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  • What happened in East London re: gays and the ELM

    by Sunny
    13th July, 2011 at 11:15 am    

    There was a good article in the Guardian yesterday offering background to the recent controversies in East London regarding Muslims and gays.

    The article by Jack Gilbert starts off describing the ‘Gay free zone’ stickers that were stuck around East London, and then says:

    Coverage of the sticker campaign, particularly online, often seemed ill-informed. Comment pieces from both sides tended towards a rabble-rousing tone, inspiring a torrent of racist and Islamaphobic abuse. I experienced more back-to-my-roots shivers, this time thinking about my grandparents’ fight against Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.

    Acting on Rainbow Hamlets’s advice, a joint statement was issued by Tower Hamlets’ mayor Lutfur Rahman, the Inter-faith Forum, and the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre (ELM). This represented the first public condemnation of homophobia by both Rahman and the ELM.

    Both the points: about the tone of the debate online (I wonder which blogs he was thinking of!) and of who were the first to issue a condemnation, should be noted.

    Jack Gilbert then highlights two more points. First, that the law is inadequate in dealing with homophobic abuse in the way that it deals with racist abuse for example. I suspect this is partly because tightening that up would instantly render both the Testaments and the Qu’ran as illegal writings. Nevertheless, I believe more needs to be done.

    Secondly, he does say that the East London Mosque initially failed to back its initial action with more public statements. But he later says:

    Today, moderate communities have a simple unequivocal duty: to be seen to show all their neighbours respect – whether or not they agree or approve of their beliefs or lifestyle. What is needed is a paradigm shift among LGBT and Muslim opinion formers, one that enables the leaders to find a rhetoric that can speak of respect and joint-working publicly, and which addresses patterns of prejudice on all sides without fear

    He is right. There is an internal battle going on at the ELM right now between conservative and more moderate voices. Like in the Usama Hasan case, I hope that saner, moderate voices prevail. In fact I’m sure they eventually will.

    But the likes of Andrew Gilligan and certain blogs with their incendiary and one-sided reporting don’t help this debate. In fact they poison it.

    I hope the ELM will pay close attention to the progress report and listen to local communities in how it can tackle homophobia, regardless of what racists outside of the area say online.

                  Post to

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    1. Paul Stott — on 13th July, 2011 at 11:22 am  

      Sunny - You may have more credibility on this issue if you point out exactly who was doing the misleading. Senior Respect members, with Kevin Ovenden to the fore, quickly concluded the anti-gay stickers could not have come from local Muslims, and had to be an EDL provocation.

      This turned out to be wishful thinking.

    2. Dave North — on 13th July, 2011 at 11:41 am  

      Being gay is NOT a belief or a lifestyle.

      It is a state of being.

    3. Imran Khan — on 13th July, 2011 at 12:46 pm  

      Sunny is increasingly looking like a man who has consistently got it wrong, which he has, and is now in a desperate danage limitation exercise.

      I know as well as he does that the statements from the ELM were entirely for public consumption and their presence on the inter faith forum in Tower Hamlets was for the same reason.

      ELM/IFE and their associated groups and individuals remain anti gay and anti semitic. If Sunny had thought before writing what he has done over the last year or so he could have come out of this with some credibility.

      His juvenile attacks on Andrew Gilligan are just that and continue up to the above article. Nothing Gilligan has written can in any way be construed as incendiary or one sided just accurate and precient. Gilligan was correct all along and Sunny was wrong.

    4. sheffielder — on 13th July, 2011 at 2:46 pm  

      #1 - Exactly Paul. Kevin Ovenden’s claim that the EDL had faked the stickers in an attempt to divide the community in Tower Hamlets did two things ; it diverted blame away from the issue with homophobia amongst some muslims in the areas and credited the EDL with more influence and activists than they actually have. He would rather have given credence to racists than to actually address an existing problem.

    5. damon — on 13th July, 2011 at 6:36 pm  

      Expecting ELM to become far more liberal than the general population of Bangladesh and the Arab world is a tall order. As it’s leadership comes from the most conservative elements from those societies I’d have thought. I would like to see the people who run the mosque being invited along to some gay venues and to take part in the Pride march. My guess is that they will resent being pressurised by the political LBGT agenda.

    6. Lamia — on 13th July, 2011 at 11:49 pm  

      I see. To insist that a mosque not keep hosting people who have preached the demonisation, criminalisation and even killing of people like oneself is to have ‘a political agenda’. What a scumbag you are.

    7. joe90 — on 14th July, 2011 at 12:41 am  

      post #3

      elm anti semitic? that’s a laugh if you actually visited the place you would realise it still has a functioning synagogue built in one section of mosque.

      but don’t let your islamaphobia get in the way carry on!

    8. DocMartyn — on 14th July, 2011 at 1:10 am  

      “There is an internal battle going on at the ELM right now between conservative and more moderate voices.”

      i cannot help but note that that you only ever use the term ‘conservative’ as an insult. So you have one group of fascists who proclaim they wish to murder people, the bad guys, and the moderates, who also want to murder people, but keep it quiet.
      Why don’t you just call the racist, genocidal, homophobic, misogynistic jihadists who don’t openly articulate their views ‘Progressives’.

    9. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 1:20 am  

      If you were refering to me Lamia, I meant the general LBGT political agenda. The general political view of LBGT activists. Like was outlined in the article linked to in this post by Jack Gilbert, ‘gay rights campaigner’.

      A series of specially convened meetings at the town hall drew representatives from council departments, education, housing, the police and community organisations. At these meetings, the sticker campaign, homophobic hate preachers, racism among some members of the LGBT community and the infiltration by the far right of East End Gay Pride were placed firmly on the agenda, each with equal vigour.

      Do you get me now Lamia? An ”LBGT agenda” was not my idea but his, and the subject of this thread.

    10. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 1:50 am  

      Yes, an agenda for a meeting, as your own quote makes perfectly clear. It is an agenda to campaign for other people to respect the principle of equality, as they have already, belatedly, promised to do, equality, that’s all, not a ‘political agenda.’ It is about social equality, and equal treatment before the law, not political power.

      Would you describe women campaigning against sexism, or ethnic minorities campaigning against racism, i.e. merely campaigning for their own social equality, as having a ‘political agenda’. Do people campaigning against a miscarriage of justice have ‘a political agenda’, or is it just LGBT people you use that term about when they demand equal treatment?

    11. Sunny — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:06 am  

      There was a time that we actually got trolls who didn’t call you Hitler every two minutes!


      Its a good thing I don’t listen to people.

    12. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:16 am  

      Lamia, I reject the idea of there being one view on any of the things you have mentioned. As I would reject that there was one view of what socialism or progressive politics was. I think it is perfectly legitimate to agree with or reject aspects of gender politics and race politics, and also the different opinions on what to do about gay equality and how to fight homophobia. LBGT in my opinion is one particular branch of sexuality politics. And I am not completely convinced by their politics/programme/agenda or what ever you want to cal it. In the same way that I have issues with the ”anti-fascist agenda” put foreward by the likes of UAF and the ANL.
      And one of the reasons I have a problem with LBGT is that I think they only listen to themselves talking and will have no time for people who question their political programme. Of which even using the acronym ”LBGT” is a political statement - and one that I guess they will not want questioned.
      And btw, I say this as a 90% straight bloke. ;)

    13. AbuF — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:52 am  

      A shame Joe90 resorts to outright lies.

      ELM does *not* have a functioning synagogue “built into it”.

      Fieldgate Street Great Synagogue, London E1 is located *next door* to the East London Mosque. It is not part of the ELM.

      Fieldgate Street was founded in 1899. Long before ELM ever came to disgrace the neighbourhood.

    14. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 5:47 am  

      #13 is correct and it has taken a fellow Muslim to poin out what anyone who has known the area for years should.

      Unfortunately there has been a long campaign of harassment of the synagogue which they have resisted. There is intense pressure on them to sell but they won’t and there is no reason why they should.

      The current mosque and other facilities gradually bought up all of the land around the synagogue and built on it thereby surrounding, almost, the original Jewish building.

      Joe90′s take is either a lie as has been alleged or ignorance. Could he enlighten us? Also, what is Sunny’s post at #11 about?

    15. Uriah — on 14th July, 2011 at 8:02 am  

      What campaign, what pressure? Imran, why tackle a lie with another lie? Or is it ignorance? Could you enlighten us?

    16. kenwood — on 14th July, 2011 at 8:14 am  


      Honestly, I think you have lost the plot. You seem to be suggesting, continually these days, that if one is against white skinned, right wing Fascist attitudes, then good for you. But if you are against brown skinned, left wing Fascist attitudes, you are a racist.You have gone from trying to bring likeminded people together, to accusing them of racism.

      I am against racism and facism wherever it comes from. I run a very small business that peaked at 12 employees. i am Jewish and I have hired Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Zorastrians, Protestants and Aethists. To accuse me of racism because, like Andrew Gilligan and others, I am concerned by the racist and homphobic elements within the East London Mosque is ridiculous. And does you no favours. And actually makes me wonder what you are all about.

    17. Optimist — on 14th July, 2011 at 9:23 am  

      kenwood -

      ‘left wing Fascist’ - now who would have thought of a better contradiction of terms than that!

    18. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 10:04 am  

      Uriah. The police have been called several times to protect the Jews who make up a “minyan” the required number every week to keep the synagogue open and functioning. Hizb Ut Tahir have held several demos against the presence of the synagogue.

      At the instigation of the ELM/IFE Tower Hamlets council proposed to install an Arabic themed mosaic in the pavement in front of the entrance to the synagogue so that Jews would have to walk over it.

      This was done under the former leadership of Lutfur Rahman. It was under the guise of ” Environmental improvements” and was to be done there and nowhere else in the borough.

      There was a major stink and it was cancelled. You really ought to engage your brain before you open your mouth, get to know the area and read the East London Advertiser.

    19. ThomasFowler — on 14th July, 2011 at 10:26 am  

      Did Harry’s Place open an embassy here and invite its noble truth seekers and conspiracy theory experts to set up shop?

      Rhetorical question.

    20. greg — on 14th July, 2011 at 11:06 am  


      Its a good thing I don’t listen to people

      Lest some truths may hit home.

      Best to stay ignorant, eh Sunny.

    21. Mam Tor — on 14th July, 2011 at 11:17 am  

      So Gilligan’s hounding will ‘poison’ the debate at ELM?

      Are there rules of engagement that stress that criticisms of someone’s politics must only be conducted in such a manner that the target will react favourably to any criticism?

      If an organisation is unable to effect change when challenged that is usually considered another failing of the organisation, not a failing of the people who challange it.

    22. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 12:42 pm  

      @ damon,

      “even using the acronym ”LBGT” is a political statement”

      It’s a shorthand for a social demographic group like BEM, that’s all. To compare it with the initials of political parties or movements is disingenuous.

      Rainbow Hamlets do not equate with LGBT people. They are not some sort of elected rerpesentatives. To to say there is a LGBT ‘political agenda’ is as creepy as saying there is a Jewish political agenda, or a Muslim political agenda or a black political agenda.

      And in any case, not only are Rainbow Hamlets not bullying ELM with some ‘agenda’, in actual fact their record on this has been of veering too far the other way in accepting and parroting whatever soft assurances the Mosque, council, police etc have given about homophobia in TH. This recently included meekly propagating the agreeable lie that the Gay Free Zone posters were an EDL black op, i.e. that this was all about important stuff like racial and religious bigotry, not trivial stuff like homophobia.

      And now Rainbow Hamlets, who were rightly criticsed by LGBT people for letting themselves be used in this way, appear to have learned their lesson and are rightly putting the ELM under scrutiny, as it deserves. And predictably we get some ‘progressive’ types portraying that as evidence of some political agenda which is being unreasonable to Muslims. You are reminsicent of the kind of conservatives who speak affrontedly of minorities demanding ‘special rights’ when they are simply demanding what said affronted folk already have, accept and expect for themselves.

    23. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:09 pm  

      Thomas Fowler at #19. Could you run that past us in English please?

    24. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:34 pm  

      It’s a shorthand for a social demographic group like BEM, that’s all. To compare it with the initials of political parties or movements is disingenuous.

      Well I disagree with you. I have yet to be convinced of the LBGT/Queer social demographic. And I don’t think you should assume that everyone takes it as a given. Do I get counted as bi-sexual if I’ve had one or two non-hetro dalliances in the past? What if I reject your labels?

      In fact, I have read very little mainstream discussion of bi-sexuality and transgender.

      I saw this clip yesterday after the Channel 4 news and it made me laugh.

      As the General Synod meets to discuss Church of England policy, asks: is it wrong for Anglican Bishops to be actively gay? Peter Crawford was brought up a devout Anglican. He believes that denying his homosexuality is a sin and wants gay bishops as role models.

      I wondered how long before people were making such demands at ELM.

      And while there is not a ”black political agenda” - there is an agenda by certain black activists like Lee Jasper and Operation Black Vote.

    25. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 2:47 pm  


      All of a sudden you have conjured the initials BEM from nowhere. Quite why I don’t know. I also disagree that there isn’t a ” black political agenda”, there most certainly is and it involves people like Lee Jasper and OBV chiselling large amounts of public money from taxpayers like me.

      I object to being categorised as anything without being consulted. Yet the likes of Jasper and OBV have created a non existent community which they claim to represent which is variously termed Black Minority Ethnic/ Black Ethnic Minority and even Black Asian Minority Ethnic, BAME.

      The likes of Jasper and OBV have done more damage to good race relations in this country than the BNP. Discuss.

    26. Lamia2 — on 14th July, 2011 at 3:08 pm  

      @ Damon

      “Well I disagree with you. I have yet to be convinced of the LBGT/Queer social demographic. And I don’t think you should assume that everyone takes it as a given.”

      Well the law does and plenty of other people do, including plenty of preachers at ELM do, as do those who put up the Gay free Zone stickers. They are often treated differently by the law and by other people on the grounds of this, so it is fallacious to treat it as a political construction solely by those self-identified as LGBT. The acronym is mainly partly for concision, and the grouping refers to people who tend to face the same kinds of prejudice from the same kinds of people on the same kinds of ‘reasoning’.

