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The Lynching of Jackie Walker

I think that I would be quite happily accepted in any gay rights group I joined. Even though I’m married to a person of the opposite sex I think that if I was personable, though people may be slightly bemused as to why I was there, I think they’d accept me.

If I started complaining that there wasn’t any room being made in the movement for gay people who didn’t believe in say gay marriage I expect I might be viewed in a more hostile light. I think people might be interested in whether I was actually gay at all and question what I was doing in their midst. I think that if I went further and used that suspicion from people as proof of my point which I then expanded upon to include the idea that there is something insidious in the whole gay rights movement hostility to me may increase.

If I took screenshots of the inevitable comments on social media calling me out as a tourist in the gay world who hadn’t done anything except attack gay people I think that more people in the movement would see me as a negative force. Naturally all the time I’d be saying how anti-homophobia I was…it was just that I hadn’t seen a definition of the term I could work with.

But also I would be embraced by some people.

The anti gay rights people, especially those opposed to gay marriage would embrace me. I would become their icon, their proof that on the one hand not all gay people are in favour of gay marriage and on the other that there is something vindictive within the gay rights movement and that gay rights only applies to those gay people who toe the line and agree with the nefarious agenda of the gay lobby. A lobby everyone is sure exists but no one can quite pin down.

Meet Jacqueline Walker, former Vice Chair of Momentum, who’s currently suspended from the Labour Party (for the second time). She’s just hit the Edinburgh Fringe complete with a little effigy of herself hanging from a rope. all the while complaining that the Board of Deputies of British Jews tried to have her show cancelled. I wonder why they might have wanted to do that? She also complained to the Jewish Chronicle that she was unable to visit family in Israel as they wouldn’t let her in. This statement coming from someone who calls on people to boycott Israel…Perhaps its only Radiohead who aren’t allowed to go.

I’m sure Jackie will be loving this post, I’m sure she’ll add it to the many critical posts against her as evidence of the Jew lobby’s efforts against her. I’m equally sure I don’t much care.



Open Letter to Pride: Defend the Council of Ex-Muslims

London, UK – 3 August 2017
Open Letter
Dear Pride in London and Community Advisory Board,

I write as one of the co-organisers of the UK’s first LGBT Pride in 1972, as a Patron of Pride in London and as a human rights campaigner for the last 50 years:

I understand that complaints have been made against the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) by the East London mosque and others. The claim is that the CEMB’s placards at this year’s Pride parade on 8 July were “Islamophobic”.

They were certainly very critical of Islamic homophobia, which is legitimate, justified and necessary in order to defend LGBT Muslims who have been victimised by followers of Islam in the UK and by Islamic governments worldwide.

The CEMB placards condemned “Homophobes, Islamists, racists.” They supported LGBT Muslims and LGBT people fleeing persecution by Islamic states. One said: “End Islamic hatred and violence to gays.” Others highlighted UK mosques, such as East London and Green Lanes, that have hosted hate preachers who have endorsed or justified the killing of LGBT people.

Some placards said “Allah is gay.” The factual basis of such a claim is questionable. However, since there is nothing wrong or shameful about being gay – and only gay sex acts (not gay people) are condemned in the Qur’an and Hadiths – there is nothing insulting about saying Allah, God, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Shiva or any other religious figure is gay. A person would only say it was insulting if they were anti-LGBT.

The CEMB’s placards against Islamic homophobia were entirely justified and commendable. We have to oppose Islamic homophobia in the same way that LGBT groups have long opposed Christian and Judaist homophobia.

None of the CEMB placards were against Muslim people. They did not incite hate against Muslims. They criticised homophobic religious ideas.

People and ideas are two very different things.

In a free society, all ideas, including Islam and other faiths, should be open to scrutiny and criticism. That’s what freedom of expression is all about.

Criticising ideas is fine. Stirring hate against people is not.

The CEMB did not, in my view, cross that red line. It did not say a word against Muslim people.

You have said that Pride participants have a right to protest but “this does not give people in our parade the freedom to ostracise, discriminate against or humiliate anyone else taking part.” I agree. But the CEMB did not do this. They did not target anyone in the parade. They targeted Islamists who want LGBT people dead!

