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MEMRI & Qaradawi: the main point June 30, 2006

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

In my lengthy post earlier about Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s recent comments on homosexuality, the most important point may have been missed by many readers in amongst the various notes on language.

“The Elephant” at the Middle East Gay Journal acknowledged my findings but doesn’t seem apologetic about laying into Qaradawi for supposedly “calling for punishment” (as opposed to reiterating established scholarly views), as have all the other agenda-driven bloggers – who, at least, have the excuse of not understanding Arabic.

Brian Whitaker noted in an e-mail exchange that “The trouble with MEMRI is that it’s only interested in highlighting the bits that make Qaradawi look bad; it’s not concerned with the detailed arguments.” Brian has, of course, taken on MEMRI before. However, I am not convinced that he has understood Qaradawi either, and we are still discussing this.

So here is the most important point again. MEMRI (in their edited video and transcript) chose to quote the Sheikh when he mentioned the various scholarly views on punishment for a man who commits sodomy (MEMRI just said “homosexual”!), but chose to delete a few sentences in amongst that in which he stated his preference to select the least severe view for our times.

So while Islam-haters reproduced this MEMRI propaganda with glee, they failed to realise, let alone acknowledge, that Sheikh al-Qaradawi was not advocating all those “gruesome” punishments, but is of the view that the widespread nature of this sin (i.e. sodomy) calls for a lightening of the punishment to be applied.

I am by no means saying this is a “gay-friendly” view (as if that is something we as sincere Muslims need to prioritise!), but I firmly believe that honest people should acknowledge somebody’s true opinion if they are going to indulge in debate, let alone condemnation and mockery.

So to make this clearer, I am going to present the relevant part, with MEMRI translation compared to mine.



Typical fluff June 28, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Media, Queer Muslims.

For their week of misplaced pride, the Toronto Star included a focus on “gay Muslims”, done in a way that is typical of so many articles out there on the subject, popping up in the press from time to time.

Farzana, a lesbian social worker, stated:

“Certainly, among more traditional and fundamental Muslims, we are being sinful just by existing.”

No, dear, it is not your existence that is sinful. It is your [plural – oh, English is weak sometimes] insistence on doing things your Lord has prohibited, and your choice to live according to the dictates of your desires rather than submit to awe of Him and humility before him.

See also: Salaam Canada and the El-Farouk effect

Are gays perverts? (MEMRI & Qaradawi) June 27, 2006

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

A provocative title, I’m sure you’ll agree. Well this word has been used provocatively by others before me, so no harm in my doing similar. But my intent will be different from that of Pink News, who want you to say “Oh, that nasty man used a nasty word!”

The reference is to the latest (highly edited as usual) transcript from the not-so-esteemed MEMRI, which they summarised in customary fashion with this charming headline:

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Homosexuals Should Be Punished Like Fornicators But Their Harm Is Less When Not Done in Public

There is a full transcript on the Al-Jazeera site. And if you want to check it (it’s not perfect), you can download and listen to the full 47 minutes by clicking here [about 4MB].

It deserves to be translated in full too, but that’s not my endeavour just now. Before discussing a few points raised by the Sheikh and in response to him, I wish to clarify something about his apparent use of the word “pervert”, pounced upon by some people of perverted intentions.


Imaan and Pride June 23, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Islam, Queer Muslims.

Remember way back around the time this blog was launched, I wrote the epic twoparter in response to that Channel 4 shockumentary?

Well, there was a bit left over that I meant to write, about the comments made by one “Rasheeda”, who I assume to be the same person as Farzana, chairperson of Imaan. She (behind a probably-not-for-modesty niqab) said:

You can’t be proud to be gay in Islam, you can’t be proud of your sexuality, it’s immodest. Islam is all about modesty, and protecting your modesty. That’s why we won’t go out wearing skimpy [clothes], next to nothing, and you know sleeping around and stuff like that. That’s an un-Islamic notion, being proud of your sexuality. Your sexuality is not something you’re proud of, it just exists. You’re not even supposed to show public displays of affection in Islam, rather you’re married… you just don’t find it. And certainly we wouldn’t advocate that kind of immodest behaviour at all.

