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The C4 documentary (II) January 29, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Media, Responses, Shari'ah.
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I promised you a second part to my analysis of the Channel 4 programme “Gay Muslims”, which was aired a week ago. My Part 1 looked at various characters who were featured, namely “Abdullah”, “Razeem”, “Shakir” and “Farah”. The most controversial aspects of the programme, however, were the parts where it followed Adnan Ali, “Britain’s first gay Muslim activist”: I can see that by checking the web searches that led people to this blog!

So in this post, I’ll respond to those parts of the programme, including his discussion with “Muslim scholar” Scott Kugle, and also interesting comments made by the Chair of Imaan later in the programme. I will not attempt to make this post a comprehensive refutation of Ali and Kugle’s outlandish claims, but at least I hope you will get the idea. Who knows, perhaps some interesting debate will come out of it.

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Mahathir sued for defamation January 29, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Media.
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FORMER Malaysian deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim today launched a lawsuit against one-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for accusing him of being a homosexual.

The Australian: Anwar sues Mahathir over ‘gay’ slur

Human rights groups maintain that allegations Mr Anwar conducted a sexual relationship with his driver, then abused his power to conceal it, were trumped up to prevent him from challenging Mr Mahathir, whose 22-year rule as premier ended when he retired in October 2003.

Gay + Muslim = Gay Muslim? January 26, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Concepts, Islam, Queer Muslims, Responses.
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I responded to a commenter over at Jamal's Opinionated Voice, who stated that

if you are gay and are born into a Muslim family, you are by definition a ‘gay muslim’, since we use the term “muslim community” a lot in the west – even if a lot of those muslims might be lapsed muslims, or pick-and-choose muslims or devout muslims.

Since this is similar to many such comments I've seen, I reproduce my response here…

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Sacranie: no charges January 26, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Islam, Media.
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Following news that Sir Iqbal Sacranie – Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain – was being investigated after comments made on Radio 4 about homosexuality and civil partnerships, I am relieved to note that no charges were put. From the Scotsman:

Officers said they would examine the remarks he made on Radio 4’s PM programme to see if any offences had been committed following a complaint from the public.

But on Monday a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “There will be no further action on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.”

My own view is that he should have chosen his words better, and his comments failed to deal with a very sensitive issue with the nuance it deserves. His comments could indeed be taken as offensive, especially because of his mention of diseases. We have to be wise in how we explain our religious position. Still, it is our duty (as it was Sacranie’s, in his position of responsibility) to be clear and confident in stating what we believe to be right and wrong, lest we be blameworthy before the Almighty.

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Death of Dr Zaki Badawi January 25, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Uncategorized.
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I was very shocked today to learn of the passing of Muslim scholar Zaki Badawi, aged 83. Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon – Truly we are God’s and to Him we are returning. We pray that Allah grants him His mercy, and bestows patience on his family.

A spokeswoman for the college, where Badawi was the principal, said Badawi had been speaking at the Islamic Finance Summit in London when he was taken ill.

“He was at a conference at the time, he collapsed, an ambulance came and took him to hospital,” she said.

His funeral would probably take place on Friday, she added.

Only a few days ago I corresponded with him (for the first and only time) over his statements on civil partnerships. It all seems rather trivial right now.

In that post, I made criticisms of Dr Badawi’s understanding of the legislation, and of his apparent conclusions from that. I mentioned that there was a need for him to clarify his position on celibate homosexual partnerships, to avoid his fatwas being misused.

I’m sorry if that post seems insensitive now, but I will leave it as it was, because the concerns remain regardless. That being said, if anyone has further information about Dr Badawi’s opinions on those issues, it would be much appreciated if you could let us know. 

The C4 documentary (I) January 24, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Media, Responses.
13 comments

23rd Jan 2006

Yesterday there was an hour-long documentary on the UK’s Channel 4 about being “British, Muslim and gay”. It provided lots of points of reflection and raised awareness of an issue that is seldom discussed, let alone explored properly. The programme will be repeated in the early hours of this Friday, at 4.15am.

The glance at five individuals’ lives highlighted issues that are extremely complex, since they involve not only religion and how to understand it, but also the never-easy conundrum of reconciling cultural identities (let alone other ‘identities’ on top). I do not wish to over-simplify these complex issues. Also, since my personal interest is in religion more than culture, I’ll focus more on that, and not delve into the problems of being “Asian and gay”, which much of the documentary was actually about.

