This is a guest post by Mehrdad Amanpour
It’s reassuring to know that up and down the country, anti-hate warriors are battling intolerance to create a better, safer and more inclusive future for us all – a future free from racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance and prejudice of any sort.
Brave, principled and competent sorts that they are.
Or else you’d think so.
Neil Denton Co-ordinates ARCH – “Agencies Against Crime and Harassment” – in Newcastle Upon Tyne. According to the Community Development Foundation, “ARCH facilitates a network of agencies to combat hate crime and reduce community tensions on behalf of Safe Newcastle the community safety partnership for the city.”
So far so good.
A quick search on Google shows Mr Denton popping up in the sort of places where you’d expect to see a professional anti-hate coordinator.
Last year he popped up for the International Day International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), with a quote for ITV Tyne Tees television:
“I would love to see a world where the number of homophobic attacks declines. I think that will take some time. In the meantime, I’d like to see more people coming forward and reporting.”
Can’t argue with that.
Which is what makes the next bit difficult to comprehend.
According to ‘Islamic Diversity Centre – North East’ publicity, Mr Denton is booked to speak at the ‘Unveiling the Veil’ event, “a discussion on the topic of the Burkha” at St James Park and at Teesside today and tomorrow.
Up on the platform with Mr Denton will be Yusuf Chambers.
Yusuf Chambers is a member of the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), which is an organisation that spews hatred of Jews and homosexuals. During an interview with Dr Zakir Naik (banned from Britain for hate preaching), Chambers specifically asks the scholar what the punishment for homosexuality should be:
Dr Naik replies: “So homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and the punishment for homosexuality is death.”
Chambers accepts his definition and requests that Naik refute suggestions that homosexuality has any natural or genetic origins:
Yusuf Chambers: Well JazakAllah Khair for clearing that issue up because I am sure many Muslims who still ponder that issue with the Gay Gene which is spoken about more than 10 years ago now is it? Or slightly less than 10 years ago
Dr. Naik: 14 years
Yusuf Chambers: And but its still seems to be a view which is accepted… So may Allah preserve us from.
Chambers has also stated that Sharia law should be implemented in the United Kingdom and has called for the ‘stoning to death’ of adulterers. In the same interview with Zakir Naik:
Dr Naik: That means if any man or woman who is not married, if they have unlawful sexual intercoolers, the punishment is 100 lashes, flogging them with 100 lashes…
So the punishment for adultery, unlawful sexual intercourse done by married man is Islam, it is stoning to death….
Yusuf Chambers: Well, Dr. Zakir, I feel that those 2 punishments were enough to frighten the most of the individuals from Zina [adultery]. May Allah protect us from that.
Dr. Naik: That’s in Islamic country but the punishment is not there in a non-muslim country.
Yusuf Chambers: Ahaa…
Dr. Naik: So If it’s put through out the world, InshaAllah, Zina would be removed from the face of the earth.
Yusuf Chambers: InshaAllah
Dr. Naik: InshaAllah
Yusuf Chambers: May Allah allow us to bring back that punishment to protect all humanity, InshaAllah.
Question to Mr Denton: “Is advocating the killing of gay people and the stoning to death or flogging of people who have sex outside of marriage not a hate crime?”
Yesterday, I wrote to Mr Denton:
“I’m sure that as ARCH coordinator you can understand my concern that you would be associating yourself with an event that includes Mr Chambers now that you are aware of his views and position on such matters.
I would be grateful if you would let me know whether you still intend to attend the function tomorrow.”
I’ve yet to receive any response and so I can only assume that Denton will be attending today as planned.
Perhaps Denton has is the type of person who is happy to ignore the most vicious hatred imaginable. Perhaps he’s able to convince himself that because such hatred applies only to the ‘ideal’ Islamic country that exists elsewhere or in the warped minds of people like Chambers, it doesn’t really count as ‘hate’ in Newcastle.
Moral consistency is clearly a problem for the Dentons of this world. Whilst it would be unthinkable that a professional anti-hate coordinator would ever share a platform with, for example, someone who promoted the idea that black people should be killed for miscegenation, Denton doesn’t seem to have an issue with those promoting the idea that a man ought to be killed for having sex with another man.
In a sane world we would expect an anti-hate crime coordinator to be combating the hateful views being promoted in the city he works for. We’d expect him to be on the side of truly moderate liberal Muslims that are maligned, marginalised, bullied and threatened by Muslim extremists.
We’d expect him to be using his position to defend Newcastle’s gay population from such barely-conceivable levels of hatred – the idea of that killing – yes killing – them is an ideal.
But this isn’t a sane world – it’s almost certain that today and tomorrow Denton will give an obsequious talk to assert his ‘pro-diversity’ credentials, wilfully closing his eyes to the wickedness being disseminated around him, far too unprincipled to risk giving any ‘offence’.
Only a fool could fail to comprehend that non-violent hate is the swamp from which violent hate inevitably crawls.
The promotion or even appeasement of hateful views will result in hateful actions.
Thanks to foolish and hypocritical people like Neil Denton who are far too biddable to be in the least bit principled.
Email him here, or call his office 0191 2777 830 and let him know what you think of the company he keeps.
Peter Tatchell took Yusuf Chambers to task on Twitter last night, between 9 and 11 pm. Chambers claims that the quotes evidencing his support for stoning gays and adulterers were misquotes and misrepresentations. However, he refused categorically to deny saying those things. Similarly, he would not condemn stoning, nor state that he opposed the death penalty for homosexuals.
Chambers was sitting on the panel at the notorious Norwegian ‘Peace’ Conference when one of the hate-preachers present argued that that all Muslims supported the execution of gays.
We received this email from a reader in the North East:
“I thought that your readers might be interested in this.
Following the publicity on Twitter, I wrote to Mr Denton in order to draw his attention to Yusuf Chambers’ extreme views. Mr Denton telephoned me this afternoon. We had a long and constructive conversation in which we told me he had just got off the phone with Peter Tatchell.
He sounded genuinely concerned and appalled by what he had read online and seen on You Tube regarding Chambers. However, he said that he had thought very carefully about it and had decided to attend with the intention of raising his concerns at the meeting. He said “I don’t expect to be very popular tonight”.
I said that someone is not really entitled to claim victim-hood if he or she thinks that gays and ex-Muslims should be killed, whether or not sharia conditions are met. He seemed to accept this and indicated that he would raise that point tonight. He also appeared to accept that that advocating that gays should be killed takes hate beyond the usual level of bigotry he encounters.
Mr Denton also said that he would object if he saw forced sex segregation taking place.
Mr Denton made it clear that he does not “pick-and-mix” the hate he opposes and that he works to combat all hate, wherever it comes from.
I feel hopeful that Mr Denton will use his position to raise these concerns tonight.”