Imaan: Gay Pride event organised by EDL


3:51 pm - March 15th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Muslim LGBTQI group Imaan today criticised the East End Gay Pride event, saying its organisers had close links to the English Defence League.

The event was organised for 2nd April, supposedly in retaliation to homophobic stickers being placed around East London declaring it was a ‘gay free zone’.

Imaan today issued a statement saying:

Imaan understands better than most, the problems of homophobia within Muslim communities and has been working inside our communities since 1998 to address homophobia and its causes. We condemn unreservedly any and all acts of homophobia committed by Muslims or by any other sector of our society.

We join the call for a fully inclusive and community-led demonstration of unity in the face of these homophobic crimes. An event along the lines of a fully community-inclusive local Gay Pride event would be one such welcome response.

They say they had acquired evidence that Raymond Berry, the principal organiser of the event, faced a call for disciplinary measures by officials of the RMT Union because he was a public and vocal, leading member of the English Defence League.

In light of all the evidence of Mr. Berry’s political involvements, the apparent associations of some of the other organisers and their collective contempt for our communities we can do nothing but conclude that their calling for “East End Gay Pride” is motivated primarily by their political desires to build groups and alliances founded on their anti-Muslim and anti-Islam bigotry and that East End Gay Pride is – in his terms – just a furtherance of Mr. Berry’s stated aims to create anti-Muslim political movements.

Berry has allegedly been involved in another hard-right racist group called Stop Islamisation of Europe.

They called on the board of Pride London to take over the organisation of East End Gay Pride and organise an event that instead believed in “community cohesion and celebration of our diversity”.

Pink News reports that Berry has now resigned, while others have called for the event to be cancelled.

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Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


“Imaan understands better than most, the problems of homophobia within Muslim communities and has been working inside our communities since 1998 to address homophobia and its causes.”

It’s 2011. How’s it going so far?

2. Chaise Guevara

Bizarre. Now only people you like should be able to support gay pride?

CJCJC – They haven’t completely eliminated all homophobia within Muslim communities yet, no. Which makes them shockingly inefficient, of course: obviously most deep-rooted prejudices can be eradicated within every member of a world religion by a small group of people working for 13 years.

There comes a time when you have to cut your losses.

Instead we have these guys apparently not wanting to offend the people who hate them.

“Bizarre. Now only people you like should be able to support gay pride?”

Yes, that’s exactly it. The EDL backers were totally there to support gay pride and in no way determined to use the issue as a stick to beat Muslims with.

5cc – yes – I mean, I ask you – will *nobody* consider the feelings of the homophobes?

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 cjcjc

Clarify?

Anti-Muslim groups have increasingly been disingenuously using sympathy for lgbt’s as a stick with which to beat “anti-gay Muslims”, despite most of those doing so not being overly keen on gay people themselves.
If pride London can turn the east-end parade into an actual pride march rather than the racist intimidation of Muslims masquerading as a pride march it’s currently suspected to be, then more power to them.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 5cc

“Yes, that’s exactly it. The EDL backers were totally there to support gay pride and in no way determined to use the issue as a stick to beat Muslims with.”

You may be right, but I’m wary of this idea that we have to treat every word that comes out of someone’s lips as poison because he or she is associated with an “enemy” group.

The EDL also make a point of displaying photos of their non-white members. It’s possible that they wanted to be connected with this for the same reasons: basically, as a way of saying “look at us, we’re not bigoted”. It doesn’t actually follow, of course, but if they’re genuinely cool with gay rights it seems counterproductive to attack them for supporting it.

Those Muslims that ARE homophobic should be held to account for it like anyone else. If you’re going to attack someone who supports gay pride just because it annoys a bunch of homophobes, you’ve kinda missed the point.

9. Chaise Guevara

cjcjc

Ignore me @6, I realised what you meant.

Muslim LGBTQI

Is no one comfortable just being a person anymore, this SCCAYMIFTE is getting quite exasparated

I get the LGBTQ bit, but what is the I for? Indecisive?

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 11

Inquiring? Inquisitive? Insatiable?