      But if you want to be counted out of that, fine, you can take it that I am referring primarily to gay and lesbian people, who do exist, just as much as black people exist, and many of whom are subject to abuse, attacks and discrimination on account of their sexuality.

      If you feel the ELM has no beef with bisexual people or those who have ‘one or two non-hetro dalliances’, then this is clearly not a problem to concern you. Undeniably, however, there are plenty of people it does concern, and they are not demonstrating ‘political agenda’ in demanding equal treatment and holding ELM to account for its behaviour and its broken promises.

      “He believes that denying his homosexuality is a sin and wants gay bishops as role models.

      I wondered how long before people were making such demands at ELM.”

      Of course. I mean it’s just one short step from NOT letting people play ‘spot the fag’ in your Mosque or from welcoming to preach the Friday Sermon people like Abu Usamah who have called on film for gay people to be tortured and killed… to having to let gay clerics run the place, isn’t it Damon?

      You’ve come up with enough strawmen to fill a barn.

      @ Imran,

      BEM was brought into this by me, not Damon. I know it’s an umbrella term, just as I know that LGBT covers a lot of different people with different defining characteristics. It was used in counterpoint to Damon’s suggestion that ‘LGBT’ implies some kind of political agenda, rather than a shorthand reference to what I have called above “people who tend to face the same kinds of prejudice from the same kinds of people on the same kinds of ‘reasoning’”.

    27. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 3:31 pm  

      I tried to reply to Damon but there seems to be a glitch.

    28. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 3:48 pm  

      @ Damon,

      if you want to be counted out of that umbrella term, fine. The acronym is mainly partly for concision and inclusiveness. It refers to people who tend to face the same kinds of prejudice, from the same kinds of people, on the same kinds of ‘reasoning’.

      The fact is, they are often treated differently by the law and by other people on the grounds of this, so it is fallacious to treat LGBT as a political construction solely by those self-identified as LGBT. To do so is rather like questioning the existence of racism on the grounds that race is an artificial construct. It is a disingenuous tactic.

      If you feel the ELM has no beef with bisexual people or those who have ‘one or two non-hetro dalliances’, then this is clearly not a problem to concern you. Undeniably, however, there are plenty of people it does concern, and whether they call themselves ‘LGBT’ or simply ‘some citizens who are gay’, they are not demonstrating a ‘political agenda’ in demanding equal treatment and holding ELM to account for its behaviour and its broken promises.

      “He believes that denying his homosexuality is a sin and wants gay bishops as role models.

      I wondered how long before people were making such demands at ELM.”

      Right. It’s just one short step from NOT letting people play ‘spot the fag’ in your Mosque or from welcoming to preach the Friday Sermon people like Abu Usamah who have called on film for gay people to be tortured and killed… to having to let gay clerics run the place, isn’t it?

      @ Imran,

      In fairness, BEM was brought into this by me, not Damon. I know it’s a simplistic umbrella term, covering a lot of different people with different characteristics. It was used in counterpoint to Damon’s suggestion that ‘LGBT’ implies some kind of political movement and agenda like the UAF, rather than being primarily a shorthand reference to what I have called above “people who tend to face the same kinds of prejudice, from the same kinds of people, on the same kinds of ‘reasoning’”.

    29. ThomasFowler — on 14th July, 2011 at 4:38 pm  

      Point of order: if, indeed, this place is the hellhole it is made out to be, how come the police haven’t raided it? Why is it not closed? Is it indeed kept afloat today on millions of public money per annum? Has anyone actually spoken to the mosque or its congregation recently? Has anyone done some basic reporting and double-checked the facts: I mean, gone back not to Harry’s Place or Andrew Gilligan, but back to the source and cross-verified with another source?

      Sounds like the East End indeed is a hellhole for anyone not aligned with the Taliban. I shall remember that next time I walk down Whitechapel Road.

    30. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 5:19 pm  

      “Point of order: if, indeed, this place is the hellhole it is made out to be, how come the police haven’t raided it? Why is it not closed?”

      The same ‘argument’ could have been made about the NOTW until very recently.

    31. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 5:53 pm  

      Emotive words like ” Hellhole” don’t really help this discussion. The situation is that there is overwhelming evidence that the ELM and Muslim have, over the year, hosted extremist Islamic preachers who have called for various forms of actions against Jews and Gay people.

      Amongst others a very senior Immam from the Mosque of the Kabba in Mecca. Abdul Rahman Al Sudais has made very public on the record remarks about Jews which are totally unacceptable but which are widely accepted by Muslims in this country and elsewhere.

      The “spot the faggot” video of a speech made at the East London Mosque is widely available on the internet. Why doesn’t Thomas Fowler do his own checking if he is so sceptical.

      The fact of the matter is that Gilligan, HP, and several TV channels which have broadcast documentaries on these are correct and no amount of wriggling will change the unpalatable truth.

    32. Lamia — on 14th July, 2011 at 6:34 pm  


      you have been putting up strawmen, repeatedly. Apart from the aforementioned ‘hellhole’ reference, we have had gems along the lines of:

      “The effects on the ground are not what is described by Mr Gilligan and his disciples. Gay people are not being attacked the minute they exit Whitechapel tube station.”


      “that does not equate to a gay-bashing plague.”

      It is you who has tried to make it about that caricature, not other commenters, who have been talking about ELM and the undeniable facts about who it has hosted, fascts which are independent of whether Harry’s Place or Andrew Gilligan have referred to them, and a great many of which are from speeches or documents from the websites of vaious preachers, mosques and Islamic groups.

      You have treated the discussions in theses threads as part of a campaign against the ELM, and yet at least the first two (I think this is the third) were in response to articles depicting ELM as victims of prejudice, which is rich to the point of being stomach-turning. The article above shows more in the way of balance.

      Personally I am happy to see how ELM responds to this letter, which I think is perfectly justified and reasonable after all that has gone before. I don’t hold out much hope but we shall see. In the meantime, you would be doing the truth a favour if you left off fabricating strawmen about how this argument is being conducted by others.

      You have told me, apparently on my behalf, that Andrew Gilligan is ‘no friend of gay people’. That’s as may be. From my perspective, you don’t seem like one either, regardless of your attempts to speak on behalf of claimed gay friends in opposition to people who are actually gay and who, quite understandably and perfectly reasonably, have a far more direct and alarmed reaction to images like ‘Gay Free Zone’ or talk of ‘spot the fag’ or ‘gays sould be killed’.

      You see, it’s not you they’re talking about, Thomas, its people like me. Frankly you show no idea of understanding what it is like to be on the receiving end of that kind of demonisation - and especially to then see supposed ‘progressives’ make excuses for those doing, or facilitating, the demonising.

    33. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 6:49 pm  

      I would like to hear an LBGT group explaining bi-sexual and transgender to some conservative un-worldly imam from Bangladesh. Maybe they’d get the bi-sexual idea if you said it was like a man having two wives. The man has a girlfriend and has a boyfriend too. Maybe two girlfriends and two boyfriends. They might grasp that idea. But pre-op male to female transexuals might be a bit harder. And lumping them altogether in a take it or leave it package can confuse things as complicated as this … where even a leading feminist like Julie Bindel has had a big problem accepting transexuals.

