An international meeting of Atheist minds in Melbourne at the weekend featured a dramatic scuffle when a kissing gay couple were jeered by protesting Islamic fundamentalists outside the city’s Convention Exhibition Centre.
Gregory Storer and his partner Michael Barnett attended the Global Atheist Convention, which included a range of Atheist speakers from around the globe, including Richard Dawkins and Sex Party founder Fiona Patten.
Storer tells Same Same that during a lunch break a small group of banner-waving Islamic fundamentalists appeared, telling the conference-goers that they were wrong, and that “Atheism is a cancer.”
“The crowd responded with jeers and chants, surrounded the Muslims and engaged in an exchange of ideas,” Storer sums up. “Security guards circled them creating a small barrier between the two groups. One woman threw herself against the protesters and was jostled away.”
The photo above shows what happened next. “My partner Michael and I took advantage of the moment to kiss in front of the group. We understand that in some Islamic states gay people are persecuted and executed for their sexuality. It was an ideal opportunity to challenge the notion of acceptance and tolerance.
“As we kissed, the Muslims began chanting ‘burn in hell’.
“It’s crazy that in Australia such bigoted homophobia is allowed to exist,” Storer adds. “It amazes me that these men can hide behind their religion and use it as a weapon to victimise and condemn people without being challenged.”
See more images from the scene on the video below.
Storer now reflects: “It was an extremely powerful and peaceful statement of love in the face of pure hate. Love will always conquer hate.”
Photo credit: Pete Darwin.