Orlando massacre, homophobia and domestic violence


This video from the USA says about itself:

Orlando Massacre Comes After Lawmakers in U.S. Filed More Than 200 Anti-LGBT Bills

13 June 2016

In a tweet that went viral after Sunday’s attack on an LGBT nightclub in Florida, ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio wrote: “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people [are] blaming Islam for this. No.” The attack has also renewed calls for lifting what advocates say is a medically unnecessary ban on blood donations from many gay and bisexual men. We speak with Hannah Willard of Equality Florida.

American Muslims Send A Powerful Message Of Solidarity To Orlando Victims: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Openly Gay Muslim Imam Reacts to Orlando: Clubs Like Pulse are Safe Havens for LGBT Muslims, Too

13 June 2016

Authorities have identified the Orlando gunman as 29-year-old Omar Mateen. He was born in 1986 in New York to Afghan parents. Since 2007 Mateen had worked as a security guard at G4S, the largest private security firm in the world. … We speak to Imam Daayiee Abdullah, executive director of Mecca Institute. Imam Abdullah also is one of the first openly gay imams in the Western Hemisphere.

There are mounting questions about the conduct of the FBI in relation to Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. FBI officials have confirmed investigating Mateen in 2013 and 2014, but claim they concluded he was not a threat: here.

This 13 June 2016 video from the USA is called “How Many Shootings Must We Have?” Florida State Senator Calls for Gun Control After Pulse Massacre.

We Bought An AR-15 In Orlando In Less Time Than You Spent At The DMV. Purchasing a killing machine, even after a national tragedy, is just too easy: here.

This 13 June 2016 video from the USA is called Australia Stopped Mass Shootings After 1996 Massacre, So Why Doesn’t the U.S. Follow Suit?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Activist: Latinx LGBTQ Community & Its Stories of Survival Should Be at Center of Orlando Response

14 June 2016

On Monday night, thousands gathered in downtown Orlando for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. A nearby church bell tolled 49 times—once for each victim. Most of the victims were young and Latinx. To talk more about the Orlando shootings, we are joined by Isa Noyola. She is director of programs for the Transgender Law Center, the largest transgender organization. She’s a translatina activist and a national leader in the LGBT immigrant rights movement.

This video from the USA says about itself:

When It Comes to Orlando Massacre, Domestic Violence Is the Red Flag We Aren’t Talking About

14 June 2016

In a new article for Rolling Stone, journalist Soraya Chemaly writes, “The Washington Post reported Monday that ‘although family members said [Omar] Mateen had expressed anger about homosexuality, the shooter had no record of previous hate crimes.’ But that depends on how you categorize domestic violence.”

Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, has come forward to describe how Mateen beat her and held her hostage. ThinkProgress reports that between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife. Just this month in California, a UCLA doctoral student gunned down his professor, prompting a lockdown on campus. But first, Mainak Sarkar allegedly killed his estranged wife in Minnesota, climbing through a window to kill her in her home. Last year alone, nearly a third of mass shooting deaths were related in some way to domestic violence. We speak to writer Soraya Chemaly. Her recent article in Rolling Stone is called “In Orlando, as Usual, Domestic Violence was Ignored Red Flag.”

Orlando homophobic massacre applauded by Christian fundamentalists


This video from the USA says about itself:

Pastor On Orlando Massacre: ‘These People All Should Have Been Killed

13 June 2016

Pastor Steven Anderson, whose hate knows no bounds, celebrated the deaths of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in a 4-minute mini-sermon that cited the Bible as justification for why they needed to die.

Read more here.

The ‘Reverend’ Anderson is not alone. The infamous bigots of the Westboro Baptist Church likewise applaud the mass murder of LGBTQ people in Orlando.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Muslim Denounces Terror, Promptly Called ‘Pig’ & ‘Scoundrel’ Anyway

13 June 2016

A Florida Imam who went on CNN Sunday morning to express condolences to the victims and families of the horrific shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando is now on the receiving end of threats and attacks on social media.

Read more here.

