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Islamophobic blindness August 6, 2009

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Responses, StraightWay.

A little note for the anti-Muslim bigots of Harry’s Place and the Spittoon, who have recently taken to linking to some of our blog posts. Welcome, and feel free to read: it could be a cure for your ignorance.

But every time you repeat your own invented terms, like “curing gays” and “ex-gays”, and put them in quote marks to imply that you read them here, you just prove how dishonest you are. You can’t even read a few articles and get the correct gist. Sure, you’re going to disagree, but at least disagree with what we actually say, not your pathetic strawmen. One of you couldn’t even spell my name right in his article!

Or go ahead, roll around in your own filth if you want. It’s your right.


Al-Fatiha survey: your voice? July 31, 2009

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Queer Muslims, StraightWay.
1 comment so far

The queen of ‘Queer Muslim’ organisations, Al-Fatiha USA, is conducting a survey of what they now term “LGBTIQQ” Muslims – “including Muslims who use other cultural and ethnic terms to refer to their own experience”. Or religious and common-sense terms too, we presume?

This is the first survey of its kind. The results of this survey will tell us all about our community, our experiences and our concerns. The results will guide Al-Fatiha’s educational and advocacy work on behalf of LGBTIQQ Muslims, and will be shared with the entire community …

It is vital to have the largest survey participation possible so that the results represent our entire community.

If you think that, for a change, they should also pay attention to the views of mainstream observant Muslims who have same-sex attractions and choose the path of striving (jihad) to resist and overcome them, then please take part so they cannot truthfully say they didn’t hear from you.

Go to it here: 2009 Al-Fatiha Survey

Qaradawi now – who next? February 16, 2008

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Homosexualists, Queer Muslims, StraightWay.

We at the StraightWay Foundation have long taken a keen interest in the controversies built around the person of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, especially as regards his stated opinions about homosexuality in the light of his understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah – opinions which do not differ from those of the vast majority of Islamic scholars and ordinary Muslims in the West and worldwide, except that in certain respects they are better explained and expressed.

The recent refusal from the UK government to grant him a visa has rightly met with criticism from British Muslims, this article by Abdul-Rehman Malik being a good example. From our perspective, the most worrying thing is where mainstream Muslim views are used as the basis for excluding someone from a country: will they then seek to root out “homophobic imams” and deport them? Find me a non-“homophobic” imam, please, then tell me that Qaradawi’s views are extreme…

You can find numerous articles on this blog discussing his views and statements, including a summary of the Zionist- and homosexualist-led storm surrounding his July 2004 visit to London. This time, however, we decided not to weigh in with any public comments – but would like to extend a word of appreciation to Imaan, a group we have serious disagreements with, for a letter they sent to the Guardian:

We agree with Muslim community leaders concerned at the Home Office decision to ban Yusuf al-Qaradawi (Report, February 8), on the grounds that it won’t “tolerate … those who seek to justify … acts of terrorist violence or express views that could foster inter-community violence”. On the contrary, Qaradawi has condemned the London bombings, the 9/11 attacks and other acts of terrorism, stating these are against Islamic beliefs.

In banning Qaradawi, the Home Office is contributing to a climate of Islamophobia, which will impact on all Muslims, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.

We make clear our disagreements with all faiths that are regressive on homosexuality, and demand that Muslim leaders are treated equally with other faith representatives, who are not generally banned.

If the government is to engage hearts and minds of the Muslim community, it would do well to engage in dialogue with Muslim leaders rather than demonise them or succumb to the calls of politicians whose agenda is motivated by a bias regarding the conflict in the Middle East.

Ubaid-ur Rehman
Secretary, Imaan – the LGBT Muslim’s support group

Even the vile and odious Peter Tatchell stated his disagreement with the banning, even if only to repeat his inaccurate and irrational – and in places downright false and slanderous – criticisms of the Sheikh. And of course most of the commenters after him are just as ready to prove their ignorance!

Our message for you… May 1, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in StraightWay.

Whom do we want to talk to with this blog, Eye on Gay Muslims?
And what, in brief, do we want to say to them?

Here’s what Islam has to say about homosexuality, including the distinction between actions and attractions. We present the facts and entertain debate, without prioritising anyone’s agenda over the truth.

You’re not sinful for feeling how you do, but you must strive not to do anything that Allah has forbidden. This in itself is a means of attaining His reward. You are not alone in this struggle, and you may even overcome the unwanted feelings altogether.

You cannot justify homosexual activity in the light of divine revelation, and no doubt it is all sinful. Understand Islam properly, realise that even the identity of being “gay” is problematic and un-Islamic, and repent to Allah, who is Forgiving, Merciful.

Don’t ignore the struggle so many sincere Muslims are going through. And even those who are sinful, don’t content yourselves with condemning them. Try to understand the Religion of Mercy better, so that you can be of help and not just push people away from Islam.

You can decide for yourselves how you interpret your scriptures, but it is disappointing just how few people are willing to stick to the beliefs that the Prophets brought. Homosexuality has always been forbidden: we, at least, abide by this.

You might disagree with our beliefs – consider them “homophobic” – but it’s not our goal to please you. That being said, we would like to clarify what Islam says for you in order that you may understand things before judging them. Everything has its context.

“Struggling in Pakistan” April 3, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Advice, Responses, StraightWay.

There’s another answer on Islam Online’s Cyber Counselling service, following some we’ve highlighted here before. The answer is useful, but it’s sad that once again they have only suggested NARTH as a resource for this struggling Muslim to access: while an interesting site, it won’t provide the answers or support needed from our own religious framework.

