Islam

Postpone East London Gay Pride

Call for Muslims and LGBTIs to unite against hate

East London Mosque urged to dialogue with LGBTI communities

Commenting on the planned East London Gay Pride march scheduled for 2 April, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

“OutRage! is not supporting East London Gay Pride, following the revelation of links between some of the organisers and the right-wing English Defence League (EDL). I have also withdrawn my personal support. We fear the march will be exploited and hijacked by the far right to create divisions and stir up intolerance against Muslim people,” he said.

“OutRage! opposes both homophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. All forms of intolerance are wrong. The gay, Muslim, Jewish, Asian and black communities know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should stand together, united against hate. Let’s celebrate East London’s multicultural diversity. Don’t let bigotry divide us. Together, we can defeat the hate-mongers.

“While defending the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people to protest against homophobia and the ‘Gay Free Zone’ stickers, it would be best if the march was postponed until a later date and organised by a broad-based grassroots and community coalition, untainted by associations with the EDL.

“Muslim organisations and speakers should be invited to participate in the rescheduled East London Pride.

“Sadly, the East London Mosque and its London Muslim Centre must bear some responsibility for previously stoking homophobia. They have hosted anti-gay hate preachers such as Abdul Karim Hattin who delivered a presentation called ‘Spot The Fag’.

“Hattin is not the only homophobe who has been given a platform. So have anti-gay clerics Muhammad Alshareef, Abdullah Hakim Quick and Bilal Philips.

“These fundamentalist hate preachers fuel a culture of homophobia that first and foremost intimidates and threatens LGBTI Muslims. Our Muslim sisters and brothers must be defended against those who advocate harming them.

“We welcome the East London Mosque’s assurance that it will not give a platform to anti-gay speakers in the future. We urge them to establish a regular, permanent dialogue with LGBTI organisations, including Muslim ones, to foster solidarity between the LGBTI and Muslim communities and to combat both homophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice.

“The vast majority of British Muslims are not fundamentalist fanatics. They don’t support hate preachers. Although most of them do not approve of homosexuality, they do not discriminate or harm LGBTI people. We must be very careful to distinguish between Muslim people in general and the extremist minority who oppose democracy and human rights and who want to establish a clerical dictatorship,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, the LGBTI human rights campaign organisation.

Ken livingstone and Islamic extremism

Peter Tatchell talks to Martin Bright about Ken Livingstone’s embracing of homophobic cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Saudi Protest

London – 31 October 2007. Outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy, campaigners gathered to protest against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, co-inciding with the state visit by King Abdullah. Pictured is Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

© OutRage! 1990-2010. You are free to use this photo to illustrate news stories and articles about OutRage!, the lesbian and gay human rights group, with credit to the group and photographer. For all other uses, please inquire. Photos: Brett Lock, OutRage!

Stop Saudi homophobia!

Protesters picketed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London to condemn the flogging and execution queers. The protest was organised by the National Union of Students LGBT campaign, with the support of LGBT human rights group OutRage! Peter Tatchell was a guest speaker.

© OutRage! 1990-2010. You are free to use this photo to illustrate news stories and articles about OutRage!, the lesbian and gay human rights group, with credit to the group and photographer. For all other uses, please inquire. Photos: Brett Lock, OutRage!

Iran Hangings

Hanging of gay teens in Mashad, Iran, 19 July 2005.

 

New Dark Ages: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Britain

Peter Tatchell documents the global threat of Islamic Fundamentalism

The New Dark Ages are already with us. For hundreds of millions of people in parts of the Middle-East, Africa and South-East Asia, the ascendancy of Islamic fundamentalism has ushered in an era of religious obscurantism and intolerance. The liberal, compassionate wing of Islam –although it still has large numbers of adherents– is increasingly being forced onto the defensive and eclipsed.

The fervour of this modern Muslim extremism echoes the zealotry of the original Dark Ages in mediæval Europe, when Christian fundamentalists excommunicated philosophers and scientists as heretics, tortured non-believers, drowned women as witches, and burned sodomites at the stake.

Several hundred years after the breakdown of theocracy and the beginning of the Enlightenment, few people would have thought it possible for clerical fascism to make a major comeback. But it has, and it’s spreading.

An 18 year old gay man, Neil Tubo, was executed in Saudi Arabia in 1995. His family say that his trial was a charade and claim he was framed on charges on raping two women.

The Bangladeshi writer, Taslima Nasrin, had to flee into exile in Sweden in 1994 after she was condemned to death by Muslim fundamentalists for advocating the revision of Islamic law to protect the rights of women. Issuing a fatwa against Nasrin, they offered a bounty to anyone who would kill her.

