Peter Tatchell has, justifiably, extracted an apology from Routledge, the publishers:
“The UK publisher Routledge has issued a public apology to Peter Tatchell for 20 “misrepresentations and distortions” and “inaccurate allegations” made by the former Human Rights Watch programme director, Scott Long.
The full and unreserved apology to Peter Tatchell and the LGBT human rights group OutRage! has been made by Roger Horton, the CEO of Routledge’s parent company, Taylor and Francis.
Routledge acknowledges that “substantial inaccuracies” appeared in Mr Long’s essay on Iran which it published in its journal Contemporary Politics. “
There seems to be some question as to whether or not this is a one-off, an exception or how Peter has been treated by many Western anti-imperialists.
Personally, I think the case is fairly clear, based on the evidence.
Having followed Peter Tatchell’s activities, off and on, for over three decades I have been astonished at the bile aimed at him. But no one needs to take my word on that they can simply search Google and feast upon the links.
Employing theese Google keywords: Peter Tatchell, Islamophobia
Will reveal any number of defamatory comments against Peter, below is a small, and by no means, definitive selection.
[I apologise to Peter for dragging up this nonsense, but I think the extent of the abuse that he has suffered needs documenting.]
Peter Tatchell not only encourages Islamophobia – he defends the right of homophobes to incite hatred against the LGBT community. from Islamophobia Watch dating from June 16, 2011.
There are numerous entries dating back to 2004, which can be viewed via this search string.
Rational Wiki explains the background.
Even Indymedia UK ran this piece in 2007, Peter Tatchell the anti Muslim campaigner.
These criticisms might be dismissed as coming from the fringes, politically speaking. Yet even Labour Party membership or holding high political office is not a guarantee against hyperbole or venom towards Peter.
We shouldn’t forget Ken Livingstone’s poor contribution, as Peter commented in 2008:
“Despite my record of support for Ken, he singled me out for particular denunciation over Qaradawi. The mayor condemned me as anti-Muslim, and even suggested I was a pawn of the Israeli secret service and US neocons.
The mayor’s far left supporters waged a vicious, year-long hate campaign of lies and disinformation which, even to this day, has resulted me being branded as a “racist” and “Islamophobe” by sections of the left. Consequently, I am no longer invited to speak at some anti-fascist, anti-war and trade union events.
The mayor and his allies were wrong to smear me as Islamophobic. Everyone knows that I have done a huge amount of work campaigning for the rights of Muslim prisoners, asylum applicants and those falsely accused of terrorism. I have reserved my fire for Muslim fundamentalists, not Muslims in general. Moreover, I have long supported the human rights of the people of Iran, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Darfur and the Western Sahara – who are mostly Muslim.”
Elsewhere, the Socialist Unity blog, run by a Labour Party member, decried Scott Long’s apology in June, 30, 2010: Did Peter Tatchell Uses Libel Laws To Delegitimise Criticism? and The Intersections Between Homophobia And Islamophobia from 5 November, 2009.
Those would just a small selection, not the worst, and rather distressing to Peter, given his excellent work over the years highlighting human rights abuses from Russia to Zimbabwe and in Britain. He’s had to suffer this abuse for years, at least 8 by my quick tally, but it’s probably longer.
However, there is a wider point here.
By falsely attacking Peter Tatchell as Islamophobic his critics have misused the word, demeaned its meaning. They have diminished its impact. They played with its meaning for political purposes and detracted from the very visible racism that hides under real Islamophobia in Britain.
Peter deserves apologies all round, and to be congratulated for his sterling work for gay rights, human rights and antiracism over the years.
In short, these Google searches reveal that Peter Tatchell has been unjustifiably maligned and attacked for years. Inexcusably, he has been labelled as ‘Islamophobic’ by various Western “anti-imperialists”, some on the periphery, others not so.
Ken Livingston’s attacks on Peter show how it was not just the fringes. By employing this false criticism Peter’s critics have diminished the meaning of “Islamophobic”. It is they who have devalued the word and the very necessary struggle against this form of racism. It is they that should apologise.
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