U.S. GUN DEATHS IN A WORLD OF THEIR OWN In Japan, your chances of dying from a gun are the equivalent of being killed by a lightning strike in the U.S. [NYT]

RECORD DONATIONS FOR ORLANDO “A GoFundMe initiative to raise money for the victims and families of the mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, raised $1 million faster than any campaign in the platform’s history.” [HuffPost]

Glenn Greenwald on homophobia and Islamophobia: here.

Orlando G4S murderer ‘an alcoholic closet gay’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Orlando Nightclub Shooting Points Out HOMOPHOBIC Blood Donation Ban

13 June 2016

After the mass shooting in Orlando, many men were turned away from blood banks because of a ban on blood donations from gay men. John Iadarola, Ana Kasparian, Michael Shure and Jimmy Dore discuss on The Young Turks.

A report from the USA, 13 June 2016:

The FBI is looking into the possibility that Omar Mateen visited Pulse nightclub and tried to communicate with some of its patrons on a gay dating app before he gunned down 49 people at the club in Orlando, authorities told NBC News on Monday.

From the Orlando Sentinel in the USA, 13 June 2016:

FORT PIERCE — At least four regular customers at the Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people said Monday that they had seen Omar Mateen there before.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” Ty Smith said.

Orlando gunman had used gay dating app and visited LGBT nightclub on other occasions, witnesses say: here.

From the New York Times in the USA, 13 June 2016:

The government investigation could take months, but an early examination of Mr. Mateen’s life reveals a hatred of gay people and a stew of contradictions. He was a man who could be charming, loved Afghan music and enjoyed dancing, but he was also violently abusive. Family members said he was not overly religious, but he was rigid and conservative in his view that his wife should remain mostly at home. The F.B.I. director said on Monday that Mr. Mateen had once claimed ties to both Al Qaeda and Hezbollah — two radical groups violently opposed to each other. …

… within six months he had found work with G4S, a large private security company that has won large government contracts for work both in the United States and abroad. …

She [Mateen’s ex-wife] said that Mr. Mateen might have been gay but chose to hide his true identity out of anger and shame. …

Ms. Yusufiy said that her ex-husband had told her that he frequented nightclubs before their marriage, but that he did not tell her they were gay clubs. …

Mr. Mateen’s father, Seddique Mir Mateen, was unequivocal on Monday that his son had committed an “act of terrorism.” But the elder Mr. Mateen and other family members said they were still puzzled why a young man who had never been particularly religious is now being tied to the Islamic State [ISIS]’s murderous ideology.

Orlando attack: Gunman’s ‘struggle with his true sexuality’ could have made him snap: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Orlando Muslim Community Reacts To The Pulse Tragedy… (w/Guest: Rasha Mubarak)

13 June 2016

Rasha Mubarak with CAIR Orlando joins guest host Richard Eskow to discuss the tragic events at the Pulse nightclub.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The Orlando massacre and the 2016 US election

14 June 2016

As the staggering scale of Sunday’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida continues to sink in, it is impossible to ignore the fact that both major capitalist parties have lost no time in attempting to exploit this tragedy for the most reactionary purposes.

The blood of the victims has barely dried. Many questions remain about the precise confluence of religious, right-wing, homophobic and other motives that drove the shooter, Omar Mateen, who died in a hail of police gunfire. But this stopped neither the Democratic nor the Republican presumptive presidential candidate from rushing to deliver back-to-back speeches Monday arguing for an escalation of war abroad and repression at home.

Democrat Hillary Clinton declared the slaughter of 49 innocent people at the gay nightclub in Orlando an example of “the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists.” Republican Donald Trump told his supporters that the massacre was the product of “importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system.”

What information has emerged about the man who carried out the massacre has little in common with the rhetoric and prescriptions offered by the two candidates.

First of all, he was a New York-born citizen of the US, not an immigrant. Coworkers, family members and others have described him as harboring pathological hatred not only for gays, but also for African-Americans, whom he regularly referred to using the “N”-word, saying they all should be killed. This kind of racism is the stock-in-trade not of ISIS or Al Qaeda, but rather of white supremacists within the US itself, the same elements who have been responsible for many homophobic attacks.

Associates have also described Mateen as mentally ill and emotionally unstable, characteristics that apply equally to virtually all those who have been involved in such atrocities. How could it be otherwise given the profoundly abnormal, antisocial and random character of these acts?