12 – Imaginative?

It is clear from their website that Imman had several meetings with the gay pride organisers before pulling out for whatever reason.

Having pulled out, they then saw an opportunity to muddy the waters and stir up some trouble ans this post attempts to muddy the waters further and to try to conceal what is a fundamental conundrum.

Muslims and gays are both minorities and therefore are deserving of liberal support but they are not compatible and by trying to support both we end up looking……foolish.

So make your mind up.

There is no difference whatever between sticking up posters declaring a “gay free zone” and those declaring a “black free zone” and we have to stop lending liberal support to a minority that is fundamentally illiberal.

I’d like to hear Sunny say that.

Q is (redundantly?) Queer or (less redundantly) Questioning.

I is apparently Intersex.

I heard (albeit third-hand) that the EDL’s gay wing had left the EDL, after one of their members was badly beaten up by a group of EDL skinheads… Looks like the usual disingenuous “we’ll mouth support for gay rights when it’s convenient, but most of our supporters are still enormous bigots” nonsense.

I’m very torn about the march itself. I was all in support when I thought it was in good faith, i.e. not organised by far-righters with the intent of mobilising East Enders against Muslims. The situation is so muddled, now, I don’t know what to think. I’ll be following the situation closely, as a former inhabitant of Bow.

Intersex.

I remember someone telling me that they were intersex. “Who isn’t?” I replied, “But which forms are you into?”

@cjcjc #15, you can be queer without necessarily being L, G or B. Hence the non-redundant Q in LGBTQI.

19. Ifor Intersex

the “I” stands for “intersex”. What annoys me though is that it is usually written LGBTQIA – they forgot the “A” for “asexual”

Can you?

What exactly does it mean to be Q but not L, G or B?

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 Tim J

Inflatable?

I’ll get my coat.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 19

“What annoys me though is that it is usually written LGBTQIA – they forgot the “A” for “asexual””

I wondered about that. You could arguable get a “C” for “chaste” in there too, although that’s perhaps more a choice than a sexuality (plus pretty soon this aconym won’t fit on the banner).

They forgot the Asexual? Unforgivable!!

Is there much of a problem in east London with asexual bashing?

@cjcjc

Wikipedia sez:
“The range of what “queer” includes varies. In addition to referring to LGBT-identifying people, it can also encompass: pansexual, pomosexual, intersexual, genderqueer, asexual and autosexual people, and even gender normative heterosexuals whose sexual orientations or activities place them outside the heterosexual-defined mainstream, e.g., BDSM practitioners, or polyamorous persons.

“For some queer-identified people, part of the point of the term “queer” is that it simultaneously builds up and tears down boundaries of identity. For instance, among genderqueer people, who do not solidly identify with one particular gender, once solid gender roles have been torn down, it becomes difficult to situate sexual identity. For some people, the non-specificity of the term is liberating. Queerness becomes a way to simultaneously make a political move against heteronormativity while simultaneously refusing to engage in traditional essentialist identity politics.”

So there you go. For people who prefer not to identify as one of the two binary gender choices, queer can be a useful self-chosen descriptor.

25. Chaise Guevara

The worst thing about being at work is that there’s no way I dare looking up “pornosexual” to see what it means.

Pomosexual – a label for people who, er – avoid labels.

Is “towards the end of an especially long night” a recognised form of sexual orientation? How about “it’s been a while”, “oh, go on then” or “since it’s you”?

@Chaise, you’re misreading it – it’s poMosexual, not poRNosexual. Pomo as in post-modern, and apparently is to do with rejecting traditional views of identity boundaries and so on. It’s not a term I’d come across before, and I spend quite lot of time reading about LGBTQQIA things.

Q can also cover Questioning, A can also cover Allies

I do sometimes wonder when some fellow driven by efficiency, decides to just divide the population into “straight” and “not-straight”.

Well going back to the topic the start point for organising a march was the “gay free zone” stickers. Mysteriously enough there weren’t any “asexual free zone” ones.

Probably the funniest comments iv read on this site, if not totally intentional. LGBTQI, ROFLMAO.

