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Jakarta Post editorial September 5, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Proggies, Responses.

This Indonesian paper recently ran a piece by Farid Muttaqin, who “graduated from State Islamic University, Jakarta, in Islamic Philosophy and Theology and is a student at Ohio University Athens, the U.S.” You can read it via this link:

Changes needed to Islamic view on homosexuality

It’s nothing new, but a couple of points in response are worthy.

It is important to begin any discussion on homosexuality in Islam with a look at how some hegemonic cultures and traditions before Islam influenced Islamic teachings. Greek Hellenism and ancient Arabic society were two important groups that supported a type of Islamic law on homosexuality.

Amazingly, his article is completely devoid of any reference to Qur’an or Sunnah. The only data he draws on are experiences alleged within Muslim societies. Look Farid, if you’re suggesting that Islamic teachings are man-made, why bother advocating “changes” to this man-made Islam? Why not just abandon the “religion” altogether? That’s something that always perplexes me about “progressives”.

Same-sex relationships have deep roots in the history of humankind. The story of Lot’s people in the Koran proves that homosexuality has been a part of human life for a long time. Some famous Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato also experienced same-sex relationships. In ancient societies, homosexuality was considered common behavior. Why do we now view homosexuality as social deviancy? Why is it believed among Muslims that homosexuality is such a terrible sin?

Look, man… You just mentioned the People of Lut (peace be on him) in passing; and then you don’t use that to explain why Muslims see homosexuality as a sin? We couldn’t give a damn about what some nut-job philosophers thought about morality, when we have the Book of Allah in our hands.

Meanwhile, Islam strongly discourages its believers from mimicking traditions of previous societies. This was significant for early Islamic believers to clearly distinguish themselves from non-Muslims. The Islamic restriction against homosexuality has a correlation to this teaching.

Uh-huh… and where is this teaching found? Yes, in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And where are the teachings against homosexual behaviour found? Yes, in the hadiths (as well as the Qur’an), hence the great need for proggies to attack the hadiths. So why, Farid, don’t you just state that, instead of referring vaguely to “the Islamic restriction”? Are you trying to explain how the Prophet (pbuh) “decided” on these laws? Make yourself clear so that we can see how weak your argument really is.

It was a common view within ancient Arabic society that only a man could be a leader. Having a daughter embarrassed parents. Fathers would even kill their daughters in order to save the family from disgrace.  

Of course, while you pin a lot on this, you fail to mention at all how the Prophet (pbuh) combatted these disgusting attitudes and practices. You just allege that these views influenced Islam.

Based on the fact that various stereotypes and discrimination against homosexuals have a correlation with the misinterpretation of Islamic teachings on homosexuality, it is important to create an agenda toward the recognition of homosexual rights by representing a new interpretation of these teachings. In this regard, therefore, the agenda to recognize homosexual rights has a strong relevance to other progressive Islamic agendas, including stopping violence against women.

Writers like this need to clarify how they decide what is a “misinterpretation”, other than just what they happen not to like due to the ideas that they are influenced by. They ascribe outside influences to the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions, while apparently thinking themselves on a higher plane of intellectual achievement and spiritual enlightenment!

While pushing these “progressive Islamic agendas”, they fail to articulate why they are Islamic: they may quote certain texts, but don’t give a convincing argument why we should take those particular texts in exclusion of the ones they’d rather ignore or arrogantly dispute in terms of authenticity.

Stopping violence against women is an Islamic agenda; we don’t have to call it “progressive”. It was an agenda of the Messenger (pbuh) – the same cannot be said about “homosexual rights”.

For Indonesian readers: have a look at this site.


1. Taleb Haqq - September 6, 2006

This is one of the poorest written articles on any subject that I have ever read…

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