MUSLIM leaders have lodged an official complaint with the organisers of London Pride after a group was seen carrying placards with apparently Islamophobic messages at the event.
The offending banners, which included slogans reading “Allah is Gay,” “Fuck Islamic Homophobia” and “East London Mosque incites murder of LGBTs,” were condemned by Muslim and anti-racist organisations.
East London Mosque spokesman Salman Farsi said on Saturday that it had written to organisers warning that the group was inciting hatred against Muslims.
Mr Farsi said: “Our track record for challenging homophobia in East London is quite well known.
“For us to see such a mainstream event that is supposed to celebrate tolerance and love used as a hate platform was really quite shocking.”
However, the Council of Ex Muslims of Britain (CEMB), listed on the Pride website as an official participating group, denied the slogans were Islamophobic.
Spokeswoman for the group Maryam Namazie said the signs did not say “Fuck Islam” but “Fuck Islamic Homophobia.”
“In my view Islam, like all religions, is homophobic,” she said. “Why is it not possible to say this without fear of reprisal or accusations of Islamophobia?”
Anti-racist campaigner Maz Saleem told the Star: “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?
“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.
“In an Islamophobic society this incident is not surprising. But Islamophobic attacks are at unprecedented levels. Pride organisers should have known better and stopped Namazie’s contingent from marching.”
A Pride London spokesman said: “While our parade has always been a home to protest, which often means conflicting points of view, Pride must always be a movement of acceptance, diversity and unity. We will not tolerate Islamophobia.”
The East London Mosque said several years ago that it would ban homophobes from speaking there and also denounced the “gay-free zone” stickers that appeared in its local area.