33. An Duine Gruamach

PostModern Sexuality? What’s that – insufferably pretentious and ironic? Egad… once upon a time people just used to stick parts of their bodies into other folks’ bodies.

“I do sometimes wonder when some fellow driven by efficiency, decides to just divide the population into “straight” and “not-straight”.”

Wouldn’t really work for any of the letters except LGB. Queer can include “straight” sexualities too. And I think there are some historical concerns about subsuming lesbians and bisexuals under a single heading.

pagar: There is no difference whatever between sticking up posters declaring a “gay free zone” and those declaring a “black free zone” and we have to stop lending liberal support to a minority that is fundamentally illiberal.

Er, yeah I get the equivalence – and no one has actually supported the idea of ‘gay free zones’ unless you come up with some examples pagar. I await your theory on how the left was behind these stickers.

As for “stop lending support” – again, dunno what that means. If it means you want to round them up and stamp ‘homphobes’ on the forehead of all Muslims in Britain, just say so.

If on the other hand it means liberals/lefties should not stick up for the civil liberties of Muslims and their right to be free from being demonised as a group – then just say so. This kind of woolly crap about how ‘Muslims have it easy’ doesn’t really stack up does it? Just say what you really mean…

@34 Well I did have the following phrase in mind when I wrote that one:
“All Straights are Heterosexual by necessity, but not all Heterosexuals are necessarily Straight”.
Also I might have had pegging in mind as my exhibit A.

This of course does nothing to reduce the offence of bunching a large variance of people under an umbrella term of what they are not, but I was making a joke. Like off Top Gear.
*runs for the hills*

Chaise Guevara, well said even, if it took a while for it to sink in,

I gathered via Socialist Unity a while back that one of the organisers seemed quite happy to have the support of the EDL for this march (mentioned on Facebook discussion) and that they had given an interview to the Daily Star. Given that there does seem at least some potential awkwardnesss in trying to oppose homophobia *and* oppose Islamophobia, you would have thought avoiding the Daily Star and the EDL, and acknowledging the particular concerns of any gay Muslim group, would be a good starting point for such a march. Those three things seem to me entirely compatible with opposing the stickers unequivocally.

“some potential awkwardness” – priceless!

Would that be because in the east end there’s equally a problem of gay muslim-bashing as there is of muslim gay-bashing??

@ Sunny

I await your theory on how the left was behind these stickers.

You are obfuscating. The left were not behind these stickers but it is reasonable to assume, since they included two quotes from the Koran, that Muslims were. (Unless you are postulating an agent provocateur).

And Sarah, there is no evidence at all that the gay organisers were not taking Imaan’s sensitivities into account. Their spokesman could hardly have been more mealy mouthed.

“We don’t want to blame any particular group for this,” said Mr Blake. And if we did, we wouldn’t want to tar everyone in a group with the same brush.”

Eh!!!!!!!

The fact is that we have by far the most reactionary, conservative, fundamentalist Islamic community in Europe and the reason for that is that we pander to their prejudices in the name of multiculturalism.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality

Is there a CW for Complete Wanker? Like cjcjc?

42. Stephen Gash

Once again Sunny you falsely describe Stop Islamisation Of Europe – SIOE accurately as “hard-right racist” instead of the accurate “hardline anti-Islam”.

Get it correct (I hestitate to use the word “right” as it has been misappropriated by dissemblers).

@40 Funny how a poll of 500 British Muslims taken in 2009 produces a result of 0% regarding homosexuality to be morally acceptable, while another poll of 1511 British Muslims also taken in 2009 produced the result that 98% of those polled would accept their children if they came out as homosexual.
http://britishbornmuslims.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/major-new-poll-of-british-born-muslims-in-the-uk/

Interesting number of acronyms/initialisms there. I never heard of adding Q or I on to LBGT. And certainly not ”pegging”. Sounds interesting.

Is this the kind of thing that we need to be teaching children in LGBT History Month?
I obviously didn’t get it in my school education.
And should religious be told that they just have to get over their ”phobias” of all this stuff?

@ Cylux

Could be that the poll I linked to was conducted by Gallup whereas yours was conducted by four guys outside a Birmingham shopping centre?

Anyway, interesting that, in your poll, 90% said they thought political correctness was harming relations between Muslims and non-Muslims!!!

I agree with them.

@44 Well I strongly doubt much of what’s being discussed on this thread is actually being taught to children for lgbt month. Unless this thread is secretly a teachers resource anyway…

47. Planeshift

“(Unless you are postulating an agent provocateur). ”

A reasonable theory given how a lot of these ‘muslim plot’ stories have originated before. (that investigator for the sun – Glenn somebody?)

@45 Gallup asked only 500 British Muslims, that is a tiny sample size for making sweeping declarations about the opinion of all British Muslims. Prior surveys had found acceptance of homosexuality in general (not just of your own children) to be around 70% with British Muslims (or as tabloids presented it 30% of Muslims hate gays). So you can either believe that within the course of a couple of years acceptance of gays has completely disintegrated from 70%, or that the Gallup poll was a statistical blip.
I lean more toward the latter.

49. Shatterface

‘And should religious be told that they just have to get over their ”phobias” of all this stuff?’

Yes.

500 is obviously a smaller sample size than the more usual 1000, nonetheless the margin of error for that sample size at 99% confidence is approx 6%

@50 The very existence of Imaan pretty much destroys that 0% figure though, if the 0% figure was even close to accurate, there simply would not be a Muslim Lgbtqi group now would there?

@ Cylux

Prior surveys had found acceptance of homosexuality in general (not just of your own children) to be around 70% with British Muslims

Have you a link for that?

I agree that 0% “feels” too low – though of course it’s 0% *with 6% margin of error*.

Shatterface @49, you say yes, that people should get over their ‘phobias’ of LBGTQI and every other type of sexuality you can imagine. Where then does that leave people who believe that sex is meant to be kept within hetrosexual marriage?
And for others, who think that it should be at least be within a loving relationshp?
Who don’t really get ”queer” and intrasex. And who might not approve of bixexual promiscuity for example. Or approve of pornography. Both from the point of the viewer, and from the people appearing in it. Do they have to get over that too?

There was a Scottish porn actress on Nicky Campbell’s sunday morning TV show the other day, who said she liked doing porn because she liked people looking at her and it was a form of self expression for her. I googled her name and sure enough there she was, smiling at the camera whilst doing someting sexually explicit.
Hmmm I thought. is thus just another of those sexual identities that everyone has to be cool with or face accusations of being intolerant?
She’s some kind of ”performance exhibitionist” or something I guess. Maybe it’s something of a ”queer” identity.

@52 http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/files/1231525079_2.pdf
Also I was a touch out, it was 75% not 70%.

56. Shatterface

‘Shatterface @49, you say yes, that people should get over their ‘phobias’ of LBGTQI and every other type of sexuality you can imagine. Where then does that leave people who believe that sex is meant to be kept within hetrosexual marriage?’

In the Dark Ages.

‘And for others, who think that it should be at least be within a loving relationshp?’

Ditto.

‘Who don’t really get ”queer” and intrasex. And who might not approve of bixexual promiscuity for example. Or approve of pornography. Both from the point of the viewer, and from the people appearing in it. Do they have to get over that too?’

Yes. How consenting adults run their sex life is no-one else’s business, least of all those who prop up their bigotry by appeal to a ‘higher authority’ than humanity.

@54 Intersex, not intrasex. People who are intersex are what used to be referred to as hermaphrodites.

Not necessarily a poll which looks great *in the round* though, is it?!

eg

Just under a third of Muslim students polled (32%) said killing in the name of religion can be justified – the majority of these said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack, and 4% of all respondents supported killing in order to promote and preserve that religion.
60% of active members of campus Islamic societies said killing in the name of religion can be justified. By contrast, only 2% of non-Muslims agreed.

59. Chaise Guevara

@ 58 cjcjc

“Just under a third of Muslim students polled (32%) said killing in the name of religion can be justified – the majority of these said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack, and 4% of all respondents supported killing in order to promote and preserve that religion.”

