UK Muslim group hits out at homophobia
Two days after Dr Nazim Mahmood’s conservative Muslim family confronted him about his sexuality and his plans to marry Matthew Ogston – his fiancé of 13 years – Mahmood (pictured above with Matthew) committed suicide.
The 34-year old’s death occurred in July, 2014, when he fell four floors from the balcony of his £700,000 flat in a West Hampstead mansion block.
Subsequently, Ogston established the Naz and Matt Foundation. The registered charity’s mission is:
Never to let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children.
Then, earlier this month, to promote the work of the foundation, and help to raise awareness of the devastating human impact of religiously-motivated homophobia, Ogston undertook an eight-day ‘Journey to Find Acceptance‘ – with support coming from an surprising quarter.
The Association of British Muslims published an official statement announcing their support for Naz and Matt Foundation’s work, saying:
The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) remembers Dr Nazim Mahmood (UK) and Dr Priya Vedi (India) whose death brings to light grim attitudes grounded in religious and cultural perceptions. AoBM also lends support to Naz & Matt Foundation as Matthew Ogston walks a 130 mile distance in the memory of Dr Nazim Mahmood to raise awareness about religiously-motivated homophobia.
The statement continued
In the spirit of Islamic doctrine of free will, a core principle at the heart of AoBM is that people should be allowed to fashion their lives freely. Everyone is responsible for own actions on the Day of Judgement.
AoBM appreciates that some people may have reservations about certain ways of living; however we advocate strongly the view that such disagreement gives no right to any of us to act in homophobic manner. We urge all communities to initiate and support a dialogue from within to further a better understanding of the issues related to sexuality – both culturally and religiously.
Ogston welcomed the announcement:
This is a significant, albeit first step, towards the acceptance of gay, lesbian and trans individuals who, because they are born into a religious family, are forced to suffer horrendous mental bullying, homophobic and physical abuse and quite often forced into marriages with a person of the opposite sex so that ‘shame’ is not brought on their family.
All we ask is for acceptance for the way that we are born. Please, think with your heart – we must all work together to make this change so that beautiful individuals like my fiancé Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood), and Dr Priya Vedi, do not have to feel that their only way forward is to end their own lives.
Shortly after Ogden’s journey ended, despicable evangelical hatemonger, Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, above, posted a piece in support of quack gay “cures”, labelled Ogden “selfish and delusional”, and accused him of:
Showing no sensitivity to Dr Mahmood’s family, who will rightly feel great shame over their son’s suicide and emotional problems and must be dismayed that his death is now being dragged through the mud in public as a political football.
Green, an abusive wife and child-beater whose Christian Voice rants about homosexuality serve only to indicate how deeply insecure he is about his own sexuality, added:
It is undeniable that men and women have walked away from homosexual attractions through the power of the Christian Gospel. Whether Islam is any help in such a process is open to debate, but the Christian faith offers enormous support to those seeking to reach their emotional potential. No-one has to “stay gay”
Mr Ogston is quoted as saying: ‘Being gay is loving someone, it’s not a disease, there’s nothing to be cured, it’s about love nothing else should matter.’ A father and son or two brothers normally express their love without feeling the need to interfere with each other.
No, ‘being gay’ is not just ‘about love’, it’s about emotional disorder, sexual abuse and perverting God’s created order.