The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community


6:55 pm - April 27th 2011

by Guest    


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contribution by Pav Akhtar

Last month sympathisers of the English Defence League (EDL), including a founder member of the far right group, were the core initiators of a proposed ‘East End Gay Pride’ march through Tower Hamlets.

LGBT GROUPS in the local area and BME LGBT groups and SAFRA statement, were united in opposing them. These responses were pivotal in preventing the far right from organising under the Pride flag to progress an entirely different goal – of isolating and demonising Muslim communities.

Evidence of the EDL was clear from the inception of the proposed event. However, some did not heed these concerns. For example, the Chair of London Pride dismissed some concerns as ‘baseless’, ‘laughable’ and ‘personal abuse’. Others played down the involvement of proto-fascists.

Across Europe, far right and fascists are making electoral gains, attacking Muslim and migrant communities, emboldened by hostile media and mainstream politicians. LGBT people are not immune to this. The Netherlands’ gay far right politician, Pim Fortuyn, made a specific appeal to LGBT people.

Once the far right makes gains, it targets LGBT communities. For example, fledgling Pride assemblies have been violently targeted by fascists in Eastern Europe. In Britain, David Copeland, the BNP-inspired nail bomber of Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho attacked the African-Caribbean, Asian and LGBT communities in London. This threat gives our communities the basis for anti-fascist unity.

As a Gay Muslim man who has worked with Imaan and UK Black Pride, I believe that constructive dialogue with BME communities is the way to effectively tackle homophobia. Within the Muslim community, as with other religious groups, there are both progressive and conservative elements. Dialogue with Muslims comes from acknowledging the discrimination they face.

In the 1980s, the lesbian and gay communities supported the miners’ strike, despite its lack of recognition of LGBT rights, which paved the way for the creation of many self-organised LGBT trade union sections.

When homophobic stickers promoting a ‘Gay-Free Zone’ were documented in the pink media and various commentators, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, East London Mosque and the inter-faith network worked with the local LGBT group, Rainbow Hamlets, responded swiftly to jointly condemn homophobia, and worked with the police to tackle this hate crime.

Claims that homophobic crime is a particular manifestation within the Muslim community, due to the rise in homophobic crimes in Tower Hamlets, are contradicted by the higher rates of homophobic crime in Islington and Westminster, with no similar conclusions drawn about the non-Muslim majority in these areas.

Singling out Muslims, when homophobia is clearly present in every section of society, risks closing down the space for the dialogue necessary to challenge and overcome it.

The attempted EDL infiltration should be a wake-up call that rejecting Islamophobia and fighting fascism must be our shared priority.

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Reader comments


Spot-on. It was a worrying seeing this go on. Well done to the groups that investigated and countered this.

But, East End should have a pride, but one to show unity between all faiths and parts of society.

I was a miner on strike in 1984 and we were not homophobic, but welcomed support from the Lesbian and Gay communities that gave us so much help. No doubt there were homophobes (remember, most of us lived in closed communities), but this would be inspired by ignorance and fear of the unknown rather than hatred. We had gay lads at our pit and as a branch secretary of the NUM, I was proud that these men could come out without being ridiculed or the subject of hate campaigns. Don’t tar us all with the same brush!

‘The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community’

Interesting, I didn’t think Islam itself had much of a place in the LGBT community.
Probably a false Islamaphobic assumption on my part behalf.

Look forward to seeing Islamic Forum of Europe and Ken’s friend Yusuf al-Qaradawi denouncing hatred of gays. Looking forward to seeing Tower Hamlets Mayor denounce the homophobia inside the East London Mosque.

The East London Mosque are more than welcome to put out a statement if they aren’t too busy preaching about burying queers and Jews. Might be tough with Mr. Lateef saying “we don’t accept homosexuality… we hate it because Allah hates it.” He is also the chap Dispatches caught running a ‘Spot the Fag’ competition. One of a dozen ELM preachers who never seem to get disinvited from talking again.

Seriously though, you have to wonder what the biggest threat here is? The Islamists themselves or the breed of ‘progressive’ who doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.

4. the a&e charge nurse

Not even Freud could have anticipated the extent to which ‘phobia’ has enveloped entire swathes of the population?

The EDL are out of step with the majority of ordinary people and their main function seems to be turning up at various demos in order to air a few ludicrous chants, while their specious identification with the gay community would not even fool Inspector Clouseau?

Ironically devotees of certain brands of Islam cause far more misery on gay muslims than the EDL ever did, and challenging this sort of religious intolerance would be far more useful than shouting phobia every 5 minutes?

Well said ‘qwer’.
You will be a rare voice of sanity and truth and you will be told off.

It really is appalling to have THE (yes, THE) most murderously Homophobic religion in the world go on about being picked on and saying how those Gays should not stand for people picking on it!

And what are these so called attacks on poor old Islam?
I’m sick to death of this blatant LIE being spewed out!

