Islamic cleric who describes gays as ‘filthy’ cancels UK tour

  • London Muslim Centre responded to Rainbow Hamlets’s letter of Friday 8 November indicating that they had NEVER been approached by the Tayyibun Institute to hold the promoted event with Mufti Ismail Menk, who recently said that gay people are worse than “animals” and believes consenting gay sex is equivalent to “rape”.
  • Formal request made to the local authority and the police, together with other partners, for multiagency response to activities of Tayyibun Institute
Jack Gilbert, issued a statement on behalf of Rainbow Hamlets:
“Whilst we accept completely that the London Muslim Centre had been misrepresented by the Tayyibun Institute, Rainbow Hamlets remains very concerned about the sponsoring organisation itself, which is also based in Tower Hamlets. The Tayyibun Institute publicly advertises instruction for children between the ages of 4 –16, alongside adult education.

“From where we stand, Mufti Ismail Menk’s extreme views that gay people are worse than ‘animals’, and consenting gay sex is equivalent to ‘rape’ are no less an incitement to hatred than the far right”t. By attempting to organise this tour, the TI have revealed themselves as an extreme organisation wishing to stir up trouble by provocative acts that both directs hatred against LGBT people and incites islamophobia. One could even see the misrepresentation of the LMC as a ploy to further these ends.

“This is not new territory for us collectively. It requires a very considered appraisal by all partners of the full situation as a matter of urgency. Accordingly, we have written to to the local authority, The police and other partners with a view to establishing a multiagency response.”

Our letter to the London Muslim Centre

Walking:Holding – Rosana Cade

Walking:Holding is a project by Glasgow based artist Rosana Cade, which she is bringing to East London in April as part of the Spill Festival of Performance. Rosana is looking for participants.

“I started this project because as a gay woman I found that I was sometimes uncomfortable holding hands with my partner in public. I spoke to other gay people about this, and they said that they had all experienced the same feeling at least once in their lives. Some people said that they never felt comfortable enough to hold hands with their partners in public. This is something that makes me feel very sad, and something I wish to challenge.

I began a series of experiments in Glasgow where I walked holding hands with lots of different people in public, and I became interested in how different I felt with each person, and also the differences in the way other people on the street reacted towards me. I held hands with someone much older than me, with a pregnant woman, with a tall black man, with a goth, with a cross dresser, with an Indian woman and with my girlfriend.

It was a privilege to share this intimate action with all these different people, and hear their different relationships to hand holding and stories about their experiences in the city.

So I decided to create this ‘performance’ called ‘Walking:Holding’, where one audience member at time gets to go on a walk and hold hands with a range of different people. I did it first in Glasgow, and have since worked with people in Bristol and Ipswich to make it happen. So now, I’m looking for people to be a part of this walk in London.”

As a participant you would get to meet a new group of people and take part in a workshop exploring the themes within the project in order to prepare for the performance. During the performance you would be positioned at a certain point along the route, and walk holding hands with each audience member one at a time for about 5 minutes.

The performance will take place in London, starting from Toynbee Studios on Commercial Street on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April, if you’re available for both of those dates that’d be great, but if you could only do one that could still work.

You would need to be available for:

–         A short workshop led by Rosana on Thursday 4th or Friday 5th April

–         10am – 6pm on both Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th April

–         10am-12pm we will get together, before heading out on to the route local to Toynbee studios.

–         1-3pm and 4-6pm will be the walks themselves.

If you are interested, please email info@rainbowhamlets.org and we will pass your details on.

Why not download a low-resolution copy of the Spill Festival brochure (link opens in pdf format in a new window)

URGENT APPEAL FOR WITNESSES AND INFORMATION

Rainbow Hamlets, the LGBT Community Forum for Tower Hamlets, and the Metropolitan Police are appealing to anyone who has information about the recent Islamist vigilante videos to come forward.

In particular if you are depicted in any of them or know someone who is, or if you know of other related incidents that may have gone unreported, we would like to hear from you.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police at Tower Hamlets Community Safety unit. DI Cliff Jones, DS Chris Bagshaw or DC Stacey Yarker can be called on 020 7275 4758 or via 101. They can also be emailed at thcsu@met.police.uk or Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The police have agreed to offer confidentiality.

We appreciate that some people may want to talk this through confidentially before approaching the police, to have support following their experiences or to discuss concerns about issues like safety. Rainbow Hamlets has worked with LGBT community partners GALOP, and recommend people call their confidential community phone line on 020 7704 2040 in operation during office hours, or if preferred email witness@rainbowhamlets.org in confidence at any time. This is service is open to victims of homophobic attack who may not identify as gay or bisexual.

