James Kirchick writes in the Yale Daily News (thanks to Charles Jacobs) about how London Mayor Ken Livingstone has chosen to support the jihadist pseudo-moderate Qaradawi in contradiction of his previous support of rights for homosexuals. This article shows why it is so important for Westerners to drop the outmoded language of Left and Right, as I have argued many times: there are those who are interested in defending Western civilization against the jihad, and those who aren’t. Ken Livingstone isn’t. It is time for those on the other side, those who don’t believe that gay or anyone else should be “beheaded” and “chopped up” to stand together, whatever they think of homosexuality itself. Opponents and proponents of gay marriage, in other words, need to unite now and defend against a common enemy who would render all such controversies moot.
On first glance, London’s gay community could have no better friend than Ken Livingstone.
A legendary member of the far-left wing of the Labour Party, the mayor has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights. He started the first Partnership Register in the United Kingdom. He regularly attends the London Gay Pride Parade. He has worked with his city’s police force to crack down on homophobic crime.
In spite of this flawless record on gay rights, Livingstone has repeatedly expressed support for radical Islamist cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based imam whom the mayor hosted at City Hall last year. The sheikh runs the Web site Islamonline, which, according to the British gay rights group Outrage!, has labeled homosexuals “perverted” and “abominable.” Qaradawi himself has called homosexuality a “disease that needs a cure” and his site suggests that gays be executed via “burning or stoning to death.” Wives, if they misbehave, are to be beaten, but those concerned about the status of women ought not to be concerned, for the thrashing need only be “light.”
Livingstone has called Qaradawi a “leading progressive Muslim,” and has said, “his is very similar to the position of Pope John XXIII.” The Pope was certainly no friend of gays, but one thinks that Livingstone had another comparison in mind. John XXIII, you see, was a reformer who worked to repair the Church’s relations with Jews. An odd comparison, nevertheless, given the fact that Qaradawi has called suicide bombings in Israel “martyrdom operations.”
In a fit of oxymoronic stupor, Livingstone defended Qaradawi by calling him, “an absolutely sane Islamist.”
The sheikh has been banned from entering the United States since 1999. He was invited to a conference in Manchester this summer, but his invitation was later revoked. But Livingstone supported Qaradawi’s visit all along — especially after Islamists killed 56 people this summer.
Livingstone’s unrepentant embrace of Qaradawi is all the more repulsive in light of revelations made just after the July 7 attacks that gay people may soon be targeted for Islamist terror. Peter Tatchell, the UK’s most visible gay rights figure, has stated that he and two other British gay campaigners were informed by anonymous fundamentalists that they are on a “hit list” and are to be “beheaded” and “chopped up” in accordance with “Islamic law.”
“If the terrorists want to attack the gay community,” Outrage! campaign coordinator Brett Lock said, “they may well attempt to detonate a bomb in a crowded gay bar, restaurant, club or community center.” Gay people around the world who have always viewed these locations as places of refuge would be foolish to laugh off the hazard of an Islamist bomb attack on such establishments. Can one imagine a better target in which to murder and maim perverted infidels?
Read it all.