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Gay journalist Johann Hari calls for open debate on ‘Muslim homophobia’

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  1. Well done Johann Hari! The fact that the religious use their faith to protect their homophobic beliefs is something that we should all be discussing.

  2. At bloody last. This is just what we need :)

    1. agree what a well written article

    2. Patrick Lilley 27 Feb 2011, 1:28am

      Homophobic crime has not risen in East London over the last 2 years. In fact it has declined.

      Johann is jumping a bandwagon and fanning the flames of misunderstanding without doing his research properly.

      His article relies on anecotal evidence and is contradicted by the stats from the Metropolitan Police.

      Some areas of London have seen big rises in homophobic reported incidences. The boroughs with large muslim populations of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forrest:
      HP Crimes 12 months 2010 – 2011 – % change
      Tower Hamlets 71 73 2.80%
      Waltham Forrest 39 24 -38.50%
      Newham 36 30 -16.70%

      In the borough where George and Dragon is there was a REDUCTION IN reported Homophobic crime by -7%.

      Johan is talking rubbish just to jump on bandwagon.

      Check the stats at the Met Police – Johann provides NONE.

  3. Patrick Lilley 25 Feb 2011, 7:04pm

    Dear Friends reading this news story and comments.

    So what does Johann want to say?

    I wonder if Johann Hari’s call is over simplistic.
    There are many ways to explain homophobia in East London and its encouragement by some faith groups may well be part. We should also remember the Pope and Catholic church fan the flames of homophobia too.

    However you also have life style . class and race as co-factors in misunderstandings and friction.

    Middle class people are generall not so homophobic as working class youth. Many of the gays are middle class and the local boys are mostly working class, and rougher.

    Most the gays are white but the the local population are mostly non-white.

    Many of the local population may also not use alcohol esp if muslim and its the gay and mixed bars and hip clubs may also be incomprehensible.

    I hope the condemnation of hatred including homophobia by llocal muslim organisations is prominent in Johann’s article. ( I have only seen a precis of the article here.)

    I hope he can also speak to gay muslims so that their voice can be heard.

    I also encourage readers to visit the “help yourself to love” campaign as local people combat the “hate” stickers with thought a provoking message of love. This is not turning the other cheek but confronting hate with love and not stoking it.

    1. We’re allowed to criticise the Pope and Catholics because they’re predominantly white. Like the rest of Europe, gays are no exception to having to keep quiet on issues of religion where its followers are largely non-white.

      Racism only works one way for most people and it seems a lot of gay people have been infected by that notion as well. The Guardian stifles any analysis of immigration and its impact on UK citizens, so I am glad that Hari has spoken up. Maybe The Independent will raise the issues.

  4. Hodge Podge 25 Feb 2011, 7:18pm

    “Most the gays are white but the the local population are mostly non-white.” Perhaps the out gays, but if you’re saying none of the Muslims are gay then I think you’re mistaken.

    This is going to come to a head. We shouldn’t have to choose between Muslims and LGBT rights, but both the EDL and many Muslims are forcing it (the EDL by making out that moderate Islam is impossible). We may even reach a point where parts of the BNP use LGBT stuff to justify their racism.

  5. Without a doubt, there is homophobia that exists in the Islamic community. But homophobia exists to some extent in every community. I think it’s important that everybody openly discusses the issue of homophobia in an attempt to create a more accepting society. But there is only one person, other than me, who knows that I am gay. He is one of my closest friends, and he is a Muslim. He fully accepts me and treats me no differently because of my sexuality; he has been great help to me and has always been there to support me. Sure – I had fears when I told him that he may not support me because of his religion. But the world is changing – some messages that are incorporated into holy books or are prevalent within certain religious communities are becoming less influential as a younger and more diverse generation populates the country. As shown by the statements of the large Muslim authorities and communities, peace is a part of Islam and although messages may outline homosexuality as wrong, more work must be done to help convince younger generations of Muslims that homosexuality is natural; something I think is happening to an extent already.

    1. The difference is that we are stamping it out in most other communities, but Muslims won’t budge and, moreover, they are aggressively homophobic. I don’t remember many Catholics smashing people’s heads in on the streets of London. I’m glad you have a Muslim friend who is sympathetic, but you also need to realise that he is in the minority, which is a shame.

      Islam is peaceful? Come on, read the news once in a while!

      1. If there was absolutely no chance of Islam budging at all, and if they were completely and totally “aggressively homophobic”, then why have the East London Mosque, the London Muslim Centre and The Muslim Council of Britain all condemned the “discrimination and violence against people” and “all forms of hatred, including homophobia”. Although members of these organisations have been suggested to be homophobic in the past, and although some of their teachings continue to display a less than ideal image, it is important they have condemned this homophobia rather than promote it. Although the situation is far from perfect, at least these organisations are showing in some way they believe that this is unacceptable.

      2. I am by no means saying that homophobia is not a large issue within Islam. What I am saying is that younger generations of all faiths, religions and backgrounds are showing to be more accepting of homosexuality. Of course, homophobia is still widespread, but it is showing signs of falling. The PinkNews article about thoughts of gay marriage in Ireland shows that women and young people are becoming more “tolerant” of homosexuality. Sure, the problem is still massive, but I simply wanted to point out here that there are many Muslims (including those who, as we know, cannot help being gay), who are accepting of homosexuality.

        People know that messages and ideas change and develop – often, people are prepared to relax what ancient books say because their messages are not relevant or acceptable in our modern society.

      3. Who's Your Friend? 16 Mar 2011, 11:56am

        And their leader said that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and their previous leader called for the sacking of all gay teachers whilst the head of this religion in Scotland has come out against extending equalities legislation to cover homosexuals – hold on – I’ve made a mistake – it’s not muslims that said this but the last two popes and the Scottish cardinal – I suppose that’s alright then.

  6. I personally no longer have any sympathy for Muslim oppression in uk or ugandan. It saddens me I feel no caring for these people but te horrors that are inflicted on us because of who we love because a book said we should suffer is te most monstrous thing and shows the true weakness and pointless nature of humans.

    It is right the extremist muslim culture is called out. I agree the govt and nearly everyone has accepted homophobia by this group of people as we don’t want to be called racists. Fear allows things to fester.

    1. You aren’t to blame for feeling that way, a lot of us do and it’s exacerbated by the fact that we can’t talk about it because we’ll be condemned as racist. But, in all honesty, as LGBT people we have a bigger voice on these matters than the straight white majority as we have a minority card to play. As much as I hate doing that, it’s our only way of getting it on the table for discussion. Dispatches and Panorama have failed to make an impact, so as a community directly affected by the preaching of Islamic values, we have to take a stand.

    2. Call them out and put an end to Muslims taking over the UK! It is sickening and they have no tolerance. They may pretend to have but when they take over, which they will if the UK does not get a spine, they will sing a different tune.

      We are being warned!

      1. Who's Your Friend? 16 Mar 2011, 11:59am

        Ladea They said the same about the Jews in the 1930s and we all know where that ended up. This faggot is not for burning – this faggot says ‘no’ to EDL propaganda!

  7. I have no particular dislike for Islam (aka, all religions are as bad as each other) but people need to realise that religious observance is no excuse to preach homophobia, racism or decry female emancipation.

    Kill the Pope, burn the Koran. I have no tolerance for intolerance.

  8. This i what Johann Hari wrote in more detail on the subject of Muslim Homophobia

    The accounts of homophobia he describes in East London are very distrubing, as is the silence over what has been happening.

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 8:52am

      The problem we face is that we can openly critise those in other religions for being homophobic without a fuss other than they are being picked on.

      Trouble with Muslims and homophobia most seem to immediately throw up the race card if you challenge them. Though to be fair not just from muslims. It shocks me we get this from do-gooding non-muslims who clearly have never suffered the intolerance and abuse many Gay people have.

      I am so pleased Johann Hari has highlighted this problem. It also goes some way to removing that barrier as well as helping those actual Gay/Lesbian Muslims in those areas too.

      For some reason this country has gotten too scared to critise the subject of Muslims and homophobia because it somehow always gets thrown back as that person challenging is in the wrong.

      Well no more. Time we were heard.

    2. Even the Christian Institute provides links to articles it comments about – come on PN!!!

      1. Actually my comment here was unfair, but the link is hard to see :-)

  9. If you actually examine Bible scripture there is no direct condemnation of gay relationships.
    Usually some specific act or situation is being comdemned, having sex with your male slaves (Leviticus), sacred Pagan rites of worship (Romans), attempted rape of angels???? hardly homosexual sex or relationships.
    It would be equally as ridiculous to condemn all heterosexual behaviour because some specific act or situation is being condemned, for some reason all homosexuality is condemned because of some very dubious and not at all clear textual references.
    I imagine the Koran having borrowed so very extensively from the Bible is just the same.
    Any intelligent person must be aware that the religious text when examined does not actually support the homophobia that these religions have spawned and it’s about time to confront this.