Islam is being attacked in Europe?
REALLY?
So the massive increase in the European Muslim population since 9/11… is an attack is it?? (By the way, 9/11 WAS an actual attack. Okay?).

The massive increase in Islamic power and influence over many aspects of non-Islamic life and non-Muslims in non-Islamic countries….is an attack is it??

The massive increase in mosque building in Europe, the massive increase in Muslim schools in Europe, the massive increase in Muslim food and cultural practices throughout Europe…is an attack is it??

NO. I’ll tell you what an attack is;

It’s blowing up your own countrymen, in your own capital city, in your own country on 7/7.
It’s planting car bombs in London.
It’s trying to blow up aircraft.
It’s planning to hack a soldier’s (a Muslim soldier no less..irony alert) head off.
It’s ramming a burning car into Glasgow airport.
It’s firebombing book publishers.
It’s walking down London streets with signs saying ‘Behead those that Insult Islam’, ‘God Bless Hitler’ and ‘Europe prepare for your 9/11’.
It’s the fact Islam is responsible for the biggest increase in the terrorist prison population of the UK (and all the planned attacks that were foiled) since the height of the IRA campaign.
It’s blowing up trains in Spain,
It’s hacking film maker’s to death in Holland.
It’s…something I could fill this entire website up with with examples of!

Islam in Europe is being attacked??
You’re not only lying. You’re damn well insulting!

6. Dick the Prick

@3 – Fair point, well made. Also, I guess some people don’t hold their sexuality as a defining principle of their political ideology but just an aspect of their personal philosophy. I’m not completely convinced that any political party should be overtly welcomed by the ‘LGBT’ community as it’s obviously just cynical vote harvesting these days.

And how any supposedly Gay person could EVER be part of ANY religion which condemns them for even existing and has its most holy men insult and ridicule them and often (as far as Islam goes) openly preach for their death…is a mystery indeed!

And don’t you dare condemn this country, or ANY Western country, for homophobia (which yes, still exists sadly…although most of it comes from damn religious people) given how free Homosexuals are in these countries now…while they often can’t even acknowledge their own existence for fear of attacks in many (all?) Islamic countries, and in some Islamic states they are even routinely executed!

You have some nerve.

Predictions: this comment thread is soon going to be filled with trolls boldly proclaiming the truth that the PC brigade won’t let anyone say, despite the fact that everyone from the EDL to Johann Hari are *constantly* going on about Muslim homophobia.

There is *no* evidence of a problem of Muslim homophobia. There *is* a problem of homophobia, done by many different people (some of them Muslims) for pretty similar reasons – and it’s homophobia that needs to be addressed, instead of getting diverted onto attacking “Muslim homophobia” as if homophobia by anyone else is somehow less serious or threatening.

There *is*, on the other hand, a problem of anti-Muslim hatred, stirred up by groups like the EDL but not confined to them. There is also a problem of “liberal” journalists like Julie Bindel and Johann Hari who continue to bang on about how nobody is talking about Muslim homophobia *even after it turned out EDL supporters had nearly been successful in using the pretext of Muslim homophobia to stir up anti-Muslim hatred*.

P.S. If anyone can read German, I thoroughly recommend Die Vertreibung aus dem Serail: Europa und die Heteronormalisierung der islamischen Welt by Georg Klauda. Brief summary: Homophobia imported by European colonialists. into Islamic countries with long histories of tolerance and celebration of homosexuality. In many Islamic countries, same-sex relationships are accepted (though not seen as “gay”) and male friends walk hand in hand down the streets.

10. Mr S. Pill

@3 qwer et al

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12486003

~

Agreed with OP, fairly obviously, it’s a shame it needs to be said really.

11. Hodge Podge

@5 A lot you said is factually correct, and we should not wear kid clothes with Muslim criminals because we think we might look racist. As an atheist and a bisexual I have a lot of sympathies.

But to deny theres anything worrying about the EDL is daft. They blatantly aren’t the anti-fundamentalism group they spin themselves as, it’s full of thugs. Denying moderate Islam exists is crazy. And surely you can see that blaming muslims as a block for that stuff is as wrong as the people who point to any news story of a gay paedophile to attack us.

I’m sure more eloquent people then me will follow anyway

And oh yeah…The EDL did not even exist until a few years ago.

And the only reason it exists now is the violent entry into all and growing aspects of UK life and the fact the supposedly liberal left not only did nothing or said nothing…but more often than not defended and helped it.

Facts is Pav…your stuck in the dark ages religion and the Left is the only reason the EDL even exist.
And yes the EDL are a bunch of homophobes too.
But YOU made them.

What AG1985 said.
Far too many seem to want to use gay people as a tool for bashing Muslims with, while turning a blind eye to homophobia from the majority. It’s not on.