    34. Imran — on 14th July, 2011 at 7:12 pm  

      To say that Damon has lost the plot in #32 is beg the question what was the plot in the first place. The whole thing not about whether or not some Immam from Bangladesh understands the ins and out of LBGTism or not and I have to say that I don’t.

      The whole crux of the matter is whether or not the ELM that Immam or anyone else accepts the fact that it is wrong to preach what is essentially violence against others be they gay or of a different religion and that has taken place at the ELM.

      The protestations of the ELM management are worthless because they carry on regardless. What is needed is a complete boycott of the place and the cutting off of public funds until there is compliance with the rule of law and accepted standards of behaviour.

    35. Rachel — on 14th July, 2011 at 7:46 pm  

      Don’t quite agree with any of the above…the situation is both better and worse than some think…

      Lamia called me something like ‘homophobic scum’ a few months ago on Harrys Place because I opposed the EDL-linked gay pride march.

      And I’ve been called an ‘HP tosser’ (before I had ever seen Harrys Place and even knew what one was)by a Pickled Politics editor because I criticised Islamists.

      I’m neither.The polarisation is ridiculous and unnecessary. The truth is that Tower Hamlets like other places is full of contradictions and complexities.

      I know out gay people who live here and are just fine, including some who work in local state FE colleges and schools. My school has a very camp gay man in a prominant position - he loves working here and has no intention of leaving. So it isn’t the caricature that some make out, where gay people can’t walk the streets.

      On the other hand, even apart from the more ‘spectacular’ attacks on LBGT people and notorious hate preachers who have been filmed at the ELM, the reality is still very depressing. (Bullying in schools and among young people seems unbelievably homophobic - I don’t know if this is worse than in other parts of the country, it might be the same everywhere).

      The campaign against sex education in schools is continuing and to me this is very important - it may seem not as important as feuding about Andrew Gilligan, but I think it needs to be taken no less seriously than we would if we were being confronted with white evangelicals rather than Asian and African Muslims.

      A parent governor in my school is encouraging a campaign against the sex education that is taught as part of science classes. This man already removes his children from any lessons that are about people of other faiths and music classes as well (Sorry Bob Pitt if you’re reading - I’m not a racist Daily Mail reader, I’m a white mum who very happily send her kids to a school that is 95% Bengali Muslim). Do you think this man will accept teaching about homosexuality in schools? Do you think the school facing this sort of campaign is likely to take up the offer by LBGT groups (some funded by the council) to do training and provide materials for schools? No, they are scared shitless.

      This is the campaign that the ELM is encouraging - the Director Dilowar Khan signed a letter sent to all schools that you can read here:

      Now this is not directly about homosexuality, but I think it’s likely that this is not a gay-friendly situation.

      So, things aren’t good. I wish we had more allies locally and nationally for our struggle for secular spaces. I wish we had Sunny Hundal.

      ps to Damon - what we’ve got at ELM I see more as a modern religious fundamentalist movement rather than ‘backwardness’ or traditionalism. Some argue that all fundamentalist movements (from whatever religion) are aggressively modern…but that’s another thread.

    36. joe90 — on 14th July, 2011 at 10:04 pm  


      elm have good relations with the synagogue so your poor attempt to smear elm as anti semitic fails badly unlucky try again.

    37. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 10:43 pm  

      It gets even more complicated when the transgender man has a baby with his transgender husband.

      That’s all part of LBGT I presume. Both were once lesbians, and now are both gay men … I think.

    38. Don — on 14th July, 2011 at 10:52 pm  


      What on earth are you talking about?

    39. damon — on 14th July, 2011 at 11:41 pm  

      Don, Jack Gilbert who this thread links to an article by, co-chairs the Tower Hamlets lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) forum. He writes things like this:

      Out of these meetings came the idea for a major interfaith conference on the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May. A multifaith LGBT steering group was assembled and Rahman and the cohesion minister, Andrew Stunell, agreed to join more than 80 LGBT and straight people from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist and secular backgrounds.

      So if they present themselves as LBGT I think they should explain exactly what that means. And with transgender, it can get particularly difficult for either traditionalist or fundamentalist religious people. Like former lesbians becoming gay men and then one then having a baby as a man.

    40. Imran — on 15th July, 2011 at 1:26 am  

      Joe90. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever attended the ELM? I used to but have now stopped going because of the extremism that is hosted there.

      I don’t think that you have any links with East London or know anything about the situation.

    41. Lamia — on 15th July, 2011 at 1:44 am  

      @ Damon,

      “It gets even more complicated when the transgender man has a baby with his transgender husband.”

      Did you even read the article you linked to? There are not two transgender people in that story. Are you trolling or simply thick?

      @ Imran,

      “To say that Damon has lost the plot in #32 is beg the question what was the plot in the first place.”

      Quite. Damon is presenting a strawman situation in which the problem partly arises at least in part from LGBT people either not explaining themselves properly, or unreasonably demanding that people at ELM make an effort to understand transgenderism, appoint gay clerics etc. No one is making those demands. The demand is simply that ELM stops hosting homophobes, as it has promised to do.

      As a parallel, saying people shouldn’t demonise Muslims doesn’t amount to an unreasonable demand that those people familiarise themselves with the finer points of Islamic theology. It is simply about how you treat other people. Same goes for ELM and gay people.

    42. Cluespot — on 15th July, 2011 at 2:43 am  

      I don’t think that you have any links with East London or know anything about the situation.

      Oh he does, for sure. As a good Islamist, he simply can’t help lying.

    43. ThomasFowler — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:10 am  

      My point is this: surely right-minded Muslims, non-Muslims, local LGBT groups - anyone - living in that area needs to reach a compromise.

      Some sort of “live and let live” understanding. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, in some form of media-witnessed treaty (though it could be): it simply needs to work in practice.

      There are a lot of undercurrents here: politics, demographics change, internal politics within the Muslim community, the presence of various extremist groups, differences within and between LGBT organisations, and lots of “facts” and statistics which, IMO, have unhelpfully been edited by those (commentators and bloggers) seeking to make political capital but not necessarily helping those gay men and women on the ground.

      If I wanted peace in the area, I’d get all sides talking: not just on this issue, but on the many other issues which have been raised in recent months.

      What I would not recommend is trial by media, or blogger, and with such sensitive issues it is imperative to double-check all the facts and then, presumably (no doubt in my hopelessly naive liberal dream world in which I live) get people round a table talking.

      Nothing is set in stone. Myths abound, and there’s a lot of wild talk about closing down institutions as though they are (in my terms) ‘hellholes’ when you don’t get that impression if you talk to other statutory bodies (e.g. police, intelligence services). By no means does that excuse anything, but it does call for calm heads and rational dialogue - @Lamia I’ve found your last few posts actually *well-put* and rational, and I hope you can keep that tone in your future discussions.

