Anti-fascist demonstration against the English Defence League in London, Photo: Matt Dunham/Scanpix
Stockholm Pride 2012

Queers against Pinkwashing reject Counter Jihad

Stockholm Pride winds up Saturday with the annual Pride Parade. But the festive air may be spoiled as the English Defence League and some allies are holding what they call a Counter Jihad march against Moslems in Stockholm on the same day. 

This has prompted a counter demonstration from the organization “Queers against Pinkwashing”.

Author Lisa Bjurwald, an expert on European right wing extremism, says the Counter Jihad gathering shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand just because the groups are very small.

"These groups are very good at advertising themselves," she says. "They can make things sound more important than they really are. If all of them show up on Saturday, it might be a demonstration of some international strength."

Lisa Bjurwald says bringing them all together makes the Stockholm meeting different.

"In this movement," she says, "there’s a very unpleasant combination of people who write bestselling books , the kind that so-called “ordinary people” buy, bloggers with very many followers, people connected to the Tea Party movement, and the outsiders…the thugs. The English Defence League is made up of hooligans and old-fashioned neo-Nazis."

But unlike their predecessors in the white power movement, the Counter Jihad groups are not visibly anti-semitic or anti-gay. Instead, they are looking to those groups as allies in their opposition to Islam. However, that attempt has inspired a counter movement among the LGBTQ community called Queers against Pinkwashing, protesting against those who try to project a fake supportive image.

"Sasha", one of the organizers says pinkwashing is a protest against those who pretend to be LGBTQ friendly, because in the Western world supporting gay rights has become a symbol of being pro-democracy.

The English Defence League, she says, has exploited Pride activities in Britain and Finland, for example, trying to portray Moslems as the undemocratic enemy. Sasha says Queers against Pinkwashing is against this kind of divide and conquer tactic.

Sasha says HBTQ people are against all kinds of persecution . She says increased racism and singling out one group as the source of all problems doesn’t help the LGBTQ community.

Ironically, the extreme right wingers are holding their demonstration here on the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who defied the Nazis and saved tens of thousands of people from the Holocaust.

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