You say that Pride participants should treat others with tolerance and courtesy. True. But not if they want to kill us and incite their followers to hate and despise LGBTs.

One of the complainants against the CEMB is, I am told, the East London mosque. This mosque for many years used to host Islamic extremist preachers who stirred hatred against LGBT people and, in some cases, justified the murder of LGBT people in accordance with Sharia law.

I am told that East London mosque and its allied London Muslim Centre (LMC) have hosted homophobic clerics who have endorsed the execution of LGBT people, including Ibrahim Hewitt, Haitham al-Haddad, Yasir Qadhi, Assim al-Hakeem, Muhammad Alshareef, Yusuf Chambers, Yusuf Estes, Abdur Raheem Green, Murtaza Khan, Bilal Philips, Abdullah Hakim Quick, Hamza Tzortzis, Yusuf Patel and Khalid Yasin.

Some years ago, OutRage! and I organised a campaign against the mosque’s anti-LGBT preachers. The mosque authorities did nothing to stop them speaking there until adverse media publicity and the protests of liberal Muslims shamed them into promising to not host any more extremist homophobic clerics.

They eventually pledged they would not host them anymore. But as soon as the fuss died down I discovered that the East London mosque was again hosting viciously anti-LGBT preachers.

They had made untrue, misleading promises that they did not keep.

It is true that many, many years ago the London Muslim Centre (LMC), which is linked to the East London mosque, did agree to meet me to discuss LGBT concerns. But I felt it was just a PR exercise. They paid lip service to opposing homophobia; being unwilling to engage with or affirm LGBT Muslims and not doing anything serious to challenge homophobia within the Muslim community.

In the last two years, I and my colleagues at the Peter Tatchell Foundation have 11 times contacted the mosque and LMC, requesting them to have a dialogue with the LGBT community: to build bridges and solidarity between LGBTs and Muslims to combat the prejudice, discrimination and violence that both communities suffer. We specifically requested them to dialogue with and host LGBT Muslims. All our requests have been rebuffed. They have repeatedly ignored our 11 appeals since 2015.

Other mainstream Muslim organisations, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, likewise refuse to dialogue with the LGBT community, refuse to accept LGBT Muslims and actively oppose LGBT equality, including campaigning against same-sex civil marriage and other LGBT equality laws over the last two decades.

I urge you to reject the complaints against the CEMB by the East London mosque and others. Instead, I urge you to ask them to explain why they refuse to have a dialogue with the LGBT community, refuse to publicly challenge homophobia within the Muslim community and why they refuse to publicly acknowledge and support LGBT Muslims.

I also request you to confirm that the CEMB can participate in future Pride parades.

If you have any queries, please get in touch.

Keep up the great work that Pride in London and the Community Advisory Board does. My thanks to you and all the volunteers for making Pride possible.

Much appreciation and best wishes,

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation


Trump’s mysterious silence on Putin

The mystery remains.

Given his willingness to trash and humiliate virtually every other person on the planet who publicly opposes him, why does Donald Trump remain silent when it comes to criticizing one our nation’s leading adversaries, Vladimir Putin?

And so Trump signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election (which Trump still isn’t convinced happened) and restricting his ability to lift or waive those sanctions.

But Trump called the bill (which passed the Senate 98 to 2 and the House of Representatives 419 to 3) “deeply flawed” and “clearly unconstitutional.” He said he signed it “for the sake of national unity.”

Of course he signed it because a veto would be overwhelmingly and humiliatingly overridden.

Not that such things seem to matter anymore, but doesn’t signing a bill he considers unconstitutional violate his oath of office?

Update: Ah. Relations with Moscow would be great if not for that meddling Congress.

Further update: To which John McCain responds:


Oldham Council Being “Positive”

“This preacher is a strong supporter of Thomas Mair, the man who murdered Jo Cox MP. But he doesn’t support Anders Breivik. And he’s speaking at a peace conference in town. That’s very positive, isn’t it? Let’s join him on the stage!”

This would be an absurd move by any local council. Especially if the person doing it was tasked with tackling extremism.

Now step away from the hypothetical and meet reality in Oldham:

EXTREMIST clerics from Pakistan have been back to Oldham to speak at a counter terrorism conference.

Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman were part of a group of faith leaders who spoke at The Werneth Suite Conference Centre, in Oldham, last month. They are on another tour across the UK and Europe which ends on August 27.

The aim of the conference, organised by the Ramadhan Foundation, was to “bring communities together and address terrorism”.

However, the Pakistani clerics have led a high-profile campaign in their country in praise of Mumtaz Qadri, who was executed in January, 2016, after murdering Pakistani politician Salman Taseer in 2011 for opposing Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. Qadri had claimed it was his religious duty to kill the Punjab governor.

Yes. As readers know, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman can be seen on video shouting his support for Mumtaz Qadri, a “martyr of Islam”. You don’t need to understand a single word to get the sickening fervour. Note that a big picture of Qadri is on the wall behind Rehman. His father Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman is seated beneath it, watching the tirade with approval.

And what was the council take? Let’s go to this, it’s “positive”.

Cllr Barbara Brownridge, the Oldham Council cabinet member who leads on tackling extremism, said: “Oldham Council was invited to attend a Counter Terrorism Conference and – given the stated aims of the event – bringing together people from a range of public and private sector organisations, religions and beliefs to unite against terrorism, which I’m sure we can all agree is a positive thing – representatives attended.

“We had no control or responsibility for the invitation list or organisation of the event.”

The Mayor of Oldham councillor Shadab Qumer and councillor Ateeque Ur-Rehman attended the event, along with Gorton MP and former North West MEP Afzal Khan.

How about strongly opposing all supporters of political and religious murder? That would be quite “positive”, wouldn’t it?


Fathom 17 | Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in West Germany in the 1970s: Lessons for Today

In this provocative analysis of discourse about Israel in West Germany in the 1970s, Martin Jander claims that far-Left and far-Right groups were encouraged, and in some cases even organised by the radical Arab nationalists in their midst, to spread an ideology of radical anti-Zionism that included elements of antisemitism. The Federal Republic of Germany failed to respond robustly, meeting a wave of incitement and political violence with intellectual incuriosityan appeasing spirit, and rationalist naivete. Jander argues that what made this anti-Zionist discourse possible, along with the participation of German left-wing and right-wing terrorists in the war against Israel, was the superficiality of postwar Germany’s confrontation with its National Socialist past. In contrast to the way this is often explained in current German historical writing, Jander argues that the encounter with the Nazi past had not struck roots as deep or as broad as had been hoped.

In the 1970s, a new breed of West German terrorists fabricated a parallel world out of ideology. The US was portrayed as the greatest enemy of the world with assistance from two main helpers, Germany and Israel. All three were depicted as fighting against the revolutionaries and those nations struggling for freedom. German fascism and Zionism appeared as the same thing. The terrorists that hijacked the Lufthansa airplane ‘Landshut’ on 13 October 1977, dominated by that ideology, informed the world that:

This operation aims at liberating our comrades from the jails of the imperialist-reactionary-Zionist alliance … revolutionary and freedom fighters all over the world are confronted with the monster of global imperialism – this barbaric war under the hegemony of the US against the nations of the world. In this war imperialist sub-centres like Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany fulfill the executive function of the suppression and liquidation of each and any revolutionary movement in and on their specific territories. In our occupied land the Imperialist-Zionist-reactionary enemy demonstrates the highest level of its bloody hostility and aggressiveness against our people and our revolution, against all the Arab masses and their patriotic and progressive forces. The expansionist and racist nature of Israel is – with Menachem Begin at the head of this product of imperialist interests – clearer than ever before. West Germany was set up on the same imperialistic foundation in 1945 as a US base.

The statement mixed nationalism with anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. And while the terrorists rejected the idea that they were anti-Semites they aimed to destroy Israel. READ MORE


Maduro extinguishes democracy in Venezuela

As the Maduro regime snuffs out the last embers of democracy in Venezuela, I appreciate President Trump’s forthright demand for the release of political prisoners, especially opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma.

After an opposition-boycotted election on Sunday that would replace the opposition-controlled National Assembly with a regime-controlled “Constitutional Assembly,” the US imposed sanctions on Maduro.

