Homophobia,  Human Rights

Defend Peter Tatchell

Well, it has happened again.

Lunatics and fanatics are attempting to smear Peter Tatchell as a racist, and worse.

You might remember that, earlier this year, Peter Tatchell received an apology from an academic publisher, which put out a book called Out of Place which contained some very serious lies about Peter. Take a minute or so out to read the apology, and to remind yourself of the background to this business.

The three authors who published their lies about Peter Tatchell in an academic book are as follows:

Dr Jin Haritaworn of the LSE’s Gender Institute

Tamsila Tauqir of the Safra Project: “a resource project working on issues relating to lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender women who identify as Muslim religiously and/or culturally (Muslim LBT women).”. She was awarded an MBE last year.

Esra Erdem, who appears to have been connected with Corpus Christi Oxford where she worked with Andrew Glyn: the dead Old Etonian economics guru of the revolutionary communist party, Militant Tendency.

Remember also that Peter – a man of principle – will not sue for libel to protect his reputation, but puts his faith instead in the power of argument. My guess is that:

– the campaign of lies is being orchestrated by these academics, or their supporters; and

– because they know full well that Peter Tatchell does not sue for libel, they feel free to take the piss in public

If you believe that the truth will flush out lies, take a moment to familiarise yourself which what is being said about Peter Tatchell.

Then go and rebut those slanders, wherever you find them.

First, here is Peter’s response:

The book Out Of Place contains a chapter – Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’ – by Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem. It was published by Raw Nerve Books in 2008.

The authors make highly defamatory, libellous and untrue allegations against me. This goes beyond criticism and involves outright lies and fabrications. Criticism is fine. Untruths are not.

The authors’ friends and supporters are now spreading further smears.

They accuse me of “censoring” Out Of Place. This is untrue.

They claim that I forced the book to be withdrawn from sale and resulted in the publisher’s declaring it to be “Out of Print.” This is untrue.

The real censorship is by my critics. They are posting entirely false allegations, often on closed lists that do not allow me to post my side of the story.

I have not suppressed the book, Out of Place, or forced it out of print. The book was listed as “Out of Print” before I contacted the publishers and challenged the lies and falsehoods written about me.

The book was not withdrawn on my account. It had already gone out of print before I approached the publishers.

I did not use the libel laws. This is another lie.

When I presented the publishers with evidence that refuted the accusations against me in Out of Place, they agreed to publish this apology.

I never asked for Out of Place to be taken out of print. I have no objection to it being reprinted, providing it does not include the lies and fabrications about me. I have made this clear to Raw Nerve Books.

Academics are supposed to adhere to the highest standards of facts, truth and of evidence-based assertions, with proper footnoting and sourcing for what they write. The authors of the chapter that defames me did not do this. They made claims that are untrue and for which there is no evidence. They provided no footnotes or sources for their outrageous false allegations. They are guilty of poor research, shoddy scholarship and desertion of academic standards.

Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem suggest that I am anti-Muslim. This is pure fiction. I have campaigned against fundamentalist Muslims (in nthe same way that I have campaigned against fundamentalist Christians), not against Muslim people in general. I have always made this distinction very clear.

The authors explicitly claim or implicitly insinuate the following:

Tatchell has “claimed the role of liberator and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians.” Not true. I have never made such a claim or adopted such a role.

Tatchell is Islamophobic and is “part of the Islamophobia industry.”

Not true. I have defended many Muslim victims of injustice and condemned anti-Muslim prejudice.

Tatchell is racist and has engaged in “racial” politics. Not true. I have a 40-year record of anti-racist and anti-apartheid campaigning.

Tatchell has described “Muslims as Nazis” and made the equation “Muslim=Nazi” and “Muslim=Evil.” Not true. I have never attacked Muslims in general – only fundamentalists who oppose democracy, equality and human rights.

Tatchell has “collaborated with the extreme right” and “participated with several racist and fascist groups.” Not true. I have fought the far-right for four decades and been a victim of violent attacks by neo-Nazis because of my defence of black, Muslim, Jewish and LGBT people.

It is utterly shameful for any authors, let alone academics, to abandon honesty, truth and integrity, in order to misrepresent and lie about other people in order to wage petty, sectarian political wars.

We should fight real oppressors and not pick fights with, and publish false allegations against, other progressive people.

Sectarian attacks undermine the struggle for human rights, social justice, peace and anti-imperialism.

For me, the sole issue is that this book printed lies. I have no objection to people criticising me, but making untrue allegations and smearing fellow comrades is shameful and has no place in progressive politics.

All my articles, speeches and news releases are archived on my website. You can view them here:


I invite anyone to find evidence that I am Islamophobic, racist or a supporter of imperialist wars or the “war on terror.” Take a look at the totality of my campaigns since 1967. Even if you disagree with a particular campaign or article, please judge me on my overall record.

Free speech, which I defend, should not include the right to print lies that cause other people harm and which seek to pursue sectarian vendettas and to discredit political opponents. This is what the chapter in Out of Place did to me.

No one should be allowed to falsely insinuate that someone is a racist and that they collaborate with fascists. These claims in Out of Place are fiction. I have campaigned against these, and / or similar, injustices for over 40 years.

This book should not be allowed to get away with such lies about me – or anyone else.

Lies and libel that cause other people damage (as Out of Place has caused to me) are not legitimate free speech.

You would not like to be falsely accused of equating Muslim people with Nazis, consorting with fascists, colluding with the war on terror and promoting a racist and imperialist agenda – which is what this book accuses me of doing.

IslamaphobiaWatch, which some of my critics cite, is not a truthful, honest website. It is run by political sectarians who defame and discredit people they see as political enemies. It is full of outright lies against me and many others, including progressive, left-wing Muslims, anti-racists and supporters, like me, of the anti-war

An attack on me by London’s former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, is also cited by some of my detractors. Ken has since apologised for making false allegations of Islamophobia against me.

