The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is awaiting a response from the Fire Brigades Union to a letter it wrote after a member of the union said in a blog post that there should be no place at London Pride for the CEMB.
After Lucy Masoud, above, treasurer of the Fire Brigades Union in London, accused the CEMB of spreading hate in a blog post (no longer accessible) on the Union’s website, a letter was sent to Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, asking him to clarify the union’s official position vis-a-vis CEMB supporters and Pride.
The CEMB wrote:
As we have mentioned in our response to Ms Masoud, there is a clear distinction between criticism of religion and the religious-Right versus bigotry against people. Charges of Islamophobia erroneously conflate the two. In fact, CEMB’s presence at Pride aimed to combat the hate perpetrated against ex-Muslims and LGBT and to defend the right to reject and criticise religion without fear. This was political protest at its best. Had the FBU not recently backed calls to reclaim Pride as political protest?
Given that apostasy, blasphemy and homosexuality are punishable by death in many countries under Islamic rule, our being at Pride was an important moment for our members, many of whom are refugees. It would be unfortunate if the FBU officially defended the vilification of a minority within a minority providing further justification for our persecution by implying that “offence” is more important than murder.
We look forward to hearing from you on your union’s position.
Meanwhile, Pride organisers have reportedly reacted to a complaint from the East London Mosque – which accused the CEMB contingent of “Islamophobia” – to Pride’s advisory board. In a letter to the mosque, it said the board would determine:
Whether CEMB will be allowed to march again in the years ahead.
A spokesman from the event said:
If anyone taking part in our parade makes someone feel ostracised, discriminated against or humiliated, then they are undermining and breaking the very principles on which we exist.
This has infuriated the LGBT Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT). Its Secretary George Broadhead said in a press release today:
This decision is appalling. The accusation from the East London Mosque that the CEMB was inciting hatred against Muslims at this year’s London Pride event is baseless nonsense. East London Mosque seems to have made a brazen attempt to deflect criticism of its bad record on LGBT rights.
It has a history of inviting ultra homophobic speakers to its meetings. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has revealed that he has asked the mosque to meet LGBT Muslims 11 times since 2015 – and all his invitations had been rejected.
Pride in London seems to be ignoring the widespread Islamic hostility to LGBT relationships and rights, notably the barbaric treatment of LGBT people in Islamic theocracies like Saudi Arabia in which Sharia Law dictates that they are publicly beheaded, stoned or flogged.
The Islamic penalty for apostasy (abandoning the religion) is death, and this of course applies to members of the CEMB, and a recent survey has indicated that more than half of British Muslims (52 percent) think homosexuality should be illegal and nearly half (47 percent) think it is inappropriate for gay people to teach in schools.
The PTT maintains that the CEMB has every right to draw attention to hostility from Islam.
It urges Pride in London organisers not to place religion beyond criticism. This would be a highly regressive step and contrary to its presumed aim to counter homophobia from any source.