In neighbouring Pakistan, an illiterate 14-year-old boy, Salamat Masih, was sentenced to die in 1994 for allegedly writing words offensive to the prophet Mohammed on the wall of a mosque. Although saved by a last minute reprieve, he was forced to seek refuge in Germany after Islamicists threatened to hunt him down and kill him.

On the Philippines island of Mindanao, Muslim militia have been terrorising gay men — beating them up, ordering them to leave the region and threatening them with castration.

In 1995, Islamic extremists in Algeria assassinated the feminist leader, Nabila Diahnine. Previously they had killed the theatre director, Abdelkader Alloula. These are just two of the thousands who have been murdered by the fundamentalists over the last three years. Other victims include students and academics who refuse to study within a religious framework, and journalists who write the truth uncensored by clerical fanatics.

The Algerian Islamicists have a particular hatred of women who refuse to confirm to the Muslim tradition of subservience and modesty. Women who work instead of staying at home and waiting on their husbands, or who study at university rather than looking after children, risk death. So do those wearing make-up or short skirts and attending mixed schools or swimming pools. Any female behaviour deemed ’scandalous’ by the militants can have lethal consequences, as 16-year-old Katia Bengana discovered. She was shot dead on her way home from school for refusing to wear a veil.

The common goal that unites Islamic fundamentalists the world over is the establishment of a religious state where every aspect of life is determined by the principles of the Koran and Muslim tradition. This means the creation of a state where This means the creation of a state where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.

Same-sex relationships are currently outlawed in 26 Islamic countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Islam is also a significant and growing influence in Senegal, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Turkey, and the southern Philippines.

In only three Islamic-dominated nations are there no laws against homosexuality: Egypt, Indonesia and Iraq. Nevertheless, even in these countries public attitudes remain hostile and gay people are subjected to periodic victimisation.

Of the Islamic states that ban lesbian and gay sex, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen enforce the death penalty. Pakistan specifies two years to life imprisonment, plus flogging. In Malaysia the maximum sentence is 20 years and in the United Arab Emirates it’s 14. Bangladesh and Libya are considered fairly moderate in Islamic fundamentalist terms, with punishments of seven and five years’ jail respectively.

Iran is the most zealously homophobic Islamic country. Since 1980, when the fundamentalists came to power under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed, according to estimates by the exiled Iranian homosexual rights group, Homan.

In the early 1980’s, for example, 70 people were executed after they attempted to set up a lesbian and gay organisation. Nearly 100 homosexuals were sentenced to death in 1992 following a raid on a private party.

It is notoriously difficult to be certain about the exact number of lesbians and gays killed because some executions take place in secret, and the relatives of those killed often try to cover up the true reason, due to the strong social stigma associated with homosexuality. Another factor preventing an accurate estimate is the regime’s resort to false allegations of homosexuality against political opponents, in a bid to discredit them. Trumped up charges of homosexuality were levelled against a Sunni Muslim leader, Dr. Ali Mozaffarian, who was executed in Shiraz in 1992.

The methods of killing lesbians and gays in Iran include: beheading with a sword, stoning to death, burning alive, and throwing from a mountain top or high building.

The death penalty applies not only to sodomy, but to repeated offences of lesser sexual acts such as mutual masturbation and body rubbing. The mere act of two people of the same sex lying naked together “without any necessity” is a crime punishable by up to 99 lashes. One man kissing another, even “without lust”, merits 60 lashes. These floggings can cause permanent injury to internal organs, severe bleeding and sometimes death.

The Iranian authorities stepped up their crusade against homosexuality in 1990, with a wave of public executions. On the first day of the new crackdown, three gay men were beheaded in a city square in Nahavand, and two women accused of lesbianism were stoned to death in Langrood. Justifying these killings, the Iranian Chief Justice, Morteza Moghtadai, declared: “The religious punishment for the despicable act of homosexuality is death for both parties”.

Simultaneously, Ayatollah Ali Khameni denounced “homosexuality, male and female”. He condemned Britain and the USA for promoting gay relationships, claiming the two countries had legalised marriages between people of the same sex. Homosexuality was, he said, a symptom of the decay and corruption of western culture.

His colleague, Ayatollah Musavi-Ardebili, demanded the strict enforcement of Islamic punishments for lesbian and gay behaviour. Describing the procedures for the execution of homosexuals, he told students at Tehran University: “They should seize him (or her), they should keep him standing, they should split him in two with a sword, they should either cut off his neck or they should split him from the head. … After he is dead, they bring logs, make a fire and place the corpse on the logs, set fire to it and burn it. Or it should be taken to the top of a mountain and thrown down. Then the parts of the corpse should be gathered together and burnt. Or they should dig a hole, make a fire in the hole and throw him alive into the fire.