Rainbow Hamlets has again been working closely with the police and the council to ensure all the lessons have been learnt since the ‘gay free zone’ stickers of 2011, and that the concerns of LGBT people are being addressed. Along with the early arrests, we are satisfied that the posting of the videos, and the events depicted within them, are being treated by the police as serious public order offences, with a fully-committed investigation spearheaded by officers in Tower Hamlets. A Gold Group has been formed to provide a channel for both Muslim and LGBT community advice.

We welcome the clear repudiation of this small group by local Muslims organisations and leaders, and by the Muslim Council of Britain. It is important that we do not fall into the trap laid by both the far right and the Islamist faction, by treating these incidents as representative of the wider Muslim community. They are not. We recognise there is still work to do to build understanding between LGBT people and their Muslim neighbours, and we work in partnership with Imaan to build greater awareness of LGBT Muslims experience. Anyone who wishes to get involved pleased contact us atinfo@rainbowhamlets.org

THIS APPEAL IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD, REDISTRIBUTION OR VIEW AT http://goo.gl/6Z5vr

Public Meeting

11 July 2012 at 18:30

at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London E2 6HG

Help us set the priorities for the health and well-being of LGBT people in Tower Hamlets

We are pleased to welcome:
Louise Russell – Head of Service, Equalities and Strategic Planning from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and
Somen Banergee – NHS Director of Public Health.
to hear from us LGBT perspectives on their new strategy for health and wellbeing.
This covers an enormous range. Below we have listed some areas where we believe there  are strong LGBT cultural needs
We want to hear from you if you have any issues or experiences as an LGBT person whether or not you can attend the meeting. We intend to document our feedback.
Please also let us know if you can think of any other headings too! Reply to info@rainbowhamlets.org
Family/School related issues
  • Support for people coming out – sexual and trans identity, as young people, as adults, in BAME and in white communities
  • Support/protection for same-sex parents, and for parents of children who are grappling with LGBT identity issues
  • Child protection
  • Domestic abuse /forced marriage /honour crime

Bullying in all contexts

Housing related issues

Care related needs

  • For all ages in the home and in residential care accommodation
  • From short term reablement after illness and longterm care packages

Cancer care and support managing chronic conditions

Smoking /drugs /alcohol related issues*

Mental health related issues

Sexual health related issues*

  • HIV/AIDS
  • STDs
  • Infection rates
  • Sex workers

Promoting healthy living and activities among LGBT people

Evidence Base

  • Does normal data collection address LGBT need?
  • What is the level of LGBT self-identification at present?

*Delivery managers for these areas have approached us separately and will also be present.

Directions to Oxford House


Hate crime action plan: Challenge It, Report It, Stop It

‘Challenge It, Report It, Stop It’ is the government’s blueprint to tackle hate crime, bringing together activity by a wide range of government departments – working with local agencies, voluntary organisations and our independent advisory group – to meet three key objectives:

  • preventing hate crime happening by challenging the attitudes and behaviours that foster hatred, and encouraging early intervention to reduce the risk of incidents escalating
  • increasing the reporting of hate crime that occurs by building victims’ confidence to come forward and seek justice, and working with partners at national and local level to ensure the right support is available when they do
  • working with the agencies that make up the Criminal Justice System to improve the operational response to hate crime. We want a more effective end-to-end process, with agencies identifying hate crimes early, managing cases jointly and dealing with offenders robustly

Download The Home Office ‘Challenge It, Report It, Stop It’ action plan (link opens in new window in pdf format)

Rainbow Hamlets Forum Meeting

The next meeting of Rainbow Hamlets will take place on Wednesday 9 May at 6.30 pm at Account 3, Birkbeck Street, London E2 6JY

The Agenda and associated documents will be circulated during the week commencing 30 April and will include the Rainbow Hamlets business plan and accessing funding streams.

For further information email info@rainbowhamlets.org

Government consults on Equal Marriage

A Government consultation has been launched today which outlines plans to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage ceremony.

The key proposals of the consultation are:

  • To enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage i.e. only civil ceremonies in a register office or approved premises (like a hotel)
  • To make no changes to religious marriages. This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman
  • To retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage
  • Civil partnership registrations on religious premises will continue as is currently possible i.e. on a voluntary basis for faith groups and with no religious content
  • Individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage
  • Current legislation allows same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, but not civil marriage

Anyone wishing to respond to the consultation should complete the online consultation form. The full details of the consultation are set out in the pdf version of the consultation document, which is available to download here. The Home Office impact assessment is available for download here. (Links open in pdf format in a new window)