Tag: Pride

By Maryam Namazie, CEMB Spokesperson

East London mosque has filed a formal complaint regarding the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s presence in Pride in London and stated that our placards, including “East London mosque incites murder of LGBT” were “inciting hatred against Muslims” and that the mosque had a “track record for challenging homophobia in East London”.

In fact, though, the very reason CEMB was at Pride was to combat hate and to highlight the 14 states under Islamic rule that kill gay men (15 if we include Daesh-held territories). We included placards on the East London mosque to bring attention to the fact that there are mosques here in Britain that promote the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy.

As ex-Muslims, we are at risk from hate preachers that speak at some mosques and universities; our  gay members are at an increased risk.

The East London Mosque has a long history of hosting hate preachers who incite against blasphemers, apostates and homosexuals so we felt naming and shaming them was very apt.

In our experience, whenever incitement to hate and violence has been exposed, it is explained away as mere “theology”. Here, too, the East London Mosque spokesperson says: “Yes, there might be theological topics dealing with homosexuality in Islam, but that’s clearly very separate from promoting hatred and homophobia”.

We beg to differ.

Given the context of executions for homosexuality and apostasy in many countries and the threats, violence and shunning that ex-Muslims, including LGBT, face here in Britain, the hate preaching can be considered incitement to murder though it is ignored because it is done under the cover of the “right to religion”.

Moreover, the East London mosque is merely using double-speak. Their supposed “track record for challenging homophobia” only seems to extend to white gay men in East London and never to Muslim and ex-Muslim LGBT or LGBT persecuted outside of Britain in countries under Sharia.

This is because the mosque is part and parcel of the Islamist movement. The East London Mosque (and its affiliate, the London Muslim Centre) share the ideology of the Jamaat-e-Islami – the Salafis of South Asia so their promotion of an Islamist worldview that imposes the death penalty for homosexuality, apostasy and blasphemy is business as usual.

Why are we inciting hatred by exposing their incitement to murder?

And why is criticism of Islam off-limits?

Self-appointed “Muslim leaders” say our placards were “Islamophobic”.  But in our point of view, Islam, like all religions, is homophobic. Why is it not possible to say this without accusations of Islamophobia?

The only reasons our signs are seen to be “provocative” are because criticism of Islam is deemed to be impermissible, because there is the constant threat of violence by Islamists against ex-Muslims but also dissenting Muslims and others in order to silence and censor, and because criticism of Islam and Islamism is erroneously conflated with an attack on Muslims.

Pride is full of placards saying “God is Gay”, “Jesus had two fathers”, as well as those mocking the church and priests and pope, yet CEMB members hold signs saying “Allah is Gay” – as we did – and the police converge to attempt to remove them for causing “offence”.

Offence has become the catch-phrase to impose de facto blasphemy and apostasy laws here in Britain. Yet aren’t we all offended at least some of the time? Some of us are offended by religion but we don’t ask believers to stay away from Pride or stop praying because of it. Why is it that what offends us is irrelevant? Because we do not back our offence with threats and violence?

The politics of offence is a politics that rewards bullies and blames victims.

Critics say our presence in Pride is a provocation in the weeks following the attack at Finsbury Park. But why must our criticism be linked to an attack on a mosque? Did anyone tell those holding “Jesus had two fathers” signs that it was a provocation given that a priest was murdered in Normandy and Christians killed in Egypt? There is no connection, except of course it seems when it comes to Islam.

Believers are not told to stop any expression of their beliefs because of an attack on children at a concert in Manchester but our placards apparently have some link with an attack on Muslims and a mosque. Why?

This is the Islamist narrative that equates criticism with an attack on Muslims. Its aim is not to stop bigotry but to silence dissent.

And by the way, bigotry affects us too. We were Muslims once; our loved ones are Muslims. And fascists and bigots cannot tell any of us apart anyway. We all look the same to them.

But as a minority within a minority facing serious threats to our lives, shunning, ostracisation, discrimination (and that’s only in Britain), is it fair to ask us to remain silent because of other forms of persecution or bigotry? Why can we not confront racism AND homophobia, bigotry AND hatred against apostates, women, blasphemers… To do that, we have to be able to criticise the far-Right (including our far-Right – the Islamists) and religion and regressive beliefs.

We ex-Muslims, including LGBT ex-Muslims, are fighting for our lives. We too have the right to live, think and love as we choose. And to fight for that right, we have to be able to confront apostasy and blasphemy laws as well laws that criminalise and execute apostates, LGBT, and freethinkers.

