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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Shaking hands with the devil

Oh, hello. I won't shake hands: you might catch something. Oh, yes, being gay makes you likely to pass on death-dealing diseases with a handshake. You're contagious. Or should that be infectious? No matter, but you have to be so careful, you see, because there's this magazine that says you can catch things. Just by shaking hands with gay people. No kidding.

The proof is here, in the Local, a German online magazine that quotes a German Arabic-language magazine called al-Salam. Well, you might have known religious nutters would be behind it all. If it's not Muslims it's Catholics or evangelicals.

But this magazine is passed around caf├ęs and restaurants in and around the German capital and presents us with the ungrammatical headline, "A flesh-eating bacteria and sexual abnormality". A bacteria? Oh, well, it probably lost something in translation.

It says that gay men are hit by deadly diseases and that Muslim "brothers" should not shake their hands as "one never knows what kind of bacteria and germs are found on them".

So nice of them to point this out.

The Local tells us:

The Lesbian and Gay Association of Berlin-Brandenburg (LSVD) reported the article to the police this week, spokesman Alexander Zinn told the Local.

"We have reported it as a crime to the police and it is now being examined to determine whether it should be dealt with as defamation or incitement," he said.

The LSVD has long reported homophobia from Germany's Muslim, largely Turkish community, yet Zinn said protesting against it, or trying to bring the subject into the public arena, is fraught with difficulty.

He points out (but we all know this already) that criticising attitudes of the Turkish or Arab communities is often equated with a racist attack, he said. Well, if they're being criticised because they're Turkish or Arab, then racism might be levelled. But behind it all is Islam, a religion, a belief system, a backward and repressive belief system that doesn't, in its unalloyed form, understand the concept of freedom of expression or people's rights to respond to their natural sexuality.

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