So we have 4% who say they support killing to “promote and preserve” their religion. It’s hard to get too agitated about that, especially with “preserve” in there – that sounds a bit like defending the religion from attack again.

I don’t agree with these people, in case I need to make that clear, but I hardly think it’s a reason to be concerned about the religion overall. Also, what kind of rates do you think you would get if you asked non-religious special-interest groups the same questions about their personal cause? How many card-carrying nationalists would say killing was justified to “promote or preserve” their country?

“60% of active members of campus Islamic societies said killing in the name of religion can be justified. By contrast, only 2% of non-Muslims agreed.”

Contrast? What you have there is a group that has been specially chosen not only to be religious but to identify by their religion and quite probably to feel strongly about its tenets and its survival. And you’re weighing it against a bunch of people in general, many of whom will not even be religious. Not much “contrasting” to be done there.

@58 Further questions might include “what is meant by the religion is under attack?”.
Did the respondants think Dawkins’ book The God Delusion represented an attack on their religion? Or given that we still had troops in Iraq at the time, did they think their fellow Muslims being blown up would be the attack on their religion?

Simple fact is, that poll started off with it’s conclusion -that Muslims are dangerous bomb-happy nutters- and then gathered data with an eye toward confirming that conclusion. Hence why the 25% who have no respect for homosexuals* was emphasised above and beyond the 75% who do.

*Another interesting point is that gay typically receives more positive responses in polls than homosexual, it’s why the RR in the US will never say gay or lesbian but say homosexual with gusto.

61. Chaise Guevara

@ 60 Cylux

As far as attacks on religion go, I imagine you’d get plenty of violent backlash if you decided to ban any religion in Britain, or for that matter atheism. The scale of the backlash would probably depend mainly on the size of the group affected.

I = Incestuous?

I can’t believe what I’m reading on this thread.

When did it become acceptable to kill anyone.

Why do so many tolerate this prejudice without speaking out.

I suppose it’s only a few of us who will suffer the consequences.

How about the equality *under* the law irrespective of your LGBTQAIHJSR ??

That would be great. No positive discrimantion. No class warfare. No racism. No homophobia. Just a rule of law that protects your negative and inalienable rights to life, liberty and property.

Now that’s a radical idea!

damon,

Shatterface @49, you say yes, that people should get over their ‘phobias’ of LBGTQI and every other type of sexuality you can imagine. Where then does that leave people who believe that sex is meant to be kept within hetrosexual marriage?

I’m happy for those people to keep their sexual activities within a heterosexual marriage.

And for others, who think that it should be at least be within a loving relationshp?

I’m happy for those people to keep their sexual activities within at least a loving relationship.

Who don’t really get ”queer” and intrasex.[intersex] And who might not approve of bixexual promiscuity for example. Or approve of pornography. Both from the point of the viewer, and from the people appearing in it. Do they have to get over that too?

Consenting adults should be able to do as they please with each other – if they want to moan with each other about promiscuity and porn that’s up to them. What they shouldn’t be doing is interfering with what other consenting adults want to get up to.

66. Chaise Guevara

@ 54 Damon

Have to add to the list of people who are interested in what you’re getting at:

“Hmmm I thought. is thus just another of those sexual identities that everyone has to be cool with or face accusations of being intolerant?”

Well, no. You have a right not to be cool with certain sexual identities. In turn, other people have a right to call you intolerant. Are you arguing for freedom of expression or against it?

Consenting adults should be able to do as they please with each other – if they want to moan with each other about promiscuity and porn that’s up to them. What they shouldn’t be doing is interfering with what other consenting adults want to get up to.

ukliberty, I agree with that completely, because I’m quite liberal about these things.
But to expect eveyone to get a concept such as ‘queer’ is going to be beyond conservative people, and particularly the very religious.

I would be against this march though if it is particularly about the ”Gay free zone” posters that were put up in the East End. They are not worth such a wide response as they are the work of attention seekers.