      Surely, if we all had the noble intention of helping the local LGBT community, we’d encourage taking the tone of the debate into calmer waters and see what can be resolved. Don’t expect a conservative Muslim community, with as you say politicised Islamic factions, to go on bended knee to Jack Gilbert or Peter Tatchell whilst Andrew Gilligan watches from the sidelines. For all the good it has done the peoples of Israel and Palestine, look how screaming pejoratives have helped either side secure peace. No-one can guarantee success, but time, patience, determination and realism are the best hopes here (IMO).

    44. Imran — on 15th July, 2011 at 10:03 am  

      Lamia @#41.

      Well summed up and a demolition of #43. Thomas Fowler either has no idea of what is going on or does and is deliberately obtuse.

      As far as I see things all that gays, LGBTs or whatever, want is to be left alone, not demonised in sermons at the ELM or attacked on the streets. That of course is their right under the laws and customs of this country.

      Basically a section of the left have decided that any criticism of Islam is Islamophobic a phrase that must now be one of the most misused ever even if anyone was able to define it in the first place.

      Thomas Fowler is beyond parody. His last posting is a joke. What exactly does ” Don’t expect a conservative Muslim community, with as you say politicised Islamic factions, to go down on bended knee to Jack Gilbert or Peter Tatchell whilst Andrew Gilligan watches from the sidelines” ?

      What exactly does any of that mean, can anyone explain to us?

    45. damon — on 15th July, 2011 at 11:53 am  

      Apologies Lamia, I was recalling the story about Thomas Beatie from memory, as he was in the news in quite a big way a few years ago, pictured pregnant whilst shaving in the mirror, on the Oprah Winfrey show etc.
      He had been in a lesbian relationship and then became a man and married his wife. He then went on to have three children. This is what the T in LBGT is about I presume.
      My point quite simply is that if you present yourselves as LBGT, particularly to a conservative institution and community like ELM, then I think it’s good manners if you first explain to them who you are and what you’re about. Of course you can ask them to desist from calling for the death of such people or having ‘spot the fag’ competitions at the mosque, but surely you will want to have some further relationship with them too, and so it would be normal courtesy to explain what your acronym meant.

      I don’t even undersatand it and I might fall within its parameters. What do cross dressing men have to do with someone who is basicly hetro, but once ‘got off’ with a friend of the same sex?
      My point is just that I think that ”LBGT” is politically dishonest. It’s a movement and an agenda.
      Which is fair enough, but I think it should be explained fully. I have so little understanding of bisexual and transgender that it means that I don’t undersatnd LGBT. So how do you expect religious fundamentalists to do so? You can call that trolling if you like Lamia, but if you insist it is, I’d say that shows up some of the pro LBGT people as being intollerent when people ask ”stupid questions”.

      Btw, I say this because I have some sympathy with that strand of feminism that is somewhat dubious of the transgender issue as it is presented.

    46. imran khan — on 15th July, 2011 at 3:02 pm  


      Shut up.

    47. damon — on 15th July, 2011 at 4:50 pm  

      Imran khan, that’s the kiind of response that makes me suggest that ”LBGT” is dishonest. It purports that we have arrived at a level of understanding that is actually still quite a radical one.
      But it will refusse to go back and explain basic questions, because it will insist that that ground has already been covered, and the problem is just ignorant or prejudiced individuals.

      Yusaf Patel obviously has a problem with LBGT week in east London schools. How do you talk to him? He was defended on Pickled Politics as the legitimate face of Islamism (I think).

    48. Imran — on 15th July, 2011 at 4:53 pm  

      47,see 46. You are thick.

    49. douglas clark — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:01 pm  

      damon @, well so on ad infinitum.

      As you know I am Scottish. I am 99% sure you are Northern Irish.

      Do you actually dislike folk that write here?

      I am just asking because I find myself agreeing with folk like Optimist, Imran Khan, Rumbold. Y’know, folk like that. There are lots more, our good host, Jai…

      But you seem to me to feel you have to be different, have to uniquely something.

      Don is uniquely something. But it is very rare for anyone on here to feel threatened or attacked by him.

      Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t do it on here.

      You, OTOH want to start a war, every time you post.

      Damon, I can’t see the point of that. Most of the people around here are OK, and pretty well sensible.

      Why do you play a game that says they are not?

    50. damon — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:22 pm  

      Douglas, I’m from London. I just live here at the moment. As usual I don’t know what you are on about.
      If someone presents themselves as from an LBGT group or community I think it’s OK to ask what that is exactly. Can you not understand something so simple?

      Yusaf Patel (do you know who he is?) was objecting to having an ”LBGT week” in east London schools. He was saying this at the ELM. There was a whole thread about him on Pickled Politics last week. And why he was alright coming to the ELM just to tall about sex education in schools.
      That he couldn’t be called a ”hate preacher” just because he publicly opposed having LBGT teaching in schools.

      Have a read of this Douglas. It’s Beatrix Campbell defending Julie Bindel.

      I have some sympathy with Julie Bindel’s view of the transgender issue … as much as I understand it. But I understand that what she says is very controversial.

    51. sheffielder — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:25 pm  

      #45 - Damon , A bisexual person is attracted to both sexes , they are not as you said earlier “like a man having two wives”. A transgender person is considering, or actually going through, gender re-assignment (a sex change). You seem to have a problem with both.

    52. Imran — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:45 pm  

      Well this seems to have gone off topic so why not, Sunny, an article on the coming EDL march in Tower Hamlets? There are a number of issues here which could be usefully explored, should it go ahead, should it be banned?

      Whatever people do or don’t do, however, is to have a headline on the subject similar to the current one on the subject, the EDL, at See if any of you can spot the mistakes?

    53. Auberon — on 15th July, 2011 at 9:59 pm  

      Imran: “Have you ever attended the ELM? I used to but have now stopped going because of the extremism that is hosted there.”

      I find it hard to believe you’re a Muslim, I strongly suspect it is another lie. Muslims claim they’re not supposed to lie (unless this is a Shia ‘taqiya’ thing), and of course the fact you feel you need to lie diminishes everything else you say.

      I have visited both the synagogue and mosque, on the same day in fact in a joint programme they held. I recall full well the lie alleging an islamic mosaic was to be put outside the synagogue, not least because they issued a joint press release with the mosque rubbishing the claim. Of course, not a shred of evidence was ever produced to support this lie, it looked like a shoddy attempt to cause disharmony.

      Interestingly, the guide at the synagogue explained they only use it for special Jewish festivals and tours, not the regular congregation as there aren’t enough members any more, so your lie about police protection for the ‘minyan’ looks lame.

      And you can spell ‘minyan’ but not ‘Imam’! No, you don’t sound like a Muslim at all.

    54. THResident — on 15th July, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      This is a statement that ELM issued after false allegations about the ELM’s relationship with the Synagogue.

      Here is another statment by a farm in Spitlefields about the relationship between the ELM and the Synagogue.

      Imran Khan, you are trying to stir up disunity in my community based on the inuendo of gutter journalists like Andrew Gilligan and Ted Jeory.

    55. AbuF — on 16th July, 2011 at 4:26 am  

      Oddly, resident of ELM @ #54, you can find no statements of an equally gushing kind on behalf of the synagogue?

      Fancy that.

