The East London Mosque and the mayor of Tower Hamlets have condemned homophobic stickers placed around the borough.
In a joint statement with a local interfaith forum and a gay group, they said that matter was being treated as a homophobic hate crime. The statement said: “All lines of enquiry are being pursued by police both within Tower Hamlets and London wide to identify and prosecute those responsible.”
The stickers quoted the Koran and declared the area a “gay-free zone”.
Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “Tower Hamlets has a proud history of challenging prejudice and promoting equality. There is no place for hate in Tower Hamlets and we take a zero-tolerance approach to homophobia.
“People of faith in Tower Hamlets are proud to be part of this diverse and vibrant borough, in which mutual respect and tolerance are vital to social harmony. We oppose all who seek to undermine these values – homophobic hate has no place in Tower Hamlets.
“Whatever their backgrounds of the people they do not speak in the name of Islam, Christianity or the other religions represented here.”
He added that he had met gay group Rainbow Hamlets and was “committed” to working with them.
Dilwar Khan, director of the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, said: “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.”
Reverend Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum said: “People of faith in Tower Hamlets are proud to be part of this diverse and vibrant borough, in which mutual respect and tolerance are vital to social harmony.
“We oppose all who seek to undermine these values – homophobic hate has no place in Tower Hamlets. Whatever their backgrounds of the people they do not speak in the name of Islam, Christianity or the other religions represented here.”
Rainbow Hamlets LGBT Community Forum said it welcomed the mayor and mosque’s comments.
This report basically reproduces a Tower Hamlets Council press release. Unfortunately, it omits the statement by the chairs of Rainbow Hamlets LGBT Community Forum, which included a condemnation of “those who use these incidents to create a moral panic and stoke up racist or Islamaphobic sentiment”.
This is a pity, since an earlier report was followed by comments demonstrating that some Pink News readers were using the incidents to do precisely that. As one appalled critic observed: “I’m not sure if I’m more horrified by the article or some of the comments here. Don’t respond to hate crimes with mindless bigotry.”
Some examples of this mindless bigotry:
“Tower Hamlets council is lost to extremism – they are taking over as the indiginous people have voter apathy because politicians have lost touch with society.”
“U.K should be an Islam free zone. Oh wait it was. Oh and we were here first.”
“Islam, the religion of peace and tolerance. Blessing of the paedophile they call Muhammed upon us all.”
“Oh well, you let immigrants take over entire swathes of the city, what do you expect? You reap what you sow.”
“London is unfortunately not the safe place it once was for us …and it will only get worse as their numbers increase and their vile ideology and demonic book of hatred take root. This hatred is not something that can be eradicated or even tamed, as ‘apologists’ seem to naively think. Islam is locked in the 7th century, it has not reformed, accepted science or adapted as other regilions have.”
“Read the EDL website ‘mission statement’. Surprisingly, it’s actually quite hard to knock, as it openly stands up for gay, female, Jewish and other rights…. The Guardian just calls them Islamophobes and far-right nutters, but there’s very little that’s irrational in their statement. To be honest, it just epitomises all the failings of multiculturalism. It’s very easy to shout racist, but it’s ideology they are criticising, not skin colour or ethnic origin.”
“Nobody is advocating violence against Muslims. But we need a real debate on just how much freedom we give to Muslims to act on the teachings of the Koran.”
“I want to live in a Muslim Free Zone.”
“The word Islam translates as SUBMIT and yes islam is full of love and so cosy for us all, IF we repent and denounce who we are.”
“Why the refusal to comment and condemn the stickers from the muslim organisations.”
“I read ther the EDL were gay friendly as well.”
“Muslims in the uk believe lgbt people lead morally bereft lifestyles… some people have no grasp of what islam is about .it is a religion of bigotry that associates any non believers as satanic.”
“Perhaps we should ask Baroness Warsi to go and reason with them.”
“Face it folks. They hate us.”
“If Islam is so peaceful, why haven’t we heard any condemnation from the imams in the mosques up and down the country? Why the silence?”
“let’s face it, most muslims are homophobic and fanatic.”
“who is Allah? homophobic primitive child molesting pervert?”
“Islam belongs in the Middle East. It has no place in Europe and it is incompatible with our Western values.”
Finally, to quote another critic of this rampant Islamophobia:
“I am appalled that the debate on this post is so horribly inflammatory. One would think that the more oppressed a group of individuals is then the more likely they are to be able to recognise it when they see it elsewhere. The truth is the complete opposite.
“It like the majority of the posters on here are simply using the issue of these disgusting stickers as a springboard to air their own deeply held prejudices. With the outcome that very few people are actually talking about the stickers or the message at all – and instead slagging off all Muslims in the most inflammatory terms.
“I am shocked that Pink News is allowing this to happen and have reported several of the posts here and asked for them to be removed.”
With limited results, it would seem.