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‘Homophobia’ row church group still allowed to use Aberdeen school

Councillor John Wheeler
Councillor John Wheeler

A religious group accused of distributing homophobic leaflets will continue using an Aberdeen school as its base despite equality campaigners calling for members to be banned.

The Mustard Seed International Church, which meets twice a week at Kaimhill Primary School in Garthdee, caused outrage when worshippers posted material through letterboxes in the area appearing to suggest a recent Pride parade in Aberdeen had been “sinful”.

The pamphlets were emblazoned with the famous LGBT rainbow colours and entitled “what happens after pride?”

Several people in Garthdee complained upon receiving the leaflets and Aberdeen City Council pledged to investigate whether the religious outfit should be allowed to continue meeting in a public building.

Offensive package sent to Inverness gay parade protester

Yesterday a spokeswoman for the council confirmed that the matter was now considered “closed”, with church leaders permitted to use the school as long as they are more mindful of their behaviour.

She said: “We wrote to the organisation highlighting the upset the leaflet had caused in the community and reminding them that Aberdeen City Council upholds its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 at all times.

Copies of the leaflet handed out in Aberdeen.

“We explained our duty to pay due regard to fostering good relations across groups with protected characteristics.

“The organisation acknowledged the letter and the council considers the matter to be concluded.”

The first ever Grampian Pride parade brought thousands of revellers into the city centre in May to celebrate the region’s diversity.

Deejay Bullock, from the Four Pillars LGBT charity, was one of the organisers and led calls for action to be taken against the religious group.

Last night, Mr Bullock said he was content for the church to continue meeting in the school in “the spirit of tolerance”.

But he added that he would expect stricter sanctions to be imposed upon members if any similar complaints arise in the future.

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He said: “I hope they have learned their lesson and I am prepared to forgive and forget.

“But if anything like this happens again, I would look into reporting the behaviour as a hate crime. I would take that up on behalf of the community.”

A church leader previously advised that he had been instructed by his superiors in London not to comment.

Garthdee community council strongly condemns the clearly homophobic literature and position of the church based at…

Posted by Garthdee Community Council on Sunday, 15 July 2018

The man, however, stressed that the text inside the leaflet did not contain any directly homophobic sentiments.

Councillor John Wheeler, the city’s convener of education, said: “It is clear that this incident has caused upset and we will not tolerate discrimination against any protected groups in Aberdeen, however veiled it may be.

“I hope that all parties are able to move forward now that the incident has been dealt with and that lessons have been learned”

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