Interview with Adnan Ali March 6, 2006Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Media, Queer Muslims, Responses.
“Britain’s first gay Muslim activist” has popped up again to share his views on religion being “appreciative of sexual diversity”. This follows his appearance on the Channel 4 documentary “Gay Muslims” – I dealt with Adnan’s claims shortly after: do check it out!
The interview by Hassan Mirza is rather fluffy, but perhaps the following two Q&A’s are worth a look.
Why do you think it is important for there to be gay groups with religious affiliations? What do these groups accomplish??
It is a personal choice. The secular notion of the West is still a minority concept. Majority of the people in the world are not secular. We have to accept this fact while living in the West, whether we like it or not. More and more gay people are being discriminated and treated horribly due to conservative religious interpretation of the theology.
Therefore it is quite significant to question this religious banishment by actually finding out what a particular religion says about homosexuality. You will be surprised to learn that a religion can be appreciative of sexual diversity. So it is important for some of us to have religious gay groups. However, I don’t expect everyone to have affiliations.
These groups do strive hard to accomplish a very basic sense of integrity with and within a sexual-religious minority, whether through cultural and ritual celebrations or intellectually stimulating debates on theology.
The problem is, what sort of “intellectually stimulating debate” is possible without coming head to head with these “conservative religious” folk? The queer Muslims tend to speak of them with such contempt, and act as though they have already finished the argument. In fact, they have failed utterly to present a case that is convincing in terms of Islamic jurisprudence. What they keep doing is using the standard Western secular model (with its own notions of identity and of rights) and throwing it in Muslims’ faces, saying that anyone who doesn’t get with their lingo is obviously backward. They also dabble in the sorts of justifications that Christians and other religious people used to justify practising acts and lifestyles clearly forbidden by their scriptures as well as faith communities.
I dare say that the approach I take is, while firm, also understanding of what people are trying to say. So I am perhaps an ideal person for them to involve in discussion and debate. So come on guys, I’m waiting as always. Get in touch.
What do you think is the best way to challenge anti-gay attitudes from Muslims in the UK?
More visibility of LGBT Muslims and dialogue with and within the mainstream Muslims on the issues surrounding Islamic instructions on homosexuality are very important.
We need to dispel the invalid ideas such as the idea that being gay is a “western thing” or “a white man’s disease”.
To challenge anti-gay attitudes, one must be very confident of his/her own sexuality. Imaan and Safra Project are two support groups in the UK, who are doing commendable work in providing that support to LGBT Muslims, their friends, and allies.
Yes, dialogue. But are you willing to change your views too, as well as being so bent on “dispelling” our “invalid ideas”? I neither see “being gay” as a “white man’s disease” or a “western thing” – but concepts need to be understood within their historical context: let’s remind ourselves where, when and how this category of identity developed. Then let’s evaluate how well it fits into Muslim cultural norms, as well as Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Adnan should be more humble about how his supposed truths reached him, and how he too may have inherited assumptions – but those assumptions just happen to suit him just fine.