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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Building interfaith bridges of homophobia.

A year and a half ago, I noted the surprising coalition of men in dresses and fancy hats who joined together in Israel to oppose a gay rights march in Jerusalem. Today's Boston Globe reports that the coalition of disgust now has a soundtrack, a duet recorded by ultra-Orthodox singer Benny Elbaz and an unidentified Arab Muslim: "Jerusalem Will Burn!" In an act of self-fulfilling prophecy, ultra-Orthodox men are staging violent riots as part of a campaign to suppress tomorrow's scheduled march.

For more on the perverse interfaith alliance hatred is building in Israel, read on.

Religious Jews and Muslims are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum on most issues, especially over who should control the contested city of Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians both claim as their capital. But Jews, Muslims, and even some Christians have formed a common front against Jerusalem's gay community, whose planned march they say besmirches the city.

"Only this onslaught of homosexual radicalism could bring together such disparate voices," said Rabbi Yehuda Levin, an anti gay activist from Brooklyn, N.Y., who has traveled to Israel several times this year to rally opposition to the gay pride parade.

Levin has joined forces with Tayseer Tamimi, the head judge of the Islamic Sharia court in the West Bank.

"This march is part of the wild campaign against Islam, the doctrine, the holy sites," Tamimi said. "All religions discredit gays . . . because it is against the decent human nature created by God."

In June, Levin and four senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis shared a podium with two Arab-Israeli members of the Knesset to denounce the march.

Islamic religious leaders from the West Bank joined by video link because they are barred by Israel from visiting Jerusalem.

The religious anti gay activists said the gay pride event has prompted new dialogue between them that extends to a broader discussion of religion and politics. The anti gay activists believe their cause has opened up a valuable avenue of dialogue between the Islamic and Jewish religious leadership.

("Jews, Muslims join to fight gay parade," Thanassis Cambanis, Boston Globe 11.9.06, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 9 November 2006 at 7:40 AM

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November 9, 2006 07:57 PM | Permalink for this comment

You and your readers may also want to know about the II Congress of Islamic Feminism, which just took place in Barcelona:


November 14, 2006 07:04 AM | Permalink for this comment

See also James Carroll's op-ed, "War, Religion, and Gay Rights" (Boston Globe 11.13.06, reg req'd).

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