Islamic charity says shared video clips are ‘highly misleading’ after government pauses funding

Charity

An Islamic charity has said it “rejects violent extremism and hate crime” after its government funding was paused over accusations of homophobia and misogyny.

The Green Lane Mosque and Community Centre (GLMCC) in Birmingham was awarded a grant of £2.2m from the Youth Investment Fund at the beginning of August.

But on Friday, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and its partner Social Investment Business confirmed that distribution of the grant had been paused after videos were shared on social media that appeared to show speakers at the mosque expressing homophobic and misogynistic views.

In one video, published on the charity’s YouTube channel in 2019, a preacher, Shaykh Abu Usamah At-Thahabi, said: “Don’t teach my kids homosexuality,” and: “I don’t condone and I don’t support that lifestyle.”

Additional video clips containing the charity’s branding were shared on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

In one video, an imam appeared to describe the ‘correct’ way to stone a woman to death. Another featured an imam stating that a wife should be “obedient and respectful” to her husband, and divorce should be put in the hands of men because “men are meant to be less emotional”.

In a statement issued on Friday, SIB said: “SIB has paused the distribution of the grant to the Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre in Birmingham and is investigating the recent allegations.”

In a statement published by GLMCC, the charity said the video that described stoning was “deeply misleading” and was being used to discredit the youth centre project.

The statement said: “Taken selectively from a 45-minute lecture two years ago by one of the mosque’s imams, the highly misleading clip has been shared to try to discredit the mosque following the award of a Youth Investment Fund grant.”

The charity said that the 45-minute lecture included the recounting of events in Arabia more than 1,400 years ago to provide historical context.

Sister Umm Talha, a spokesperson for the mosque, said: “The imam was giving a talk on faith and forgiveness, the video clip was edited and lacks context. He was reading and explaining topics from a classical theological book.

“When reading this material, he did not suggest that these practices have a place in UK society.”

The GLMCC statement did not directly address the other videos shared on social media, but said that all speakers at the mosque have been required to sign and adhere to an Anti-Extremism Policy since 2019.

“The mosque rejects violent extremism and hate crime and actively encourages respect and tolerance between communities in its extensive work with many different organisations and faith groups in the West Midlands and beyond,” it said.

“The leadership of the mosque has begun an investigation of issues raised by recent media and social media coverage, pledging to address any legitimate concerns while also standing firm against misrepresentation, intolerance, and Islamophobia.”

The charity said it had reached out to the Youth Investment Fund to “provide context that is missing from recent media reports and social media posts”.

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