We owe it ourselves but we also owe it to those living under Islamic rules who are in prison, on death row or being murdered by vigilantes for doing just that.

The right to religion is a basic human right that must be defended but what is often forgotten is that there is a corresponding right to be free from and to criticise religion. As long as we can be killed for being ex-Muslims, LGBT, apostates and blasphemers, we have a duty to speak up – especially for those who cannot.

****

As an aside, the Pride spokesperson has said that the East London mosque’s complaint has been referred to the community advisory board to assess whether CEMB can join Pride next year and added: “While our parade has always been a home to protest, which often means conflicting points of view, Pride must always be a movement of acceptance, diversity and unity. We will not tolerate Islamophobia.”

A note to Pride: There were for sure some Muslims who were offended by our presence and others who supported us, as there were some Christians who were offended by placards poking fun at Christianity and others who found them funny. This is what real diversity looks like.  For too long, self-appointed Islamists feigning to represent the “Muslim community” have stifled dissent via threats and accusations of offence and Islamophobia. CEMB has fought for ten years now to bring real diversity into the debate, which is a matter of life and death for many of us.

Criticism of Islam or Islamism is not anti-Muslim bigotry just as criticism of Christianity or the DUP is not anti-Christian bigotry. CEMB plans to be at Pride next year and every year and hopes the community advisory board sides with dissenters and those fighting for LGBT rights and not those inciting hatred against Muslim and ex-Muslim LGBT.

For those on the community advisory board who are interested in finding out more about the East London Mosque beyond the double-speak, there is a wealth of information on their links to Islamism and their incitement to violence, hate and yes murder:

In this piece: Almost immediately after Jamaat’s  arrival in government, attacks against religious and ethnic minorities in Bangladesh began to be reported. A British peer and parliamentary human-rights representative, Eric (Lord) Avebury, said that “Bangladesh is an increasingly dangerous place for women, minority faiths and ethnic groups, opposition parties and secular organisations”. He argued that at the root of these problems lies the “cancer of a maverick branch of Islamism” that aims to “transform the country into a Taliban-style dictatorship”.

The ELM/LMC’s reaction to requests to ban these hatemongers was to “go quiet” for a few months, and then return to hosting the worst of Britain’s extremists. It is pretty clear that promoting hatred is part of the ELM/LMC’s core mission. Ibrahim Hewitt: – a “reformed” white racist, who now works for the Hamas fundraising charity, Interpal. He wrote  “What Does Islam Say?”, a pamphlet explaining what he sees as the Islamic approach to several social and political issues. Apostates and proven adulterers get the death penalty.  Sexually active gays must face “severe punishments” for their “great sin”, possibly including death.

Open letter posted online by 12 LBGT campaigners, including writers Julie Bindel and Paul Burston, which lists a series of events hosted by the East London Mosque allegedly attended by  anti-gay Muslim clerics. These included Abdullah Hakim Quick, a supporter of the death penalty on gays and Abdul Hattin who incorporated a ‘Spot the Fag’ contest into his sermon in 2007.

Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph: The East London Mosque’s response to accusations of extremism has three stages. First there are the injured protestations of its deep commitment to community cohesion, democracy, etc, often accompanied by straightforward lying…Then there are silly legal threats from its libel lawyers, again often based on lies: tedious, but perfectly easy to see off if you know what you’re doing. Finally, if none of that works and their backs are absolutely against the wall, the mosque will crank out one of their statements claiming they’ve banned hate preachers. The supply of bad guys will dry up for a month or two, then as soon as the coast is clear they’ll start creeping back again. Let’s hope it’s different this time. But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for being a little sceptical about the East London Mosque’s “good faith.”

The charity Oxfam cancelled an event at the East London Mosque after it learned the headline speaker had declared gay people should be “severely punished” under Islamic law.

At the East London Mosque, the Friday sermon was delivered by hate preacher Assim al-Hakeem who teaches that apostates must be killed (“As long as they have been Muslim, once they reject it, their Devine punishment is execution. This takes place on the instruction of the ruler after a panel of judges talk to him and try to convince him. His execution is due to his betrayal to Islam which is like grand treason.”)

In Police ‘covered up’ violent campaign to turn London area ‘Islamic’ it says: Khalid Yasin, a hate preacher who describes Jews as “filth” and teaches that homosexuals must be killed has spoken at least four times since 2007 at the East London Mosque. Although the mosque claims to be against extremism, discrimination, and violence, it has hosted dozens of hate, extremist or terrorist preachers and also hosted a “Spot The Fag” contest. In the same week that it issued a press release condemning the anti-gay stickers, the mosque was also due to host a “gala dinner” with Uthman Lateef, a homophobic hate preacher. The mosque is controlled by a fundamentalist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe, which says that it is dedicated to changing the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.”

