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Jerusalem bans Pride parade

Paranoia in the Holy Land over a gay pride celebration is out of control. So what has changed since last year’s parade, which occurred without incident?

Jerusalem officials said Thursday they will ban the annual gay pride parade set for next week, claiming the march would offend many of the holy city’s residents. Organizers of the parade appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court to repeal the ruling, saying the decision was a violation of the homosexual community’s freedom of expression.

The city council, including the mayor, decided “it is not right to allow the march or other planned activities to take place in the streets of Jerusalem, fearing that it will create an uproar, offend a wide sector of city residents and out of fear of public disturbances,” Eitan Meir, director general of City Hall, said in a letter to organizers.

…The march, scheduled for June 30, was to be the fourth annual parade. The three previous parades have passed peacefully, attended by several thousand people and with only minor incidents of vandalism and protest.

…The city decision comes just weeks after the Jerusalem Open House postponed WorldPride 2005, a 10-day gathering that includes street parties, workshops and a gay film festival, until August 2006.

The fight over WorldPride, in particular, has been ugly. In an unprecendented display of religious unity, homo-bigots of three faiths got together to protest the festival back in March. (NYT):

From left: Sheik Abed es- Salem Menasra, deputy mufti of Jerusalem; the Rev. Michel Sabbagh, the Latin patriarch; the Rev. Aris Shirvanian, the Armenian patriarch; Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi; and Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi. The man at right was not identified. (European Pressphoto Agency)

“They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable. It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it.”

— Shlomo Amar, Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi

“We can’t permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem.”

— Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik

[It’s] “the spiritual rape of the Holy City. This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land.”

— Rev. Leo Giovinetti, an evangelical pastor from San Diego’s Mission Valley Christian Fellowship, author of the petition against the festival, “Homosexuals to Desecrate Jerusalem”

Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding