Islamaphobia, middle class journalists and the Pim Fortuyn List?

Terry Stewart of Out East has responded (in a personal capacity) to the statement/open letter by LGBT activists reported in yesterday’s Guardian.

Islamaphobia, middle class journalists and the Pim Fortuyn List?

Far be it from me to quote Conservative Chairs, but Sayeed Warsi is more progressive than the individuals who drafted the Guardianletter, when it comes to the issue of Hate.

“Islamophobia has now crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability. It is a socially acceptable form of bigotry, often dressed up in the clothes of liberalism.”

One look at the letter and you begin to see a pretty nasty scenario unfolding, if not opposed by people who are genuinely opposed to all forms of hate, whether it is racism, homophobia, Transphobia and Islamaphobia.

The LGBT community are not alone when it comes to attacks upon our community simply for daring to be who we are and living an open and loving life with the person of our choice, dressing or choosing our identity in what way we want.

Trans people are constantly in fear of their lives, whilst on the street or in their homes, yet one members of this list, has made it her life’s ambition to be as hateful as is possible to the Trans community.

One look at the murder rate of Trans people World wide and you begin to see that the highest murder rate of Trans is in Latin America and not in the Middle East or countries which practice the faith of Islam.

Look at the figures of hate crime against the LGBT community in the London area and again we see that the highest rates are not in Tower Hamlets or communities with a high density of Muslim people. The figures speak for themselves:

21% increase in Tower Hamlets,
26% Westminster,
26% Lambeth,
29% Brent,
60% Islington,
60% Croydon,
62% Sutton,
75% Enfield,
83% Havering,
83% Kingston-upon-Thames,
125% Harrow.

Actual numbers of reported homophobic crime are, 21% rise in Tower Hamlets is a total of 81 cases in the last year, an additional 14 cases. 88 cases in Islington in the previous year before, a 60% increase to 131 cases. It equals the 82 cases in Camden achieved after a 13% reduction. It is significantly less than Westminster’s 148 cases and Lambeth’s 132.

I remember in the 80’s the Rev George Hargraves (Who produced the Gay anthem of the period Macho macho man song by Sinita) from a Hackney Evangelical church, making some of the most horrendous homophobic statements. At no stage did we see this as the voice of the Black community, simply the rantings of an individual homophobe, who was also happy to pick up the royalties generated by his Gay anthem.

The statements which were made on the Homophobic stickers were also just the rants of a small group of Homophobes and again most of the LGBT community in East London felt the same.

So why are a small group of Journalists, Writers, Rag Tag and Bobtail pushing the story that the Muslim community in Whitechapel is baying for the blood of the East London LGBT community?

Tower Hamlets is not alone when it comes to a small section of the LGBT community linking in with the Far Right. Look at other cities in Europe and you see members of the far right along with member of the LGBT community marching into Immigrant communities and attacking those communities and the argument of Homophobia is used as the reason for such actions.

This is also reflected in the political arena, with a sizeable section of the LGBT community falling into line with this racist and Islamaphobic right. We seen this in the Netherlands with the rise of The Pim Fortuyn List.

As I said at the beginning we are not alone in the LGBT community when it comes to hate crimes. Many Muslims across the country are being terrorised by racist thugs and yet we hear nothing about it.

Young women are spat on in the street, Mosques are attacked and fire bombed. Even the dead are not allowed to rest. Graveyards have been desecrated. From Leicester to Scunthorpe this has been the experience of the Muslim community. Yet if the group who signed the article are serious about hate crime, then they have to extend that support to the Muslim community, something they not only fail to do, but end up becoming part of the mob.

I think the authors of the letter need to address the whole communities’ experience of hate, rather than attacking and undermining the very valuable work carried out by the East London LGBT Community, Tower Hamlets Council, The Metropolitan Police and the East London Mosque, in our attempt to deal with Homophobia, Transphobia, Islamaphobia and all hate crime in our community.

We have and will continue to challenge Homophobia, from which ever quarter this comes including all faith groups and it is for this reason that Rainbow Hamlets and other held a conference on Faith and Homophobia, here in Tower Hamlets last month.

We will be having a festival for the whole community specifically around hate and our priority will be aimed at making sure the LGBT community is totally included in every aspect of community life here in Tower Hamlets.

Editorial Note: This excellent article is taken from the Facebook group East London is a Hate Free Zone.