SNP Westminster leader accused of hypocrisy and ignorance
Stephen Flynn, the newly elected SNP Westminster leader, has been slammed by critics for blaming the UK for the anti-gay laws in Gaza. Flynn made the controversial statement during a live TV interview on Monday, where he was asked about the recent protests in Gaza against Israel’s military actions.
Flynn said that he was “deeply concerned” by the situation in Gaza, where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli airstrikes and ground troops. He also said that he supported the right of Palestinians to self-determination and a two-state solution.
However, when asked if he would condemn Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza and has been accused of firing rockets at Israel, Flynn said: “I don’t think it’s helpful to single out one group or one party. I think there are many different actors involved in this conflict.”
He then added: “I think it’s important to recognise that there are also some issues within Palestinian society that need to be addressed. For example, I think there is a problem with homophobia in some parts of Palestinian society. And I think this is partly due to the influence of some extremist groups like Hamas.”
Flynn’s remarks sparked outrage among many viewers and commentators, who accused him of being hypocritical and ignorant. Some pointed out that Flynn himself had previously expressed support for LGBT rights in Scotland and had praised the SNP’s record on equality legislation.
Others noted that Flynn was ignoring the fact that Hamas is widely regarded as a terrorist organisation by many countries, including the UK, and that its anti-gay laws are not representative of all Palestinians or Islamists.
A brief history of Hamas’ anti-gay laws
Hamas is a radical Islamist movement that emerged from Egypt in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. It has been fighting against Israel since 2007, when it seized control of Gaza after winning parliamentary elections.
Hamas has imposed strict Islamic law on Gaza, banning music, dancing, alcohol, gambling, women from working outside their homes, and homosexuality. According to Human Rights Watch, Hamas has arrested dozens of men for alleged homosexual acts since 2007, often subjecting them to torture and ill-treatment.
Hamas has also executed at least six men for homosexuality since 2008, according to Amnesty International. In 2014, Hamas passed a law criminalising homosexuality with death sentences. The law was widely condemned by human rights groups as a violation of international law and basic human rights.
A response from Stephen Flynn
Flynn defended his comments on Tuesday by saying that he was not singling out Hamas or Islamists as a whole. He said that he was referring to “some extremist groups” within Palestinian society who were “trying to impose their views on others”.
He also said that he did not agree with Hamas’ policies or actions against Israel or other countries. He said that he supported a peaceful resolution of the conflict based on international law and human rights.
He added: “I’m not here to lecture anyone about their beliefs or values. I’m here to represent Scotland at Westminster and to work with my colleagues across party lines to advance our common interests.”
Flynn’s response did not satisfy his critics, who continued to question his credibility and competence as an MP and a leader. Some suggested that Flynn should resign from his position or face disciplinary action from his party.
Others urged him to apologise for his remarks or clarify his position on LGBT rights in Palestine.