Page last updated at 20:01 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Homophobic GP banned for a year

The head of the Islamic Medical Association (IMA) has been suspended from medical practice after sending an "offensive and homophobic" letter.

Dr Muhammad Siddiq has been suspended for 12 months over the letter he sent to the GPs' magazine Pulse last July.

He wrote gay people needed the "stick of law to put them on the right path", the General Medical Council was told.

When confronted by Walsall Primary Care Trust, he apologised at first but later wrongly blamed his son, the GMC heard.

The GMC Fitness to Practice panel, sitting in Manchester, was told Dr Siddiq also wrote in the letter that gay people were "the root cause of many sexually-transmitted diseases".

He initially told employer, the Walsall PCT, that he had written the letter due to intense stress and apologised unreservedly.

The panel continues to have concerns regarding Dr Siddiq's insight into his actions
Andrew Popat
Chairman of the hearing

However, days later, he said his son had written the letter as a "spoof" and he had mistakenly signed it without reading it, the hearing was told.

Dr Siddiq, the IMA president, also told a Pulse journalist he believed gay people "prey on society" and he thought 99% of Muslim GPs shared his views.

The GMC also heard that Dr Siddiq refused to accept the findings of an assessment in April 2007 into his ability to perform minor surgery and had continued to perform circumcisions at the Luqman Medical Centre in Walsall, despite being advised not to.

Andrew Popat, chairing the GMC hearing, called the GP's actions inappropriate and not in the best interests of his patients.

He added that the letter to Pulse was "liable to undermine public confidence in the medical profession and liable to bring the profession into disrepute".

He said: "The panel continues to have concerns regarding Dr Siddiq's insight into his actions."

The ruling took place in Dr Siddiq's absence as he dismissed his barrister last week and left the GMC, claiming he could not receive a fair hearing.

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