      The ELM also claim that they will never host naughty preachers again - you know, the one’s that revel in violence and hatred towards anybody they don’t like the look of.

      Why should we believe them… ever? They keep telling *lies*.

    56. AbuF — on 16th July, 2011 at 4:29 am  

      Auberon engages in a bit of takfir and anti-Shi’a sectarianism… how oddly that would suit a fine, upstanding Sunni sectarian bigot of the kind that attends ELM.

      Of course, with a name like Auberon that cannot be true. In fact, he got a bit miffed and accused me of racism the other day when I pointed out the frequency with which Islamists adopt White sounding nicknames to disguise themselves on the interweb.

      Yeah, right, Aubie - hint: Islam is *not* a race.

    57. Auberon — on 16th July, 2011 at 9:01 am  

      @AbuF - why do so many people who viciously attack the ELM lie so much and, in at least a couple of cases here, choose an apparently Muslim nickname?

      I didn’t accuse you of racism:

      However, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that you are a racist among your other prejudices. These prejudices make it impossible for you to accept that someone who is white and not a Muslim could stand up for a mosque in the face of blatant lies. You’ve made it quite clear, twice now, that I must be an ‘ELM activist’, therefore a ‘white’ name must be a ‘disguise’.

      Yeah, right, AbuF - hint: Islam is *not* a race.

    58. Imran Khan — on 16th July, 2011 at 11:57 am  


      What is needed to understnd the situation id the fact that the ELM and the IFE which controls it lie. They have been able, until late, to use gullible ecumenically minded people to do their work for them.

      They remain an extreme anti western and anti semitic group of people whose credibility, such as it ever was, is fast running out.

      Always remember, they lie.

    59. damon — on 16th July, 2011 at 12:54 pm  

      #51 - sheffielder. Yes I know that. It’s the politics around it that interests me. Am I bisexual if I quite fancied Freddie Ljungberg in his underpants a few years back?

      And it can’t have been just some passing whim, but I must have been ‘born bisexual’ and am therefore LBGT? My opinion is that you don’t have to wear your sexuality on your sleeve. We all have some gay potential probably and most people just surpress it or don’t explore it.
      Of course you should ask religious leaders to not preach hatred and intolerance, but I have the right to be highly suspicious of ‘LBGT’ being a political agenda … even when it’s a force for good and progress, which I think it is.

      Who even decided on the term, and putting the words in that order? When people use the LBGT tag, they are sneaking trangsgender in without any debate.

      Personally I would be very sympathetic to transgender people, but if you turn up at the East London Mosque using the LBGT tag, you are surely being a bit underhand, as most of the people you are talking to wouldn’t have a clue what you were including under your acronym.

      And it was clear on the Youtube I did at #47 how they talked about ‘LBGT week’ teaching in schools at the ELM.
      Either because the bloke is a nasty homophobe, or he doesn’t understand the world of alternative sexualities.

    60. Sarah AB — on 16th July, 2011 at 3:04 pm  

      Even HP me is a bit suspicious of Imran now - though it’s difficult to adjudicate a debate about facts surrounding a place one doesn’t know. There have been quite a few EDL-inspired lies generated about Cambridge (where I demonstrated against the EDL) though also some fair criticisms of Timothy Winter of the Cambridge mosque.

      damon - I often think you raise interesting points, but I’m essentially with Lamia on this one.

    61. THResident — on 16th July, 2011 at 3:31 pm  

      Itakqullah AbuF, you have so much angst.

      The synagogue is hardly open, so I doubt the management or the congregation is/was being harrassed, as Ted Jeory was claiming. Infact there are tours that go on every other week or so of old Jewish folk who visit both the synagogue on Fieldgate Street as well as the Brick Lane Jame Masjid (a former synagogue), and they do so without any problems.

      I suppose you’ve already decided that it was those at ELM who drove the worshippers at the synagogue out so entrenched in the lies you create you are.

    62. THResident — on 16th July, 2011 at 3:39 pm  

      Imran Khan,

      you are one of those gullible minded people who froth whilst doing the work of Gilligan. I notice how active you are on the blogging scene commenting mainly on issues around the ELM? How much is chubby cheeks paying you? ;)

    63. Imran — on 16th July, 2011 at 4:02 pm  

      SaraAB and THResdident, could you be a little more specific, in English?

    64. AbuF — on 16th July, 2011 at 11:50 pm  

      Actually, Auberon, my suspicions were raised by your appeal to takfir and anti-Shi’a sectarianism - two characteristics of Sunni Islamist discourse.

      You are the one who appears to be obsessed with race… as a diversion, of course.

      Odd how anyone who criticises Islamism is, according to the ELM song sheet, a “racist”.

    65. damon — on 17th July, 2011 at 2:26 am  

      damon – I often think you raise interesting points, but I’m essentially with Lamia on this one.

      That’s fine Sarah. I think I understand Genderqueer a bit better now I’ve read up on it some more. And know that it’s part of the wider Transgender identity outside the gender binary.
      I have met some people who were probably genderqueer before.

      But I can understand why religious fundamentalists would object to having that taught in school like that guy at the East London Mosque was doing.
      I don’t think they’ll ever get it and will always object to it being ‘normalised’ and talked about with their young people.

    66. Sarah AB — on 17th July, 2011 at 6:55 am  

      @Imran - I was happy enough with your #3, having read the HP posts about the ELM’s rather evasive dealings with LGBT groups. I went along with your comment #14 too, as I had no reason not to believe you. #31 - that seems fine. But I found Auberon’s point #53 about the joint press release etc rather convincing, and I wondered if you were really a Muslim who had used to attend the mosque but then got worried about extremist preachers. But many apologies if you are - I did say it was difficult to adjudicate between names on the internet talking about a place I’ve never visted. And I did in fact agree with most of your points.

    67. Auberon — on 17th July, 2011 at 8:58 am  

      AbuF @64

      Strange how you choose to build on your deceit, when anyone reading this can read who said what for themselves.

      So, here’s a challenge for you regarding your last bizarre claims:

      ‘Odd how anyone who criticises Islamism is, according to the ELM song sheet, a “racist”.’

      Show us even one piece of evidence of the ELM saying this, and I’ll stand aside after acknowledging your insight.

      Just one will do!

    68. AbuF — on 17th July, 2011 at 3:14 pm  

      If you learned to read, Auberon, you would understand exactly what was meant by that. It is manifestly different from the meaning you have bizarrely attached to it.

      ELM Islamist Auberon cannot read.

    69. Auberon — on 17th July, 2011 at 5:00 pm  

      AbuF, given your bluster and predictable failure to support your lies, I’m happy to let all who pass this way make their own judgements.

    70. joe90 — on 17th July, 2011 at 8:00 pm  


      ignore the mosquito he just has a boring life

    71. Rachel — on 17th July, 2011 at 8:57 pm  

      Sarah, I don’t know the truth about the relations with the Synogogue but I can confirm that among ELM-goers anti-semitism is crude and commonplace. This I know from 7 years teaching adults in the borough and sending my kids to local schools. I don’t know if the Mosque encourages this or not.