That in the midst of the mayhem he dialed 911 to declare his allegiance to ISIS is not taken seriously by even the FBI and police as an indication of actual contact with the Islamist militia. Moreover, late Monday reports surfaced that Mateen had himself regularly visited the Pulse night club, drinking heavily there, and had been active on the gay chat and dating app Jack’d.

The wider tragedy is that this type of atrocity happens in the US with terrible frequency. Mass shootings occur literally on more than a daily basis.

Given this reality, it is not possible to understand a tragedy like the Orlando massacre merely by examining the motives of the individual responsible. When a society produces a significant number of people suffering from traumatic mental problems who then go on to commit mass murder, this can only be an expression of something deeply diseased within the society itself.

Such incidents have grown in frequency in tandem with the endless wars the US has waged abroad since the first Gulf War of 1991, as well as the unprecedented growth of social inequality.

The bloodiest of these events was the April 1995 truck bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh, a deeply alienated Gulf War veteran who became involved with right-wing militia circles. That attack killed 168 people and wounded hundreds more.

Other massacres in the intervening years that stand out in terms of the death toll include:

Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, where two students killed 13 people and wounded 24.

Virginia Tech in 2007, where a student killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before taking his own life.

The American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York in 2009, where a 42-year-old Vietnamese immigrant killed 13 people and wounded four others before killing himself.

Fort Hood, Texas, also in 2009, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 30.

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where in 2012 Adam Lanza killed 26 people—most of them young children—before killing himself.

The Washington Navy Yard in 2013, where a former Navy reservist killed 12 people before police shot him dead.

The June 2015 Charleston, South Carolina church massacre, in which a 21-year-old white gunman killed nine African-Americans at a prayer service, saying afterwards he had hoped to ignite a race war.

The Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, where, in December 2015, Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, killed 14 people before losing their own lives in a shootout with police.

Smaller incidents in which three, four or five people are killed go largely unnoticed.

Neither the politicians nor the media care to examine the social roots of this endless round of mass slaughter.

The cynical and dishonest speeches given by Clinton and Trump Monday sought not to enlighten the public as to the real nature of this problem, but rather to pollute the political environment and lower the consciousness of the American people. In essence, despite mutual denunciations, there was little difference between them.

Both speeches were designed to exploit the tragedy suffered by the innocent individuals who lost their lives, along with their families and friends, in order to legitimize a preexisting reactionary agenda. Both candidates called for “ramping up” US military interventions and bombings in the Middle East, as if the war-ravaged people of the region are responsible for the attack on an Orlando nightclub. The transparent aim is to exploit the tragedy in Orlando in an attempt to erode the antiwar sentiments of the American people so as to further not only escalation in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but also war threats against Russia and China.

Clinton spoke of acting to “harden our own defenses” within the US itself, by which she means an intensification of attacks on democratic rights and the utilization of police-state methods.

For his part, Trump delivered a fascistic rant in which he repeated his proposal for a ban on Muslims entering the country and his rabid anti-immigrant chauvinism, demagogically linking immigrants not only to terrorism but also to falling wages and decaying infrastructure. He charged that Muslims as a whole in the US “know what’s going on” in relation to planned attacks and would have to either “cooperate” or face “big consequences.”

Both candidates cynically posed as the best friend of the gay community in a transparent bid to corral a new constituency behind their reactionary proposals.

It was Clinton, however, who delivered the most telling—and chilling—line, invoking the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and declaring in conclusion that it was “time to get back to the spirit of those days, spirit of 9/12.”

It was in the “spirit of 9/12” that Washington launched, based on lies, the illegal war of aggression against Iraq. It was in this same “spirit” that it passed the Patriot Act, opened the prison camp at Guantanamo, set up a network of “black site” torture centers around the world, and arrogated to the president the right to indefinitely detain anyone, including US citizens, without charges or trials. Clinton supported all of these measures and now wants to cash in on the 49 deaths in Orlando to retroactively justify her own political crimes that led to the killing, wounding and displacement of millions.