14. Mr S. Pill

@12

Well, no. The EDL fills the vacuum left by the BNP attempting to be more respectable and no longer inciting riots on the streets as per the old days (ie, 2001). As well as a handy way for football hooligans to meet & discuss under the veneer of *cough* anti-fundamentalism (lol).

They are very very similar to the BUF of olden times except now its Muslims not Jews being attacked.

15. Mr S. Pill

@14

When you’ve stopped being insane, you might like to consider the vast amount of Muslims serving in the British army in the places you mention. Alongside the huge numbers of Muslims doing everyday boringly dull but essential jobs that make society tick along quite nicely. Same as Christians, same as Jews, same as Hindus or whoever – they are just people. Who believe in something that I don’t (I’m atheist), so be it.
If you can’t see what you’re saying is incredibly ridiculous and offensive to many then there’s little point discussing anything with you. I bet you have loads of friends… [/sarcasm]

16. Just Visiting

AG1985

> There is *no* evidence of a problem of Muslim homophobia.

That’s a very black and white statement.

Peter Tatchell doesn’t agree with you:

Muslim fundamentalists are a growing threat to gay human rights in Britain.

Although not all Muslims are anti-gay, significant numbers are violently homophobic – often due to the intolerant, inflammatory teachings of Mullahs and Imams.

The Islamic holy book, the Koran – deemed to be the word of God – unequivocally condemns male and female homosexuality as “transgressing beyond bounds”. Moreover, the Hadith, the collection of sayings attributed to the prophet Mohammed, calls for the punishment of homosexual acts, but does not state what the penalties should be.

The form of punishment is specified in Islamic law, the Shari’ah. This is the clerical interpretation of the Koran and the Hadith. It demands the death penalty for both lesbian and gay sex.

Few British Muslims urge the execution of queers. But even moderate Islamic leaders denounce the “evil” of homosexuality. Members of the Muslim Parliament want to see gay sex outlawed and homosexuals imprisoned. They have opposed legislation to equalise the age of consent and repeal Section 28.

The supposedly middle-of-the-road Islamicist, Yusuf Islam (the former pop star Cat Stevens), has condemned positive portrayals of homosexuality in school sex education lessons, accusing those who advocate such policies of wanting to “feast off the innocence of our children for their own abominable sexual appetites”.

17. the a&e charge nurse

[8] “There is *no* evidence of a problem of Muslim homophobia” – how on earth can you make such a blanket statement?

Researchers have highlighted “themes in British non-heterosexual Muslims’ management of familial and kin relations. Significant socio-cultural and religious factors constitute the framework within which they negotiate such relations. These factors are: the strict religious censure of non-heterosexuality (specifically homosexuality) based on various Islamic written sources, the pervasive cultural censure of homosexuality as a ‘western disease’, the expectation of marriage as a cultural and religious obligation, the respect for parents, and the maintenance of family honour”.

As far as I know the author of this article does not spend time hanging out of with an EDL crew at the weekend – I will leave it to others to decide if such an article is yet a further examples of rampant “islamophobia”

18. the a&e charge nurse

@19 I respect Peter Tatchell greatly, but saying “Peter Tatchell disagrees” is not a trump card for winning an argument.

There are, obviously, homophobic Muslims, including some Muslim religious ministers. It doesn’t mean that when they’re homophobic, it’s not just homophobia but nasty scary Muslim homophobia. Nor do extremist religious leaders represent mainstream opinion even among religious Muslims, never mind among the many UK Muslims who aren’t especially religious at all, any more than the Pope’s ravings represent the views of most UK Catholics. And once you factor in the relative economic deprivation among UK Muslims, there’s simply no reason to suppose Muslims are any more homophobic than anyone else.

To repeat: the problem is *not* Muslim homophobia. It is homophobia full stop.

I hope Peter Tatchell wouldn’t disagree with any of that, but if he does then he’s wrong.

The situation with Shari’ah law and homosexuality is rather more nuanced and complicated than is generally made out – anal sex is prohibited in theory but tolerated in practice due to restrictions on admissible evidence. The concept of homophobia doesn’t even make sense in the conceptual system of the cultures in which Islam arose, as there is no equivalent to the European-Christian concept of “sodomite” which marks out a distinct category of men who have sex with men.

20. Just Visiting

AG1985

> I hope Peter Tatchell wouldn’t disagree with any of that, but if he does then he’s wrong.

Please, do take the effort to respond to some or even one of the points Tatchell makes on his web site – and make some substantive response.

Otherwise what you are posting is empty.

Far too many seem to want to use gay people as a tool for bashing Muslims with, while turning a blind eye to homophobia from the majority

true ,but ag1985, where’s the evidence that there’s homophobia in the muslim community, this is wilfull blindness
.

The EDL first demonstrated in the year that the BNP got elected to European Parliament as MEPs. To claim that they are a product of the left is complete nonsense. They orginate from football hooliganism, and are a street fighting wing of the fascists.