  10. Pavlos – probably true. The problem, though, is that the ministers who preach homophobia are the ones who don’t understand the difference between homosexuality and sodomy – which makes it far easier to call it a “choice”.

  11. I know there’s nothing that condemns us in these stupid books all of them despite what religion but they’re written by propel in stupid gauge ways of the day and interpreted by morons who see what they want.

  12. All Religious bigotry towards gays comes almost entirely from the Men (so called) who for some reason feel threatened by us – they can control their women with faith based logic and BRAIN WASH THEIR CHILDREN FROM THE CRADLE, BUT MEN WHO HAVE THE CAPACITY TO LOVE OTHER MEN AND WOMEN WHO CAN LOVE THEIR OWN POSE AN IRREPRESSIBLE THREAT THAT THESE UNEVLOVED SUPERSTITOUS SIMIANS CANNOT DEAL WITH EXCEPT TO EXTERMINATE.
    (apologies for the sudden caps got carried away with my rant)

  13. Dialogue is also needed about muslim sexism.

  14. About time

  15. Dialogue is also needed about muslim sexism.”

    Muslim sexism, Muslim homophobia, Muslim anti-Semitism and et cetera.

  16. @Mark

    “all religions are as bad as each other”

    You’re a frist class idiot. Only an idiot would believe that crap.

    Do you seriously think that, for example, Jainism is as ‘bad’ as Islam, or that Orthodox Judaism is as ‘bad’ as Quakerism? If so, you are bonkers.

  17. SamB,

    Yes, I do. They’re all equally arrogantly solipsist and narrow in their worldview. They limit understanding to a set of absolutist laws and insult our intelligence.

    It’s a bit like picking your favourite poison…

  18. And I’d like to add – Catholicism and Anglicanism, for instance, just disagree on which bits of their holy book they should ignore.

    They’re all just different glimpses of the same untruth.

  19. I’m glad to read an article encouraging debate in this area.

    Before I got a place here and was flat hunting in Tower Hamlets I came across adverts, where the landlord was muslim, specifically stating “no homosexuals”.

    It’s not even subtle or private homophobia anymore. It is definitely a sticky issue to tackle but serious discussion in this area needs to begin

  20. I have to agree
    Im a gay teenager growing up in east london.
    To hear about this was really scary. As to schools doing more, i can only speak for my school and they are doing an amazing job of promoting anti-homophobia.

  21. I find all the Muslim bashing on here interesting ..if you look at the facts re: homophobic attacks a very small proportion are carried out by Muslims.

    But alot of idiots like mmmmmmmm just believe what they read in the papers about Muslims. Funny you condemn Muslims for listening to bigoted preachers while listening to bigoted anti-Muslim media!

    1. How on earth is Johann hari and the independent bigoted anti muslim media? How is saying that we are opposed to those who use their religion to spread homophobia anti muslim? The same would be said on here about catholics and evangelical protestants and all others who do that too.
      Anytime any criticises a religion you are called bigoted. Well you know what I am bigoted to all those who say I am harmful or evil because of who I am and not what I do. And that opinion holds for all people whether they pray to Jesus, allah or Jimmy Saville!

    2. I think that some of us simply struggle to understand what benefits large Muslim communities have actually brought to the UK, especially for gay Britons. You’re probably correct that only a minority of the attacks are carried out by Muslims. Sadly, time and again Muslims’ true feelings about gay people are made visible for all to see (by posting stickers, making homophobic speeches or via hidden cameras, as but a few examples) and it’s this that needs addressing. In fact, It’s high time Muslim communities in Britain confronted their bigotry on a whole host of issues, without crying ‘racism’ or ‘Islamaphobia’.

    3. I think Hari puts it best:

      “We should not “respect” the bigotry of Muslims, any more than we would respect the bigotry of Christians or Jews or the Ku Klux Klan. The only consistent and reasonable position is to oppose bigotry against Muslims, and oppose bigotry by Muslims.”

      1. Nice idea. Trouble is, in the real world, some Muslims do seem to do a good line in bigotry (women, our armed forces, gay people, English law, other religions, just some examples). And they are singularly expert in letting us know how they feel (ooh, let’s think, homophobic stickers, picketing home coming parades, giving inflammatory speeches outside mosques, bombing the London transport network, need I go on?). I like the idea, but as a Briton first (and gay second) I am sick of Muslims’ bigotry and their hatred of everything we stand for.

    4. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 8:53am

      I rest my case!!

    5. Muslim

      Er, no, actually, I’ve been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse by Muslims. As have many other people on here. And let’s not forget the vile language that we hear, even from Muslim officials. If you are actually a Muslim (and non-white), then the chances of you being attacked for being gay by other Muslims when you’re just idly walking down the street are probably quite small. Why? Because most Muslims seem to think homosexuality is a ‘Western disease’.

      It sounds like you are quite typical of the Muslim community from how you express yourself – trying to justify bigotry by snarlingly implying that we are just as bigoted as Muslims. The fact that gay people have made up a huge proportion of anti-racist and anti-fascist rallies over the years shows that we believe in equality. However, time and time again we see Muslims who are only interested in ‘equality’ and privilege for THEMSELVES. Which is why we now judge you as you have always judged us.

    6. not muslim 26 Feb 2011, 3:28pm

      i condemn muslims for allowing their governments to execute gay men in iran. torture and kill them in the yemen. arrest and torture them in saudi. imprison them in egypt. etc. etc. etc.

      stop pretending your religion is one of peace. its not. its a backward belief system of slavery (like all monotheism).

    7. When are you going to condemn the attack on gay people by Asian gangs of thugs? when are you going to conremn the hate preachers calling for gays to be put to death – peoepl who have been preaching for years at that vipers’ nest of hatred, the East London Mosque?

  22. “samb”
    A bit rich for a pixie in the sky believing moron to call anyone an idiot just because they haven’t been brainwashed into the whole religion thing……….

  23. “Schools in Muslim areas should also be forced to teach that homosexuality is natural and harmless, he wrote”

    It’s a long time since I was at school but what are schools told to say about homosexuality – do they say anything at all, they never used to ? are there really opt out for schools in certain areas? what do catholic, jewish school say?

    I agree probably there’s near zero tolerance to homosexuality in mulsim communities and that’s a huge problem but 42% of the rest of Brits (which is probably hell of lot more poeple than the whole of the muslim community put together ) is almost more worrying..

    1. It is up to the school. Some schools take a proactive approach, challenging homophobic bullying, showing homosexuality across all human and many animal societies. Whereas the vast majority do not do this.

      1. Vast majority don’t – how depressing! I’m presuming schools in muslim areas are also made up of non muslim children … I don’t understand Hari’s idea, can muslim children (where there is a proactive appraoch) just opt out anyway? as for religious schools then can they just also opt out using the freedom of religious belief argument… I suppose I just can see this being a muslim only problem although it’s more visually evident with them somehow and as long as there are opt outs to not teach children at school about homosexuality then I really can’t see their mums and dads and religious leaders telling them any different…LGBT groups are great but if schools are just given an option to take a proactive approach no wonder the stats are so crap!

  24. “Muslim oppression in uk”

    WHAT muslim oppression in the UK? Where? And by whom? They are not an oppressed minority. Show me one single example of muslim oppression in the UK.

    1. PumpkinPie 27 Feb 2011, 1:41am

      In that PN article about racism in the LGBT community, there was a story about a gay muslim group marching in a pride parade who were derided as “terrorists” by their fellow marchers.

      Come on, muslims are ridiculously unpopular in this country and you know it. It’s plastered across every single tabloid out there. The rotten ones deserve it, but how must it feel for the regular folk? A good friend of mine at uni was muslim, and he loved LGBTs. Maybe he’s not in the majority, but it’s still unfair that he gets treated with suspicion and derision for what others do.

  25. Melanie Phillips couldn’t have put it better……

  26. oh really? so, come on how are they oppressed? Are they forced to live in ghettoes, refused entry to universities or professions, made to sweep the streets, paid less wages than whnite people, told to use the ‘coloureds only’ door into cinemas and cafes? Are their mosques burnt down by mobs? Where is the oppression? Use a bit of common sense.

    1. PumpkinPie 27 Feb 2011, 1:45am

      Actually, if I remember correctly, a mosque in Luton was firebombed after those fundamentalists started demonstrating against British troops.

      You know what the funny thing is? The imaam of this place, along with a large contingent of local muslims (much larger than the original demonstrators, if you’re wondering), actually staged a protest to drive the fundamentalists out of the area. And then his mosque gets some arson for his trouble. Apparently, some folk think all muslims are the same. Crazy, eh?

  27. Meredith McLaughlin 26 Feb 2011, 2:13am

    Islam, like Christianity, is often judged by the worst behavior of its’ adherents. The difference is, in the West, Islam is ‘them’ and Christianity is ‘us’, regardless of whether we believe in it personally or not. There are tolerant and intolerant people in both religions. The biggest difference being that, a) most predominantly Muslim countries are theocracies and b) most predominantly Muslim countries are comparably poor. In the Muslim countries which are neither, you’ll likely find much more tolerance. In places such as Jordan or Dubai than in Iran and Pakistan. Now, where do most of the Muslim people in East London emigrate from? Jordan & Dubai or Iran & Pakistan? Just the idea of questioning a cleric is likely pretty foreign to many of them and, if the clerics are preaching against us then that’s the message they get. Even in VERY secular countries you get your share of religious extremists and/or nutjobs.

  28. Meredith McLaughlin 26 Feb 2011, 2:22am

    When my wife & I started dating (and we got married in Iowa-not a state known for its’ liberal or secular tendencies), I was alarmed when she told me that her ex-husband, her childrens’ father, was a Muslim man from the Middle East. However, he IS from Jordan, he is not particularly religious and, frankly, he’s been great. He asked to come to our wedding and has been genuinely happy for us.
    I think Mr. Hari is correct. There needs to be a dialogue. To people from very poor theocracies, consider that we (gay people) are a very easy target/symbol for the ‘decadence/indifference/whatever’ that many people in that part of the world may see in the West. In a very sexually ‘buttoned-down’ culture (at least by our standards) we may seem a perfect hook with which to keep their flock from becoming too Westernized. So I say, cut them some slack and give the average Muslim a chance to meet us and have a conversation. I think it’ll help. It’ll at least be a start.

  29. “Solidarity” only happen if you like person.

    Use communist word show his think. Why no “Sympathy”?

  30. I listened to a report about these homophobic posters on national radio yesterday.
    Every time the spokesman was asked “who is doing this” he evaded the question.
    It’s time to fight back!

  31. here we go the “racist” allegation been thrown about to subliminally silent any debate about the intolerance in some communities.

  32. I’m still waiting for somebody to explain how muslims are ‘oppressed’ in the UK.

    1. I think you’ll be waiting a long time, Rosie. They aren’t oppressed, they enjoy all the same rights as the rest of us but, sadly, they don’t always ‘get’ the responsibility part of living in the UK. In fact, we’re seeing time and again that their religion is their first and only priority. Complete with all its bigotry, hatred and repulsion for our way of life. We have to confront this head on. At the moment, we seem intent on sleepwalking towards the Islamization of our country.

      1. Just what I thought! But when I say so, I’m accused of siding with the likes of Melamnie Phillips. Which I think should be retracted. I don’t mean racism doesn’t exist. Of course it does. So does sexism, ageism, sizeism and homphobia, to name a few social problems. But none of them comes close to ‘oppression’ in any sense of the word in the UK in this decade. Muslims have few problems not shared by every other citizen of this country competing for jobs, housing, school places, financial security and peace of mind.

  33. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 8:37am

    An excellent article and so true.

    Having lived and witnessed the homophobia and racism from muslims in Tower Hamlets I know what Johann Hari makes sense.

    I was lucky and got out as did other friends who were going through the same or worse levels of abuse too but many don’t have the will to fight this vile behaviour. Mainly because suffering so much intolerance can undermine any confidence you have.

    Being born and bred in Bethnal Green I have to admit the speed that the area changed was staggering and can only imagine the state the place is in now.

    Words are not enough though, action needs to be taken, to make the LGBT community in East London feel safe.

  34. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 9:21am

    Changing the subject to make a point.

    Isn’t it interesting that the UN alongside some of Gaddafi owns people are openly condemning the dictator for killing his own people and calling for action to be taken.

    All this without Christian leaders or Muslim Leaders etc, proving that the best of humanity is coming together without religion to deal with the Evils of religion.

    Sorry to divert but just wanted to say.

  35. George Broadhead 26 Feb 2011, 9:44am

    Johann Hari is not only gay but a staunch supporter of the National Secular Society (NSS).

    The NSS is Britain’s only organisation working exclusively towards a secular society. The NSS works both in the UK and in Europe to combat the influence of religion on governments.
    It wants to ensure that human rights always come before religious rights, and fights the massive exemptions religious bodies demand – and are sometimes granted – from discrimination laws that everyone else is subject to. It campaigns for a society where everyone is free to practise their faith, change it or not have one. Belief or lack of it should not be an advantage or a disadvantage. Religion should be a private matter, for the home and place of worship; it must not have privileged influence in the public and political arenas where it can too easily become an excuse for conflict, inequality and injustice. The NSS has long campaigned for LGBT rights and if more people supported it, the malign influence of religions, including Islam, on these rights would be curbed.

  36. Rebecca Shaw 26 Feb 2011, 10:48am

    I welcome acknowledgements that homophobia is not entirely the province of the muslim population and is also practised by others. However I am very uncomfortable with the assumption that all muslims are homophobic, which seems to be the starting point for many people. In my experience it isn’t true.

    In Bethnal Green I engage directly every day with many people who have no issue with me, a transsexual and gay woman. Many of them are followers of Islam. In South Ockendon in Essex where I spend the rest of my time, I encounter more discrimination and prejudice than I do in Bethnal Green. South Ockendon incidentally does not have a large muslim population.

    Whether or not there is an institutionalised homophobia in Islam or Christianity, homophobia is practised not by community groups but by individuals. When we label entire communities as homophobic we run the risk of demonising them. You cannot combat hate crime by demonising other communities. To the contrary, you perpetuate it.

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 11:01am

      Lucky you but for many Gay men living in Bethnal Green and the out-skirts life is hell and that mostly (not all) comes from young to older muslim men.

      Try living in your home that see constant attacks for how we are born as well as in the streets where you live. This isn’t isolated either I know of many cases some of which have been friends that like me over the years have done everything they could to escape.

      That whole area from Whitechapel, Bethnal, Stepney etc has a serious problem with tolerance. Mind you these people expect to be tolerated it’s just ashame they don’t believe in giving it too.

    2. and you cannot combat hate crime by apologising for a religion that demonises gay people. you seem to be in denial.

    3. We have reliable statistics that tell us homophobic attitudes are much stronger in the muslim community than in society at large. We need to do something about it, not pretend it isn’t there.

      We hear numerous stories of abuse and intimidation by asian gangs in the East End, in Shoreditch and Brick Lane. And what is so sad, is that people claiming to represent our community, stick their heads in the sand. Of course there is Christian homophobia too. Society at large could not care two hoots for more than the vaguest notion of religion, and thankfully so

      Rebecca – you try walking hand in had with your partner along Vallance Road, where I personally ripped those stickers from lamp posts and walls last week. The problem is, we have failed to ensure that values of human rights, womens rights, freedom from religion, permeate all areas of society. In fact we are going over the cliff, with sharia tribunals sprouting all over the place, and faith schools dividing our nation.

    4. Just look what the East London Mosque / Londond Muslim Centre preachers have said and join the dots.
      Uthman Lateef on record as saying in 2007:
      “We don’t accept homosexuality … we hate it because Allah hates it”.Abdul Karim Hattin whipped up hatred with his “Spot the Fag” sermon at the London Muslim Centre in the same year. Khalid Yasin:”The Koran gives a very clear position regarding homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality – that these are aberrations, they are immoralities and if they are tried, convicted, they are punishable by death.” And a strong of terrorist supporting monsters, who are STILL being invited to speak regularly. And you still say, there’s no connection?

  37. Rebecca Shaw 26 Feb 2011, 10:59am

    Continuing from my previous post (there seems to be a limit to the number of characters which can be posted), as co-chair of Rainbow Hamlets I welcome debate on homophobia and the causes of it. Readers may be interested in the following article:

    There is no justification for hate crime at all, but to address it we need to understand what causes it. While over-simplistic, there is a strong link between homophobia and poverty. The incidence of child poverty in Tower Hamlets is 58%. Those who ask how muslims in Tower Hamlets are oppressed might well conclude that the oppressor here is poverty.

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 11:22am

      I have to be honest Rebecca considering your supposed to be Co-chair of Rainbow Hamlets you do seem to come across Very naive. No offence but it does strike me that you have absolutely no idea what people are going through. Just a blinkered view of what you as a single person sees.

      1. “Those who ask how muslims in Tower Hamlets are oppressed might well conclude that the oppressor here is poverty.”

        Neither poverty nor residency in Tower Hamlets are exclusive to muslims. And it’s no excuse for homophobia by anyone. In what way are those two things connected? In what way is any act of ignorance connected to poverty in a country that has had free education for over 150 years?

    2. How do you know it’s a cause, ot correlation Rebecca? How about lack of education, rejection of the basic human values and people being filled with self-pity and hate by extremists?
      If you go down the poverty route (poverty is seen all over britain), you may as well excuse the BNP and the racist killers of Steven Lawrence and have done with it.

      Let’s see a tougher police presence and a firm, uncompromising message to everyonein the borough that Tower Hamlets is a safe welcomeing place for LGBT people.
      IDAHO day needs to be held in Whitechapel this May, just to drive that message home a little more forcefully, I think.

    3. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 8:12am

      I find Rebecca’s whole argument on homophobia and poverty as more of an acceptable excuse. Bit like the arguement ‘oh well if your going to hold hands with the person you love you can only expect to be beaten’ some others on here use.

      Your arguement smacks of those shallow and wrong ones used for other crimes like rape and domestic abuse when it is the victim who somehow gets the blame and the criminal made excuses for.

      All this attitude does is make the criminal somehow acceptable because they can try and put a cause to their behaviour and the victim somehow left with nothing but pity.

      Rebecca the only reason for Homophobia is Hatred. It has nothing to do with poverty. It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with Religion.

      I have to question if you are so easily making these excuses what help are you really giving victims? You truely cannot be giving you best and I do have to question the role you say you are in.

      1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 8:15am

        Ask yourself…

        If these people living in such poverty were to suddenly become wealthy they would suddenly stop being homophobic?

        No they wouldn’t but if they did become wealthy no doubt you’d find some other excuse for hatred other than the Hatred itself.

        How exactly do you best serve the LGBT community when you clearly have little idea of what people are suffering and clearly the lack of knowledge to deal with it?

        Very Worrying.

  38. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 11:08am

    I think we need to stop making excuses for Islamic Homophobia and actually have a government that tackles it once and for all.

    I’ve said before and I’ll say it again.

    When someone comes into this country the Citizenship should include the rights and laws of This country. Part of those laws and rights are that the LGBT community are perfect legal and have the right to go about our lives without hatred and discrimination. I’m not saying that have to agree but they do have to accept. If they can’t then they should be denied entry.

    Just as we are expected to follow the rules of the land in another country the same goes for here.

    Enough tip-toeing around this issue, lets just get it sorted.

  39. Douglas Pretsell 26 Feb 2011, 11:09am

    in Bromley by Bow at the 2005 election there were “Respect” posters in Sylhetti (the language of the local Banglashi population) making lurid claims that Labour was trying to tunr boys and girls gay. I was heartened that the local mosque leaders turned out on election day to condemn these posters and show support to me as a gay man. They were crystal clear in their commitment to mutual tolerance of all community groups and against the hatered and lies that certain Respect activists of IPB extraction were trying to peddle. The recent stickers that appeared around Brick Lane may or may not have come from some of these IPB activists though there is a strong suspicion that they were actually posted by EDL members.

    The one thing I am clear about though is that making blanket judgements that all moslems are de facto homophobes is itself naked islamophobia. Sure there are homophobic muslims. But there are also gay muslims and muslims that oppose homophobia in all its forms.

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 11:18am

      Your right not all muslims are homophobic it’s just that sadly too many are. Even those Gay muslims will tell you that. Mine do.

      Also can we stop making excuses about these posters by blaming the EDL. It’s pathetic and dangerously naive.

      Too many do-gooders make for dangerous consequences.

      1. Douglas Pretsell 27 Feb 2011, 12:54pm

        I didn’t make the “excuse” – it was actually made by several groups associated with the East London mosque and also, incidentally, by the police who are actively investigating them.

        Personally I maintain an open mind. Whoever posted them intended to provoke a reaction but it is curious they chose White Chapel Road and Brick Lane, where there are no gay pubs in the vicinity, to post the stickers. The area however is the very heart of Bangladeshi London and has been repeatedly being targeted by far rights groups with graffiti and violence and, notably the nailbomber a decade ago.

        I find it curious that much of the reporting implies that Tower Hamlets has the highest rates of gay hatred in the country and a rising tide of violence. Well I live here, and I am gay and I would have thought I would have noticed, wouldn’t you?

        1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 1:03pm

          These posters were put up around Shoreditch and Hackney too. They were visibly present around the area where the Gay pubs are.

          As for your second part I lived there, I was born there and over the final 6-7 years lived through the hell, as did/do many of my friends and I know others that do also. It is not isolated.

          Just because you don’t want to hear it don’t think it isn’t happening, thats just as bad as making excuses.

          1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 1:05pm

            May I also draw your attention to this that JohnK and Pavlos posted later down the thread.


            Prehaps you can deny this is happening too.

    2. islam as christianity is homophobic , its embodied in their holy scriptures . but we are expected to tolerate a religion which is intolerable of us.

  40. @rebecca shaw, bizarre that you should have the opposite experience to two trans friends of mine who were persecuted out of bethnal green and fled to Essex, and another who committed suicide due to the hate from young muslims. Anyhow, as you said you do not spend all your time there , and ultimately your experience is just subjective and not indicative in any way of the real facts that it is an anti lgbt environment .

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 Feb 2011, 11:24am

      I have to agree with you rapture!

  41. How about deporting the ones that wont integrate while wer at it? x

  42. Interesting article in the Guardian today

    “Why are we not challenging violent Islamism in our schools?Just as they can dismantle racist rhetoric, teachers should be able to dismantle the idea that Islam and the west are at war”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    Quote’s from the Article

    “Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a bomb on a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009, was also described as a “model pupil”. Indeed, his former teacher said: “He was very interested in world affairs and would stay behind after lessons to discuss issues. For a teacher, that was just wonderful.” This is despite the fact that Abdulmutallab’s “interest in world affairs” extended to support for the Taliban.

    When I was at school in Birmingham, one of my contemporaries – a boy of 11 – regularly stated his desire to blow himself up outside the Israeli embassy. Teachers largely stood by bemused.

  43. Also – to the idiots here who refer to the fact that only a small minority of the attacks on gay people are from Muslims – THAT’S BECAUSE MUSLIMS AS A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION.


    1. Small? Not where I am sunshine. The East End is probably 70% Asian, the majority being Muslims.

  44. Interesting article in the Independent Newspaper about Muslims Extremists.

    (Muslims group Islam4UK, led by a Mr Anjem Choudary)

    Quote from the article

    “Mr Chowdhury and Mr Haque were arrested, and are accused of burning three oversized plastic poppies in a way that was likely to cause “harassment, harm or distress” to those who witnessed it. Certainly it did cause distress. A Mr Kibble attending the ceremony gave evidence that “it was as if someone had ran a blade through me. To see a wreath or poppy burning, it’s just despicable. I had tears of anger and rage at the disrespect in my eyes”. I don’t doubt it. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that anyone was physically harmed, or at all likely to be. Certainly the behaviour of the group harassed the larger body, in the sense that their noisiness made their dignified silence less noticeable.

    1. I must admit however that I oppose this court ruling. Its a matter of free speech, I oppose what these people did thats why I believe everywhere they go they should be met with protestors the same way the bnp are. However it is not for the courts to say which forms of expression are ok. The only limit for me should be if violence is threatened or incited.

  45. I’m sorry but this is more simplistic demonisation of muslims.

    Many people who are not of British descent come from cultures where being gay is not acceptable. How many people from African, Carribean, even Eastern European cultures are anti-gay?

    Such a shame that a respected writer like Hari is picking on Muslims.

    I realise I am succumbing to Godwin’s law but the constant attack on one particular group from the media and government does have echoes of 1930s Germany.

    1. godwins law? how simplistic of you.

      are you really trying to compare a ‘race’ of people who were used as a scapegoat for germany’s financial collapse to a ‘religion’ which is currently engaged in an offensive attack on western values – a ‘religion’ which when it has any power in the world murders gay people? because if you are, that’s actually dangerously naive.

      hari is not picking on muslims – merely pointing out that islam is the most homophobic belief system that has any ppwer in our country. that the LGBT community should be aware of islam – not because they don’t like us (like christians and jews and the BNP/EDL and other religions/belief systems), but because they are ATTACKING US.

    2. A flimsy, inaccurate comparison between the holocaust of the jewish nation and the islamicisation of the uk.

      1. Douglas Pretsell 27 Feb 2011, 1:01pm

        listen to yourself: “islamicisation of the UK”????!! I have been abroad for the last 6 years just returning in January and the most notable thing is that the country has become FAR more intolerant – but the rising tide of intolerance is not against gay people (Britain is if anything a safer more accepting place for gay people now) but against muslim people. Sure there are some islamic neofascist groups that are repellant and need to be dealt with but when people tarnish a whole religion and all its adherents with the same brush as if that were a reasonable and acceptable thing to do – well I worry for the future . . .

        1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 1:07pm

          So what are you doing about Islamic homophobia then?

          1. Douglas Pretsell 27 Feb 2011, 3:46pm

            why do you assume I approve of it? I oppose all homophobia but do not really like to use that as a cover for attacks on one group or another. If a muslim carried out an overtly illegal homophobic attack I would expect them to be prosecuted with the full force of the law- Likewise a Catholc, Protestant, Jew or athiest who did the same.

        2. “Britain is if anything a safer more accepting place for gay people now” what brings you to make such a stupid comment which refutes the police statistics on homophobia in the uk? Are you speaking as a gay man who clearly has been out of the country for 6 years? religions are generalised dogmas , to generalise those who practice it correctly, is perfectly acceptable.

  46. What a dream world you live in if you think Muslims arent discriminated against! There are numerous attacks on Muslims and on mosques , leave aside things like discrimination in the jobs market because of not having a white name etc etc. Do you know what its like to be made to feel a foreigner in your own country just because of the colour of your skin? (something you cant hide)

    1. Not Muslim 26 Feb 2011, 3:46pm

      muslim is not a color of skin. islam is a belief system in your head.

    2. What a dream world you live in if you don’t believe that homophobia amongst Muslims needs addressing. That’s the trouble with some Muslims though isn’t it – you don’t even think the subject should be raised, let alone debated. The mere mention of the word ‘Muslim’ and you go on the offensive. We will not be stopped from discussing such issues – get used to it.

      1. Muslim, that is exactly what I don’t believe. You’re NOT discriminated against in the job market because of your non-white names. That’s just the usual chip on your shoulders. In case you hadn’t noticed, jobs are hard to come by in this country. But every shop I’ve been in, from WH Smiths to Primark, has muslims working in them. The housing department has muslims working in all kinds of jobs, every medical practice in this city has at least one muslim doctor. The hospital has muslims at all levels. The county council and city council has muslims working in them. The few factories left after Thatcher finished with them have muslims working in them. These are not all low paid jobs, either. Muslims are in jobs at every level of society in this dull little city i live in, and don’t tell me it’s any different in any other city, including London.

        And even if it were true, it still doesn’t excuse or explain homophobia.

    3. I know what it’s like to feel a foreigner in my own country.

      Most days I’m excluded from the canteen because almost everything is halal, I don’t get a choice except take it or leave it.

    4. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 11:38am

      I am a Gay, white man who suffered racism and homophobia by mostly young muslim men. I was forced, not only to leave my home but also the area I was born in.

      So yes I know exactly what it is like to made to feel a foreigner in my own country but not only because of my colour but because of my sexuality.

  47. well said Outguider!
    How can any member of a minority complain if they demonise others as this article does- this applies to gays, muslims, hindus, jews whatever!

    1. Not Muslim 26 Feb 2011, 3:52pm

      islam is not a minority group – there are over a billion muslims in the world – so stop with your sob story as if you’re hard done by.

      muslims kill LGBT
      muslims torture LGBT
      muslims imprison LGBT
      muslims demonise LGBT
      muslims take freedom from LGBT

      LGBT do not kill muslims
      LGBT do not torture muslims
      LGBT do not imprison muslims
      LGBT do not demonise muslims
      LGBT do not take freedom from muslims

      if you do not know how islam treats LGBT in the world. I suggest you learn.

  48. Not Muslim – Muslims arent a minority in the UK? What planet are you on?

    1. What planet are YOU on? I’m still waikting for proof of any real oppression of muslims in the UK. And don’t start that jobs nonsense again.

  49. And I love your demonising and generalising about 1.1bn Muslims- while all the while condemning Muslims for bigotry!!

    You and others on here seem to be saying:

    Anti-gay bigotry ;wrong
    Ani-Muslim bigotry: OK

    1. No one in their right mind would say that. You’re seeking to simplify the argument for your own means. The fact remains that many Muslims seek to impose their views, values and beliefs on others. That is their duty as Muslims. And sometimes that spills over into violence, terrorism and other forms of bigotry. Followers of other religions, as well as non-believers, live peacefully in the UK and largely respect one another. Sadly, it’s always the Muslims who must go that extra step (by beating up gay people, sticking up homophobic posters, attempting to blow up airliners etc). Why is that?

    2. Christian homophobia is not excused – so why should Muslim homophobia? If people are bigoted towards Muslims simply because they’re Muslim, then that’s wrong. But there’s nothing with arguing with those who oppose the emancipation of women and the rights of gays based on their irrational dogma.

    3. No one is saying that. Hari’s article does not say that. In fact it says the opposite – discrimination against muslims wrong, discrimination done by certain muslims also wrong. How can you not understand that?

      It is true that muslims are discriminated against in this country, but it is also true that many devout muslims (as with many devout catholics and evangelicals) make life very hard for gay people in this country. WHY IS IT WRONG TO CHALLENGE SUCH PEOPLE?

      Anyone of at least a mediocre intelligence can understand that just because a group faces discrimination does not give them the right to discriminate against others.

      1. I’m not against muslims. I just object to them complaining about being oppressed and having a harder time than anyone else when jobs are being lost erverywhere and cuts are affecting everyone, and I object to any religion hiding behnd ancient books in order to be homophobic.

        I also object to bombs on aeroplanes and buses, underground stations etc., whoever does it.

    4. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 8:25am

      Yet again I rest my case!

  50. @Muslim

    “demonising and generalising about 1.1bn Muslims”

    ON THIS ISSUE!! – it is perfectly acceptable to ‘generalise’ about Muslims. How many Muslims are there out there anyway who support the civil rights of gay people? VERY, VERY FEW. SO, saying something like ‘Muslims are homophobic bigots’ is pretty much a very accurate statement. Yes, you might have the odd Muslim here and there who is not homophobic, and, of course, there are some gay Muslims even, BUT THE OVERALL PICTRTURE IS UNDENIABLE – MUSLIMS ARE BIGOTED ON SO MANY LEVELS.

  51. People on this site and elsewhere seem far too keen to simply pit Islam and homosexuality as enemies and leave it at that. This does a great disservice to both the gay and Muslim communities, and *especially* gay Muslims (people on both sides like to conveniently forget such people exist). Most major religions disregard elements of their various holy texts in order to function in the modern world, so one can’t say Islamic homophobia is inherent or incurable anymore than Christian homophobia was 60 years ago.

    Hari has it right here when he says we need to start in the schools. the only problem is there will be plenty of opposition to teaching kids that “homosexuality is natural and harmless” – not just from Muslims but from Tories as well, and the latter far outnumber the former…

    1. since islam is a choice like all other religions, maybe gay muslims should stop being muslims!

      1. Easier said than done Rose.
        In some countries they would kill you for that.

        1. Yes, true, but aren’t we talking about muslims in THIS country?

      2. PumpkinPie 27 Feb 2011, 2:01am

        Don’t be so insensitive. You can’t just change what you believe and it’s asinine to argue otherwise. Muslim LGBTs must have a horrible time of things. They’re subject to everything we’re subject to, and then they get ostracised by the one community they should feel safe in.

        I don’t really care how much people here hate muslims. These things happen, and I doubt your average muslim will lose any sleep over it. But, please, if any of you ever meet an LGBT muslim, be nice to them. It’s incredibly courageous to be open in such a hostile environment, and these people need our support. It’s not nice being made to feel like scum by the very community you want to be a part of.

        1. Don’t be so judgrmental. I wasn’t suggesting anything of the sort. Nor do I hate muslims per se. I just find the majority of them in my experience arrogant and superior, self-serving and indfferent to the wider community they refuse to integrate with.

          Oh, and lets not pretend thaty it wasn’t muslims who re-modelled the Manhattan skyline. It’s not as if we don’t have ample evidence to feel uneasy about their political outlook.

        2. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 8:29am

          I’m sure most people are accepting of Gay muslims, I certainly have Muslim friends from the LGBT community and many of them will say exactly what others say here about.

          If anything they have it worse for being Gay and Muslim from their own community.

          Lets not be shortsighted and please lets not make excuses.

      3. well said rose, whenever i meet gay muslims or christians , they seem quite vulnerable people to dogma.

  52. Immigrants to UK from Arab countries also from Africa and from countries like Poland are a potential to threat our hard won rights as LGBT citizens and to our safety on the streets.

  53. Dawud Islam 26 Feb 2011, 7:58pm

    This is a tricky one!! The first thing to say is that as a white English revert (originally of East End extraction ironically) I have none of the cultural baggage associated with being muslim and so have never been subject to any racist attacks (I still shave and wear western dress except on special occasions like Eid). Coming from a liberal western background it is easy to just jump on the background of condemnation but this is too simplistic. Yes, of course the leaflets are wrong and they are also unislamic. Yes, the muslim comminuty absolutely does appreciate the efforts that journalists like Hari make on their behalf when speaking about world issues and he is also right in saying that as a community we suffer greatly from repression and injustice. Our natural position is to be supportive of groups that stand up for us and that is the same with the LGBT community. At the same time it also has to be understood that our belief system is guided by the Quran and the Sunnah.

    1. Dawud Islam 26 Feb 2011, 8:07pm

      I am adding to my comments as I ran out of space!! I was saying that because of our beliefs it is clear that homosexual acts are haram. Having come to Islam rather relucatantly after about a year of study before finally accepting it as the truth because of the inescapable evidence pointing to this being the case, it is therefore my duty to accept things that my western sensibilities find unpalatable. As to exactly why Allah (swt) finds it necessary to test gay men and women in this way I do not have the knowledge to fully understand and I wish it were not so but as someone who is convinced of the authenticity of the teaching of the prophet (saw) I have to accept that this is what he wants. Therefore wheras I would never criticise or condemn any gay person I cannot support them and would have to withdraw my previous support for gay marriages. I welcome more dialogue between the LGBT and muslim communities and hope that we can come up with an understanding that enables us to move forwar

      1. bollocks

        1. succinctly put.

      2. “as a community we suffer greatly from repression and injustice. ”

        No, you don’t. See my previous comments! Try looking in history at, for example, penal laws in Ireland, apartheid in Africa, segregation in the USA, not to mention the way Jews, communists, gypsies, gays, and anyone else they didn’t like (stuff Godwin) were treated in 1930s Germany and lets have a bit of perspective here. Muslims in the UK have the protection of the law at every level. they are free to worship, free to educate themselves, vote, stand in parliament… Where’s you oppression, where’s your repression? Yes, there is racism, but it is illegal, after all, and you have redress to the law as much as any citizen has. So get off your oppressed minority bandwagon and take a look at reality.

        1. incidentally, my post there wouldn’t appear at first because I used the name of the political party in 1930s Germany. I had to rephrase it. How can we discuss issues like this without quoting examples? Saying the word doesn’t imply support of the policy. It’s like the Harry Potter lot not being able to say Voldemort!

          1. It’s ridiculous that this adult site hasn’t got the guts top allow us to say what we want without filtering what they consider inappropriate words like “Näzi”.

      3. You are welcome to believe what you like about gay relationships, but as your comments about gay marriage show,, it’s never possibly for you to have your beliefs and let others be. That’s true of most religionists of course.

        How do you know it’s the truth incidentally? We know for a fact that all life descended and evolved from single celled organisms, about 4 billion years ago, and there is no evidence for any supernatural creation at any moment in time. The books (the ones that happened to survive) that you call truth were written about 800 years before Copernicus showed we revolve around the sun and not the other way about, and 1200 years before Charles Darwin. We have better understanding about the world than illiterate peasants could ever have had. Still, if it makes you happy fine – so long as no-one is compelled to believe it or follow your moral codes.

      4. You may believe in a all powerful sky monster which tells you gays and gay marriage is bad, this is your right in a liberal secular democracy. You can also act on this right by not having a gay marriage. However I do not believe islam is the truth, therefore I do not respect your right to limit my freedom. Why should you be allowed to define marriage for me? The dialogue that is needed is for people like you to accept that you are free to believe and act how you want as long as you do not impinge on others ability to act how they wish.
        The only understanding that needs to be reached is for you to accept this.

        1. what patronising crap relgious people spew!

          Thank heavens we had the last labour govt and are in the EU. I personally feel more protected now than I ever did (it has improved!) and the only reason for that is stricter laws on discrimination and equality laws…

          I personally would like a law which said that it was illegal to say being gay is sinful and unnatural etc. I can see no way forward until this is made illegal. I don’t respect any person of whatever color, race or relgioun that continues to say this. I don’t discriminate in my dislike of these people. I don’t base it on relgion but on what they say and do but obviously muslims are one of the worst offenders!!!

          As for the Archbishop weasley comments on CPs and marriages today in the telegraph then bollocks to you as well!

          By the way I had the same problem with that N$*i word as well..

          1. I disagree, personally. My view is that free speech must be the priority until it reaches the verbal encouragement of hatred. It’s far more effective to win through argument and actually change people’s minds.

            I suppose it goes back to the old House quote – if you could reason with religious people, then there wouldn’t be any. But you can’t just suppress opinions, no matter how poorly informed they are.

  54. To the same Johann Hari who supported Labour’s Iraq War, I would suggest actually researching your articles before publishing, although 1 blog link to Muslim group does not change the fact that this article is written with (unacknowledged) white British cisgendered male privilege writing about ‘Muslims’ as the ‘Other’ – nice use of quotation marks!

    To underline the fact that Queer Muslims (no quotation marks) exist in the UK and are part of our diverse LGBTQI communities please see these community sites:

    Imaan –

    Safra Project –

    Naz Project –

    Looking forwards to the Pink News articles ‘exposing’ (quotation marks) Jewish homophobia, Christian extremists blocking same-sex civil marriage, Buddhist groups treating lesbian women badly, etc etc.

    1. Did you actually read the article? Johann highlights such groups.
      Also on the comment on Iraq, why does him being wrong on Iraq make him wrong on this issue? Its just a dumb comment..
      Plus he is not talking about the Muslims as the other ( you give the impression of having read to much edward said post colonial bul*sh*t), rather he says that some muslims are homophobic, and we should challenge such people.

      1. He wasn’t wrong about Iraq. Just throwing that in there.

        1. Ok… well thats you, Blair and Bush who still think that.

    2. PumpkinPie 27 Feb 2011, 2:22am

      Oh, man, I forgot about him supporting the invasion of Iraq. Bleh… I’m still usually quite fond of the guy, though. One of my fave journos, in fact. Shame he had to go and call for an “open debate”, though. Yeesh… That’s on my bingo card for stock tabloid double-speak (Cameron’s recent “multiculturalism hasn’t worked” was another good one).

      And it is double-speak. It means nothing. How are they going to have an “open debate”? They all going to pop round to Jamal’s house after Friday prayers? Bit of a tight squeeze! And how exactly is this “open debate” going to work, then? If it’s anything like the astonishingly poorly-attended “open debate” we had on racism in the LGBT community in another PN article, we’re going to have the ones who think there’s a problem voicing their concerns (but not being able to do anything themselves because they cause no problems) while the ones who do cause the problems ignore them.

      1. PumpkinPie 27 Feb 2011, 2:23am

        [Continued from previous post]

        And then everyone else can chastise the muslims for having failed to make any progress.

        Forget this “open debate” nonsense. What we need is to:-
        a) condemn those who preach homophobia,
        b) support muslims who are pro-LGBT rather than just dismissing them as being “tainted” by Islam (remember: secularism involves keeping religion private while respecting other people’s religious choices, rather than constantly beating your chest and bellowing about how they’re all insane),
        and c) stop treating all muslims as one single-minded monolithic whole.

        1. How is open debate possible when anyone who disagrees with what a muslim says is deemed a racist? They’re not oppressed. And a lot of them want to DO the oppressing of us, not just the LGBT us but anyone whio doesn’t toe the line. Women who choose how to dress, men who choose not to grow beards, science fiction fans, dog walkers, anyone. So will people who ought to have more sense get off the idea that because we’re a minority we should stand united with all other minorities. It doesn’t work when some minorities hate us more than the largely silent majority.

    3. Learn to read articles before you comment on them. Johann mentioned links to LGBT accepting muslim organisations. And, why not do the tiniest amount of research into PinkNews, where you will see a host of exposures of religious-based homophobia.

      How many more paranoid, self-pitying comments are we going to have, allergic to any hint of criticism?

  55. Patrick Lilley 27 Feb 2011, 1:31am

    Homophobic crime has not risen in East London over the last 2 years. In fact it has declined.

    Johann is jumping a bandwagon and fanning the flames of misunderstanding without doing his research properly.

    His article relies on anecotal evidence and is contradicted by the stats from the Metropolitan Police.

    Some areas of London have seen big rises in homophobic reported incidences but NOT the boroughs with large muslim populations ie Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forrest:
    HP Crimes 12 months 2010 – 2011 –
    % change
    Tower Hamlets 71 73 +2.80%
    Waltham Forrest 39 24 -38.50%
    Newham 36 30 -16.70%

    In the borough where George and Dragon is there was also a REDUCTION IN reported Homophobic crime by -7%.

    Johan is talking rubbish just to jump on bandwagon.

    Check the stats at the Met Police – Johann provides NONE.

    There may be many reasons why reported crime may appear to go up or down. Further investigation is worth it.

    1. Of course, the figures could also be a sign that the LGBT community have learnt their lesson, after Oliver Helmsley was made an example of, and been pushed back into the closet.

      I really do not want to be right. I really want to believe you, when you say the local community accepts LGBT people for who they are, and that public displays of affection, walking hand in hand say, near Whitechapel Market, was the safest thing to do, as if we were on Islington High Street.

      I am greatly inspired by Vaclav Havel’s discourse on opposing tyranny: to act just as if there was nothing to stop you claiming your rights. Rosa Parkes most famously did this by taking her seat on a bus in Alabama.

      You and I should walk hand in hand, down Vallance Road, on to Whitechapel Road, and up Brick Lane, one evening. We can show the everyone, there is nothing to fear and the argument would be settled. I can organise a crew to film it secretly too and we can put it all on YouTube. What do you say?

    2. So were all wrong? Ive been in shop where the Asian owners start speaking in the own language I don’t give a damn about what there saying and their body language and the cadence of their words indicate their hostility. This has been happening my whole life the first generation were rude this generation want to attack and kill us the next generation will want to rule us. Youcan sit on your fat ass while the rest of us sort it out just keep your stupid opinions to your self.

    3. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 9:55am

      It couldn’t possibly be that the reason why reported incidences are in decline is that people living in boroughs with large muslim populations are that some police ignore Gay people and as I have know tell victims it was there own fault and also that the area is becoming so intolerate that a lot in the LGBT community feel they can’t through fear.

      Johann Hari is not talking rubbish the is speaking the truth. I and many others have had to live through it and many more are still going through hell living it now.

      I guess when people like you and Rebecca Shaw continue to ignore the victim and instead focus on making excuses for the homophobic criminal it’s another possiblity why numbers are in decline. Why report when even those there for supposed help can’t be bothered and these are from Gay people. Should be ashamed!

      1. It doesn’t have to be a ‘crime’ worth reporting to the police. behaviour like James mentioned isnt a poilice matter. but its still homophobia.

        1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 11:12am

          Very True!

      2. its disgusting that the likes of shaw are supposed to assist victims of homophobia, now its so apparent why the statistic of homophobic hate crime in london is just the tip of the iceberg. why bother to report a crime when the those being hostile will be defended and given preference over the genuine victim. I have had really bad experiences in london trying to report homophobia, and now just do what most lgbt people do not bother anymore. sounds like tower hamlets rainbow group is more a hindrance to the lgbt community than a support.

      3. Rebecca Shaw 27 Feb 2011, 12:09pm

        I’m not going to dignify your comments about me with a response. However your comments about the local Police are grossly unfair. While historically they may have had some basis in fact, victims of homophobic crime in Tower Hamlets I have spoken to have nothing but praise for the service they have received. If you have recent evidence to the contrary, either put up or shut up.

        1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 12:45pm

          Actually Rebecca I told you recently about an incident involving two friends coming out of the Black Horse and being attacked by a group of Asian youths. You said you’d had a similar experience.

          I did also tell you that when two Asian policemen arrived my friends were told they had brought it on themselves. My friends, rightly or wrongly, didn’t bother taking it any further.

          I count myself extremely lucky because with help I got the proper and excellent care from the police and very supportive.

          Many don’t have the will nor the hope of finding or trusting.

          I think your very last comment “either put up or shut up” says it All perfectly but probably more for the attitude I get for your position on homophobic bullying and victims of abuse in Tower Hamlets and the surrounding areas.

          1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 12:53pm

            When I went through my problem I was very lucky I got them from THT. Someone actually took the time out to come to me several times and help back me.

            I fear had I come to you I would still been there and highly probable that I would have taken my own life as then sucide was often on my mind due to the situation.

            Why bother though ah, when you can just ignore and make excuses.

            I’m sorry if I come across angry but when you state the connection of Homophobia and poverty, as some kind of excuse, having lived through this hell, I think I am entitled to be outraged.

            I truely wouldn’t wish what I went through on anybody else but sadly I know people do and go through much worse.

            They need your help not lame excuses.

          2. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 1:09pm

            Oops I meant I got help from THT.

            Damn keyboard ( thats my excuse anyway)

          3. Rebecca Shaw 28 Feb 2011, 12:22am

            I have in the past called the police to account for the way they deal with LGBT people in Tower Hamlets and will continue to do so, so if anyone is unhappy with the way they have been treated I’d like to know about it so that I can take it up with the Police at one of the many meetings I attend for exactly that purpose.

            On the case you mentioned I worked at the Black Horse for four years. I know of a number of incidents in and outside the pub between 2002 and 2006 but am also aware that it has been closed for at least 3 years. While I am extremely disappointed that your friends did not receive the help they were entitled to expect from the Police, unfortunately the time for doing anything about that now is probably long gone. However I am happy to take the matter up with the Police if your friends can provide me with more detail.

            It is also worth pointing out that there are now a number of ways of reporting homophobic hate crime if you don’t want to deal directly with the Police.

        2. You are undignified enough to respond with the following advice to “put up or shut up”. why should i have to endure racist and homophobic abuse on the streets of tower hamlets because you are incompetent in your role(but now i can see why i would as others do and not report, as you seem to actively discourage people) , i should put up with abuse and accept it . As for your self appraisal of the service you claim to offer ,it is again a subjective test. self praise is no praise as far as i’m concerned, especially coming from someone who has encouraged me not to report homophobia especially to her involved unit.

          1. Rebecca Shaw 28 Feb 2011, 12:46am

            Right now we have little idea how much homophobic crime there is in Tower Hamlets because most of it goes unreported. There are many reasons why homophobic crime is under-reported but underlying it often is a lack of trust between the Police and LGBT people. It is difficult to develop that trust when we continue to see bad press about the way in which the police have treated us in the past. I am quite happy to take up complaints about the Police provided they are specific and reasonably contemporaneous. However I think constant references to events which happened some time ago are counter-productive and may perpetuate under-reporting. That’s the point I was trying to make (badly). I apologise for that.

          2. Jock S. Trap 28 Feb 2011, 7:25am


            In a time when we are lead to believe that one of the main reasons Homophobic crime reports are up is because more people are coming forward.

            Is it therefore a possibility that in Tower Hamlets the reason it is going down is because people don’t feel they can openly report. That they feel they are not listened to because of feeling you live in a oppressive area.

            I think this is the biggest problem and also a dangerous one. It opens up for ghettos when all not welcomed are pushed out.

            The fact these hateful posters are going up in this area mostly shows that support groups in Tower Hamlets need to be more visible for people to be able to turn.

          3. Jock S. Trap 28 Feb 2011, 7:27am

            I know from my own experience that for a long time you just don’t know where to turn and the thought of police knowing could make living conditions worse. There needs to be more of a discreet investigation if any and people being bullied need to know this is whats happening.

            Gay people need to be listened to in Tower Hamlets. Someone they trust.

          4. Jock S. Trap 28 Feb 2011, 7:57am

            I also think the fact the Black Horse closed at all is evidence of the increasing intolerance in the area.

    4. “His article relies on anecotal evidence and is contradicted by the stats from the Metropolitan Police.”

      I am not sure how you would regard stickers posted all over Tower Hamlets, proclaiming “A Gay Free Zone”; to be anecotal evidence

  56. Telegraph article – Gay free zone stickers
    “The East London Mosque, that legendary home of tolerance and moderation, has condemned a series of posters which have appeared in its local area, Tower Hamlets, containing a Koranic invocation and declaring the borough a “gay-free zone.” Dilowar Khan, the mosque’s director, was quoted in a council press release saying: “We stand together with our fellow citizens against all forms of hatred, including homophobia. We are committed to building strong and cohesive communities in Tower Hamlets, and our strength is that we will not let incidents of hate divide us.”

    “Mr Lateef is one of at least half a dozen homophobic preachers hosted or promoted by the East London Mosque, three of whom have been officially invited to deliver the Friday sermon. In 2007, as my Dispatches programme on the East London Mosque disclosed, a “Spot The Fag” contest was staged at the mosque”

  57. East London Mosque keeps on lying
    By Andrew Gilligan
    Feb 26, 2011
    Article on anti-gay posters & homophobia here:

    1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 11:25am

      A interesting article.

      The comment..

      “The technique of saying one thing designed to appeal to white liberals, while in fact doing the exact opposite”

      is Very much the problem in areas of the likes of Tower Hamlets and the defenders like Rebecca Shaw will do everything to make excuses for. Most classic demonstrator of course from that quote is the big Hypocrite herself Baroness Warsi.

      1. Yes, JS.T, the Muslim word for this kind of dissimulation is “al taqiyya” used to trick and gain advantage over the kuffar or non-Muslim.

        1. What i’m so shocked by is how naive and stupid some english lgbt people , who proclaim multiculturalism but know very little about other belief systems/behaviours. phoney liberals usually do not live in these multicultural ghettos they think are so tolerant and accepting. Everything they espouse on here or in general is testament to their ignorance, double standards and hypocrisy.

          1. Jock S. Trap 27 Feb 2011, 12:21pm

            Quite right rapture. The hypocracy is laughable. I call them denial liberals because they claim to know everything whilst actually knowing nothing at all. They don’t live it, don’t live with it and haven’t a clue to what happens.

            I recall a friend of a friend about three years ago who Was one of these ‘liberal preachers’ until it was announced ‘multiculturalism’ was coming to their area in the way of immigrants and a possible detention centre.

            The power of the liberal do-gooder is as dangerous as the classic closet Gay person spewing their homophobia.

            Never have I seen a ‘liberal’ turn so quickly. All there preaching then goes out the window at the mere suggestion.

            I find these people to be just as hypocitical as the homophobic muslims.

          2. I agree . . . Unfortunately there does appear to be a lot of unthinking even amongst the liberal left. The unquestionable mantra of denying the problems of multicultralism, whilst crying racism to any one who points out its inherent difficulties; appears to be one area in which debate has previously not been allowed.

