Far-right ‘activist’ who handed out leaflets claiming ‘Allah is gay’ gets lifetime ban from the UK

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By VT

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In recent years, the UK and USA have seen a rise in extremist behavior in both religious and political contexts. Oftentimes, demonstrations or attacks from either side have been reactionary, with each responsible party claiming that they are only countering the other's movements.

Unfortunately, this constant back-and-forth has stirred up a lot of tension amongst the general public, leading extremists to use more daring tactics in order to attempt to get others to join their cause.

Recently, a far-right Canadian activist, Lauren Southern, was banned from the UK after trying to rile up racial tensions when she handed out leaflets that said, "Allah is a gay God" and "Allah is trans".

Southern claims that she only handed out the leaflets as a "social experiment of sorts", as she'd recently seen a VICE article that claimed Jesus Christ was gay and wanted to see what would happen if she promoted the same idea to a Muslim community - as both religions are historically homophobic.

However, the way she went about it seemed deliberately antagonistic.

In a video about her reasons for distributing the leaflets, she says she did it to see what the reaction would be and implied that she thought it would provoke violence as there was "no backlash ... no Charlie Hebdo-style attacks" to the Christianity article.

"I was wondering what would happen if we played the role of an LGBT social justice warrior activist, and set up a stall to celebrate LGBT diversity in the Islamic community," she said.

And that's exactly what she did.

After setting up the stall, Southern was soon told (in a very civilized way) that her message was considered offensive by members of the Muslim community. And, perhaps rightfully, she responded by saying that she was offended by the notion that homosexuality or queerness is unpalatable to some religious people.

Her stall was taken down by police officers who were keen to de-escalate the situation, and she believed that was the end of the matter.

However, several weeks later, Southern found herself being detained in Calais and refused entry to the UK under the terrorism act, as she was considered to be "a threat to the fundamental interests of society and public policy of the United Kingdom".

The thing is, Southern had pulled many stunts like this before, and so her ban was not just because of the leaflets, but due to an accumulation of all the other times she had gone out of her way to antagonize people of a certain faith.

It is undeniable that there is a problem with homophobia and transphobia in religious communities, but Southern wasn't out there to spread love and acceptance, she was there to promote a divisive agenda. She is not a queer person, nor is she a Muslim. She's just someone who assumed one of those roles in order to attack the other.

"I would hope that [the UK] would be pro-freedom of speech, and support people's right to question Islam, to even have cheeky posters, make jokes and social experiments, to give a speech at Speakers Corner," said Southern, whose 'jokes' seemed to be continuously and maliciously aimed at Muslims.

Tolerance amongst all communities is certainly something the UK needs to work on - as do the US and Canada - but trying to push people's buttons without a proper, reasonable discourse is not the way to go about it. People like Southern only serve to divide opinions further, without ever offering a real way for different communities to come together.

She might consider the ban to be harsh, but I'm sure many people - both LGBTQ and Muslim - can understand why it happened.

Far-right ‘activist’ who handed out leaflets claiming ‘Allah is gay’ gets lifetime ban from the UK

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

In recent years, the UK and USA have seen a rise in extremist behavior in both religious and political contexts. Oftentimes, demonstrations or attacks from either side have been reactionary, with each responsible party claiming that they are only countering the other's movements.

Unfortunately, this constant back-and-forth has stirred up a lot of tension amongst the general public, leading extremists to use more daring tactics in order to attempt to get others to join their cause.

Recently, a far-right Canadian activist, Lauren Southern, was banned from the UK after trying to rile up racial tensions when she handed out leaflets that said, "Allah is a gay God" and "Allah is trans".

Southern claims that she only handed out the leaflets as a "social experiment of sorts", as she'd recently seen a VICE article that claimed Jesus Christ was gay and wanted to see what would happen if she promoted the same idea to a Muslim community - as both religions are historically homophobic.

However, the way she went about it seemed deliberately antagonistic.

In a video about her reasons for distributing the leaflets, she says she did it to see what the reaction would be and implied that she thought it would provoke violence as there was "no backlash ... no Charlie Hebdo-style attacks" to the Christianity article.

"I was wondering what would happen if we played the role of an LGBT social justice warrior activist, and set up a stall to celebrate LGBT diversity in the Islamic community," she said.

And that's exactly what she did.

After setting up the stall, Southern was soon told (in a very civilized way) that her message was considered offensive by members of the Muslim community. And, perhaps rightfully, she responded by saying that she was offended by the notion that homosexuality or queerness is unpalatable to some religious people.

Her stall was taken down by police officers who were keen to de-escalate the situation, and she believed that was the end of the matter.

However, several weeks later, Southern found herself being detained in Calais and refused entry to the UK under the terrorism act, as she was considered to be "a threat to the fundamental interests of society and public policy of the United Kingdom".

The thing is, Southern had pulled many stunts like this before, and so her ban was not just because of the leaflets, but due to an accumulation of all the other times she had gone out of her way to antagonize people of a certain faith.

It is undeniable that there is a problem with homophobia and transphobia in religious communities, but Southern wasn't out there to spread love and acceptance, she was there to promote a divisive agenda. She is not a queer person, nor is she a Muslim. She's just someone who assumed one of those roles in order to attack the other.

"I would hope that [the UK] would be pro-freedom of speech, and support people's right to question Islam, to even have cheeky posters, make jokes and social experiments, to give a speech at Speakers Corner," said Southern, whose 'jokes' seemed to be continuously and maliciously aimed at Muslims.

Tolerance amongst all communities is certainly something the UK needs to work on - as do the US and Canada - but trying to push people's buttons without a proper, reasonable discourse is not the way to go about it. People like Southern only serve to divide opinions further, without ever offering a real way for different communities to come together.

She might consider the ban to be harsh, but I'm sure many people - both LGBTQ and Muslim - can understand why it happened.