Terrorism is a threat in Britain, and is something that all communities, the Muslim Community included, is opposed to. It is highlighted on a regular basis and is a priority for the police, and is covered, in ways that can be unhelpful at times, by the media, because they tar the entire Muslim community with the same brush.

What is not covered, is the regular violent attacks of the EDL on the streets against the Muslim community and others. You will not see images of the violence of the EDL covered on the TV – instead, their leader is allowed a civil interview on question time.

this is just some footage of what they are really like :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzUdLDwIbyM&feature=fvst

no surprise that there are posts on here villifying Islam. But what is of concern is that this same climate means Mosques in modern day Britain can be targetted by the far right in a way that would quite rightly spark a national outcry if it was Churches or Synagogues being targetted in the same way.

The point of the article, is that once fascism has dealt with one community, it comes for others. The nailbombings showed that the fascists’ current manipulation of LGBT rights is mere cover, and it will switch to attacking the LGBT community.

How can people be Gay and Muslim? In the same way that they can be Jewish or Christian and Gay, with all the excessive bigotry and prejudice against LGBT people that accompany those religions too. The point is, that there has been centuries of dialogue within all religions on the issue of homosexuality – seeking out the progressives and entering into dialogue is the only way forward. Villfying a community that is under attack by bigotry itself does not get results.

@17 I don’t want to presume to talk about gay Muslims’ own experiences of homophobia within their families – that’s something I trust groups like Imaan to know more about. But a lot of the discussion around “Muslim homophobia” centers on the threat that Muslims pose to LGB people, conveniently ignoring the fact that some LGB people are Muslims.

@20 I’m confused about what more you want me to say, unless you want me to spell out point by point how what I’ve written relates to what Tatchell says. I don’t doubt that some Muslim religious leaders are homophobic. I think that’s a bad thing and that we should speak out against it. But we should be speaking out against homophobia as such or against the homophobia of specific individuals, not against a subcategory of “Muslim homophobia”. Muslims are not a threat to LGB people, though the EDL are a threat to Muslims.

@23 – It seems like you are trying to have it both ways. Only some members of the EDL are a threat to only some Muslims. Similarly only some Muslims are a threat to LGBT. This is the problem with putting people into categories and then talking about those categories as homogenous groups of people. The question is whether there is a significant proportion of a group that display behavior/view X and whether that behavior is a result of, or incidental to their membership of said group?

In my assessment, there IS a sub-category of Islamic homophobia. It is homophobia that arises as a result of the foundation documents of Islam and the teachings of some of it’s influential figures. This is not homophobia that is incidental, it is homophobia that derives from, is reinforced, and excused by the foundations of the faith.Other faiths also have teachings that can result in homophobia – but I am confident in saying that statistically there is a greater level of religeon-derrived-homophobia amongst the UK’s Muslims than amongst Christians, Jews or atheists. Google for a survey, I recall seeing more than one to that effect.

Now in strategic terms, it might not be wise make a big issue of it’s existence – but that is rather another question.

As for islamophobia, I am all against it, but I get the impression that many misunderstand it’s meaning. A phobia is an irrational fear, disproportionate to the threat. There are many elements of Islam that I believe it is completely rational to fear and vocally oppose. There’s many elements of Christianity to rationally fear as well – and most other faiths.

In my book it is not progressive, nor an attribute of any notion of ‘the left’ that I’d like to be associated with to privilage religion and culture in the way that self described liberal progressives so often do. As can be seen here, people don’t privilage the EDL in such a way, they don’t privilage political parties, lobby groups, companies, NGOs etc. Why should religion or culture be any different?

A phobia is is defined as an irrational and disproportionate fear I gather, pardon me for saying so but as a Gay man I have a perfectly rational fear of Islam and its apologists, others on this list thread and elsewhere have eloquently stated why…but in short, the other homophobes are not using religion to justify killing me…

I do not fear all Muslims but I am intensely annoyed by the tolerance shown to Islamic homophobia by some on the Left, there is a kind of moral confusion about this particularly nasty and virulent kind of homophobia…lets be clear, its the kind that kills and says its good to do so….this ‘challenge’ is the source of many of the problems problems Gay Muslims face…but lets be honest…some of the EDL are Gay just as some Muslims are Gay, it is just not the only or the main source of their identity…

Are the EDL nasty, sure, and are they seeking to create a broad based ‘nationalist’ alliance yes, but they are not the one’s advocating death to gay people in the East End they are reacting to it, opportunistically….and despite the blog posts heartfelt plea and assertion there are many Gay people who will agree with the sentiments if not the tactics and behaviour of the EDL and they will continue to do so while the British Muslim community is seen as hostile to them and while the news is full of the terrible plight gay people endure in Muslim lands…..

I am not saying that fundamentalist Christians are any better, they are patently not Uganda is a case in point, but here in the UK they do not make a habit of threatening divinely ordained violence against Gay people.

