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Letters for publication should be sent to: josken_at_josken_net

14 MARCH 2005

I've just read your webpage section on homophobia and religion, and I have to say that you guys are cowards. There was nothing on Islam & homophobia. In Iran people are killed for being gay, and you listed the US,UK,and AUS as the worst places! Are you serious?

Homosexuality is totally accepted here, you have parades, can't be discriminated against legally. In Islamic nations, the government kills your kind! I really respect the way homosexuals fought for their rights in Australia over the years, but it's dissapointing that you never confront the barbaric Islamic tenets that order homosexuals to be killed. I can email you thousands of quotes from the Koran about this, but you instead choose to go to the bible.

The Koran makes those silly, scattered verses in the bible look like a picnic! Not only is homosexuality illegal in every single Islamic nation bar Turkey(although it's written in the law but Muslims will never accept you the way we do). Come on, use that strength that you had in the 60's and 70's to gain your rights, such admirable qualities. But you must go after the Muslims here, ones like Keysar Trad who have encouraged their community to ignore anti-discrimination laws against you all. One cleric out here has even called for you all to be executed! Yet you focus on how there are no gay bishops?

Get some perspective, otherwise the general Aussie like me, who is not homophobic, will find it impossible to respect your cause. YOU MUST BE AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA IN PRINCIPLE, NOT JUST HOMOPHOBIA FROM CHRISTIANS, BUT MUSLIMS ESPECIALLY. They really want to kill your kind, right here in Australia! It's madness! Do something! Are you going to accept this madness? Where are the floats of Trad & the mufti Hilali in the annual Mardi Gras? Sorry, it's nice thing to say, but you are cowards. I will respect and support your caUSE when you are against homophobia in principle.

(Name withheld by request)

Lesbian and Gay Solidarity's reply:
Dear Correspondent of above email dated 14 March 2005

Thanks for writing to us. We are always interested to hear from people who read our web pages, and we do our best to respond to what they have had to say. To start off, we are sorry, but it would seem that you did not look far enough into the homophobia and religion section on our web page, or click on to the interview recorded on Melbourne's Joy Radio in August 2002.

The web sites are as follows:



and these should lead you to the interview with Alex Day of Canterbury Bankstown District Gay and Lesbian Social Club on Joy Radio, mentioned earlier.

Anyway, Muslims in Australia are also subject to Australian laws. Because exemptions apply to religious bodies in various sections of our legislation we are still demanding that such exemptions be removed. In fact, we have still a long way to go before we have equality with heterosexuals in this country.

In response to your accusations of cowardice, we would like to tell you that in the 1970s and 1980s one of us was involved in gay liberation and gay rights struggles in Australia. These struggles included marches, demonstrations, arrests, court cases, assaults by police and other frightening events which are difficult to come to terms with if one is not a violent person by nature. Murders, bashings, assaults, verbal harassment, are ongoing homophobic events and they are not restricted to any one section of the communities. Muslims, Christians, Jews, no doubt non-believers, have all been involved in attacks against gay, lesbian and transgender people.

You may be interested to read some of the literature written on the subject and you will find that we have listed relevant reading matter on one of our hate-crime web pages.

We trust that you are involved with groups who are fighting for equality for all under the law, and that you will publicly fight homophobia wherever you find it.

As we now have a "letters" web page where we publish letters from people who write to us as "Your view" on http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken/yourview.htm we would like to publish your letter there - anonymously, if you would prefer. We hope to hear from you again soon.

Incidentally, again one of us has been after the media, either print, radio or television, for some years now, for using Keysar Trad as the Lebanese Muslim Community's spokesperson when he is one of those who would like to stone us to death. The media have ignored us. Maybe you will have better luck!

Regards and best wishes,

Kendall Lovett and Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne PO Box 1675 Preston South Vic 3072 email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au

On 14 March 2005 at 16:28, this email was received from a correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous:

13 APRIL 2005

Dear Kendall Lovett & Mannie De Saxe, (I didn't send you the story on the Mufti in the email before - it's in this one!)

