Updated: Saturday, 16th December 2017 @ 8:17am

'Nothing Holy About Hatred' campaign against homophobia gets support in Manchester Pride's Big Weekend

'Nothing Holy About Hatred' campaign against homophobia gets support in Manchester Pride's Big Weekend

By Olivia Parry

During Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend, faith and interfaith organisations across the UK pledged their opposition to homophobic bullying and violence.

Numerous organisations have supported the Nothing Holy About Hatred campaign – which aims to combat religion-based homophobia.

These include messages of support being left from groups such as the Islamic Society of Britain, City Sikhs and the 3 Faiths Forum.

Hannah Taylors is projects co-ordinator for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue's Phoenix Network, the group behind the campaign, and believes everyone should be able to celebrate the coming Pride festival free from prejudice or hatred.

She also told MM how she believes that Pride festivals have done a lot to raise awareness about homophobia.

“Last week on Facebook we saw a photograph of a Pride event taking place in Uganda, where homophobic laws call for the death penalty for LGBT people and it really brought home to me what this is all about,” she told MM.

“We would like to wish everyone a very happy Manchester Pride!” she said. “People should be free to celebrate Pride without experiencing any prejudice or hatred.”

The Nothing Holy About Hatred campaign are also working closely with Manchester’s Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) to combat homophobia, and Ms Taylor is also due to visit Salford University in September for a conference on faith and sexual orientation.

Ms Taylor also had a message for anyone planning to preach hatred or intolerance at this year’s Manchester Pride.

“Whatever your faith or religious beliefs, there is no justification for hate speech, harassment and bullying.  Faith is about love and compassion, not hatred,” she said.

One faith group who have given messages of support to the campaign is the Islamic Society of Britain.

The group’s president, Dilwar Hussain, who is also Head of the Policy and Research Centre at the Islamic Foundation, said: “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!”

Prejudice and hatred remains an issue affecting many LGBT people. The Lesbian and Gay Foundation reported that 73% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people have experienced prejudice, discrimination and harassment, and Stonewall’s School Report 2012 showed that over half of all gay young people are bullied at school.

Rabbi David Mitchell, Reform Rabbi and Jewish Educator based at West London Synagogue of British Jews, left the following pledge: “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.”

Jasvir Singh, Director of City Sikhs, said: “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 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.”

One supporter, Lynne Henry, commented: "I’m a Christian (and I’m gay) and have been brought up to believe that Jesus gave us only two instructions to live by: love God with all your heart and love your neighbour like you love yourself. Not 'love your straight neighbour', love EVERYONE. We need more love in the world, not less."

Anglican ordinand Jane Richards said: "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."

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