Your story about Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine (Gay magazine in race row after calling Islam a barmy doctrine, January 2) gave the impression that I and the assistant editor were forced to resign over comments concerning Islam. We were not forced to resign but did so of our own volition because the committee of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association wished to stifle free speech by seeking to vet, and by implication censor, all future material.
Your story was also highly selective. The article that seems to have caused the most offence also said that racism is the “antithesis of humanism” and made the point that many immigrants had “integrated rather well, maintaining a strong cultural identity while … contributing a great deal to our society …” Neither the writer of that article nor we as editors are racist. We criticise religions and do not care about the racial origin of people who practice them.
I suggest readers make up their own minds by going to the dossier we have produced on the issue, which is at www.mfebooks.com/G&LH/Intro.htm, which reproduces the material.
The criticism of Islam was no harsher than criticism of all religions has been during the magazine’s 25-year life. Criticism has always been of religion itself and its tendency to condemn lifestyles it does not agree with. Christianity has come in for much harsher criticism.
Islam is demonstrably a threat to women and gay people, who are routinely tortured and murdered in Islamic countries, such as Iran. This is fact, not opinion, and should be of great concern in view of the rise of Islam right across Europe. Indeed, the issue said nothing that had not been said in national newspapers by a variety of writers and politicians – including Tony Blair – and we have provided several examples in our dossier.
Former editor, Gay & Lesbian Humanist