I thank you sincerly for responding to my email, really, most don't bother. I am quite passionate about issues related to the other side, in how racism is prevalent in most ethnic communities, and especially homophobia from Muslims. I'm sorry for calling you cowards, it's just that I couldn't see anything related to those Muslim leaders in Australia who have called for homosexuals here to be executed.

I truly am sorry for that. I have written letters in the Sunday Telegraph and The Green Left Weekly, asking why there are no floats of Lesbians in burqa's (but naked from the neck down) on leashes held by gays dressed as Islamic clerics, who are whipping them while reading out Quranic passages on how little women mean in Islam. It is about time the gay community attacked those people who are homophobic, regardless of race or religion.

I find on my email travels of many groups such as Australians Against Racism, ect. that many ignore racist comments from non-white communities. I don't know why this occurs, a fear of being labelled a racist, fear of the unknown, or whatever. Me, I call them as I see them. When I hear someone like Keysar Trad talking about human rights, or at a HREOC convention, it makes me sick. It sounds as though you know a bit about him also, and indeed, that meeting at the University of Western Sydney is particularly disgusting. I thank you for the link to the interview with Alex Day, I am eager to listen.

I just find, as an Australian, that Muslims, in many ways, rub against the fabric of our great society. I am only 27, so I'm not some old bitter man, and because I actually grew up in housing commission estates with many middle-eastern people, I realised quite quickly that racism, and indeed homophobia is common to most of them. I remember Lebanese kids would go out to beat up Aussie's for no reason other than that, they accepted me as we all grew up together, but their racism to us was insane. This is what bugs me about hearing some groups say things about say, Australian detention centre treatment of asylum seekers, when you may not be aware that in most parts of Asia, asylum seekers are regularly whipped, lashed, caned, and once let out, are forbidden to have children. They give them contraception on a regular basis so they can enforce this. There are many other barbaric countries too, particularly the middle-eastern states, in relation to homosexuals especially.

Did you know that a woman in Saudi Arabia can be chareged with prostitution if she is caught driving a car by herself. It's amazing that people like Keysar Trad think Australians are racist! Especially his comments over the years, which make Howard & Bush look like left-wing greenies! I once again thank you for replying, and yes you can use my email on your letters page, I guess it is safer to be anonymous. I will look in on your website again, thank you very much. You have educated and informed me!

Oh, and on Keysar Trad, I am collecting everything I find on the man to one day present, when the day comes where all homophobes, regardless of race or religion, are exposed. You may be interested to know that such attitudes among Muslims are common because their leaders preach such vitriolic hate. For example, I have included below ( I hate email attachments) a brief news story on the Mufti of Denmark, who recently said that all women who don't wear headscarves, non-Muslim women too, are "asking to be raped". Think about how mad that sounds! You guys sure have a fight on your hands regarding them!

Yours with thanks,

(Name withheld by request)

Political uproar after mufti's remarks


An Islamic mufti in Copenhagen has sparked a political outcry after publicly declaring that women who refuse to wear headscarves are "asking for rape."

An Islamic mufti in Copenhagen, Shahid Mehdi, has sparked political outcry from the left-wing Unity List and right-wing Danish People's Party, after stating in a televised interview that women who do not wear headscarves are "asking for rape." Unity List equality spokesman Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil has threatened to file suit for defamation against the mufti on behalf of herself and all the women of Denmark. The Danish People's Party has urged Justice Minister Lene Espersen and Integration Minister Bertel Haarder to stop the mufti's religious activities in Copenhagen.

Shahid Mehdi made his remarks in the DR2 programme "Talk to Gode," and reiterated his stance in daily newspaper B.T. The Danish People's Party and Unity List agree that Mehdi's remarks could incite Muslim men to rape Danish women by insinuating that women who did not cover their hair were undeserving of basic respect.

