A former member of a “radical” Islamist group told a conference in Chadwell Heath that children should be taught that homosexuality is a sin which can be reversed through repentance.  

The comments were attributed to Yusuf Patel in a document published by the event’s organiser, Redbridge lobbying group Parents United, which opposes “promotion” of LGBT lifestyles in schools. 

Another speaker, from the UK arm of a Christian group which has campaigned to keep homosexuality illegal in the USA, reportedly lectured parents on how to oppose “the LGBT agenda”. 


Parents United produced a report about the conference, held in November at the Al-Huda Welfare Foundation in Wangey Road, and sent it to politicians and the Department for Education (DfE). 

The DfE has refused to say what it did with the report or whether it could be used to inform any government decision-making.  

After the Recorder emailed Parents United a list of questions, its website became unavailable, saying it was offline for “maintenance”.  

It did not respond to our questions. 

Ilford Recorder: Parents United's website went down for 'maintenance' after the Recorder emailed it a list of questions about its Romford conferenceParents United's website went down for 'maintenance' after the Recorder emailed it a list of questions about its Romford conference (Image: Parents United)

Parents United 

Parents United was set up to resist the “promotion” of LGBT lifestyles in schools. 

According to a 33-page report published on its website, the group held the conference in response to “many incidents” reported by parents. 

One, which generated national press coverage, was a children’s entertainer in a monkey costume attending an event at a library with large genitals as part of their costume. 

Redbridge Council agreed that the costume had been “entirely inappropriate”. 


But another “incident” cited by Parents United was “a Muslim LGBT activist picked as a female role model on International Women’s Day” in a school. 

Schools are required to address LGBT issues in sex education – but Parents United says that teaching should take account of “the religious and cultural background of children” and “be balanced, impartial and non-political.” 

"Parents have reported that children are too afraid to voice their views,” its report said. 

“When they do, they are silenced and victimised for not agreeing that same-sex relationships should be celebrated.” 

Ilford Recorder: The conference was held at the Al-Huda Welfare Centre in Wangey Road, Chadwell HealthThe conference was held at the Al-Huda Welfare Centre in Wangey Road, Chadwell Health (Image: Google Streetview)


But, said the National Secular Society (NSS): “Although Parents United like to portray themselves as nothing more than a group of concerned parents, the reality is that it has platformed religious fundamentalists and Islamists with a wider political agenda, whilst also promoting harmful homophobic views.” 

In a document published on its website, Parents United said the first speaker at its November conference was from ADF UK – set up in 2018 as an offshoot of the USA Christian organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). 

In 2003, ADF twice filed legal papers calling for the continued criminalisation of homosexuality in Texas. 

In the same year, the group’s former president Alan Sears and another ADF member wrote a book saying homosexuality was “often intrinsically linked” to paedophilia.  

In 2012, Mr Sears wrote in another document: “The good news is that we have won many cases against the homosexual legal agenda... There is no room for compromise with those who would call evil ‘good’.” 


An ADF UK representative has previously said changes to sex education in England “should concern parents”, and called on them to “stand up to defend parental rights”. 

According to Parents United, an ADF UK speaker told its conference that if an element of sex education was “not essential” and was “being constantly complained about”, then “it takes up staff time and it’s going to encourage the school culturally to remove that.” 

ADF UK said Parents United’s report on the conference was its own summary and not a verbatim account of what its speaker said. 

It said it had “local staff, leadership and board of directors” and was not answerable for its US arm’s actions. 

It said it worked “to protect fundamental freedoms and promote the inherent dignity of all people”. 

"A ticking timebomb” 

Another speaker was Yusuf Patel, founder of SREIslamic, a campaign group set up to “fight for Muslim parental rights”. 

Mr Patel can be seen on YouTube delivering a speech in which he says: “We believe homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle choice.” 

He once wrote on SREIslamic’s website that he was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group described by the UK Home Office as “radical” and banned in countries including Egypt, Turkey and Germany. 

His claim has since been deleted, but can be retrieved through an internet archiving service. 

According to Parents United’s website, Mr Patel called the teaching of LGBT issues in schools “a ticking timebomb” and urged parents to “pre-empt these issues before it affects our homes”. 

He reportedly said children should be taught that “every behaviour is changeable” and they “must come back from sinful behaviour through TAWBA.”  

TAWBA means repentance. Mr Patel has made similar remarks in another speech, viewable on YouTube. 

The Recorder contacted Mr Patel to ask whether he disputed Parents United’s report on his speech to the conference. He did not respond.  

Hizb ut-Tahrir did not respond to a request for comment. 

Official response 

The NSS said that in light of this conference, politicians, schools and the media should “treat Parents United with according scepticism”. 

“The religious beliefs of parents should never be privileged over the teaching of accurate science and acceptance of all peoples regardless of sexual orientation,” said campaigns officer Jack Rivington. 

Redbridge Council, whose schools Parents United claims to have lobbied, would not respond to the Recorder’s questions or make any comment. 

Havering Council said it was not aware of any schools in its borough having been approached. 

“We strongly oppose any form of discrimination and won’t tolerate anything that promotes hatred, bigotry and ignorance,” said Oscar Ford, cabinet member for children’s services. 

“We will of course support our schools should they be approached by these type of organisations. 

“The council is proud to promote equality and diversity in the borough and we will always speak out against anyone that wishes to promote division or hate.” 

The DfE said statutory guidance required secondary school pupils to be “taught the facts and the law about sex and sexuality”. 

“There should be an equal opportunity to explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships,” it said. 

“Parents should be aware of what their children are being taught, especially relating to the teaching of sensitive topics.” 

It said all schools must show parents the teaching materials they will use if asked. 

The Al-Huda Welfare Foundation, where the conference was hosted, did not respond to an email from the Recorder.