To the extent that Clinton asserts as fact a direct link between the Orlando gunman and ISIS “genocide” in the Middle East—a claim that is highly questionable—it is necessary to point out her own role in the emergence of ISIS out of the social devastation and fomenting of sectarian conflict at the hands of American imperialism, with her active and enthusiastic support, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

American workers and youth must take the bipartisan reaction to the terrible events in Orlando as a serious warning of what is being prepared, no matter which party wins the November election.

Horrible G4S mercenary’s homophobic bloodbath in Florida, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

12 June 2016

Muslim Leaders Say Pulse Orlando Shooting A Hate Crime, Support LGBT Community

By John Haylett:

‘Nobody stood a chance’

Monday 13th June 2016

At least 50 killed in Florida gay nightclub – Suspect names as 29-year-old

Afghan American licensed private ‘security’ guard at G4S corporation who committed his terrible crime with legal firearms

Omar Mateen – Man arrested near LA Pride

AT LEAST 50 people were slaughtered in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, yesterday morning at the hands of a man with an automatic rifle.

Local authorities said that they were investigating the massacre as an act of terrorism.

The gunman, named by authorities as Omar Mateen, was killed later in a shoot-out with armed officers who had exploded a small device to distract him.

“This is an incident, as I see it, that we certainly classify as a domestic terror incident,” said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

At least 53 other people were taken to hospital, most in a critical condition, and a surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Centre said that the death toll was likely to climb.

Although Mateen had another handgun and carried a device of some kind, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that all of the dead had been killed with the assault rifle.

“There’s blood everywhere,” he said of the horrific scene in the club known as Pulse.

The gunman had exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club at around 2am just as it was closing and more than 300 people remained in it.

He then went back inside and took hostages, said police chief John Mina said.

Authorities despatched a special weapons and tactics team three hours later to rescue the hostages.

Eyewitness Jackie Smith, who was in the club and saw two friends shot, said: “Some guy walked in and started shooting everybody. He had an automatic rifle, so nobody stood a chance.

“I just tried to get out of there,” she added. …

Police said that they had secured the suspect’s vehicle, a van, right outside the club.

“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” said Rasha Mubarak, Orlando regional co-ordinator for Florida’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

An Equality Florida spokesperson said: “We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country.

“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety.”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

“… The condolences expressed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio are sickening hypocrisy. He has repeatedly opposed gay equality, including wanting to repeal same-sex marriage and protection against discrimination for LGBT employees. His anti-gay sentiments have fanned the flames of homophobic hatred.”

Many people in Florida wanted to donate blood for people injured in the massacre. However, under homophobic Florida law, gay people could not do that.

And Santa Monica police arrested a man found with assault rifles and possible explosives in his car shortly before the Los Angeles Pride festival, the LA Times reported late yesterday.

The man reportedly mentioned the Pride event and told police he was waiting for a friend before his vehicle was searched and several weapons found. There was no known link to the Orlando shooting as the Star went to press.

The murderous rampage comes after singer Christina Grimmie, a former contestant on The Voice, was shot and killed by “obsessed fan” Kevin James Loibl on Friday night while signing autographs after her show in Orlando, Florida.

This 12 June 2016 video, about the Orlando perpetrator, is called “HE WANTED TO BE A POLICE OFFICER! HE TRAINED WITH HIS FRIENDS WHO WERE POLICE OFFICERS!” Ex-Wife.

REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS A look at the 50 lives lost. [Paige Lavender and Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost]

HOW THEY GOT THEIR GUNS Here’s where the last 16 mass shooters have gotten their weapon of choice, and why this shooting was so deadly. [NYT]

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Worst-ever US mass shooting

Gunman massacres 50 in Orlando nightclub

13 June 2016

In a monstrous and reactionary act, a heavily armed lone gunman killed 50 people and wounded 53 more early Sunday morning at a LGBT nightclub, the Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. Many of the injured suffered grievous gunshot wounds inflicted by a military-style A-15 assault rifle, raising the strong possibility that the death toll will rise.

Within hours of the incident, the reaction of the media and leading US political figures, including the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, made it clear that the mass killings will be fully exploited to promote war abroad and intensified state repression at home.

The gunman, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida resident, US citizen and son of immigrants from Afghanistan, was himself killed in a firefight with an Orlando police SWAT unit.