As a mufti, a jurist who interprets Islamic law, Shahi Mehdi is in a special position of authority as a Muslim scholar. Mehdi is currently affiliated with the Islamic Cultural Center in Copenhagen, but Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil has urged officials to ban his teachings in Denmark due to his "reactionary view of women."

"The very idea that this man is authorised to teach young people in the Koran is ludicrous. It's like letting (Danish Nazi leader) Johnny Hansen teach the history of World War II," said Rosenkrantz-Theil.

The Socialist People's Party is urging Integration Minister Bertel Haarder to investigate whether Mehdi had violated Danish laws prohibiting foreign religious clerics from engaging in activity that poses a threat to public safety, health, decency and order.

All rights reserved CPHPOST.DK ApS Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited by law.

27 OCTOBER 2005

Ken Davis, member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Sydney, wrote the following letter to the Sydney Star Observer (SSO), who declined to publish it.

Unfortunately, for some years now, the SSO has been less and less interested in the politics of lesbian and gay members of the communities it is supposed to represent, and is therefore becoming more and more irrelevant to those communities.

This means that, more and more, our communities are resorting to the Internet to disseminate and gain information about lesbian and gay communities around the world.

After 25 years of generating homo-sensible journalism, I'm embarrassed to read an advertorial for Gloria Jean's in SSO 787. What about contending views and investigative questions? Not every Amway seller is a Mormon elder and not every GJ franchisee is a Pentecostal bigot, but surely SSO could put efforts into exploring the well-documented relations between the international company and Hillsong/Assemblies of God churches and Family First? GJ Chair is Nabi Saleh ("Good Prophet"), now a Hillsong Elder, who began Maranatha Imports Exports in 1989 and Praise International in 1994.

How much does GJ contribute to Family First and the Liberal Party? How much do franchisees pay to the company? Why does the company ubiquitously support particular Pentecostal charities and why should Mercy and Opportunity be able to dodge the question of whether they condemn our homo and tranny lives?

The threat to our communities and freedoms from Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish fundamentalisms is a story that deserves research, not just retailing of self-serving media statements.

15 DECEMBER 2005

The Sydney Star Observer responded in its issue of 15 December 2005 in its "sso guide to queer sydney" under the heading:


by sneering at the issue as only the SSO is capable of doing these days! Here is what they wrote:

Gloria Jean's A Whack of caffeine, a handful of disgruntled community members and a multinational under fire were the ingredients in what has probably been the most explosive Sydney Star Observer story all year. The October ruckus pitted the Darlinghurst branch of coffee retailer Gloria Jean's against a couple of wronged activists, who accused the caffeine merchants of running a side trade in prejudice by supporting the "anti-gay" Mercy Ministries. A couple of weeks earlier, Gloria Jean's shops across the country had held a fundraiser for Mercy, which helps young women in crisis and has the support of the Hillsong Church. The ever-earnest activists urged the community to stop sipping at Gloria Jean's, claiming Mercy Ministries supported "ex-gay" programmes. Quicker than you could say "skinny soy latte with one", Gloria Jean's hit back, touting its gay credentials to all that would listen and giving a rainbow flag pride of place in-store. Mercy Ministries also went on the defensive, saying it had no "ex-gay" programmes and was not run by Hillsong. The controversy might have deterred a few dedicated Gloria Jean's drinkers, but it soon descended into farce, thanks to scores of increasingly hysterical postings on the Star's wbsite. Did someone say "storm in a coffee cup?"

The following letter was sent to us on 21 October 2005. We wrote to the author and asked his permission to publish the letter on our "Letters" pages. We recently obtained his permission and the letter is printed in full. We invite responses from our readers to his views.

21 OCTOBER 2005


I am involved in in planning the "Diversity Day" activities for my local high school in New Hampshire (north of Boston), USA, and I ran across your web site while doing research.

