With Islamophobic attacks at unprecedented levels, we need unity not division
Maryam Namazie and activists from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) were seen waving placards with “Allah is gay”, "Fuck Islamic Homophobia”, “East London Mosque incites murder of LGBT” and other Islamophobic slogans written on them during the Pride march in London.
These placards are something the EDL or a Nazi would carry. Pride is supposed to represent people as they are, faith or no faith, so how were they even allowed on the parade? This goes against everything Pride stands for and it is absolutely appalling to see that that Maryam Namazie’s group got away with it.
Namazie and the Council of Ex- Muslims clearly want to cause conflict between Muslims and the gay community, and they don't care who they hurt or offend in the process. It feeds into their sad view of the Muslim world. CEMB's actions certainly should have breached Pride's rules.
No doubt the majority of people, gays included, find their actions abhorrent. I absolutely believe in the right to free speech and protest, but blatant hate speech directed at a particular faith or religion must be opposed.
The Namazies of this world take advantage of their freedom to hurt others. We need to challenge all forms of hatred, and not judge everyone attending Pride by the actions of the few who wanted to divide us that day.
It’s disappointing that this group were allowed to use Pride to attack Islam in a way. While there are very real problems with anti-gay discrimination and bigotry amongst segments of the Muslim population, it is equally bigoted to generalise about all Muslims.
In an Islamophobic society, this incident is not surprising. But why do I have to fathom the thoughts of any Islamophobe in a climate where Islamaphobic attacks are at unprecedented levels? Pride organisers should have known better and stopped Namazie’s contingent from marching.
Namazie’s motivation is to reinforce negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims. We must resist.
Maz Saleem is the daughter of 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem, who was murdered in Birmingham just yards from his house by Ukrainian far-right terrorist Pavlo Lapshyn. Maz is an active campaigner against racism and Islamophobia in Britain.