As a Gay man I know there is a lot of hatred around but most people don’t act on it because they know its just not PC any more, its not acceptable behaviour, but in Islam we are hearing a different message…hating is good and right…while that keeps coming out (pun intended), Gay people will look more kindly on people like the EDL….its a mistake, its sad but its true…

26. Gallbladder

I wonder what your attitude is to this (a convert cleric told to leave Germany and never to return).
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6510494,00.html

I thought this was a good article – I found myself cross referencing it with Sunny Hundal’s recent post on how to shift people’s views.

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/12521

which made me think it might have been more effective if it had acknowledged/anticipated some of the anxieties raised by commenters WRT homophobic preachers – I don’t think doing that would have invalidated any of the arguments.

the Royal Wedding Cannabis Party is On Today at the link below:

http://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/killing-kate/#

Yes, this article certainly gets to the nub of the problem. Let me see if I’ve got it straight.

Muslims don’t like gays and put up stickers saying so.

Cool leftie gays can’t answer this sort of attack because they know it would be uncool to dis Islam.

So the solution is to write articles like this attacking nationalists, who it is cool to dis, and hope to muddy the waters by doing so.

Only slight problem is……… that such articles make no logical sense whatever.

30. Chaise Guevara

I would venture a small bet that Qwer is what Davey Boy calls himself when his mum’s around and he can’t swear.

I love the twisted logic used by the far right when demanding that the only valid topic of conversation is attacking Muslims. It basically seems to go “Muslims are homophobes! How dare you try to encourage them to be less homophobic! Mentioning any other form of homophobia makes you Osama Bin Laden! Why does nobody take me seriously?! Waaaaaah!”

@29 It’s hard work getting into a froth over stickers to be honest. Unless you’ve an axe to grind of course.

32. the a&e charge nurse

[31] “it’s hard work getting into a froth over stickers” – true, but not so hard call people islamophobes for having the temerity to point out religious intolerance is a far greater driver of repressed sexual attitudes than outfits like the EDL – not least because membership of the EDL barely climbs into double figures while devotees of the quran can probably be counted in the billions?

33. Shatterface

The EDL are arseholes obviously exploiting Muslim homophobia for their own ends but to pretend Islam – or Christianity (with the possible exception of Quakers), Judeism, Tibetan Budhism and Scientology for that matter – aren’t inherantly homophobic is risible.

Hysteria over sexuality is endemic to religion.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Shatterface

“Hysteria over sexuality is endemic to religion.”

Amen! But not pandemic, of course.

So I suspect the way forward is to support members of any religion who are actively working to reject religious homophobia, challenge bigots regardless of their creed, and avoid falling into bigotry ourselves by saying “all followers of religion X are homophobic” or only attacking the intolerance shown by certain groups that we dislike for separate reasons.

Which is pretty much what the OP is saying, hard as certain people (or trolls, or sockpuppets) in the thread find it to understand.

35. Mr S. Pill

@33

“…Tibetan Budhism…”

That reminds me of a time a Hare Krishna gave me a pamphlet about the way of truth or whatever which included some deeply homophobic statements, equating homosexuality with being unpure etc etc. Are Hare Krishnas homophobic? Overwhelmingly no, but it shows how much bullshit baggage any religion carries around.

There’s no doubt that the stickers in the East End were bad, and that the people who put them up are homophobic. I hope the police catch them.

However, if they were Muslims, it doesn’t follow that they are representative of all or most Muslims, or even that they did it *because* they were Muslim (as opposed to on the pretext of Islamic teachings, rather than as a result of the homophobia that is part of the *British culture* in which they have been raised).

Some Muslim religious teachers are homophobic and justify this on the basis of Islamic teachings. It doesn’t mean this is the only interpretation of Islamic teachings, or that the rest of the UK Muslim population is incapable of making up their own minds.

It certainly doesn’t follow that there is a wave of violent murderous homophobic violence from Muslims, which is what some people (*cough* Johann Hari *cough*) would have us believe.

37. paul canning

The Miners Strike point is extremely apt.

The engagement with the strike (Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners, LGSM) involved raising money through shaking tins outside venues and one big benefit gig by Bronski Beat, for Dulais Valley in South Wales. This caused uproar there – many initially didn’t want to take the money. Two years later the Lodge banner was on the London Gay Pride march.

LGSM *directly led to the first resolution of support passed at Labour Party conference, alongside the coalition of gay Labour people with black Labour party people (Black Sections). There was direct support between the two in ensuring enough constituency resolutions meant that it and Black sections got to the 1985 conference. There, the NUM’s support was crucial in getting the Trade Union block vote behind it – and very much against the wishes of the Party leadership (Kinnock).

This was against a background of immense public and media hostility to any support for LGBT.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ AG1985

“Some Muslim religious teachers are homophobic and justify this on the basis of Islamic teachings. It doesn’t mean this is the only interpretation of Islamic teachings, or that the rest of the UK Muslim population is incapable of making up their own minds.”