It is the goal of our activities to teach the students to treat each other with understanding and respect, regardless of any differences when it comes to opinions, lifestyles, value systems, abilities, etc. It is only when we treat each other with respect that we can learn to see past the differences to first understand, and then celebrate, each other's strengths. Despite our best attempts at teaching respect, however, we still see hate speech and intolerance -- we have a long, long way to go.

Because your web site is designed to fight intolerance, I was surprised by one very strong, pejorative statement found on your page: "Religions seem to be the basis of the homophobia confronted by gay, lesbian and transgender people around the world."

Statements like this are not helpful! In our Diversity Day committee, there are those people who buy into this notion, and are attempting to teach "tolerance" and understanding of gay, lesbian, and transgender people by pushing a strong anti-religion agenda. The effect of the anti-religion agenda has been, of course, an anti-gay backlash amongst the religious folks who (legitimately) feel threatened. The result is an escalation of hard and a *decrease* in tolerance. It is impossible to advocate for tolerance through preaching intolerance.

At any rate, regardless of whether or not there is a correlation between religiosity and homophobia (and I would put money on such a correlation existing!), a more tolerant statement such as "It is a sad fact that much of the homophobia confronted by gay, lesbian and transgender people around the world is caused by some members of religious communities who seem to have forgotten that most great spiritual teachers through -- such as Jesus Christ and Siddhartha -- taught messages of love and tolerance rather than hatred and bigotry."

Gay, lesbian and transgender people around the world have enough to deal with in terms of fighting illegitimate prejudices without making inflammatory statements that give the religious community something legitimate to want to fight about...

Just my thoughts...


Dr. Warren Smith JETS: Japanese-English Technology Services

warren.smith@comcast.net 603-674-2227

Diversity: It's All About Respect

5 MARCH 2007

----- Original Message ----- From: Ken Davis
To: letters@smh.com.au
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 12:22 PM

Subject: letter to the editor about Mardi Gras

The 30th annual gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade on Saturday night was wonderful, as was your article on Saturday morning (Sydney Ready to Frock'n'Roll, SMH 3 March 2007). However, there were a couple of inaccuracies: the 1978 arrest photo is not at the Mardi Gras, but of an arrest outside the illegally closed Liverpool Street Courts on Monday 26 June 1978. The 24 June Saturday late-night carnival down Oxford Street was not a "small demonstration", it had a quarter the number of participants of last Saturday's parade. What was planned as a celebration in 1978 turned into a riot, only because of police intervention. What was memorable also was the publication of the names, occupations and addresses of those arrested, which led to further discrimination.

Ken Davis
Pride History Group
GPO box 415 Sydney 2001

14 MARCH 2007

On 26 February 2007 I sent the following letter to the Sydney Star Observer (SSO). I thought if they didn't publish it in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras they would publish it afterwards, but how wrong can one be! The SSO is obviously joining all the other media in self-censorship - and more so of items seen by their editorial board as being "politically incorrect":

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity,

PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Phone: (03) 9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
Web: http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken

It really is time for Mardi Gras to take a long, cold shower! The incident at Fair Day involving security and CAAH and the calling of police is a disgrace. An organization which grew out of a grass roots activist and protest demonstration in 1978 during which the police behaved in the most brutal and disgusting way stops an activist group from moving around the grounds on Fair Day with its own political agenda.

If Mardi Gras does this sort of thing on Fair Day the future of the organization looks very bleak indeed.

Next, it would seem as if Mardi Gras will get upset by some of this week?s letters to the SSO complaining about the proposed David Hicks float and accusing David Hicks of all sorts of terrible crimes. Maybe the letter-writers ought also to go and have a few cold showers while they contemplate the fact that David Hicks has not yet been tried in a properly constituted court of law, and yet they are saying he is guilty already. What is happening with the Hicks case is representative of what has happened to human rights laws in Australia where there used to be a presumption of innocence until proved guilty.

Will Mardi Gras ban the float?