We have a lot of respect for our culture and our religious culture as well as our religion itself, as well as our community, as well as our family. We don’t want to do anything that would upset people, but at the same time, we are asking them to think more broadly, you know, think, have an open mind. Because, you know, the chances are, you’re related to a gay Muslim and you don’t even know it.

That sounds almost sensible. But put it together with the images of her crew parading around in their bizarre get-up (including a rainbow hijab – talk about an affront to a religious concept), as well as her words on the stage, and you have yourself a most perplexing self-contradiction.


Tariq Ramadan on respecting people June 22, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Religion.

I'm not sure what to think of Tariq Ramadan nowadays, as his ideas on Islamic reform seem occasionally to be veering towards the extremes displayed by certain less intellectual/Islamic people. Still, this interview is an interesting one, and here's what he had to say in response to a (rather strange) question about homosexuality…

Q: But realistically, how far can you go in a non-literalist interpretation of the Koran? Let's take the issue of whether someone can be both gay and Muslim. In Christianity you'll get a variety of answers. Broadly speaking, in Catholicism homosexuality is a sin. But like all other sins in Catholicism, a little bit of penance can get you out of it before judgement day. In some versions of evangelical Protestantism, homosexuality is a complete sin because evangelicals tend to be literalists. But in the Church of England there are a large number of openly gay Anglican clergy. The argument being that the Old Testament has to be contextualised. Is it possible to have a similar reading of the Koran? Or is it that homosexuality is simply wrong. Could you imagine there ever being a homosexual imam in the same way that the Anglican church in the US has just consecrated a homosexual bishop? Would that be possible?

Tariq Ramadan: It could happen if such an imam did not declare that he was homosexual. You cannot expect to see homosexuality being promoted within the Islamic tradition. Homosexuality is not perceived by Islam as the divine project for men and women. It is regarded as bad and wrong. Now, the way we have to deal with a homosexual is to say: "I don't agree with what you are doing, but I respect who you are. You can be a Muslim. You are a Muslim. Being a Muslim is between you and God." I am not going to promote homosexuality but I will respect the person, even if I don't agree with what they are doing.

Prominent Muslim pushed out June 20, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Media.

According to The Herald, the well-respected Muslim leader Bashir Maan has been forced to resign from his role as president of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations over views he expressed against homosexuality in schools.

Volunteer chief quits over views on gays

UPDATE: Also see this article in The iWitness.


Salaam Canada and the El-Farouk effect June 20, 2006

Posted by Taleb Haqq in Proggies, Queer Muslims.
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The Toronto Star, in a recent Pride Week special section, ran a story about Canada's very own Salaam "queer" Muslim support group.  The article is very strange in that it provides very little insight into what the group does and what its stances are, but from what we can gather there are two main themes that emerge. First, is that El-Farouk Khaki, who is  a lawyer and is featured in the article as the leader of Salaam, helps "queer" Muslim refugees to obtain legal status in Canada. (Canada is one of the countries that recently passed laws to allow same-sex marriage). Second, the group seems to provide "support" to anyone and everyone. I find this hard to believe because the group's stances are not clear. In passing, El-Farouk says the following:

One of the difficult parts of coming out as a Muslim — or in any religious tradition — is the religious condemnation and the religious interpretations of text, which demonize same-sex relationships. As a believer, that was a problem for me, so once I moved to Toronto and began meeting other people, I started the original Salaam in 1991.

Salaam adopts alot of the ideologies that Al-Fatiha endorses, yet they seem to be more lost (if that is at all possible). It would be very difficult to run any sort of support group if it features both believers and non-believers – what, exactly, would be their source of guidance? Al-Fahisha, at least, has Daayiee Abdullah, but El-Farouk says about Salaam's membership:


The Qur’anic Narrative (French) June 15, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Shari'ah.

I just came across this compilation of audio recitation of Qur’anic passages pertaining to the Prophet Lut (or Lot, peace be on him), together with a visual of French translation.

