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Violence Against Gays on the Rise in Europe

On October 22, about three thousand people rallied in central Paris “to denounce assaults on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and demand urgent action from the government.” Among the many recent incidents that had sparked the protest, noted Reuters, were “the beating of a gay couple by their cab driver” the previous week and the murder in August, in the Bois de Boulogne, of a “transgender sex worker.” Another report on the rally mentioned two additional, and particularly high-profile, incidents: in September, an actor named Arnaud Gagnoud was beaten up after giving his boyfriend a hug outside a theater in Paris's 20th arrondissement; on October 16, Guillaume Mélanie, founder of the gay-rights group Urgence, was gay-bashed in a Paris street.

I looked at several news stories (in several languages) about these incidents – and about that October 22 rally. None of them included the words Muslim or Islam, even though the Religion of Peace is, to put it mildly, a major part of the problem – not just in Paris, of course, but all over Western Europe. Everybody knows this, even though virtually nobody feels comfortable talking about it. In most media reports of such incidents, indeed, the Islamic factor can only be discerned through exceedingly careful reading.

Take a German paper's report last May on a series of violent assaults on gays in Berlin's Neukölln district. One of the victims reported that he'd been “singing and dancing” in a subway station late at night when “a group of young men aggressively confronted him, claiming they felt insulted by his extravagant behaviour.” Quick quiz: what's the key word here? That's right: “insulted.” Gay-bashers of Western origin don't feel “insulted” by gay people's behavior, and even if they do, they don't bother prefacing a homophobic beat-down by saying so; they just start punching away. The “insult” thing is totally Islamic.

That German paper recounted several recent Berlin gay-bashings in detail, noting that while such attacks in that city are nothing new, they've undergone a notable increase in levels of brutality. But there was no explicit mention of Islam.

Sometimes the role of Islam is hinted at, but only obliquely. Consider a piece about gay-bashings in Berlin that appeared last June in the Irish Times. There was no mention of Muslims in the first several paragraphs, which, on the contrary, attributed gay-bashings in Berlin to a “backlash” against gay rights by “straight men who have problems with their own sexuality.” Only if you made it all the way to the end of the piece did you encounter a curiously phrased reference to – get this – “the threat to the gay community, real or perceived, from conservative Turkish and Arab men, and criminal gangs from Romania and Bulgaria.” Note the artful use of the words “perceived” and “conservative” (National Review subscribers, apparently) and the determined avoidance, again, of the words Islam or Muslim.