It would be a good idea if all concerned would go and read Richard Flanagan's book, "The Unknown Terrorist" and think again about jumping to the conclusions they have.

Shame on you all!

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity (formerly Gay Solidarity Group, GSG)

4 APRIL 2007

From: "ian katz" ian_katz2003@hotmail.com

To: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
Subject: de saxe's hypocrisy
Date sent: Wed, 04 Apr 2007 13:05:14 +0000

Here is a question for the self proclaimed vanguard of the Palestinian enterprise: Can De Saxe list, in alphabetical order, the names of any countries in the Middle East, apart from Israel, that tolerate homosexuals, and allow gay marches?

Can De Saxe outline the Hamas government's views on homosexuals?Also, can De Saxe please inform us what protests he has made in print, against the Iranian Government's policy, to routinely hang homosexuals from cranes.De Saxe says he is against occupation, that is why he has never complained about the Syrians ransacking Lebanon, no doubt.

30 JUNE 2007

From: "ian katz" ian_katz2003@hotmail.com

To: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
Subject: more racist humbug from De Saxe
Date sent: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 08:25:08 +0000

Its just as well that Mannie De Saxe is living in a civilized country such as Australia or Israel. As I understand it, his Hamas friends went on a shooting spree in the last few weeks gunning down children and elderly women. I wonder how many Middle Eastern countries, apart from Israel, would tolerate a gay parade, and I wonder if De Saxe could name them.

22 JANUARY 2008

----- Original Message ----- From: Ken Davis
To: letters@smh.com.au
Cc: readerlink@smh.com.au
Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:23 PM
Subject: for letters page

Ruth Pollard recounts Oxford Street's wonderful history admirably (SMH 19 January), but the depiction of the 1978 Mardi Gras in Oxford Street as gay liberation's "first march" is erroneous: there were many such protests, including with arrests, through the early 1970s. As we prepare for our 31st Mardi Gras parade, it's important to be accurate about what was unprecedented about the first Mardi Gras on the night of 24 June 1978: it was planned as a street party, not a march, and was attacked by police precisely because it was a late-night celebration.

Ken Davis
for Pride History Group

personal: 12/164 Oxford Street Woollahra 2025
home: 9363 2849
work: 9264 9343
mobile: 04 3842 0631

20 JANUARY 2008

The writer of the following letter wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons! So-called christian organisations such as Mercy Ministries try and silence people who leave their organisations by intimidating them, bullying them and frightening them into silence by whatever means are available. Religion in the end has nothing to do with what they are doing - getting rich and silencing opposition by whatever means possible is their end game. These organisations end up ruining the lives of people who have been ensnared because of initial hopes of better futures or whatever else seems to be promised. When people realise what is going on and try to escape the clutches of these bullies, the end result is frightening. The more they are exposed for their tactics, the better!


I came across an article on your website that I found interesting http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken/yourview.htm Regarding Mercy Ministries and Gloria Jeans.

I went to Mercy Ministries in Australia. During my time there, I saw so much abuse towards young women - spiritual abuse and emotional abuse. The staff there are unqualified to be 'treating' young women for a lot of the issues they claim they can treat young women for. If girls do not become 'Christians' within a certain time, they get kicked out of the program - even if they are still suicidal or have eating disorders, or whatever they are dealing with. Most girls who are kicked out (which in the knowledge I have of of the girls I knew there, is well over half) are left confused and much worse off than before they sought help and entered the Mercy Ministries program. The abuse and control and mind games that is directed towards the girls while they are in the program does not leave the girls unaffected - far from it.

Mercy Ministries also teach that same sex attraction is a deadly sin. Girls in the program are not allowed to even hug or have any type of physical contact, to prevent any 'relationships forming.' Even if they are 'straight', these rules still apply. For girls who are lesbians and who enter the program, they are taught that lesbianism is a sin that needs to be repented so that they can 'get well' and be a 'real Christian.'

The owner of Gloria Jeans is the CEO of Mercy Ministries. They use this relationship to cross promote.