(Ken Livingstone, being Ken Livingstone, stands by Maduro and blames the Venezuelan calamity on Hugo Chavez’s failure to “execute the establishment elite”.)

The sanctions against Maduro are largely symbolic. A much more powerful action would be sanctions on oil imports from Venezuela. But as The Washington Post reports:

The president understands that it’s bad politics at home to rise gas prices. Venezuela supplies 10 percent of America’s oil imports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it the third largest supplier behind Canada and Saudi Arabia. Philip Verleger, an energy economist who runs consulting firm PKVerleger LLC, predicts oil prices could spike $10 a barrel if Trump does a full ban on Venezuelan oil.

“Prices would go up like a rocket,” says Verleger. “Gas prices in the U.S. would go up 25 or 30 cents a gallon within a couple of weeks.”

It would nice if the Trump administration extended its support for democracy to other oil producing countries. But all signs are that the administration will be extremely selective in its support for democracy and human rights in other countries.


Fathom 17 | A Deeply Rooted Anti-Zionism: Reflections from South Africa

While the degree of support for radical anti-Zionism in South Africa is often wildly exaggerated – the government remains committed to the two state solution and a 2007 poll indicated that 28 per cent of South Africans side with Israel in the conflict as opposed to 19 per cent with the Palestinians – it does have many supporters among South Africa’s Muslim minority, the militants of the African National Congress (ANC), hostile to every form of ethnic politics, and in parts of the white progressive intelligentsia who claim to see in Israel an ‘apartheid state’. In this essay, Milton Shain maps the history and the contemporary dynamics of anti-Zionism in South Africa.

It should not have come as a surprise to South Africans when a few months after the UN General Assembly endorsed the Goldstone Report in 2009, African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Kadar Asmal called on the world to deny legitimacy to Israel. To be sure, for the chattering and intellectual classes in South Africa, both black and white, the word ‘Zionism’ has become synonymous with evil. While a small Muslim minority, less than 2 per cent of the total population, drives the anti-Zionist agenda, hostility is widespread and deeply rooted in the largely black ANC and among the white progressive intelligentsia.

HISTORY OF ANTI-ZIONISM

Muslim hostility goes back decades. As early as 1925, a local newspaper, Muslim Outlook, criticised ‘Jewish capitalists’ in Palestine for allegedly forcing Arab peasants off the land, and the Israeli War of Independence (1947-48) was described in the Muslim press as a catastrophe (Nakba). Further Israeli victories against Arab forces that culminated in the Six-Day War, exacerbated anger as South African Muslims shared in the humiliation of their Muslim ‘brothers and sisters’. Yet for the most part hostility was low key, below the radar and largely removed from ‘white’ awareness in what was a hermetically sealed apartheid society. From the 1970s, however, hostility moved more into the open as a new generation of Muslims challenged the relative conservatism of their elders. The Muslim Youth Movement established in 1970 and the Muslim Students Association established four years later presented a more radical message and rejected the more accommodating behaviour of the Muslim establishment.

Increasingly, Muslims became acquainted with the Islamist writings of Abdul A’la Mawdudi (1903-1979) and Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966); while readers of Muslim News were warned about ‘Zionist designs’. Study programmes were initiated and manuals printed. Much of the material was provided by Islamic groups abroad, targeting Zionism, secularism, capitalism, and communism as the major threats to Islam. In calling for an ‘Islamic way of life,’ groups such as the Muslim Youth Movement ‘reflected an emergent black consciousness movement’s appeal to an authentic black identity in South Africa’. Inspired by radical teachings – including the writings of Ali Shari’ati (1933-1977) and the Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – and encouraged by the student uprising in Soweto in 1976, the success of the Iranian Revolution, Khomeinism and the international Muslim struggle against imperialism, young Muslims tapped into a deep-rooted anger that identified Zionism as the ‘citadel of imperialism’. The Muslim press regularly wrote about international financial machinations centred on Zionism, and well-organised Al-Quds Day events defined the Jewish state as a focus of evil and a conspiratorial centre. READ MORE


The Resurrection of Anwar al Awlaki

I’m sure most of you know who the infamous Anwar al Awlaki is. For those who don’t he’s the former head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At one point he was a preacher int he USA. His Virginia Falls Mosque was infamous for being attended by three of the 9/11 terrorists. He ended up making a run for it from the USA to Yemen where he quickly set up shop calling for violent Jihad against the West.

