Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups united...

...In their hatred of lesbian and gay people:

A controversial Gay Pride parade is to march through Jerusalem later today with an expected 5,000 participants.
The event has sparked fierce protests among the holy city's religious communities.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested repeatedly against the march in the past week, burning tyres, confronting police and damaging police cars.

Over 7,000 police will secure the parade and prevent possible clashes between the two sides.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to the event, rejecting last-minute appeals by conservative Jews to get the parade cancelled.

The event, held in Jerusalem since 2001, has been denounced in the past by conservative Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups which share a view that homosexuality is an abomination.

But civil liberties groups argue that event celebrates diversity in the holy city.

"The question of 'why in Jerusalem' is not a question. It is the same question as letting women vote," said Dana Olmert, daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, herself a lesbian, in an interview with Israel's Army radio.

Last year, the event was relocated to a sports stadium due to security concerns.

In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester stabbed and wounded three people despite a heavy police presence at the event.

Israel's largest annual Gay Pride parade held in the mainly secular city of Tel Aviv passed off peacefully earlier this month. About 20,000 people attended the event.

Funny how religious groups are happy to offend , and stab, people they do not agree with but want their own sensibilities protected.

My view is they are entitled to say they are offended, that LGBT people are an 'abomination' and that its sinful. But LGBT people, non believers,whoever, are entitled to criticise their beliefs and insult and offend them. And its seems their very existence is an offence . Whether they like it or not Christians, Jews and Muslims can also be lesbian or gay .

Why exactly is a religious belief anymore valid than any other belief or view or opinion? Should I ask that no one should offend my left wing or feminist views?

In light of this why should some Muslims demand that Rushdie's' honour be revoked (leaving aside the whole issue of honours here)? He has offended them, so ? I am offended by many things, I don't call for people to be silenced . I don't say I have been provoked into walking into the offices of the Daily Mail with a bomb strapped to me even though I find them offensive to my beliefs .Lesbian and Gay people are offended by being called 'an abomination'by some religious(by no means all) people and by the killings of LGBT people in Iraq, for example. Is that also a provocation?
So why this :

Britain's knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie contributes to insulting Islam and may lead to terrorism, a Pakistani minister has said.
Such actions are the root cause of terrorism, Religious Affairs Minister Ejaz-ul-Haq told parliament.

"If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified," he said, according to the translation by the Reuters news agency.

Religious belief is just that , a belief. It should not be given special privilege or protection.

Of course I accept there is Islamophobia , but that does not mean no criticism of Islam (and that can also come from within the Muslim community). Being oppressed does not justify attacking other oppressed groups , such as LGBT people in the middle east or women in places like Afghanistan. The left should not excuse reactionary views justified by religious beliefs, whether Muslim, Christian or any religion. All views should be open to challenge. Fight the discrimination and oppression groups face, but not by condoning the oppression of another .
Religious beliefs are also not homogeneous. There are groups fighting within their own religions for the rights of LGBT people and women, for example. Silence in the face of reactionary views and behaviour does not support them in their struggles.

Just as I may be condemned by some religious people for my views on issues such as sex, abortion, marriage etc, I should also have the freedom to say that religion is unscientific, superstitious reactionary twaddle. Its called freedom of speech.

pic, a previous Gay Pride in Jerusalem.