At the time of the shooting, the nightclub, which describes itself as “Orlando’s Premier Gay Nightclub,” was packed with over 350 people who had turned out for a Latin music night. The initial list of victims released by police indicated that many of the victims were Hispanic.

According to reports Sunday, Mateen made a 911 call at the time of the attack declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and mentioning the Boston Marathon bombers. Just hours after the attack, ISIS itself claimed responsibility, declaring that the massacre “was carried out by an Islamic State fighter.” Whatever the truth of this boast, ISIS’ celebration of the cold-blooded murder of 50 innocent people only underscored the thoroughly right-wing character of this organization.

The FBI acknowledged that its agents had interviewed Mateen three times, twice in 2013 in connection with alleged “inflammatory statements” he made to coworkers, and in 2014 in relation to possible ties to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who grew up in Florida and went to fight for an Islamist militia in the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, where he detonated a suicide bomb. The FBI said that both investigations concluded that Mateen did not pose a threat and were ended.

US officials expressed skepticism that there existed any substantive links between Mateen and ISIS. The precise character of the killer’s motives remain unclear.

Mateen’s father told the media that his son had voiced strong anti-gay sentiments and had expressed anger at seeing two men kissing in Miami earlier this year. The father, Seddique Mir Mateen, said the family was “in shock, like the whole country,” adding that his son’s actions had “nothing to do with religion.”

Mateen worked for G4S, a private security contractor that serviced government agencies, including providing security personnel for the Department of Homeland Security. As a result, he had firearms and security officer licenses. He lived in Fort Pierce, a Florida city about 120 miles southeast of Orlando, where over one-third of the population subsists below the poverty line and the official unemployment rate is over 16 percent.

What was going on in the mind of Omar Mateen will likely never be known with any certainty. What is clear, however, is that the horrific tragedy in Orlando is only the latest in a series of bloody incidents. The immense social and political contradictions of American capitalist society are taking ever more malignant forms.

Sunday morning’s death toll in Orlando represented the worst mass shooting on US soil since the American Cavalry’s massacre of 150 Lakota at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1890. It took place, however, in the context of an endless procession of such homicidal outbursts, which have become virtually a daily fact of life in the United States. Since the beginning of 2016, there have been 175 such incidents. Last year there were there were 372 mass shootings in the US, leaving 475 dead and 1,870 wounded.

Murderous violence at home has developed in parallel with unending wars abroad, with the US military continuously engaged since 2001 in invasions, bombings, drone strikes and “targeted assassinations” that have claimed the lives of over a million people in predominantly Muslim countries. Within the US itself, the most reactionary ideologies have been whipped up to justify discrimination and violence against immigrants in general and Muslims in particular, and to encourage the most backward homophobic sentiments.

The precise confluence of influences that produced the Orlando nightclub massacre may not be known, but that it emerged within an environment shaped by increasing social dislocation, war and political reaction is undeniable.

Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state and the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, was even more explicit in exploiting the tragedy in Orlando to promote US militarism abroad and an escalation of attacks on democratic rights within the US itself. “For now, we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad,” she said. “That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home.”

Her Republican rival, Donald Trump, pursued a slightly different tack, utilizing the Orlando massacre to bolster his promotion of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry. He initially tweeted that if Obama failed to attribute the killings to “radical Islamic terrorism” he “should immediately resign in disgrace,” and that if Clinton failed to use the same words she should withdraw from the election.

“Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen—and it is only going to get worse,” he said later in the day. “I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

These reactionary appeals are a warning of what is being prepared, no matter which party wins the 2016 presidential election. The aim of both the Democrats and Republicans is to intimidate, frighten and disorient the American people with the specter of terrorism in order to distract attention from the social crisis, shift the political debate to the right and prepare for both new wars and intensified attacks on the rights and conditions of the working class.

Obama: No Evidence Orlando Shooter Was Directed By Larger Terrorist Network: here.