The StraightWay Foundation runs a support group for this purpose, where brothers and sisters can share their feelings and experience in a safe environment, and benefit from advice from others in the same situation, plus advisors specialising in the religious and/or psychological aspects of resisting and overcoming same-sex attractions.


To Deenport friends January 24, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Responses, StraightWay.

Brothers and sisters at the popular Deenport site recently discussed the problem of a sister who is worried she may be a “lesbian”. We pray that she is relieved of her worries. She might consider getting in touch with the StraightWay Foundation’s support group if sharing her feelings would help.

I would offer the following clarifications though. The identity of this blog’s authors, and of the officials of StraightWay, is not solely people who experience same-sex attractions themselves. Actually some do, some did and some don’t and never have. We consider this pretty much irrelevant to the arguments put forth, as our only concern is to promote a true understanding of the religion and what it requires of us all. We certainly aren’t an “ex-gay” institution, as one commenter stated.

Referring to the Qaradawi controversy where StraightWay weighed in back in 2004, a brother stated:

As support groups go there are roughly two types. On the one hand there are those who have a leftist inclination where as others have a right-wing inclination. If you read the report published by London Mayor Ken Livingstone following the condemnation he suffered for inviting Shaykh Qardhawi, he mentions a Gay/Lesbian group that had signed the Jewish Board of Deputies’ petition. He then identified another group which supported him. At the time I researched both groups and corresponded with both finding one to be very anti-Islamic whereas the other was pro-Islamic. The pro-Islamic one somehow found justification for their orientation in Islam.

I don’t know whether he was in touch with Mujahid, but the brother has apparently misunderstood StraightWay’s point, which is of course my point too. There is nothing in having an “orientation” to justify. If we buy into that way of speaking, then it’s not a matter of choice. But if we discuss the matter more properly in terms of feelings and temptations, then again, we don’t talk about “justifying” these because they are internal and not acted upon. There is nothing sinful in experiencing these feelings, even if for the whole of one’s life. The point is what you do with them.

A question of identity November 5, 2006

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Advice, Concepts, StraightWay.

A resource I have long been impressed by is the Cyber Counselor section at Islam Online, possibly the biggest Islamic site out there. When I formed StraightWay with its website in 2002, IOL was almost the only place I could find existing resources on Islam and homosexuality, including both rulings and advice. I even enjoyed a short discussion with Dr. Nadia El-Awady, following a research she published there in 2003.

This is a recent question to the Cyber Counselor, with an answer by Hwaa Irfan, the section’s editor:

“Attracted to the wrong kind”

She kindly gave a link to our site, which I’m sorry to say we haven’t updated in a long time. That is set to change soon with a revamp – pray for us please. Some people have felt that this blog is too focused on critique, with not enough advice. That’s possibly true, but once we get the new site going, the balance should be just right, in sha’ Allah.

UPDATE: Here’s another one from IOL: “Fear of What I am Becoming”

Advocates of Change August 22, 2006

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Concepts, StraightWay.

I just noticed that someone has added Eye on Gay Muslims to a list under the Wikipedia entry for: Ex-gay. The little description next to the link says: “Advocates Change for Gay Muslim’s”. Aside from the punctuation error, and the fact that we say we’re not “ex-gay”, I want to note something about our idea of change.

Change is something every one of us must seek and work for.
Change is central to being a successful human being.
Change is a journey with no end except the end of this life.

So for those people who read that person’s description of us “advocating change” to mean a switch from a supposed “homosexual orientation” to a “heterosexual orientation”: you’ve got it wrong. We advocate self-development, i.e. that people should set their goal for life, seeking Allah’s pleasure above all, and go for it.

BBC World, “Heart and Soul” August 9, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Media, Queer Muslims, StraightWay.

Shazia Khan has made a half-hour radio documentary on Islam, homosexuality and same-sex attracted Muslims, following her shorter segment, which we discussed here (then here and here).

[Sorry, no link to the programme just now. We’ll try and get one!]

It brings forth various characters, including ones similar to those in the Channel 4 documentary of January 2006, which I analysed here and here

However, the unprecedented thing in this programme is the inclusion of a voice (which is, unfortunately, very distorted by request) expressing a perspective just like what the StraightWay Foundation promote.

[“Aslam”] realised that he was attracted to boys when he was at primary school, but has chosen never to act on his feelings. He doesn’t define himself as “gay”; instead, he says he experiences same-sex attraction.

“According to some people’s definition, if they were to ask me certain questions and say, ‘Do you feel attracted to people of the same sex?’ – and if I said ‘Yes’, then they would say, ‘Well, that means you’re gay.’ People can make their own definition, but I don’t think it makes sense, and I don’t identify myself that way. Because if I said that, I would be saying, well that’s the way I’ve got to be, and I’ve got to live my life according to that. I don’t think I’ve got to live my life according to how I feel inside – I live my life according to what I think is right for me. And what I think is right for me is to stay within the limits of the religion.”

For Aslam, that means never engaging in same-sex relations.

“For a man to be with another man sexually is completely forbidden, so I decided from very early on to not go anywhere near that.” […]

Aslam believes his feelings do not define who he is. For him, Islam is the most important thing in his life.

“I’m choosing faith over anything else, in a sense. I’m choosing faith over my feelings, in a way. But I feel faith gives me much more than any other aspect of life. Why should I feel that I’m missing out, if I feel that I’m living the right path and I’m pleasing God?”

Bravo, brother! Beautiful.

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…]