"Discrimination bill snubs gays to save Muslim vote" runs the headline in the Sunday Times (London), reminding one of Pim Fortuyn's worries and foreshadowing what should be a major divide in British and other Western countries, as homosexuals realize that they will suffer from the Islamist agenda. Here are some details:
Gay rights campaigners have been snubbed by the government for fear of upsetting Muslim voters who are regarded as more important to Labour's election campaign.
This week a new bill giving Muslims protection against religious discrimination will be published, but there will be no equivalent right for gays, as had been planned by ministers. Downing Street fears that Muslims, whose votes could be the key to saving the seats of many Labour MPs, might feel offended if they were "lumped together" with homosexuals. The change comes despite the fact that there are thought to be around 3m gay voters, compared with 1.3m Muslims of voting age in Britain.
Under the bill, it will become illegal for the provider of any goods or services — such as a hotel, shop, pub or restaurant — to refuse to serve someone on the grounds of their religion. It is already illegal to do so on the basis of race or gender. …
In favouring Muslim voters at the risk of upsetting gays, Labour is following in the footsteps of Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London. Livingstone has assiduously courted the Muslim vote, even at the expense of goodwill among the gay community. He invited the Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London despite the sheikh's views. Al-Qaradawi condemns homosexuality, advocates wife-beating and describes suicide bombers as "martyrs".
This decision, the article concludes, was taken by the prime minister's office.
Comments: (1) This dramatic shift could signal a long term reversal in homosexual rights, making the last thirty years look anomalous in retrospect. (2) Coming right after the Labour Party having snubbed Jews (on which, see Rod Liddle's "Why Labour does not need the Jews"), one sees an emerging pattern of preferring Muslim votes over their rivals. (3) The groundwork for this decision was laid a month earlier, in an astonishing article written by Mike O‘Brien, minister for energy and Labour MP for North Warwickshire, "Labour and British Muslims: Can we dream the same dream?" In retrospect, this text may well be viewed as the U.K.'s great declaration of dhimmitude.(February 27, 2005)
Jan. 2, 2006 update: An anti-religious homosexual organization, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, has viciously attacked Islam and Muslims in what appears to be the next round of tensions. The secretary of Galha, George Broadhead, called Islam a "barmy doctrine" and said the faith is growing "like a canker" in the United Kingdom.
Jan. 4, 2006 update: And now the counterblast, though relatively a mild one, from Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain. He called homosexuality "not acceptable":
It is something which is not acceptable in Islam in the same way it's not acceptable under Christianity, Judaism, in other divine religions. Each of our faiths tell us that it is harmful and I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the various forms of other illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area.
Sacranie also condemned new gay civil partnership as "harmful" because it shakes the "very foundations of society." The use of such partnerships "does not augur well in building the very foundations of society—stability, family relationships. And it is something we would certainly not in any form encourage the community to be involved in."
Jan. 11, 2006 update: Sacranie is being investigated by police for saying that homosexuality is "harmful" following a complaint. The Metropolitcan Police said it is examining to see if his remarks constitute an offence under the Public Order Act 1986. Section 5 makes it an offense for a person to use "threatening, abusive or insulting words" within the hearing of "a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress." The maximum penalty is a fine of £1,000. And here's an unexpected twist: The investigation may have been triggered by a letter from Neil Addison published in the Daily Telegraph on January 6 in which he noted that Christians who criticize homosexuality were contacted by the police. If the police did not do the same with Sacranie, "the Churches will be entitled to ask why the police are taking action against Christians expressing their views on homosexuality, while ignoring similar views being expressed by Muslims."
Jan. 23, 2006 update: No charges will be filled against Sacranie, said a Metropolitan Police spokesman.