. Regardless of faith, no faith, sexual orientation etc, “Recognise The Human Race as One”. When you defend the rights of people you may not agree with, maybe even your adversaries , only then do you truly understand human rights. Homophobia and hatred in all its forms and guises needs to be stood up to. But as the selfless-martyr, the 9th master teaches us, it’s not enough to say a few choice words, you have to feel what you say in your very being, only then can you summon the spiritual courage to yourself defend the rights of the oppressed, and become a ‘selfless-martyr’. “Recognise The Human Race as One” as that is where salvation lies.