The four passages included are 7:80-84, 11:69-83, 27:54-59 and 29:28-35. The four relevant passages not included are 15:57ff, 21:71ff, 26:160ff and 54:33ff.

You didn’t think there were so many, did you? Well, some people don’t want you to know.

Now we need someone to do this in English!

“Former Homosexual Wanting To Embrace Islam” June 14, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Advice, Islam, Responses.

Salaam Alaykum,

I have been studying Islam.

I have been reading Maulana Muhammed Ali's translation of the Holy Qur'an and have been discovering the greatness and beauty of the prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him, by reading Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri's "Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum" (The Sealed Nectar).

I was raised in a home that did not fear Allah and have been a part of a society where deprviation [[depravation/deviation? – ed]] has become normal. As such, I regret terribly some of my past actions. In my early twenties, I had a homosexual encounter. By the grace and mercy of Allah, I am free from disease as a result of this encounter. After the incident, I fell into a great depression which lasted for more than a year. The depression was a result of my conscious being so incredibly distraught over this action. My research into Islam has been hindered because I have felt that perhaps Allah would not accept me because of this major transgression. I was not a Muslim at the time, and in fact, knew very little about Islam then.

I no longer participate in any of those dreadful acts and am committed to living a life of purity in the sight of Allah. Nevertheless, as I have been researching Islam, I have read the severe penalty for such a sin. Often death is mentioned.

I know this is a very personal question, and that this is ultimately between me and Allah. However, it has been such a stumbling block that I have avoided making Shahadah and becoming a Muslim. Even this was a very brief encounter at one time and many years ago, I am still plagued by the memory of it.

I strongly desire to become a Muslim, to make Salat, and to live a life in obedience to Allah and the Sunnah. I no longer participate in devious sexual sin, and hope that Allah would favor me enough to allow me to enter into Islam.

Is it possible? Thank you for your advice.


X-Men, Mutancy and Life’s Tests June 11, 2006

Posted by Taleb Haqq in Homosexualists, Media, Responses, StraightWay.

{Say:"Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?"} [Qur'an 18:103-4]

Robert Urban, a contributing writer with AfterElton.com, has decided to enlighten us by explaining the true meaning of the X-Men movie.  As you might have guessed, according to Urban, gays and lesbians are the new X-Men. He is not, of course, the first to make such a claim – people (especially gays) always make this comparison and will do their darndest to draw similarities between the characters in the movie and people who experience same-sex attractions (especially those who choose to live the lifestyle). One example that these people give is the story of IceMan when he "comes out" to his parents and tells them that he's a mutant. His mother asks him "Have you ever tried NOT being a mutant?"

There are some points that are completely miseed by these comparisons. The first such point is that "mutants" are born as such! Much as the homosexualists would love it to be so, the "gay gene" or the theory that people with SSA are born with them is not established. In Islam, we are taught that life is a test. For people with SSA, this is one of our tests that Allah has decreed, and the evaluation will be based on how we deal with this test. As is so beautifully mentioned by God in the Qur'an, in the final verses of Surat al-Baqarah:

{God does not place a burden over a soul more than it can handle; it is rewarded for what it has earned and put to account for what it has committed. Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or do wrong. Our Lord, do not place a burden on us like you did on those before us. Our Lord, do not place a burden on us more than we can bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us – You are our Protector, so help us against the rejecting folk.} [2:286]

There is a big lesson for us to learn from this.  God knows that we can handle this test, and it is up to us to pass this test or fail it!

Going back to the X-Men. Xavier's role is to help mutants to control their powers, whereas Magneto encourages them to use their powers because they are "superior". (Is the similarity of this to "Pride Week" amongst homosexualists noticed by anyone else??) We at the StraightWay Foundation encourage those who come to us to control their urges because acting upon them is a sin. Magneto's message of living proud and large is definitely not Islamic, as is pointed out by our Prophet (peace be upon him): that no one will enter heaven with an "ant's weight" (or atom's weight) of pride.

[Next paragraph contains spoiler…]