According to ‘Nationalism, Community & the Islamization of Space in London’, see page 219: “The East London mosque was more closely aligned with Arab states, in the Middle East and Pakistan. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia contributed over 1 million for the building of the new centre and ambassadors of Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the mosque management.

According to ‘Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK: socio-cultural dynamics, religious trends and transnational politics’ See page 5: The East London Mosque – this claims to be the oldest mosque in London going back to the early 1940s. It has maintained close links with the Jamaat i Islami, largely through the Islamic Forum Europe and the Young Muslim Organisation, whose offices are located nearby. The ELM’s leaders and other local activists have been highly successful at building alliances with local government officials through campaigns against drug abuse, family breakdown, anti-social behaviour, school truancy, etc.

The Spirit of ’71: how the Bangladeshi War of Independence has haunted Tower Hamlets.

Jamil Iqbal and Richard Phillips – ‘Taking Stock: Respect, SWP and Islamist politics in Tower Hamlets’

Communities & Local Government – ‘The Bangladeshi Muslim Community in England Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities’. See pages 42, 61

‘Bangladesh Genocide: what human rights, anti-racist and peace organisations won’t tell you’, at 54 mins Chowdhury Mueenuddin/IFE, at 1.10 mins MCB/Iqbal Sacranie, 1,13 mins Chowdhury Mueenuddin and at 1.20 SWP/Left/Muslim Brotherhood

Siding with oppressor:  the Pro-Islamist Left, London’, One Law for All, pages 27-29

Jamaat-e-Islam links to East London Mosque & Darul Ummah
DeHanas, Nilsson (2013) ‘Elastic Orthodoxy: the Tactics of Young Muslim Identity in the East End of London’, Farnham, Ashgate, Pages 15, 16

East London Mosque admits Chowdhury Mueenuddin’s involvement
The East London Mosque has confirmed Mueen Uddin was involved with the mosque from 1978 as honorary secretary, and was until recently vice chairman, but has not been a trustee since 2009.

East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre link to Jamaat
Policy Exchange’s ‘Choosing our friends wisely’ (2009), p 36

Channel 4 Dispatches programme investigated fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami headquartered in Britain, and its network in the UK. Using undercover recordings, investigative journalist Andrew Gilligan reveals the group’s ambitions to create a worldwide ‘Islamic social and political order,’ and the concerns of a mainstream party that they are being ‘infiltrated’.

Britain’s jihadi bride groomer: Schoolgirl radicalised in East London mosque recruited her three classmates to join ISIS in Syria

How Jamaat’s UK wing IFE infiltrated Tower Hamlets Council youth service 2016

Facing Jamaat-e-Islami by SADF 2017 See page 16 http://sadf.eu/new/blog/sadf-policy-brief-5-facing-jamaat-e-islami-bangladesh-global-threat-need-global-response/

10 April 2017 Azad Ali, a Jamaati Islamist who has said that he supports killing British soldiers, was named a director of Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), a group which advises the British government. Ali recently said that the jihadist attack at Westminster on March 22, 2017 was not an act of terrorism.

11 April 2017. The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, asked Islamic Relief to explain why it invited a hardline Muslim preacher to star in a fundraising tour of Britain. Yasir Qadhi, a Saudi-educated American academic, has been recorded telling students that killing homosexuals and stoning adulterers was part of Islam. Qadhi, who featured in an eight-city tour, described Islamic punishments such as cutting off the hands of thieves as “very beneficial to society.” The commission also questioned two other charities, Muslim Aid (Jamaat charity founded by Chowdhury Mueenuddin) and Read Foundation, about their sponsorship of a speaking tour by Qadhi in 2015.

Thanks to Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Gita Sahgal and Daniel Fitzgerald for the above information.

 

 

Dear Mr Wrack, FBU General Secretary,

It has been drawn to our attention that Ms Lucy Masoud, treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union in London, has written a blog on The FBU website stating that the presence of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) at Pride was “hate on display” and that the group is “islamophobic”.  CEMB has responded to the post and would like to know whether this is the FBU’s official position.

As we have mentioned in our response to Ms Masoud, there is a clear distinction between criticism of religion and the religious-Right versus bigotry against people. Charges of islamophobia erroneously conflate the two. In fact, CEMB’s presence at Pride aimed to combat the hate perpetrated against ex-Muslims and LGBT and to defend the right to reject and criticise religion without fear. This was political protest at its best. Had the FBU not recently backed calls to reclaim Pride as political protest?

