Lavender Alert

Irshad Manji on London terrorist attacks. Lesbian Muslim activist Irshad Manji was invited by the BBC to issue a challenge to British Muslim leaders prior to their July 19 meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. She wrote the following:
The 7th of July changed my community forever. Never before have I heard fellow Muslims condemn so sincerely the terror committed in our name. I thank Muslim leaders - and God - that we're finally awaking from denial.

Except on one front: the possible role of religion itself in these atrocities.

You see, the Muslim Council of Britain insists that Islam had nothing to do with the London bombings. They identify other factors - segregation, alienation - as motives for the suicide bombers. Now, I don't deny that living on the margins can harm self-esteem. When that happens, decent kids can become vulnerable to radical messages of instant belonging.

But how can mainstream Muslim leaders reject, flat-out, that religion may also play a part in these bombings? What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?

What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That's the trouble with Islam today. ...

Read the full text at Irshad's homepage. (Irshad Manji)

Gay Palestinian wins appeal in UK asylum case. Gay.com reports: 'In one of the first judgments of its kind, a 34-year-old gay Muslim asylum seeker has won the right to make an appeal to remain in Britain. The 34-year-old Palestinian man, who can be identified only as "H.C.," lived in a refugee camp near Sidon, in Lebanon, but fled to Britain in 1998 after the video shop he worked in was blown up. The man claimed that he was told by a fellow camp resident that the shop was blown up because of H.C.'s homosexuality.
Outrage!, the gay-human rights group led by Peter Tatchell, has long campaigned on the issue and joined marchers at London's Gay Pride event in early July with placards saying, "Tony Blair deports gay asylum seekers. Shame!" and "Labour deports gays to face jail, torture and death." During an asylum appeal in 2003, the adjudicator accepted some of the Palestinian man's claims, but dismissed his plea to remain in Britain and the Immigration Appeal Tribunal refused H.C. the right to appeal.' (Gay.com)

Log Cabin Republicans denounce IRI killings. A press release from Log Cabin Republicans declares:
In the wake of news stories and photographs documenting the hanging of two gay Iranian teenagers, Log Cabin Republicans re-affirm their commitment to the global war on terror. "Like any decent human being, I am shocked and outraged by the execution of two young gay men by Iranian government officials," said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Guerriero. "This barbarous slaughter clearly demonstrates the stakes in the global war on terror. Freedom must prevail over radical Islamic extremism."

Log Cabin Republicans call on the United States government, as well as the broader international community, including the United Nations, to publicly condemn these atrocities. There is a special obligation for those countries with continued economic ties to the Iranian regime to speak out. "The international community should be outraged, and those countries that continue supporting the Iranian regime have a special obligation to condemn this deplorable act," concluded Guerriero.

Teen blogger to be released from "ex-gay" facility. The Washington Blade reports that Zach Stark, the 16-year-old blogger who wrote about his experiences in an "ex-gay" camp, is about to be released: 'Zach Stark, the Tennessee teenager who blogged about his parents’ negative reaction to his coming out, may soon be released from Love in Action, the religious facility that has been working to change his sexual orientation since the beginning of June. Early last month, a Love in Action administrator said that two male teens in the program were both enrolled for six-week stints in the “ex-gay” camp, and last week in an interview broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Zach’s father, Joe Stark confirmed his son’s identity as one of Love in Action’s clients.' Full story at the link. (Blade)

Oregon: Minnis stops gay rights legislation - but not for long. Using every technicality and subterfuge in the book, Oregon's House Speaker Karen Minnis avoided having to put the provisons of SB 1000 to a vote in Salem. But Minnis' determination to circumvent the legislative process has not stopped the progress of gay rights legislation in Oregon. The Basic Rights Oregon blog reports:
Today [Tuesday, July 26], less than one week after Speaker of the House Karen Minnis executed a "Mid-Day Massacre" of Senate Bill 1000, House Democrats introduced a new bill aimed at creating civil unions and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations and public services.

Sponsored by State Representative Mary Nolan (D-Portland), House Bill 3508 was also drafted, similar to civil union legislation in Vermont, to broaden appeal by including "reciprocal benefits" for those individuals not eligible for a civil union or marriage.

"We're giving the Speaker of the House one more chance to do the right thing," said Represenative Nolan. "The matter of civil unions and nondiscrimination deserves a full and open debate on the floor of the House. It's not acceptable that one person, the Speaker of the House, should stand in the way and prevent the House from doing its duty. We're not asking for the Speaker's personal vote for civil unions. But we are demanding the opportunity for the whole House to debate on a matter that the Senate has already dealt with decisively." (Basic Rights Oregon)