Shortly after the start of our ‘Journey to Find Acceptance‘ on 17th April 2015, The Association of British Muslims published an official statement announcing their support for Naz and Matt Foundation’s work in raising awareness about religiously-motivated homophobia.
In their statement, The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) said:
“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.”
This announcement was published as the AoBM remembered Dr Nazim Mahmood (UK) and Dr Priya Vedi (India) whose deaths brought to light grim attitudes grounded in religious and cultural perceptions towards an individual’s sexuality.
Matthew Ogston, fiancé of Naz (Dr. Nazim Mahmood), and founder of Naz and Matt Foundation – set up in memory of his soulmate Naz – welcomed the announcement:
“I welcome this announcement from The Association of British Muslims and would like to thank them for their support. 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.”
Full statement from The Association of British Muslims (AoBM)
About The Association of British Muslims (AoBM)
The Association of British Muslims is a social or cultural, and not a political body; and Membership or Support is a cultural not an ethnic expression. We maintain that the “British Way-of-Life” and “British culture” can be compatible with Islam, and that all Muslims living in Britain should seek to realise this in their daily lives.
About Naz and Matt Foundation
Naz and Matt Foundation was set up in 2014, in memory of Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood) who took his own life two days after his religious family confronted him about his sexuality and his plans to marry his fiancé of 13 years, Matt (Matthew Ogston). The Foundation’s mission is to never to let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children. They provide support to LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex) individuals, and help to raise awareness of the devastating human impact of religion-motivated homophobia.
Matt set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in memory of his soulmate and fiancé, Naz, who passed away two days after being confronted about his sexuality by his religious parents. It was the first time that they knew their son was gay, in a relationship with Matt for 13 years and that they were planning to get married.