Muslim leaders urge community not to vote for same sex marriage supporters
Imams have called on the Muslim community not to vote for local election candidates who support same sex marriage.
Muslim religious leaders are urging people in their community not to vote for any candidate who supports same-sex marriage in the upcoming council election.
The Council of Glasgow Imams issued a "resolution opposing same-sex marriage" at the city's Central Mosque on Wednesday, which said the proposed legislation was an "attack" on their faith and fundamental beliefs.
They said the "main purpose of marriage is, of course, the procreation of children" and that because gay couples have been "accommodated" through the legalisation of civil partnerships, there is "no need for such unions to be blessed as marriages by faith institutions".
The council is based in Glasgow but the message is being sent to Muslims all over Scotland.
Spokesman Bashir Maan said: "It's totally against not just our faith but most of the faiths. So the Government would be forcing the groups to break their faith to go against it."
In January this year political leaders signed a pledge to support a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage.
Leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Conservative parties signed up at an event at Holyrood which was marked with a specially created "equal marriage" cake.
The Scottish Government has held a public consultation on the issue and has said it "tends towards the view" that same-sex marriage should be introduced but that faith groups and their celebrants should not be obliged to solemnise the ceremonies.
With none of the main parties opposing the legislation, Mr Maan said Muslims do not have to vote at all.
He said: "I would say that if they don't find anybody who is against the legislation then I don't think they have to vote. It's not compulsory that they must vote.
"We will vote for anybody who does not support the legislation, that's it."
Mr Maan, a former Labour councillor for the Glasgow Kingston ward, said even if the legislation is brought in, there is no way same-sex marriage would ever take place in a mosque.
However, he said the view is not discrimination.
He added: "We didn't say anything when they were being given the right to civil union. If it was discrimination we could have said no, this is wrong. But we said if the Government does it and they want it, let them be.
"It's not discrimination, we are just trying to defend our faith. They already have the law, their unions are legal, so why do they need it?"
The Council of Glasgow Imams's statement said: "This resolution has been prepared by the imams (religious leaders) of the Muslim community following lengthy discussions which have taken place to address deep concerns in our community.
"Furthermore, we must now make it clear that in the following days, preceding the local authority election in Scotland on Thursday May 3 we will be urging our community from the pulpit to make sure that any person they consider voting for does not favour the proposed legislation."
It went on: "A family is a man and a woman and children. If the Government turns a family into a man and a man or a woman and a woman with no procreative faculties, what would become of our society our civilisation?
"This is a serious question that deserves very serious consideration by the Scottish Government. Accordingly, we urge the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to look very seriously at this fundamentally important issue and to reconsider the full implications of what she is proposing.
"We wish to inform both her and First Minister Alex Salmond that we are deeply unhappy and vigorously opposed to the proposed legislation for same-sex marriage.
"There is no scope for compromise on this issue and we simply say this: No to same-sex marriage."
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The consultation on same-sex marriage and registration of civil partnerships has now closed and we are now analysing the responses and considering what next steps to take.
"As was made clear when the consultation was launched, while we have expressed our initial view, we have given an assurance that all opinions will be listened to, no final views have been reached and therefore no decisions have been taken.
"The analysis of the responses will be published later in the spring."