“We do not have such punishments for other offences”, boasted the Ayatollah. “There cannot be the slightest degree of mercy or compassion. … Praise be to God.”

Lesbians and gay men living in countries dominated by the New Dark Ages of Islamic fundamentalism cannot afford the liberal luxury of tolerating religious fanaticism. For them, the politically correct arguments about ‘cultural sensitivity’ smack of surrender to the extremists who jeopardise their freedom and even their lives.

Muslim fundamentalists threaten to kill gay activist

Islamophobia conference ends in violent uproar

Islamic fundamentalists tried to beat up a gay man and threatened to kill him at a London conference on “Islamophobia”, designed to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslim values, and attended by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.

The conference declaration claimed that “Islam is wrongly and unjustly portrayed as barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent and aggressive”.

During the question and answer session, OutRage! activist and former Muslim of Pakistani descent, Muhammad Khan(*), asked the panel of speakers how negative attitudes towards Muslims among gay people could be overcome, given that Islam advocates the burning alive of homosexuals.

Most of the conference turned on Muhammad. He was surrounded by over a hundred Muslims who screamed abuse and threatened to kill him. “I thought I was going to be lynched”, he said. “Some were trying to hit me. It was only the intervention of the stewards that stopped them.”

None of the Muslim, Christian or Jewish leaders on the platform intervened to calm the situation or condemn the violence. One, Imam Abduljalil Sajid, a Muslim cleric and member of the Runnymede Trust, shouted that Muhammad had no need to ask what Muslims thought of homosexuals: all he had to do was look at the audience’s reaction. The violent scenes led to the abandonment of the conference.

Held at King’s College, London, on Wednesday, 18th March, the conference on “Islamophobia — The Xenophobia of our Times” was sponsored by the Islamic Foundation. It was organised by the Federation of Students’ Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and the University of London Union. — ULU has an anti-homophobia policy that was clearly violated.

As well as Imam Sajid, the speakers included:

  • Siva Ganeshanadanan, President of ULU;
  • Dr. Richard Stone, Chair of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality and spokesman for the Runnymede Trust;
  • Muhammad Risaluddin, leader of the inter-faith Calamus Foundation;
  • Rev. John Webber, advisor to the Bishop of Stepney.

None of the speakers defended Muhammad’s right to ask a question or spoke out against the homophobic insults.

“Muslims want tolerance for themselves but not for lesbians and gays”, said Muhammad Khan. “They condemn Islamophobia, while zealously promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals.”

(*) Name changed, given the violence which exists amongst the fundamentalist community.

Gay activists stand trial over Islamic protest

9:30 a.m. Monday, 30-January-1995
Brent Magistrate’s Court, 448 High Road, London NW10

Peter Tatchell and Glenn Halton, members of OutRage!, stand trial on charges arising from a peaceful protest against the murder of an estimated 4,000 lesbians and gay men since 1980 by the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran — most of the victims being beheaded, stoned and burned to death.

The OutRage! protest took place outside the international Islamic fundamentalist conference held at Wembley Arena, London, on 7th August 1994, organized by Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Mr. Halton and Mr. Tatchell are charged with obstructing the highway and displaying signs which were “threatening, abusive, and insulting”. Both men deny both charges. They are being backed by the civil rights watchdog, Liberty (NCCL).

“What is at stake is the right to free speech and peaceful protest. The defendants are determined to challenge the police violation of their democratic right to demonstrate”, said David Allison of OutRage!.

“On the day of the protest, Muslim fundamentalists threatened to kill members of OutRage!. ‘We will find you and kill you’, they said. The police took no action against them. Instead, officers violently arrested Mr. Halton and Mr. Tatchell who were protesting peacefully against antihomosexual witch-hunts in extremist Islamic states such as Iran”, said Mr. Allison.

“When Muslim militants at Wembley incited the murder of homosexuals, the police did nothing. Yet officers immediately arrested OutRage! members who were calmly protesting without threatening anyone.

“These arrests were a gross infringement of the democratic right to peaceful protest. If standing on a pavement and holding up a placard is obstruction and grounds for arrest, then the right to demonstrate no longer exists. It is scandalous that officers have charged OutRage! members with public order offences for displaying placards with the factual statements, ‘Iran Murders Queers’ and ‘Islam Nazis Behead & Burn Queers’.

“These arrests have undermined attempts to improve relations between the police and the lesbian and gay community. The police appear to be siding with those who want to kill us”, concluded Mr. Allison.