Title: Ashraf Choudhary on the stoning of gays Credit: Chris Banks Features Friday 29th July 2005 - 12:00pm1122595200 Article: 842 Rights
Ashraf Choudhary MP Do Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary's claims that his infamous stone-the-gays TV interview was doctored hold water? We examine the interview transcript. In recent correspondence with anti-gay Christian fundamentalist Garnet Milne, Labour's Muslim MP Ashraf Choudhary again re-iterated that he doesn't accept the stoning of gays, despite comments in a recent 60 Minutes interview that he believes Islamic countries that execute gays in accordance with the Koran are correct to do so. In the same correspondence, Choudhary claims that the 60 Minutes interviewer had an anti-Islamic agenda, and that the way his interview was edited took his comments out of context. “After the TV programme was telecast we realised the programme interviewer and producer had a prior hidden agenda to malign Islam,” he told Milne in an email, published on news website Scoop. “The programme edited out most of the one hour interview they did with me and totally ignored other interviewee's specific views.” He also claimed that “I never said that homosexuals should be stoned. I hope you read my follow-up statement in the media saying that I abhor the idea and practice of stoning of homosexuals anywhere... Personally, I am totally opposed to the stoning or capital punishment; the latter is regretfully still practised in some Eastern and Western countries.” A little over a week ago, the Islamic nation of Iran publicly hanged two teenage boys for engaging in homosexual acts (be warned, the link at the bottom of this article includes a disturbing picture). In recognition of the fact that the execution of gays in Islamic nations is not a leftover from a bygone era, and that this is a live and serious issue, has obtained a fuller transcript of the unedited footage of the 60 Minutes Choudhary interview, which we reproduce below. Did he say what he meant, and does he mean what he says? Judge for yourself. Interviewer: ...looking at personal values... lets look at your own understanding of the religion itself. The Koran says many of your colleagues in the labour party who are openly gay are committing a terrible do you reconcile that personally. Choudhary: I have no problem.I was brought into parliament after Sept 11, not not many countries bring a Moslem into parliament after this terrible thing - that shows this country's tolerance.. Interviewer: I want your personal view.Key aspects of the Koran go against the very nature of the party you represent... Choudhary: Clearly Islam says the part where you should stone these people, that's applicable only in Islamic society. Here we are [a] secular society and make laws for everybody and those laws also protect us... because this country is tolerant of other views and other cultures and religions. Interviewer: From your personal point of view again, are you saying the Koran is wrong to recommend that gays should in certain circumstances be stoned to death? Choudhary: No what the Koran says is correct. Interviewer: No dispute with that? Choudhary: It's the word of Allah, applicable only in situations where the Islamic society... Interviewer: So stoning to death homosexuals in Islamic society is okay? Choudhary: Yes, I think that is okay. But I don't think its being practicsed now. There are homosexuals in those countries and they are not being stoned to death... Islam is what the Koran says and I can't disagree [with] that. Interviewer: Aren't you suspending your own moral judgement to accept... Choudhary: This is the way [those societies]are. I am not going to pass judgement... Interviewer: But you agree with it? Choudhary: Yes, I agree with the Koran. Interviewer: The Koran also says people who have sex out of wedlock in some circumstances should be stoned to death. Do you agree with that as well? Choudhary: What the Koran says, I agree with that, in those societies. Not here. Interviewer: There are values in this country that you share to protect minorities - but when it comes down to it gays and others they should be stoned to death? Choudhary: If that's the law in those countries, yes. Chris Banks - 29th July 2005    
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