    72. Sarah AB — on 18th July, 2011 at 6:29 am  

      Thanks Rachel - I found your comment #35 very interesting (and convincing) by the way. Like you, I’m quite prepared to accept that there are problems with antisemitism and homophobia in relation to the ELM, but was opposed to the EDL contaminated march. I suppose we must just resign ourselves to being both ‘HP tossers’ and ‘homophobic scum’ …

    73. Lamia — on 18th July, 2011 at 9:48 am  


      Rachel is mistaken when she says:

      “Lamia called me something like ‘homophobic scum’ a few months ago on Harrys Place because I opposed the EDL-linked gay pride march.”

      I have never expressed support for the EDL and there is no way I would call someone out for opposing them. It is possible I called Rachel that before the EDL involvement was revealed, but not after. I might certainly criticise them for their choice of allies - e.g. the UAF - but not for opposing the EDL in and of itself, no way.

      What I seem to recall is that Rachel talked of everything being okay because there was going to be a pride march later in the year which, er, wasn’t actually going to be gay pride anymore, more, er, Tower Hamlets Pride, i.e. for everyone, because that wouldn’t stoke ‘tensions’. And she seeemed quite okay with that and in denial that it amounted to booting gay people to the back of the bus - again.

      That may in turn be an unfair representation of Rachel’s position, in which case I apologise. But it is utterly false to say I would call someone homophobic scum simply for opposing the EDL in the situation referred to.

    74. Rachel — on 18th July, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

      OK Lamia.
      To clarify, I was extremely relieved that the EEGP march was called off, after the confirmation that it was EDL linked (and the suggestion that it was came very early). And I do think the Rainbow Hamlets folks are doing a good job - not the approach I might take, but one that seems to be working rather well at exposing the ELM’s inability to make any progress on homophobia. And I think there willt be a pride event at some point - maybe not in September.

      But no, I don’t think everything is ok. The only positive thing is that there seems to be more people around now who are prepared to oppose both the EDL and the religious right.

    75. damon — on 18th July, 2011 at 1:42 pm  

      Have there been any Gay Pride marches in east London?
      Not the controversial one that was said to be backed by the EDL which attracted 30 people, but mainstream LBGT Pride? If people are ging to hold Pride marches in Moscow and Belgrade, east London would be a good place to hold one too. Tower Hamlets to Newham perhaps.
      It seems a waste to have held the latest one in central London, and the event became so big a few years ago that they were actually trying to deter people from turning up.
      Or would it always been seen as divisive, as some people might think that certain communities were being hectored by it?

    76. Lamia — on 18th July, 2011 at 7:11 pm  

      @ Rachel,

      “there seems to be more people around now who are prepared to oppose both the EDL and the religious right.”

      Really? Who apart from Rainbow Hamlets is opposing the religious right? UAF? Hope Not Hate? Tower Hamlets Council? Respect? The Labour party? There is zero solidarity for gay people on this subject, and you and others have a bit of a nerve even commenting on a subject which couldn’t ever affect you personally. You haven’t a clue what’s it like to have posters going up saying you don’t even have the right to live in a place.

    77. Rachel — on 18th July, 2011 at 8:22 pm  

      Lamia, what the hell are you talking about?

      It’s you who hasn’t got a clue. Stop with the endless deluded self-pity. You sounds like the Islamists.

      What do you know about me anyway?

      What have you done to try to intervene in the situation in Tower Hamlets? Anything? Some of us are indeed trying to deal with the situation we find ourselvesi in. The numbers are small. No, none of the parties you mention (except possibly Hope not Hate) are interested in opposing the religious right. This makes our job difficult - maybe you can appreciate that. But stuff goes on here, for example a (tiny) demo against Hizb ut Tahir last week (while at the same time 80 EDL members were drinking locally) and more people are interested and are able to see that opposing the EDL ) doesn’t mean you support religious fundamentalism.

      I have expressed my oposition to Respect and the UAF/SWP for a number of years now, often at considerable personal cost. How dare you judge me.

      Do you live in Tower Hamlets?

    78. Rachel — on 18th July, 2011 at 8:30 pm  

      There’s apparently oing to be a radio programme on Resonance FM 104.4 on Tuesday at 9pm with Peter Tatchell and someone from a local anarchist group talking about fascism, homophobia and fundamentalism. The local anarchists took quite a good position on the issue last time the EDL were coming - prepared to conftont them in the streets but remaining critical of the ELM/IFE. The secular Bengali groups will again make their principled stance, at personal risk and expecting ridicule and hostility. There are some feminists around who don’t think women’s and gays issues can be bargained away in the name of ‘unity’.

      These are small things, but at least some people are trying.

      There will hopefully be more meetings around the topic in the next 2 months and during the anti-EDL mobilisation before the 3rd. Maybe you can come along, Lamia. I’m curious to meet you and you can tell us what its like to be the only gay in the village.

    79. Rachel — on 18th July, 2011 at 8:38 pm  

      This week there’s also apparently a planning meeting for the East London Pride event in September.

    80. douglas clark — on 18th July, 2011 at 10:50 pm  

      damon @ ad infinitum,

      Your background is Northern Ireland, Belfast Protestant. Gonna no make me look through hundreds and hundreds of threads to prove that? You know it, I know it and no-one else actually cares. To be frank, I don’t care either.

      My point about you is not about what you were, it is about who you see yourself as now. Which, frankly, is a bit of a disaster area looking for a controversy where none exists .

      The question for you damon, is what do you think you are doing with your posts here? I post here because I learn stuff from other people that also post here. I hang around because some of them are quite interesting and educational and because sometimes we can all jump up and down on the likes of John Lee Barnes and idiots of that ilk.

      What’s your motive?

    81. Lamia — on 18th July, 2011 at 11:29 pm  

      “You sounds like the Islamists.”

      Your moral compass must be broken. Since when have I or other gay people preached for Muslims to be killed? Since when have I or other gay people put up posters saying ‘Muslim Free Zone’.

      “How dare you judge me.”

      I judge you because you make the revolting equation of ordinary gay people with Islamist bullies.

      “Do you live in Tower Hamlets?”

      No. Am I not allowed to give a shit about the fact that people like myself are demonised in the cpaital of my own country?

      As I repeat, you don’t get that because the demonisation is not aimed at you, is it? It’s abstract to you. That;s how you can make the insane equation of those it is aimed at with the extremists themselves. Well done, you’ve shown your true colours.

      “Maybe you can come along, Lamia. I’m curious to meet you and you can tell us what its like to be the only gay in the village.”

      It’s all a bit of a laugh to you, isn’t it, Rachel? At least in the village where I live, people are civilised.

    82. damon — on 19th July, 2011 at 12:48 am  

      Douglas Clark, give it a rest would you?
      You come across as very thick.

    83. douglas clark — on 19th July, 2011 at 5:03 am  

      Cheers damon.

      I am a tad fed up with you too.

      But it is completely frustrating to watch you make an absolute idiot of yourself at every turn.

      Here’s the deal.

      Whatever you say, I disagree. Whatever you think, is nonsense. Whatever you feel, well don’t bother sharing it with anyone. ‘Cause it is almost certainly shite and probably racist.

