Gay History 101: September 30, 2015

Float for gay Muslims at Pride London 2011.(Photo Credit: Tom Morris.)

LGBT and Islam are intertwined in the religious, legal and cultural history of the nations with a sizable Muslim population, along with specific passages in the Quran and statements attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad (hadiths).

Orthodox Islam is not only a system of beliefs, but also a legal system. The traditional schools of Islamic law based on Qur'anic verses and hadiths consider homosexual acts a punishable crime and a sin. The Qur'an cites the story of the "people of Lot" destroyed by the wrath of God because they engaged in "lustful" carnal acts between men.

Nevertheless, homoerotic themes were present in poetry and other literature written by some Muslims from the medieval period onwards and sometimes homoeroticism in the form of pederasty was seen in a positive way.

Today in most of the Islamic world homosexuality is not socially or legally accepted. In some of these countries, Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, homosexual activity carries the death penalty. In others, such as Qatar, Somalia and Malaysia, it is illegal. Same-sex sexual intercourse is legal in 20 Muslim-majority nations (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Niger, Tajikistan, Turkey, West Bank (State of Palestine), and most of Indonesia, as well as Northern Cyprus).

In Albania, Lebanon, and Turkey, there have been discussions about legalizing same-sex marriage. Homosexual relations between females are legal in Kuwait, but homosexual acts between males are illegal. Most Muslim-majority countries have opposed moves to advance LGBT rights at the United Nations, in the General Assembly and/or the UNHRC. However, Albania, Guinea-Bissa and Sierra Leone have signed a UN Declaration supporting LGBT rights. Mozambique provides LGBT rights protections in law in the form of non-discrimination laws, and discussions on legally recognizing same-sex marriage have been held in the country.

On 5 April 2014 The Founder of a UK-based hotline that helps fight Islamophobia recruited senior figures from the gay and Jewish communities to send out a message against all forms of intolerance. The Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) helpline, whose aim is to help victims of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination in Britain, has invited famous gay activist Peter Tatchell and Richard Benson, a Jewish activist, to be MAMA Chairmen. Flyaz Mughal, who started the group in 2012, said that by linking up with key figures from these two communities, a message of tolerance will be spread.” We are clear: if you are homophobic or anti-Semitic, you can’t campaign against anti-Muslim prejudice… we’ll stand against intolerance in all communities.” Mughal, who claims he tries to express the sentiment of mainstream Muslims, described them as the “silent majority.” The invitation to Tatchell came after Mohammad Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, described homosexuals as being akin to compulsive murderers, gamblers, or pedophiles, adding that gays in Muslim countries should “respect the law and control their desires.” Since his announcement, Mughal has been ostracized by some fellow Muslims.

2015: Homosexual sex remains illegal in approximately 75 countries around the world, from the Middle-East to Africa, from South-East Asia to Russia, and almost in all of the Caribbean. Users of Ashley Madison on the Down Low, which caters to “married men seeking other men for casual, no-strings fun” are among the 37 million account holders whose details and sexual preferences have been made public by hackers. One gay Saudi national posted a message on a Reddit website saying he was sure he would be stoned to death. Gay sex is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. The data leaks monitoring firm CybelAngel said that, in the overall trove of 37 million accounts it has found 1,200 email addresses with the Saudi Arabia “.sa” suffix, where also adultery is punishable by death. More than 50 accounts were from Qatar where homosexuality is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.


Like us on Facebook

  • Latest Comments

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS