Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Homophobic Hostility from Muslims

Peter Tatchell suffered homophobic hostility from Muslims at anti-EDL demo - PinkPaper.com


Homophobia by Muslims! ... Say It Isn't So!



5 September 2011


EDL protest .Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell experienced homophobic hostility from some members of East London's Muslim community, while heading an anti-EDL protest, last weekend.

As reported on PinkPaper.com, Tatchell had planned Saturday's counter-protest in response to a static demonstration held by the English Defense League which drew more than 1,000 supporters, despite a ban by Home Secretary Theresa May.

He said he was there to: “defend the Muslim community against EDL thuggery” and because he “wanted to stand in solidarity with Muslims who oppose far right Islamists."

But, while holding placards which read 'Stop EDL & far right Islamists. No to ALL hate' and 'Gays & Muslims UNITE! Stop the EDL', Tatchell was subjected to anti-gay hostility from a minority of homophobic Muslims who, ironically, were part of the anti-EDL demonstration.

According to the veteran equality activist, the group attempted to destroy the placards and were intimidating. At one point he feared the threat of violence.

Speaking to PinkPaper.com, Tatchell said: “I was surrounded several times throughout the day by angry Muslim youths who ordered me: ‘You must remove this placard...You can’t walk here with these words...We don’t allow gays in this area...Gays are not permitted here...We don’t have gays in Tower Hamlets’. When I suggested that LGBT Muslims must also be defended against the EDL, I was told: "Gays can't be Muslims...We will never accept them (LGBT Muslims)...They can't come around here...We won't allow it."

He added: "My response was to engage with these Muslims hotheads and argue against them. The discussions got very heated; at times even menacing and scary. There were moments when I thought I was going to be physically attacked."

Despite this, Tatchell said the moment passed without incident – partly because of police presence and also because other members of the Muslim community intervened and offered their support.

He described the latter as being "significant" in diffusing the situation.

Yet it was not just Muslims who opposed Tatchell's presence at the demonstration.

In a statement released earlier today, he claims he also suffered: "dirty looks from a small number of left-wing and LGBT anti-EDL protesters, some of whom said explicitly that our placards were 'insensitive...provocative...inappropriate...divisive'."

They also claimed he was "racist...fascist...anti-Muslim".

Sixty people were arrested at the demonstrations for violent disorder.

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