Christian fundamentalist schools teach misogyny, homophobia


Textbooks seen by The Independent depict biblical passages and advice among science and maths worksheets (Image from Accelerated Christian Education textbook)

A passage from an Accelerated Christian Education textbook about the role of a 'homemaker' woman

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Christian fundamentalist schools teaching girls they must obey men

Former pupils reveal homosexuality is being taught as unnatural, while Creationism is favoured over evolution in science lessons

Siobhan Fenton

Sunday 5 June 2016

Christian fundamentalist schools are teaching children creationism is fact, that gay people are “unnatural” and that girls must submit to men, according to a series of claims.

Former pupils and whistle-blowers have told The Independent that the schools, which originated in the US but are now dotted around the UK and registered as independent or private schools, teach children at isolated desks separated by “dividers” from other students. It is thought more than a thousand children are being taught at dozens of schools, although little is known about them.

“No one outside the schools knows about what happens inside them, that’s why they’ve been able to go on like this for so long,” a former pupil said.

More than a decade after leaving, she says she is now horrified at the education she received.

Called Accelerated Christian Education schools (ACE), the schools originate from an education system developed in southern Baptist

The Southern Baptist church in the USA originated because white southern Baptists did not like criticism of slavery by northern Baptists.

states in the US which has developed off-shoots around the world including in Britain. Between 20 and 60 pupils aged between four and 18 attend each one.

The Independent can reveal a number of serious concerns have been raised about the schools, including allegations that children are given no formal educational qualifications beyond “Christian certificates”, thereby failing to equip them for opportunities and employment beyond the Church.

Former pupils claim a key aspect of the schools’ ethos comes from a belief in individualistic self-salvation, whereby people must actively accept God’s salvation to enter heaven.

By extension, it is believed that children must teach themselves in order to get closer to God. Children are therefore expected to spend the first half of each school day teaching themselves by reading textbooks in silence, while facing the classroom walls in specially designed booths, which mean they cannot see children around them or interact with them. …

Former pupils say this self-teaching format resulted in poor education standards, with pupils who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia often particularly struggling. A number said they felt socially isolated by the segregated booths and failed to develop social skills by interacting with peers.

One former pupil said: “By the time I left the school, I hadn’t really learnt anything that was of any relevance. I was taught facts and figures from reading the books, but there was no social learning in terms of interaction.”

The textbooks used by the schools have also been criticised for providing allegedly inappropriate material. A number of textbooks seen by The Independent and which are reportedly used in schools appear to include worrying content about gay people, women’s rights and also appear to teach creationism as fact.

One textbook says: “Homosexual, adjective: having unnatural sexual feelings towards one of the same sexHomosexual activity is another of man’s corruptions of God’s plan.

Accelerated Christian Education textbook which former pupils say are used in the schools

Textbooks say of the role of women and girls and society: “God has given both the husband and the wife certain areas of responsibility in the home. The husband is to be the leader of the home, loving his wife even as Christ loved the church… The wife is to obey, respect and submit to the leadership of her husband, serving as a helper to him… She is available all times day or night.”

A section titled ‘Testimony of a Homemaker’ in one textbook reads: “God desires for me to submit to my husband, train up my children, see that my house is properly supplied, pray without ceasing, teach other women to love their husbands and children, and be discreet, pure and a keeper of my home.”

Former pupil Cheryl Povey who attended an ACE school in Bath, said: “I came across a lot of sexism. I remember as a girl finding it quite shocking. We were taught that if you’re a woman, you should be subservient to men; your husband, your pastor and other male figures.

“There was a strong culture of men being revered and women being dangerously sexual and having to cover up. It made me self-conscious of being a woman.”

Dr Pocock said attitudes towards women and ethnic minorities in the ACE curriculum also worried him. He said: “It taught me men were superior to, and should be in charge of, weak women, that the various different ethnic and social groups were ordained by God to have different roles and positions.”

Another textbook warns that anyone who has sex outside marriage “will someday face God’s judgement”.

Other textbooks seen by The Independent, and which the former pupils claim were widely used as part of the curriculum during their time at ACE schools, appear to state creationism as fact and describe evolution as “absurd”.

One biology textbook states: “Although man’s characteristics are unique, evolutionists still insist that man descended from apes. Even from a strictly scientific standpoint, the theory of evolution is absurd. …

Another textbook states as ‘scientific fact’ that the sun is six thousand years old and the world was created in six days.