      Be true to yourself by all manner of means. Try to swallow your junk cod sentiments and not bother sharing it.

      After a month or so damon, perhaps you’ll realise that no-one cares about the person you used to be.

      Perhaps you’ll be a bit more worthwhile and not so much of a bore.

      I offer you these thoughts on the grounds that you are not seeing yourself as others see you. You probably see yourself as a public good when everyone else sees you as a bit of a menace.

      Just saying.

    84. Sarah AB — on 19th July, 2011 at 8:46 am  

      Lamia - do read Rachel’s comments again - she is opposed to (or has issues with) Respect, the EDL, HuT, SWP and UAF. What’s the problem?

    85. A — on 19th July, 2011 at 10:08 am  


      Having taken part in some of the Tower Hamlets events, I fear you should have been more careful when citing Jack Gilbert.

      Jack Gilbert has, from the start, been more than willing to avoid confronting homophobia for fear of Islamophobia. For example, one meeting he held spent more time talking about rumours of an EDL connection to a planned ‘pride’ march in Tower Hamlets (the rumoureld links were ultimately inconclusive) than about what could be done to stop religiously-justified homophobia spreading in Tower Hamlets.

      He was the person who initially spread the (deeply misleading and entirely without any evidence) claim that the stickers were an EDL false flag operation. He also wilfully went along with the police’s decision not to reveal evidence that the EDL theory was bunkum and that somebody had been distributing the stickers outside East London Mosque.

      His approach to life in East London is the antithesis of what Pickled Politics should stand for. As you can tell from his article, he divides the community up into ‘The Gays (for whom the two people at Rainbow Hamlets are the representatives)’, ‘The Muslims (for whom ELM are the representatives)’, ‘The X’, etc. This enables him to sideline the (large number) of homosexuals in Tower Hamlets who disagree with him because he believes himself to be the leader of all gay people in the area.

      He is also painfully naive and/or arrogant. He believed that he could single-handedly persuade ELM to do something about homophobia, and refused to bring in other groups or individuals to support him in doing so. This is despite the fact that lots of different people offered to support him. Little wonder that, once the initial furore died down, ELM stopped cooperating.

    86. Rachel — on 19th July, 2011 at 12:29 pm  

      Lamia, I don’t like to play the identity politics competition game, but maybe it will help you get off your high horse. I do in fact know what its like to be the victim of Islamist threats. We have had anti-Jewish stickers and posters here in Tower Hamlets too.

      But more to the point, a particular identity doesn’t lead to a particular position. Certainly you have a right to have views on anything going on. But if you were here in Tower Hamlets you’d have to notice that LGBT people have a range of views positions on the issue of the posters/homophobia.

      There are gays who contort themselves into strange positions to say either there is no such thing as homophobia in the Muslim community or that Muslims have the right to be homophobic because it’s their ‘culture’ (Respect in its most virulent reactionary stage had an activist who said he was gay). There are gays who happen to be Muslim, and who want to keep quiet about it, and gays who say they are Muslims first and and defend reactionary institutions against what they define as Islamophobia. There are liberal multi-faith types like Rainbow Hamlets who seem to be figuring out that we have to talk all ‘community leaders’ with a grain of salt. There are Peter Tatchell types who are actively opposing both racism and homophobia. And of course there are LGBT EDL people. So no, it isn’t only my privilege and your victimhood that is responsible for the differences between us.

      The odd thing is, often I thought there wasn’t all that much difference between us. I have noticed over the years that I’ve been looking at the same blogs as you that while there did seem to be a sensible Lamia and a raving Lamia, generally I’d thought you shared the same general perspective as me: opposing the left alliance with the Islamic right. Now it seems I’m the enemy too!

    87. Lamia — on 19th July, 2011 at 2:38 pm  

      @ Rachel,

      “Now it seems I’m the enemy too!”

      Well, people who equate me with those who preach, campaign and intimidate against other law-abiding minorities to be banned, imprisoned, even killed, are hardly likely to be those I would consider an ally, are they?

      If you really think there is an equivalence there, then I’d say our perspectives are very different and not compatible. In fact I think you’re probably a lot closer on the spectrum to Damon, who appears to believe that LGBT people are being just as unreasonable as Islamists, and for whom demanding that people DON’T preach for you should to imprisoned or killed is as intolerant and extreme as them actually doing so.

    88. Rachel — on 19th July, 2011 at 5:21 pm  

      If you read my comment, I said you (personally)were like the Islamists in your sense of victimhood (endless deluded self-pity is the phrase I used) which you seem to think justifies any sort of lunatic raving.

      Luckily I don’t think you represent anyone but yourself.

    89. Lamia — on 19th July, 2011 at 9:54 pm  

      And I haven’t at any point claimed to represent anyone but myself, Rachel, unlike you who appear to be speaking on behalf of a whole load of people in Tower Hamlets, including a lot of gay people.

      Anyway, you’ve just again repeated your comparison of myself with Islamists while conveniently - again - overlooking that I haven’t been advocating banning, imprisoning or killing anyone, whereas a number of them have.

      But if it will probably help you as a member of the left feel less guilty about the dubious and cowardly alliances the left has made, do carry on in your warped little world of moral equivalence.

    90. Rachel — on 20th July, 2011 at 11:03 am  

      You’ve got the wrong person, Lamia. I have been opposed to the alliance between the left and the religous right/Islamists for years, which believe me isn’t easy in the current climate (I mean in real life - it’s obviously quite easy on the internet). I’ve almost got used to being called an Islamophobe by SWP/UAF/Respect/Socialist Unity etc but I never expected to be attacked in the way you attacked me here(still not sure why you attacked me). I responded in attack mode too. It doesn’t make me feel good and I don’t want to carry it on.

    91. Lamia — on 20th July, 2011 at 12:45 pm  

      @ Rachel,

      Me neither. I picked up on what looked to me like a suggestion that there was an equal amount of opposition to Islamist homophobia as to the EDL. Maybe I misread it.

      The massive gap in standards here in reality is one of two main reasons, along with anti-semitism - that has led to me stopping voting Labour and why I now view the self-style ‘progressive’ left with some distaste. I think what adds insult to injury is when the left not only ignores a group - gay people or Jews, mostly - when they are inconvenient, but they still like to sporaqdically proclaim their anti-semitic and anti-homophobic credentials.

      You can, for instance, guarantee the left will almost as one courageously assert the rights of gay people in opposition to, say, the Pope - and then sit staring at their feet and coughing nervously when the homophobes are Muslim.

      It does suggests that some groups of people are viewed on the left as just being of instrumental value, i.e. against some selected ideologies which happen to be prejudiced against them, but not against others. If the left ever gets its principles back, and shows real commitment to equality of individuals regardless of other characteristics, I will start voting Labour again. Until then, my view is not self-pity, it is simply a reciprocal suspension of sympathy for the left in general and its favoured causes. What goes around, etc.

      Anyway, I don’t want to make this personal, and I am sorry for taking it out on you Rachel. I appreciate you are not the same as Respect, UAF and co, though I think even Labour itself has fallen considerably in integrity and principles.

    92. Rachel — on 20th July, 2011 at 12:50 pm  


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