Good point – and non-Muslim homophobes generally either justify their bigotry by appealing to another religion or to “nature”, which isn’t all that different. Although I also suspect that religions (Abrahamic ones at least) do lead at least some people to hate gays.

@34 chaise

“So I suspect the way forward is to support members of any religion who are actively working to reject religious homophobia, challenge bigots regardless of their creed, and avoid falling into bigotry ourselves by saying “all followers of religion X are homophobic” or only attacking the intolerance shown by certain groups that we dislike for separate reasons.”

Agreed, but isn’t the problem that when ANY religion (or indeed secular belief system) decrees that something is beyond the pale, there will be a tension between (for example) saying that it is never ligitimate to call for death for apostasy or for being a homosexual, many fervent believers DO accept, or at least tolerate such views.

Of course it is right to emphasise that not all muslims or indeed christians & other people of faith are fundamentalists; it is also right however to point out when their views are intolerable and inimical to what our society stands for without being labelled islamophobic, or pulling one’s punches for fear of not showing enough toleration.

Hmmm, not so sure. It’s not really your place to tell others what to think, surely the qualifying criteria for being part of the LGBT community is to be LGBT.

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 Galen10

“Of course it is right to emphasise that not all muslims or indeed christians & other people of faith are fundamentalists; it is also right however to point out when their views are intolerable and inimical to what our society stands for without being labelled islamophobic, or pulling one’s punches for fear of not showing enough toleration.”

Sure – challenge bigots regardless of their creed. I certainly don’t think we should downplay, ignore or tiptoe around bigotry just because it comes from a religious source. And I think it’s frankly silly to be worried about being accused of bigotry yourself when a sensible analysis shows that you’re not (unless you’re a politician): if you call out an Muslim group for making homophobic statements, for example, any responding cries of “Islamaphobia!” should be water off a duck’s back.

@38 It is a good point. I myself am also unsure as to how much religious homophobia is due to the religion itself, or due to the homophobe cherrypicking bits to justify their homophobia.
There’s certainly still an imbedded cultural homophobia though, I’ve had an atheist justify their homophobia with “it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, which raised a puzzled eyebrow I can tell you!

What I will say is that homophobia is most certainly learned behaviour 😉

All behaviour is learnt, not being homophobic is not the “right” way, its just the way you have learnt.

44. Shatterface

‘“Some Muslim religious teachers are homophobic and justify this on the basis of Islamic teachings. It doesn’t mean this is the only interpretation of Islamic teachings, or that the rest of the UK Muslim population is incapable of making up their own minds.”

I don’t regard them as incapable of making up their minds: I hold all mentally competent adults responsible for their beliefs.

The problem with religion-based morality is that believers don’t hold THEMSELVES responsible for their moral choices, as god – or whoever – is the ultimate court of appeal.

Its not ‘I, personally, regard homosexuality as a bit icky’ but ‘God says homosexuality is an abomination’.

That’s an denial of responsibility.

45. Shatterface

The same goes for the EDL of course, who see themselves as agents of a quasi-mystical Englishness.

46. the a&e charge nurse

[45] “The same goes for the EDL of course, who see themselves as agents of a quasi-mystical Englishness” – I thought they were just a group of angry, frustrated individuals overly fond of projecting life’s disappointments, not to mention their own inadequacies onto target groups?

And… how much room should there be for islamo-fascism?

29. You appear to have not read the article. It clearly labels the stickers put up in East London as a homophobic hate crime and in fact highlights the progressive role played by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, the East London Mosque and other faiths in joining LGBT groups to condemn homophobia. Having to constantly retread the arguments you put forward are quite tiresome, especially when such important issues, such as the legitimisation of fascism, are at stake.

49. the a&e charge nurse

[48] “when such important issues, such as the legitimisation of fascism, are at stake” – come on, that’s a bit over the top, isn’t it?
I agree with pagar [29] to the extent that the edl provide a kind of pantomime villain function, while serving as a vehicle for a broad consensus of disapproval (including one or two odd bed fellows, if I may throw in a quick sexual metaphor).

But if you had a choice – removing either the edl or islam driven sexual oppression – how would you choose?

When people say that some muslims are guilty of misinterpreting islam I sometimes think of this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUH1H-b-N5o

@43 I see my quip flew right over your head, many “family” groups make the claim that homosexuality is learned behaviour and that their endorsement for the disenfranchisement of lgbt’s is due to them regarding the “teaching” of this behaviour to be abhorrent.

@36 “Some Muslim religious teachers are homophobic and justify this on the basis of Islamic teachings. It doesn’t mean this is the only interpretation of Islamic teachings, or that the rest of the UK Muslim population is incapable of making up their own minds.”