Former pupil Peter* (name changed to protect identity) said: “A huge amount of time and effort was given over to arguing against evolution and for creation, it’s a fundamental building block of the curriculum. The curriculum is stuck in the past like the rest of the fundamentalist southern Baptist churches it was born out of.”

Another concern raised about the schools is that the children are allegedly not entered for formal education qualifications such as GCSEs or A-levels.

Former pupils say they are instead taught towards an ICCE- an International Certificate of Christian Education. The ICCE is not an officially recognised qualification meaning those who hold it can struggle to find employment or to be accepted into higher education such as university. Former pupils say this disadvantages children and deprives them of opportunities later, unless they retrain as adults to gain additional, mainstream qualifications as well as the ICCE.

Jonny Scaramanga is a writer and campaigner who has extensively researched the ACE school system. He is a former pupil of an ACE school in England and recently completed a PHD thesis about ACE at the UCL Institute of Education, which included analysis of the ACE textbooks illustrated throughout this article.

He told The Independent: “I have read numerous Ofsted reports in the course of my research, and the issues most commonly raised by former ACE students are almost never mentioned, let alone satisfactorily addressed. In allowing ACE schools’ failings to go unchecked for decades, the government has failed in its duty of care to students in ACE schools. In future, inspectors should be specially briefed on the issues frequently found in ACE schools.”

He added that he is concerned by the ‘Christian certificates’ children sit instead of official qualifications, telling The Independent: “Since 2014, the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against ACE schools for exaggerating the acceptability of the certificates [International Certificate of Christian Education] they offer. I have met numerous former ACE students who have had to return to college as adults to gain qualifications that they would have earned as a matter of course in mainstream schools. All English secondary schools should be required by law to prepare and enter students for qualifications recognised by Ofqual, the exam watchdog.”

When The Independent contacted forty UK universities to ask whether they have or would accept pupils on the basis of ICCE awards, none of them said they officially accept the qualification other than in exceptional circumstances or if a student had other additional qualifications such as GCSEs or A levels to support their application.

Honduras regime murders LGBTQ people


This video says about itself:

Honduras: LGBT Rights After the Coup

4 June 2016

In the first month after the 2009 coup in Honduras, nearly one transgender person was murdered in Honduras each day. Most of those murders were committed by police officers and members of the army.

Ukrainian neonazis threaten homophobic violence again


This video says about itself:

25 July 2015

A gay couple was attacked by a group of 15-20 young men during a social experiment in Kiev. The experiment set out to record how fellow Ukrainians respond to public displays of affection by gay couples. Zoryan Kis and Tymur Levchuck replicated the experiment from a video released by a LGBT group in Russia. Kis and Levchuck found that beyond the actions of a small aggressive far-right minority the majority of Ukrainians were tolerant to their display. Nic Zecevic and Margaret J. Howell take a look at the social experiments further on The Lip News.

Translated by Ollie Richardson, 29th May, 2016:

“Right Sector” Vows to Disrupt LGBT Pride Parade in Kiev

Ukrainian nationalists want to prevent the holding of a LGBT pride parade in Kiev. This was reported by the Ukrainian website “Корреспондент.net” with reference to the head of press service of the banned in Russia group “Right Sector” Artem Skoropadsky.

“Today we are forced to agree with LGBT marches and festivals, and thus, to be among sinners and those who cover them. No, we will not calmly watch as the country for which we sacrificed our blood for on many fronts

a reference to the central role of the Right Sector and other extreme right paramilitary gangs in the government’s war in eastern Ukraine

is destroyed from the rear by sneaky methods of hybrid war in the peaceful capital,” he said.

Ukrainian nationalists believe that their duty is to prevent the substitution of notions, “when human baseness and perversion is called the struggle for freedom”. All radicals were urged to come out on the streets on June 12th and prevent the LGBT march by activists in Kiev.

The fuehrer of the Right Sector neonazis, Yarosh, has a cushy job as special adviser to the minister of war ‘defence’.

Last year, Right Sector and other extreme rightists attacked the Pride parade as well. They threw teargas grenades at demonstrators. In most countries these are illegal to possess if you are not police. Under the new government in Ukraine, they seem to be legal for fascist paramilitaries as well.