I decided to split this discussion into two posts – the first covering some of the general matters, and the second (coming soon) looking at “Britain’s first gay Muslim activist” Adnan Ali, as well as comments made by academic Scott Kugle, and by the Chair of Imaan (usually known as Farzana, but in the programme was Rasheeda…I dunno).

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Imaan complains January 23, 2006

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Media, Responses, Shari'ah.
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BY MUJAHID MUSTAQIM 

They’re not happy about the upcoming programme (which the rest of us have to wait for, until 8pm tonight, Channel 4). Their press release states:

Imaan wish to make it clear that its participation in the documentary was NOT made in partnership or consultation with the group – the largest and longest established LGBT Muslim group in the UK and Europe. Indeed Imaan tried very hard to obtain editorial input but Love Productions refused. Instead they appeared more interested, from the outset, in casting gay Muslims in a negative and inaccurate light.

Contrary to the angle of the documentary most of the LGBT Muslim community do not lead “tortuous, secret lives” but are happy balanced individuals who are supported by a growing LGBT Muslim community and increasingly by the wider gay AND Muslim communities in this country and abroad.

Yeah, whatever you say. Imaan also feature in a BBC Religion radio segment from last Sunday, which you can listen to here. There are various interviews, including with The Safra Project’s Tamsila Tauqir. A chap called Hannan misrepresents the Muslim community by claiming that they consider that “God is unforgiving of things like this and that God will not forgive you on the Day of Judgement.”

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The Stripy Charlatan January 23, 2006

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Queer Muslims, Responses.
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Mr Daayiee Abdullah

This strange man is known as “Imam” Daayiee Abdullah, and he is trumpeted by his colleagues at the Al-Fahisha Foundation as being the world’s only openly gay Muslim scholar, and similar nonsense.

In the couple of interactions I’ve had with him, I’ve been astonished by his unwillingness to engage with alternative points of view. He writes with great assurance, and perhaps his many readers in the Muslim Gay Men group will be convinced by his posturing.

On a number of occasions, I have invited his people to debate, but they have always refused. Yet they then claim that we are the ones refusing, or even that debates have taken place and we have been refuted! (Thankfully, these are things that can be easily verified by recourse to evidence. I can provide mine in a later post, but for now let’s stick to the subject at hand.)

Recently, Afdhere Jama, editor of Huriyah Magazine, said the following on a public group:

also, at huriyah, it is more a mixture of cultural/faith/regional. we don’t talk about islam all that much. i would like to see how people are dealing with the question of islam and sexuality, in a more open and honest writing.

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Zaki Badawi on civil partnerships January 22, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Responses, Shari'ah.
2 comments

Sir Zaki Badawi, Telegraph imageIn the London Times article of 7th January 2006, which I have already mentioned for its promotion of the typical line on “gay Muslims”, and its web-links to the Safra and Imaan “havens”, the following little statement appeared:

A handful of Muslims are believed to be among the hundreds of gay men and women who have taken out civil partnerships in the past month. The country’s other top Muslim, Dr Zaki Badawi of the Muslim College, has urged gay Muslims to take advantage of their financial benefits so long as they are not sexually active.

The writer, Ben Hoyle, didn’t see fit to quote Dr Badawi directly, which is quite strange considering the sensitivity of the issue. We wrote to Dr Badawi to ask for a clarification. He told us that the reporter had, in summarising his views, misrepresented them. He then offered the following statement:

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What’s in a name? January 22, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Responses.
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Mujahid asked me why I decided to call this blog (in its URL) “Gay Muslims”, given that I agree with him that this juxtaposition of terms is problematic. Why problematic? Because to accept that one is Muslim means thinking as a Muslim, which precludes accepting the orientationist philosophy that underpins words like “homosexual”, “gay” and even “heterosexual”.

[What happens if you look at it the other way round? If someone accepts that they are “gay”, then they have to figure out what they mean by “Muslim”, considering the pretty obvious negativity in the Islamic sources about what they consider homosexuality to be. See Mujahid’s “two approaches” in Muslim Before Anything Else.]

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