From what I know of the koran and the bible – you have to be a fairly creative interpretor of the key texts to not accept that the religions are both anti-gay.If someone wants to practice their religion minus the gay-bashing parts then that is certainly a positive – but when such a position is contrary to the foundation teachings of the religion AND represents a minority position within those that self identify as members of that religion – it is hardly surpirsing that this minority doesn’t stop criticism of the group.

Apply this thinking to other groups that you are happy to criticise as a group. Would you stop criticising the EDL because you became aware that some of the members weren’t racist? Would you stop criticising the conservative party for driving through cuts after you discovered that there are conservative party members that are ant-cuts?

Answer me this, if a belief derives from the teachings of philosophy of a group AND a significant majority of that group holds that belief – is it not reasonable to associate that group with the belief?

52. Just Visiting

AG1985

You seem to have a blind spot – you’re just not responded to the key points Tatchell makes.
Take one:

The form of punishment is specified in Islamic law, the Shari’ah. This is the clerical interpretation of the Koran and the Hadith. It demands the death penalty for both lesbian and gay sex.

If Tatchell is right – then it is misleading to say things like ‘all religions have some homophobic members’. As far as I am aware, of the monotheistic faiths only Islam has the death penalty for homsexuality.

So instead of (Chaise ?) seeking to ‘compare’ different religions to find them alike – it would be more appropriate to ‘contrast’ them, and find the differences.

53. Just Visiting

Geofff

> From what I know of the koran and the bible – you have to be a fairly creative interpretor of the key texts to not accept that the religions are both anti-gay.

But you are yourself being ‘creative’ in this sentence – by hinting that both religions are equally anti-gay.

Do read Tatchell’s points again – he is saying that Islam has the death penalty for homosexuality. Have you evidence of that in other religions?

@53 Just Visiting – I don’t have evidence of that, but I honestly wasn’t trying to hint they were equally homophobic.

@53 Technically they are, it’s just that the enlightenment pretty much eviscerated the worst bits out of Christianity. Whereas clerical rule still holds in a number of Muslim nations.
Rest assured that if there was a theocratic Christian nation about it would be “and the animals looked from Christian to Muslim” time.

56. Just Visiting

Cylux

What do you mean by the word ‘technically’.

You seem to be agreeing that no one here has found a religion other than Islam that advocates the death penalty for LGBT.

So I don’t understand what you can mean by saying that ‘techncially’ Islam and Christianity are equally homophobic?

@56 From Leviticus:
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Apparently the ‘blood will be on their own heads’ part refers to stoning.
Often quoted quite approvingly by the sort of anti-gay Christian fundamentalists who had a hand in the Ugandan kill-gays bill. Along with some bits out of Romans which are supposedly a condemnation of temple orgies, not specifically homosexuality.

58. When Bells Chime Loud

The point is Cycunt that Christianity does not bother with such things any more.
While Islam still does and still acts like it did a 1000 years ago.

You really are a clueless prick.

@58

The point is Cycunt that Christianity does not bother with such things any more.

Bollocks.
I barely even have to break out google in order to find Christians desperately wishing they could put the “DDRQ’s” to the sword. They do suffer greatly from fatwa envy though.

60. When Bells Chime Loud

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Grab at straws boy.

The fact is Christianity went through a reformation. Which is why we don’t burn witches any more.
Saudi though…still arrests them.

Your’s is a lost argument.
You can’t remotely compare modern Christianity to any great degree with almost every constant, global, facet of Islam. It’s an apologist smokescreen to even try.

You cunts jumped into bed with fascist Islam, just because you missed hanging out with the good old Soviet Union…who also happily climed into bed with the Nazis and went on a conquering/killing spree with them before Adolf stabbed them in the back.

Face it. Communism is a foul and fetid entity that always joins up with other foul and fetid entities.
What a foul history you have. What a foul present you have.

Recent statistics (as produced in support of Johann Hari’s recent piece) point out that there is a correlation between Islam and Homophobia (of course correlation does not = causation) IIRC something along the lines of “do you consider homosexuality acceptable” of which general population 56% (worryingly low if you ask me), Muslim population 0%. This is statistically significant.

Yes Christianity is full of hateful stuff too, however, post reformation, post thomist revolution, post vatican II and post the past 200 years of theological progress, we have finally reached the stage where most of mainstream Christianity in the UK is neutered. (by far and away the biggest argument for retaining the establishment of the moderate Church of England is to serve as a block, holding back extremists)

62. Gerard McGrath

Thanks for this Pav. Haringey LGBT Network sent the following statement at the time:-

__________________________________________________________________

“Haringey LGBT Network supports, in full, the open letter issued by OUT EAST which commented on the proposed Pride March planned by East End Gay Pride.

The LGBT people in Haringey, who, like many LGBT people, have experienced homophobic/bi-phobic and trans-phobic struggles at various points in our lives, fully understand the frustrations faced by our sisters and brothers in the East End facing hate crime in the form of these stickers. We believe that this, and all forms of hate crime, is totally unacceptable and support fully, a clear and strategic approach in challenging this.