I’m not sure what you meant Chaise Guevara, but I just wonder what you (one) says about people who just dont get LBGT …. and the Q too. My mum is pretty open about it for example, but my dad would be a bit more ”catholic” (literally) about that sort of thing.
Does that make him a bigot or something? He doesn’t say much about it, but I don’t think he gets gay marrige for example. Is that bad? Or is he just a bit old old fashioned?

I would be against this march though if it is particularly about the ”Gay free zone” posters that were put up in the East End. They are not worth such a wide response as they are the work of attention seekers.

That is ostensibly what the march was all about, however since the subsequent discovery of EDL involvement in organising the march it has since been cancelled. It appears that the real purpose of the march was to antagonise Muslims using lgbt’s as a tool to do so.

“I would be against this march though if it is particularly about the ”Gay free zone” posters that were put up in the East End. They are not worth such a wide response as they are the work of attention seekers.”

Yes, you gays keep quiet. We don’t want to upset the homophobes now, do we?

FFS.

70. Chaise Guevara

@ 67 damon

“I’m not sure what you meant Chaise Guevara, but I just wonder what you (one) says about people who just dont get LBGT …. and the Q too. My mum is pretty open about it for example, but my dad would be a bit more ”catholic” (literally) about that sort of thing.
Does that make him a bigot or something? He doesn’t say much about it, but I don’t think he gets gay marrige for example. Is that bad? Or is he just a bit old old fashioned?”

In turn, I’m not sure what you mean by “he doesn’t get it”. You mean he doesn’t understand the concept that two men can get a civil partnership? Or do you mean he doesn’t like the idea that they can? I’d call the second one “bad”.

My point was that when you say “is thus just another of those sexual identities that everyone has to be cool with or face accusations of being intolerant?”, you’re acting as if other people’s freedom of speech oppresses you: “I must be protected from opinions I dislike!”. If you have a right to say you don’t like gays, other people have a right to call you intolerant. That’s what “freedom of speech” means.

71. Shatterface

I don’t ‘get’ ballet, nouvelle cuisine or The X Factor.

I respect the rights of those who do though.

Sexual preference is a taste issue, not a moral one, hence the word ‘preference’.

What I don’t like about that way of arguing a point Chaise Guevara, is that is that it comes across as a bit elitist …. as what proportion of humankind that is alive now or lived in the past, will come out of this as pure as your standard?

As for my dad probably ”not getting gay marriage” …. he probably thinks very little about it at all and will not have read much about it. What he has heard would just make him think it was a bit daft I’m guessing. I should ask him really.
Being a Catholic, he’s meant to believe that marriage is one of the (so called) seven blessed sacraments, and I doubt that ”God” had gay marriage down as a sacrament too.

Btw, I don’t personally have any problems with aspects of sexuality. I experimented a bit years ago myself.

More controversially, ”prejudice” can take place for all kinds of reasons.
What might be called prejudice by straight people could be the exact same negative feelings about aspects of gay sub-cultures that some gay people don’t care for either.

http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/3496/23/07/2010/daily-mail-columnist-andrew-pierce-slams-tvs-top-gays.aspx

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/apr/21/gayrights.comment

73. Dan Factor

Christian Homophobe: You will burn in the fires of hell!

Left-wing marxist homosexual: Shut up you homophobe!

Muslim homophobe: You will burn in the firest of hell

Left-wing marxist homosexual: That’s your culture. I cannot criticise you because that would be racist!

“hard-right racist group called Stop Islamisation of Europe.”

Excuse me? Where is the proof this is a ‘hard’ right and above all fascist group?
So if you are concerned about a completely non-Islamic entity being forcibly Islamised….You’re a fascist?

So stopping the rest of non-Nazi Europe becoming forcibly handed over to National Socialism means….You’re a fascist?

So daring to not want the place where you live, an evolved 21st century, basically Secular continent, to become subservient to an unchanged medieval religious ideology (that is so sexist, bigoted, totalitarian and murderously homophobic it boggles the mind) makes you a ‘fascist’?

Well…I’m VERY happy then to be called a fascist then!


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