He’s dead now. Obama ordered the drone strike that killed him. Before he outed himself as a Jihadi he toured the UK extensively. He was held by the Yemenis for a year and once released gave an interview to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg who was the first person to interview him.

So it turns out that Iman FM a radio station in Sheffield has just been shut down for broadcasting 25 hours of Awlaki sermons over Ramadan.

The Independent said of OFCOM;

Its investigation found al-Awlaki’s lectures included “a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people” and “statements clearly condoning and encouraging acts of crime, terrorism or violent behaviour”.

Furthermore;

Iman FM made a formal submission claiming that its management and volunteers were “not aware of the background of the preacher and had no knowledge of him being proscribed by the United Nations” and that if known, they would not have broadcast the recordings.

But Ofcom said the “show more” tab on the YouTube page they were taken from detailed al-Awlaki’s identity, arrest and subsequent death.

The website 5 Pillars reported on this. The comments on their Facebook page show there is still support for Awlaki in the UK.


The Sunday Times and antisemitism: Myers and the SPSC

Kevin Myers’ vile article in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times was widely condemned as antisemitic.  However responses demonstrated some differences of emphasis.

One point of contention was Myers’ apparent approval for Israel.  For some, this cast a different light on the article.  It now seemed crass rather than unambiguously antisemitic.  Others were less convinced that it let him off the hook, and invoked his perversely meaningless screed on Holocaust denial.

Some of those who persisted in defending him seemed to see support for Israel as a good which trumped or negated any charge of antisemitism.

For others, this anomaly offered an opportunity to sneer.

White had no comment to make on another story in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Alex Massie’s report on antisemitism in the SPSC. This article was based on a document compiled by David Collier which you can consult here. In it he demonstrates the readiness with which many activists associated with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign share conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. Here Collier reports on the PSC’s so-called response.

The Sunday Times ran an article on the report. The official SPSC response, came from Sofiah MacLeod, chairwoman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. She said it is “not inclined to take seriously the so-called research”. ‘Not inclined’ to take it seriously that 40-50% of the SPSC activists share antisemitic material. We need to make them take it seriously. It isn’t the 1930’s. Is it?


Trump the cartoon tough guy

The smartest and most incisive writing about Donald Trump is being produced by conservatives who have the sense to be horrified by him and his sycophants.

And so I recommend this article by Kevin Williamson of The National Review in which he explains how Trump’s tough-guy persona is an utter sham. He suggests that Trump is a wannabe Blake (Alec Baldwin) from the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross who can’t quite pull it off. In fact he’s really more like the hapless salesman Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon).

Despite his railing and threatening, Trump can’t get a Republican majority in Congress to kill the dreaded Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). His attorney general blithely ignores Trump’s clumsy efforts to get him to quit. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans in Congress defy him by voting to tie his hands regarding sanctions against Russian officials and so Putin announces he is booting out 755 American diplomats.

Williamson writes of Trump:

He wants to be John Wayne, but what he is is “Woody Allen without the humor.” Peggy Noonan, to whom we owe that observation, has his number: He is soft, weak, whimpering, and petulant. He isn’t smart enough to do the job and isn’t man enough to own up to the fact. For all his gold-plated toilets, he is at heart that middling junior salesman watching Glengarry Glen Ross and thinking to himself: “That’s the man I want to be.” How many times do you imagine he has stood in front of a mirror trying to project like Alec Baldwin? Unfortunately for the president, it’s Baldwin who does the good imitation of Trump, not the other way around.

Hence the cartoon tough-guy act. [White House communications director Anthony] Scaramucci’s star didn’t fade when he gave that batty and profane interview in which he reimagined Steve Bannon as a kind of autoerotic yogi. That’s Scaramucci’s best impersonation of the sort of man the president of these United States, God help us, aspires to be.

But he isn’t that guy. He isn’t Blake. He’s poor sad old Shelley Levene, who cannot close the deal, who spends his nights whining about the unfairness of it all.