Conservative activist Lauren Southern has reportedly been banned for life from the United Kingdom for conducting a social experiment on Islamic attitudes to homosexuality and transgenderism in Luton, England.
The 22-year-old hails from Canada, which as one of the Commonwealth realms continues to share a head of state with the United Kingdom in Queen Elizabeth II — making the move to ban her paticularly unusual.
She was recently detained in Calais, France — a popular launchpad for thousands of illegal migrants seeking to enter Britain — under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, shortly after Austrian identitarian activist Martin Sellner and American YouTube commentator Brittany Pettibone received similar treatment.
This was despite a police officer who called Southern’s father openly admitting they did not actually suspect her of being “a terrorist or anything like that”.
“The UK Home Office told me [I was banned] because I was caught distributing racist leaflets in Luton town centre,” the Canadian claimed in a video giving her side of the story.
“I was doing no such thing … in fact, I was there because I was filming a social experiment of sorts,” she explained.
“This all began a couple of weeks ago when I re-read a Vice article which claimed that Jesus Christ led his life as a gay man … I was intrigued by the article, not necessarily because I thought there was any validity to it — I think the notion is a little ridiculous — but as I carried on my day after reading it, I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t recall much backlash when the article came out.
“Maybe there were a few posts here and there, but there were no protests, no religious leaders condemning Vice — there was certainly no Charlie Hebdo style attack on their head office,” she said.
“It made me think back to a group of protestors in London who outraged the Islamic community by having pro-LGBT and pro-Islam signs. They were receiving death threats.
“There was also a gay Muslim couple who had this happen after they were married this year — and I was interested in, I guess, the different reactions between the two faiths and communities.”
Southern described how she then decided to conduct an experiment to see “what would happen if we played the role of an LGBT social justice warrior activist, and set up a stall to celebrate LGBT diversity within the Islamic community”.
To that end, they travelled to Luton, which has a large Muslim population, to distribute flyer with “the usual inclusive slogans that you see: ‘Allah is gay, Allah is trans, Allah is intersex, Allah is all out us’ … to see what would happen if a good-natured LGBT campaigner tried to nurture some good will between two very different communities.”
The results, as Southern shows, were a crowd of angry Muslims approaching the stall to express their outrage, and the police stepping in to shut down the stall and confiscate the leaflets.
“People are coming up to us and telling us that this is offensive, and we are potentially going to have a situation on our hands where people are going to start becoming injured, because people are taking offence to what you are saying,” explained one police officer, who warned Southern he would arrest her to placate the angry crowd if necessary.
“Little did I know that the social experiment was not actually over [afterwards],” Southern says in her video.
“Fast-forward two weeks, and I’m being detained in Calais under the Terrorism Act, and told I am being banned from the country for handing out ‘racist material’.
“Not only is the idea that the statement ‘God is gay’ or ‘Allah is gay’ is a racist statement bizarre … It also highlights a monumental double-standard for Western societies.
“Why is it racist to say ‘Allah is gay’ but not racist to say ‘Jesus is gay’? Why does the rights of Muslims to be homophobic trump the rights of gay people to have their self-expression?
“Why does causing offence — not inciting hate or violence, but causing offence — to a certain group, result in a lifetime ban from a country which proudly touts tolerance as one of its key values?”
She concluded: “The UK, unless they are fine with being under archaic blasphemy laws enforced by Isalm and Shariah… really need to start having a conversation about this, before they are no longer able to have that conversation at all.”