I count many leading Muslim and black activists among my friends and political comrades. They know my 42-year record of anti-racist, anti-war and anti-imperialist campaigning. They are aware that I have been a fierce defender of Muslim and black communities against statec oppression, including trenchant opposition to the so-called “war on terror”. They would not support me and work with me if I had done the things that the book Out Of Place falsely claims.

Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem suggest that I am anti-Muslim and implicated in colluding with the “war on terror.” This is not true.

I have been prominent in the campaigns to defend Muslims unjustly accused of terrorism, including Hicham Yezza and Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch:

I stood bail and provided evidence for Mr Baluch during his terrorism trial, which helped result in his acquittal (and Mr Marri’s).

I have also helped secure asylum for dozens of Muslim refugees and for Muslim victims of miscarriages of justice, such as Mohammed S:

For nearly four decades I have worked with the leading black, Muslim, anti-racist, anti-imperialist and left-wing campaigners in the UK. If I was the racist and Islamophobe that the authors of Out of Place suggest, why do these organisations and activists work with me?

I was one of the original endorsers of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK in 1982 and a keynote speaker at its founding conference, and I have supported oppressed Muslims from Palestine, to Iraq, Chechnya and Kashmir.

If, after reading this reply, you feel that I have been unfairly maligned, I hope you might consider posting this response or your own comments to any e-lists that you have access to. I would be most grateful.

Now, who are the scum who are spreading these lies about Peter Tatchell.

Here are a few of them.

The decision of the publishers not to publish a second edition results in a de-facto act of censorship, which further marginalises already precarious perspectives. Putting pressure on publishers, editors and authors to silence un-wanted opinions endangers critical debate based on freedom of expression. We are worried about an emerging culture in which libel threats may be habitually used to silence critical voices. We are disappointed with Raw Nerve Books’ decision to publish this one-sided statement and to not print a second edition of Out of Place.

That comes from:

Umut Erel – RCUK academic fellow at the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance at the Open University, UK. Her research interests are in gender, migration, ethnicity, racism and citizenship.

Christian Klesse – Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the Sociology Department of the Manchester Metropolitan University.

Here is one from Yoshie Furuhashi, a frothing Ahmadinejad shill, who blogs at Richard Seymour’s Lenin’s Tomb

One such queer-of-color criticism of “gay imperialism,” a collection of essays titled Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality, however, is being censored in Britain, apparently by Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who evidently felt his sensationalist brand of activism and rhetoric ought to be above critical scrutiny and got the publisher of the book to take the book out of circulation.

Here is one from Johanna Rothe, a PhD student in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California in Santa Cruz:

We will not take this warning lightly.  Whether we will obey it is a different question.  People with few symbolic and material resources — women of color and queer and trans people of color, people from the Global South, often people with precarious jobs — have taken the lead in criticizing Islamophobia, racism and imperialism in white gay and queer politics.  The censorship of “Gay Imperialism” has made the risks of such a critique manifest.  It remains to be seen whether “we forget that the whole thing ever happened,” or whether a different “we” is emerging that gathers its strength as it recollects what it would much more easily forget.

Here is one from Aren Aizura. This little tosser is apparently “finishing a PhD in the Cultural Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia about the valorisation of travel metaphors in transsexual and transgender cultural productions, and their connection to material transgender mobilities.”

It seems likely that Tatchell’s lawyers presented Raw Nerve with an already-written apology and asked them to sign and publish it. Tatchell is notoriously litigious. He is equally notorious for staging highly publicised, “one man” actions that appear to have just as much to do with his public image as a gay celebrity activist as any political work. However, Tatchell himself is not important here. What is important is that this critique is evidently so threatening to Tatchell and to the book’s publishers that it must be removed from circulation, and the authors must be condemned as liars.

This incident proves something about how difficult it is to do anti-racist work.

Aren Aizura encourages people to spread this lie around various list serves. What a wanker.

Here is a gem from ‘Third Way Vegan” aka Stacy Douglas, a one time MA Candidate Frost Centre for Canadian and Native Studies at Trent University.

in an apology that could only have been written by tatchell, raw nerve disgustingly retracts such allegations (made by the authors) and then re-frames tatchell as distinctly anti-racist, listing a smattering of work he has done in “africa” (ignoring the ‘public statement of warning’ written by african lgbti human rights defenders about working with tatchell) and with anti-fascist groups in the uk. might i just say, great “anti-racist” work there tatchell, actively silencing queers of colour who dare challenge your politics.

This little pissant evidently thinks she is e.e.cummings. She isn’t. She’s a piece of scum.

Oh look. Here’s the same set of lies, recycled on another site, “X-Talk“:

The censorship stands in stark contrast to the radical defence of freedom of speech which Tatchell has made a name for himself. In 2006, this went as far as leading him to participate in the March for Free Expression, which was also attended by various racist and fascist groups. Once again, marginalised voices are being threatened and silenced, but this time, this silencing is instituted by the very champions of free speech themselves.

Who are X Talk? Difficult to tell, but they’re essentially loopy gender politicians who are posing as spokespersons for the rights of sex workers. Kind of later-day Gladstones.

These are just a few of the attacks being posted on various blogs and closed lists. Some of these articles have been reposted many times, on different forums.

I also do not believe in using the law of libel. However, when a publisher apologises for printing lies about a man, and the academics then propagate those lies further in revenge, I’m not sure what can be done.

The only thing that you really can do, in a situation like this, is to say loud and clear that you stand with Peter, and against the defamers, and that you have nothing but contempt for those who have been hounding this selfless and principled man.

Or to put it more succinctly:

Fuck you all.