Given that apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality are punishable by death in many countries under Islamic rule, our being at Pride was an important moment for our members, many of whom are refugees. It would be unfortunate if the FBU officially defended the vilification of a minority within a minority providing further justification for our persecution by implying that “offence” is more important than murder.

We look forward to hearing from you on your union’s position.

Thank you for your response in advance. We attach a copy of a photo with FBU members and two of ours taken at Pride.

Sincerely
Maryam Namazie, CEMB Spokesperson
Daniel Fitzgerald CEMB Pride Organiser
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
email: [email protected]
web: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/

Lucy Masoud, treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union in London, has written a blog on The FBU website saying the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)‘s presence at Pride was “hate on display” and that the group is “Islamophobic” and “carried offensive signs such as ‘F**K Islam’ and ‘East London Mosque Incites Murder of Homosexuals’”. She added that members were “offended” by CEMB, that CEMB was “sinister” and that when she confronted our group, “they admitted they had never been Muslim”. Masoud added: “Pride is meant to be about acceptance and love, not hate. Most LGBT people have experienced hate and prejudice towards them at some point, so any group that has nothing to say but hate, has no place at Pride.”
 
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, established nearly ten years ago, defends the right to conscience and expression, which are meaningless without the right to reject and criticise religion. Given that apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality are punishable by death in countries under Islamic rule (countries, by the way, from which many of the refugees in our group have fled from), these rights are a matter of life and death for many of us. Which is why it was a very proud moment for us to be out, loud and proud at Pride.
 
As anyone going to Pride knows, signs with “God is Gay” or “Jesus has two fathers” is evident every year as are signs critical of Christianity and the Christian-Right. Our signs are no different. All our signs were critical of the homophobia in Islam and the hate perpetrated by the Islamist movement against not just ex-Muslims but Muslims and others too. We also had signs against racism, including “Protest Bigotry, Defend Blasphemy”, “Homophobes, Islamists, Racists, Fuck Off”, and “CEMB, LGBT, Refugee and Proud”. (See here.)
 
That Ms Masoud takes our presence personally as an attack on her says more about her politics than ours – a politics that feeds into the Islamist narrative, that normalises blasphemy and apostasy laws, that demands silence from critics of Islam and that gives the green light for Islamists to continue to murder us using the excuse of “offence”.
 
Wittingly or unwittingly, charges of “Islamophobia” conflate criticism of Islam with bigotry and hate against people. In fact, we are merely countering the hate against ex-Muslims and LGBT by Islamic states and movements.
 
Ms Masoud: Criticising mosques that call for our death, criticising Islamic states that murder us and our loved ones, criticising Islam, like criticism of any religion or belief, is not hate but combating hate against real live human beings. If “progressives” like you were more concerned with murder than offence, what a different world this would be.
 
Until we are allowed to think, live and love as we choose without the imposition of religion via the state, the law, the “community”, or via any always offended sensitive soul like yourself, we will continue to shout our blasphemy from every rooftop.
 
One question to the FBU: Labelling a minority within a minority who face threats and intimidation on a daily basis as a hate group places us at further risk and is victim blaming at its finest. Is this the official FBU position and if so, we will be taking this matter further.

In Toronto LGBT Iranians were branded as ‘Islamophobes’, The Freethinker, 5 July 2017

At Toronto Pride on June 25 some ‘anti-fascists’ surrounded Iranian refugees and LGBTQ activists and absurdly chanted ‘No Hate at Pride’ – as if defending LGBTQ people in Iran or countries under Islamic rule is ‘hateful’.

Police intervention ensured that they weren’t able to stop the Iranians from joining Pride as the video below shows.

The irony of “anti-fascist” activists accusing an Iranian holding a sign saying “I am Muslim and condemn the persecution of LGBTQ+ in Islamic countries” of “Islamophobia” was clearly lost on them. It’s just another example of how criticism of Islamism or even Islam is conflated with bigotry against Muslims at the expense of dissenters and to the advantage of Islamists.

If you cannot condemn the persecution meted out by Islamic states and Islamists, well, that’s a pretty good deal for those in power and a pretty raw one for those who want to defend human rights.

That Iranian LGBTQ participants needed police intervention in a place where they must feel safest says much about the world we live in today.

Which makes it all the more important to emphasise that the only states which punish homosexuality with the death penalty are Islamic ones, including Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, and Yemen. And that Islam is used as a justification for murdering LGBTQ people (as are all religions – though we don’t have, for now at least – a Republic of Gilead).