          3. I live in and and liv e with it. And don’t call me a hypocrite.

    2. I think what is disturbing is the Mosque’s double standards and hypocrisy. . .

      For example, it is obviously an outrageous lie when the Mosque cliams to be against homophobia, and the Gay Free Zone stickers; then goes on to promote talks entitled “Spot the Fag”

    3. I am wondering what we can do . . .

  58. @JohnK
    Touche! how’s that for timing!

    1. Hi Pavlos . . . I know – what a find. Thanks to the Telegraph

      1. Well done both of you for posting Gilligan’s excellent piece. He has watched over that vipers’ nest for a few years now. He deserves a medal.

  59. Obviously because of the recent posters and the location of the journalist himself this discussion has centred about London, but raises the questions about Muslim homophobia in general.

    There are large muslim populations in other parts of the country, such as birmingham and surrounding areas. What’s the experience in these places?

    I don’t personally live in an urban area, let alone one with a large muslim population, so haven’t encountered muslin homophobia directed at myself. Being/feeling so attacked – is it nation-wide or is it worst in London?

    1. It’s nationwide. Why do you think I’ve got no time for them going on about beng oppressed and repressed and suffering minority.

  60. This debatge is going nowhere now. It’s just going over and over the same ground.

  61. I can’t understand homophobes in minorities. Gay people and Muslims have both been discriminated harshly. They should be able to understand how we feel and start thinking more liberally about a book that’s several hundred years old.

  62. More info about homonationalism, white privilege and racism in LGBTQetc communities on Race Revolt publication website:

    Amusing how the obvious othering is ignored, the poverty is ignored, the “gangs of youths” tabloid fingerpointing is ignored and Johann Hari’s various privileges are ignored – if the EDL/BNP are using derogatory stickers to divide minority groups they are certainly succeeding.

  63. Patrick Lilley says:

    “There are many ways to explain homophobia in East London and its encouragement by some faith groups may well be part. We should also remember the Pope and Catholic church fan the flames of homophobia too.”

    Of course. Never mind East London Mosque and the parade of homophobic clerics it has hosted over the years (including Uthman Lateef only last Friday), it’s the the role of… the Pope in fanning homophobia in Tower Hamlets that Patrick wants us to consider. You couldn’t make it up. Feeble and dishonest apologism.

  64. Crime stats can’t be used as supporting evidence. Many people don’t report crimes.

    Johann Hari is a very well-informed and fantastic writer on gay issues and someone whom I have complete respect for.
    Let me also tell you that as someone who is a true cockney (born and bred in Tower Hamlets all my life – until recently) that this has been coming to a head for a long time.

    The muslim community is homophobic. It is responsible for these posters and their ‘patrols’ in the parks.

    Yet, we’re expected to take S**t from people on all religious and political fronts too.

    Bigots are just bigots and keeping silent because of the slight existence of ‘we’re both minorities – brothers in arms’ attitude IS WRONG.

    Make your stand, come to the march and show solidarity for those men and women of the LGBT community who ARE going through the ringer at this moment.

  65. To Patrick Lilley and naive cohort Islamofacist apologists.

    There is a a perfect ‘quote’ for you below.

    “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last — but eat you he will.”

  66. We should talk about these and other issues with any and everyone if only to inform and educate…

  67. Muslim people deserve the exact samr rights and respect as they show to gay people. If they are homophobic then they have no right to whine about discrimination against themselves.

  68. By the way, I am not impressed with the help yourself to love’ stickers. they are too timid. And I don’t love my enemies – I want to destroy them.

    It should mention the word ‘gay’ i.e. ‘GAY people live here too. Deal with it’

    An uncompromising message of support and willingness to defend our LGBT prothers and sisters in the borough. If this so-called committee won’t others will have to do it for them.

  69. I am waiting for a journalist to call for a debate on gay Islamophobia as is quite rampantly visible in this comment section.

    1. Here we go, you are not going to coerce into silence feasible debate with the tired “islamophobia” routine. Practically all the comments left here by lgbt are fact and perfectly correct in perception. muslims are very privileged and protected in this country, considering islam is just a lifestyle choice.

      1. Douglas Pretsell 1 Mar 2011, 10:22am

        I left the UK six years ago and returned 2 months ago and the UK has changed a LOT and become a much more intolerant place. So what has changed? Gay people are if anything better off and public hostility to them has been reduced. Recorded racist and homophobic crimes have been on the decrease. But instances of anti-muslim violence have stepped up dramatically and as this comments section shows, there is widespread and vocal hostility to even moderate secular muslims. You say muslims are “privileged and protected” – in what way because from where I am setting they look beleaguered and vulnerable.

        1. Jock S. Trap 1 Mar 2011, 10:41am

          Actually reported homophobic crimes and racism has increased dramatically as reported last month. You seem to be choosing what you want to throw as fact when they are rubbish.

          Maybe had you actually stuck around you’d have seen what was happening rather than passing judgements that clearly you have no knowledge about.

          As for the “they look beleaguered and vulnerable” sorry but thats just laughable. Only someone who hasn’t a clue would suggest it.

          Educate yourself mate before making inaccurate judgements.

          1. Obviously i agree with you, that pritsel guy is too stupid to make the effort of a response , shame he did not stay outta the country, where was he anyhow? at a training camp in afghanistan?

        2. Yes, people of asian origin face discrimination. I agree, they are not in any way protected: I know of people who have had to spell their name ‘Caan’ to make it more ’employable’. Women and children are vulnerable and oppressed because the government allows Sharia tribunals – religious courts, and which woman would say to an Imam, a man with direct connection to Allah, I’d rather have a secular ruling? It is tantamount to apostasy, and thus, death. Children are denied a proper education because they are forced into faith schools.

          Yes, many gay people are better off. If you live in Soho, Pimlico, Islington – for sure. But if you live in some areas, your life can be total hell, and if you are LGBT from an ethnic minority, especially so.

          There is a vicious hate campaign going on in Tower Hamlets, perpetrated almost certainly by a gang of violent, incontrollable Asian youths, and we have to combat it and eradicate it. That’s all.

    2. Jock S. Trap 1 Mar 2011, 10:35am

      Oh yawn!!

    3. Noite,

      I don’t see LGBT killing muslims like muslims do to LGBT in Iran.
      I don’t see LGBT imprisoning muslims like muslims do to LGBT in Saudi.
      I don’t see LGBT torturing muslims like muslims do to LGBT in the Yemen.
      I don’t see LGBT placing stickers anywhere in the UK calling for a ‘muslim free zone’ like muslims do to LGBT.

      stop playing the ‘poor victim muslim’ card – it’s muslims that are being bigoted to LGBT – not the other way round – any islamaphobia in these comments is a reaction of protection against a community which wish to destroy us.

      1. Are there gay soldiers killing Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  70. Classic liberal racism from Hari I’m afraid. Which is a pity considering he’s been quite strong on antifascism up to now.

    1. I think the recent news about Tower Hamlets, its mayor and his “army” of abusive, homophobic, violence inciting, electoral vote influencing maniacs rather undermines your self-righteous diatribe.

      In fact, “the us-and-them, Same-and-Other dynamic” you mention is perpetuated by a group of people who, due to their religious beliefs, refuse to recognise another as human beings worthy of equality and respect, who wilfully and aggressively oppose them at every turn.

      None of this anything to do with race. It is a free standing, freely chosen, ideology we oppose; one that relentlessly, unreasonably and unlawfully targets us on account of characteristics we can’t change. Sadly, it is well meaning people like you who allow it to fester and gain support unopposed, in the name of the liberalism and the respect an ideal world affords everyone; which they afford no one.

      This is not yet an ideal world. We cannot and must not allow unjustified ideological hatred to go unopposed.

      1. Well said Sven – and once more, congratulations to Johann Hari for talking sense. It seems no-hopers like Aidan can’t tell the difference between a belief system and race. Thankfully the vast majority of people can see beyond this idiocy.

    2. When the BNP and EDL are out on the streets chanting “Muslim paedophiles off our streets”, is that ok because Islam is a freely chosen belief system?

  71. Vincent Owen 14 Mar 2011, 12:30pm

    Johann Hari has a cheek to talk about hate, when he is the very same person who supported to Iraq war – which was illegal and had no UN authority, and based on lies spun by downing street.
    Hari supported hate back then – he’s the wrong person to be writing about hate.

  72. Stephen Frost 12 Jul 2011, 5:15pm

    I agree with what he has said, except for suggesting that “zero percent” of British muslims think homosexuality is “acceptible”. That is complete and utter bull and he should do his research before making such statements. Apart from the fact that there are LGBT muslims in this country, I also have straight Muslim friends in this country who have never been intolerant in the slightest.

  73. burningworm 13 Jul 2011, 7:24pm

    Firstly Johann doesn’t live there anymore, not that it matters but come on, get your facts together.

    Completely off top but have you heard of the guy who shot a 4 year old for tapping a kid on the backside?

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