Kelvin MacKenzie claims gay rights activists should fight ISIS

The Sun’s former editor Kelvin MacKenzie has claimed that LGBT rights group Stonewall should battle ISIS instead of calling out homophobia in the media.

The comments come after a minor controversy sparked by former Top Gear host Richard Hammond.

On his new motoring show The Grand Tour, Hammond quipped that he “doesn’t eat ice cream” and it’s “something to do with being straight”.

Stonewall chided Hammond for the remarks, adding: “Stonewall trains teachers to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic slurs like these, so to hear this sort of language on television is extremely disappointing and sends the wrong message to young people.”

In his column this week, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie accused the group of going after “soft targets” instead of fighting ISIS.

He wrote: “What concerns me about Stonewall is that they will kick up a fuss about ­something that doesn’t matter but rarely mention a word about the hostile attitude of Muslims towards homosexuality, which threatens gay communities globally.

“If you look on the Stonewall site you would be hard-pressed to find one word suggesting Islam persecutes gay sexuality.”

MacKenzie added: “During the various ISIS atrocities, ­Stonewall hardly said a word about gays being thrown off roofs, stoned to death, etc.

“Were they concerned, they would be attacked by their liberal chums for being racist, potentially costing themselves ­government patronage or subsidy?”

He continued: “It’s time Stonewall did something brave rather than taking on soft targets like Hammond. Imagine the good they could do by really standing up fearlessly for the people they aim to help.”

A spokesperson for Stonewall responded: “By suggesting that we should ‘fight Islam’ Kelvin Mackenzie yet again spreads the false idea that religion and LGBT equality are not compatible.

“At Stonewall we work with many people of faith and faith leaders – including many Muslims – who are LGBT or who believe in and support LGBT equality.

“Next year we’re hosting a programme specifically for people of faith who are LGBT to help empower them so they can create change in their communities and create a world where everyone is accepted without exception.

“We also work with communities and activists across the world, supporting and sharing knowledge to help each other achieve progress for LGBT people in our communities.

“We also work in faith schools, to help teachers tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, as we do in non-faith schools.

“The atrocities committed by terrorist organisations cannot be ignored but nor can they be conflated or confused with the Muslim faith. That is Islamaphobia.

“However we also must not let casual homophobia slip past unnoticed. LGBT people hear this belittling ‘banter’ all too often.

“Hearing these ‘jokes’ from a TV presenter gives this bullying homophobia credence. We need to call it out. And we need to remember who the enemies of acceptance and freedom are – and that they can be of faith or not.”

Responding to reported executions of gay men by ISIS last year, Stonewall said: “The reports coming out of Iraq and Syria are horrific and yet another reminder of the dangers posed by ISIS to anyone who doesn’t conform to their view of the world.

“ISIS are not just a threat to gay people, but a whole range of groups who simply seek to exercise their fundamental human right to be themselves.”