Of course that does not mean that all Muslims are homophobic –gay Muslims at Toronto Pride is a good case in point. After all, people are more than the religions they were born into out of very little choice of their own.

It also doesn’t mean that bigotry doesn’t exist – of course it does. But what on earth does defending LGBTQ people (including gays Muslims ) in countries under Islamic rule have to do with bigotry?

The Iranians at Toronto Pride were told their defence of LGBTQ rights “emboldens” “anti-Muslim racists”,  but those making this convoluted linkage assume that Muslims are automatically anti-LGBTQ and that they are one and the same as the Islamists – which seems to me to be promoting the very bigotry they feign to resist. (Unless of course they believe former President Ahmadinejad when he said “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country”.)

On July 8, members from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and I will be marching with others, including Muslims, at Pride in London to highlight the persecution faced by LGBTQ people  in countries under Islamic rule. We will be focused in particular on the harrowing roundup, detention and torture of homosexuals in Chechnya where its president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has expressed the desire to “eliminate” gay people by the start of Ramadan.

Those who will gasp in horror to see us criticise Islam and Islamism at Pride in London whilst they regularly protest the Pope and poke fun at Christianity and the religious-right would do well to remember that rights are universal and applicable to everyone irrespective of where we live.

The argument that Islam and Islamism cannot be criticised because Muslims are a minority in Canada or the UK is akin to telling an Iranian woman that she cannot criticise Trump’s or May’s misogynist policies because Christians are a minority in Iran! It’s absurd when you use this line of argument for any other situation but it has become the new normal, particularly when it comes to Islam and Islamism.

This perspective denies desperately needed internationalism and real anti-fascism (which must include being anti-Islamist to be worthy of its name).

It defends silence rather than condemnation and solidarity.

What was the saying during the height of the AIDS crisis? Silence = Death.

Well, yes exactly.

See CEMB’s Pride in London page. For more information, please contact Daniel Fitzgerald  at [email protected], telephone 07952 593 227 or visit our website.

The upcoming International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression being held in London during 22-24 July 2017 will also discuss the links between LGBTQ communities and ex-Muslim movements among other timely issues. For more information of the conference, visit its website.

Editor’s notes/Updates:

Antifa denies targeting the Pride participants:

Also please note that some have said the reason the group were targeted by ‘anti-fascists’ was because of the far-Right JDL which were invited to join by the group organisers. This has been denied by ICHR:

CEMB at London Pride in July 2017

 

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is pleased to announce it will be taking part in the Pride in London parade on Saturday 8 July 2017.

CEMB will use the Pride in London Parade to protest Islamism’s violence, including the death penalty, directed towards LGBT people. In particular, CEMB will focus on the harrowing roundup, detention and torture of LGBT people in Chechnya where its president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has expressed the desire to “eliminate” gay people before the start of Ramadan.

CEMB Spokesperson Maryam Namazie says: “All the states which punish apostasy and homosexuality with the death penalty are Islamic states, including Afghanistan, Iran, Islamic State, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE, Yemen. Pride in London parade will be an important space for us to highlight the violence and hatred against LGBT and demand that people’s rights and lives trump religion and religious rules”.

CEMB Pride parade organiser Daniel Fitzgerald adds: “It is crucial that we do not shy away from challenging Islamism as well as homophobic religious beliefs, including Islamic beliefs, that discriminate and incite violence against LGBT”.

CEMB was established in 2007 to oppose apostasy and blasphemy laws, break the taboo that comes with leaving or criticising Islam and religion, defend secularism as well as universal rights, and provide support to ex-Muslims in Britain and internationally. The public renunciation and “coming out of the closet” as protest as well as gestures of “solidarity” and “pride” mirror the LGBT movement.

Like LGBT still do in many parts of the world and until quite recently in Britain, those leaving Islam face violence, threats, discrimination, shunning and ostracisation. Many of our members continue to flee persecution and the death penalty, including for being LGBT and atheists.

By participating in Pride in London, CEMB hopes to highlight the persecution of LGBT under Islamic law, defend LGBT equality, and increase solidarity between ex-Muslims, Muslims and LGBT in defence of basic human rights.

 

 

Direct link to CEMB’s Pride in London page.

For more information please contact Daniel Fitzgerald  at [email protected], telephone 07952 593 227 or visit our website.

 

CEMB Logo© 2017 - All rights reserved.
Help us with donations:
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is a limited by guarantee Company registered in England & Wales.
Registration number 8059509.
Designed with in London by Sina Ahadi Pour
X