Hope this helps.


24 JANUARY 2008

The writer of this letter also wishes to remain anonymous for many reasons, amongst which are homophobia and hatred of things different. He is happy for us to publish the letter under these circumstances.

Hello there.

What I'm about to talk to you about might seem kind of strange, but I'd like someone to know how I feel.

There are a group of people out there, and I am one, who calls himself "Furry", now we can be straight, or gay etc, but Furry is on it's own level apart from sexuality... a bit like, religion or whatever type of music you prefer.

However a lot of Furries are gay.

Furries represent themselves in animal form, and that's it in a nutshell, where people go from there is up to them.

Now to the point of concern.

I make movies and use youtube a lot, dailymotion and other movie hosting web pages.

And it's good to see that those sites don't like movies which promote hatred towards people of different racial backgrounds, of sexuality etc.

There is a system in place on all these sites where if you spot any abuse, you can complain about it, the video will be checked and pulled if need be.

However, I have spotted a hate group on youtube, a serious hate group who will use the phrase "furfag" a lot, and cause personal abuse towards individuals where possible.

Furries gather in the virtual world of secondlife, I also go there, and help out at an island which is run by the ABC [Yes, channel 2].

This hate group, "Patriotic Nigras" [spelt correctly] will go in, cause dreadful abuse, and not only that, but they film these acts and publish them on youtube.

What worries me is that I can flag videos from these ugly people time and time again, only to discover that their videos have been unflagged and remain in place.

Tonight I found this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp4IpL9MFJM and that made me feel sick... I flagged this one too, but no doubt it will still be there this time next week.

I have started action on secondlife to encourage it's users to go to youtube and flag these videos as harassment, but as I've said, there's been little action.

Disturbingly I'm even beginning to thing youtube like these videos, due to their inaction on removing them.

You don't have to be furry to be disgusted by these people, and many people who I know, who aren't, are still feeling disgust.

You may see some of the videos there and feel confused by what is going on, I could explain further if you're interested.

All the very best.

19 JUNE 2009

Letter from Ken Davis received for publication on 19 June 2009:

Vic Alhadef, on behalf of the Jewish Board of Deputies, contributed a letter to SSO (16 June 2009) on gay freedom and human rights, part of an organised pro-Israel PR campaign. But this discourse omits the lack of rights of the 5 million Palestinians in Israel or under occupation, and the lack of rights of those Israelis who oppose the occupation. I hope Australians will support an international Jewish Voice for Peace campaign for freedom for courageous Israeli gay and peace activist, Ezra Nawi, featured in a doco at last year's Queer Screen, who was arrested peacefully resisting demolition of Palestinian homes near Hebron and now faces a gaol term.

See www.supportezra.net and www.FreeEzra.org

Ken Davis 65 Stanwell Ave Stanwell Park 2508 9264 9343 (wk)

28 JUNE 2010

Letter from Ken Davis to Sydney's Queer Screen:

Dear Queer Screen board of directors,

as a member I'd like to formally draw your attention to the call by Palestinian queers around the cultural boycott of Israel.


I can provide more info from the Palestinian lesbian and gay organisations on this if you would like.

I'm mindful that in previous festivals, disproportionate numbers of films promoting a liberal image of Israel have been shown, and I'm mindful of the controversy in 2009 about the Melbourne Film Festival accepting funds from the Israeli government. I'm also mindful of the protests at the Toronto Film Festival celebrating Tel Aviv. I am not assuming that all films from Israel should be avoided, but I do expect that Queer Screen will consider a policy of supporting the boycott as defined by PACBI, and at least avoiding dealings with official Israeli bodies.

Thanking you for your consideration, and awaiting a response from the board

Ken Davis



Mannie De Saxe also has a personal web site, which may be found by clicking on the link: RED JOS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM

Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:

MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)

Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009

RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)

This page updated 13 JULY 2011 and again on 16 AUGUST 2017