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Gay free zone

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"Gay free zone" is a slogan used on a set of pro-Islam, anti-homosexual stickers fly-posted in parts of East London in early 2011.[1] The design of the stickers contains the Koranic verse "ARISE AND WARN [EMQ 74:2]" along the top; beneath this is a rainbow crossed out in the manner of a 'no smoking' sign with the text "gay free zone"; at the bottom is another quotation from the Koran, "AND FEAR ALLAH; VERILY ALLAH IS SEVERE IN PUNISHMENT [EMQ 59:7]".

Responses[edit]

A "walk of love" was held with the aim of replacing the stickers with more positive messages.[2] However, LGBT and human rights activist Peter Tatchell suggested that "it would be best if the march was postponed until a later date and organised by a broad-based grassroots and community coalition, untainted by associations with the [English Defence League]".[3]

Some commentators, apparently unwilling to believe that followers of a religious text forbidding homosexuality might possibly be homophobic, claimed that the English Defence League put the stickers up as a false flag operation against Muslims.[4][5][6] These people must have felt rather silly when Mohammed Hasnath, an 18-year-old Muslim from Tower Hamlets, admitted to putting up some of the stickers and was duly fined £100.[7] Other Muslims say homophobia is un-Islamic.[8]

The stickers prompted an article by gay journalist Johann Hari entitled "Can we talk about Muslim homophobia now?". "East London has seen the highest increase in homophobic attacks anywhere in Britain, and some of the worst in Europe", he wrote. "It is because East London has the highest Muslim population in Britain, and we have allowed a fanatically intolerant attitude towards gay people to incubate there, in the name of tolerance ... Muslims are not the only homophobes among us. But the gap between them and the rest is startling. It's zero percent of British Muslims vs. 58 percent of other Brits who say we are 'acceptable.'"[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]