We further believe that any demonstration, which may result in fuelling existing Islamaphobic feelings and actions, intentionally or not, can only result in alienating an already beleaguered wider Muslim community who have to face unacceptable hatred on a daily basis.

We are saddened that there appears to be a regrettable and misplaced desire, on the part of, in particular, some gay man, to involve the right wing, racist, misogynist and unashamedly Islamaphobic English Defence League who have a clear destructive agenda with regard to the Muslim Communities in this country. We urge all LGBT people not to seek to address these acts of homophobia via such heinous groups and to work with their local statutory partnerships and elected members to come together and plan a united response as one community.

In cases such as this we need to engage our Muslim colleagues in order to ameliorate community relations and as one, challenge these cowardly acts of homophobia. This is not just an issue for the East End, but ALL of us. I have no doubt that we, as LGBT people, will be subject to increasing homophobic hate crime and consequently we need to organise, unite and prevent our issues being hijacked by a minority right wing agenda. We must constructively challenge, as part of a wider strategic partnership, those who hold and promote extremist views, which would seek to oppress us and subject us to violent intent and deeds.

Yours in Solidarity

Gerard McGrath
Chair
Haringey LGBT Network”
________________________________________________________________

We stand by this statement in which we try to emphasise the spirit of inclusion, acceptance and acknowledgement of diveristy and difference with which we all have a duty to promote.

We would also wholly support your helpful and insightful comments above. It’s important to encourage an open dialogue with all of oue communities, particularly given that some LGBT people are not immune to the empty promises and erroneous statements long associated with fascist groups such as the EDL and BNP.

Many thanks,
Gerard

@61 The question asked was:

Next, I’m going to read you a list, for each item on the list,
please tell me whether you PERSONALLY BELIEVE that it is
MORALLY acceptable or MORALLY wrong? Homosexual acts

504 British Muslims were asked this question in 2008 for the Gallup Poll.

Meanwhile between the 9th-24th of March 2009 an independent poll was done of 1511 British Muslims in what was supposedly a “no-go” area for white people. 98% of Muslims polled would accept their son or daughter as being gay.

Who’s right?

(Of course, the two could both right. My Christian relatives, I’ve little doubt, would think me less than moral if I’d been gay. On the other hand I like to think they’d have accepted me regardless.)

@64 Indeed they could, though the Gallup poll doesn’t actually ask about gay people, it asks about homosexual acts. A slightly different kettle of fish to be asking your Christian relatives I’d have thought!

For the record my elderly grandmother accepts my being gay, I strongly doubt she would accept me talking about my sexual exploits in her presence.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://bit.ly/j8ARdp

  2. Nemesis Republic

    RT @libcon: The #EDL and #Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://bit.ly/j8ARdp

  3. Daniel Pitt

    RT @NemesisRepublic: RT @libcon: The #EDL and #Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://bit.ly/j8ARdp

  4. Nathan Rooney

    RT @libcon: The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://bit.ly/j8ARdp

  5. conspiracy theo

    The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT … http://bit.ly/iscpjQ

  6. Philip

    The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ktrN4B3 via @libcon

  7. Mr.???, ?—Mal Vivant

    RT @Howupsetting: The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ktrN4B3 via @libcon

  8. Dani

    mT @Howupsetting: EDL & Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://tinyurl.com/3wcdcx2 < <3 Pav. too bad it's on libcon

  9. Sonny D

    RT @danielnobody: mT @Howupsetting: EDL & Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://tinyurl.com/3wcdcx2 < <3 …

  10. Mark Ryan-Daly

    The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/s7QTBJo via @libcon

  11. Natacha Kennedy

    "Evidence of the EDL was clear from the inception of the proposed event. However, some did not heed these concerns" http://bit.ly/kXTSm3

  12. Socialist Action

    Article on EDL's failed attempt to orientate lesbian and gay politics in London on an Islamophobic agenda http://bit.ly/kymScN

  13. Noxi

    The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy – http://ow.ly/4IKo9

  14. Exposetweets

    RT @June4th: The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy – http://ow.ly/4IKo9

  15. Sokari

    The #EDL and #Islamophobia should have no place in the #LGBT community #UK #London http://t.co/c0cS7Yb via @libcon

  16. Jennifer Moore

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/04/27/the-edl-and-islamophobia-should-have-no-place-in-the-lgbt-community/ (thanks skibbley for the link)

  17. Milena Buyum

    Pav Akhtar – The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VqK8zqm via @libcon

  18. mahyudinahmad

    RT @libcon The EDL and Islamophobia should have no place in the LGBT community http://bit.ly/j8ARdp

  19. Tom Griffin

    @kateyo Telegraph is understating the EDL role in that Hackney story http://bit.ly/kqZyRu

  20. Tom Griffin

    @kateyo Nah, Just the usual right-wingers stirring the pot . They're not bother about this: http://bit.ly/kqZyRu





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