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“British Muslims welcome working with everyone including members of the Lesbian and Gay community against a common enemy, fascism.”
April 19, 2006 7:23 PM   Subscribe

Gay and Muslim groups getting together in the UK? plans are to look at homophobia in the Muslim community and Islamophobia in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Muslim Council of Britain is also admitting that if you have nothing positive to say keep your mouth shut, which is a very good first step. Can two groups often on the receiving end of hatred work together ? “British Muslims welcome working with everyone including members of the Lesbian and Gay community against a common enemy, fascism.” I don't know if they have the likes of Michael Savage there (or the many many others), who rail against (and call for the death of) both Muslims and gays on the airwaves daily, but it seems hopeful, no?
posted by amberglow (29 comments total)

 
One of my biggest concerns about the radicalization of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe is the threat to gays and lesbians. Amsterdam is usually considered to be an extremely gay-friendly vacation destination, but physical attacks on gays are increasing, almost all carried out by young Muslims. The editor of the Washington Blade (a DC gay paper) and his boyfriend were severely beaten recently on a trip to the Netherlands because they were holding hands.

So, if this has any positive impact, that would be great, but realistically, this will have no impact whatsoever. The sort of liberal wing of Christianity that is accepting of gays doesn't have an equivalent in the Muslim world (or at least an equivalent of the same scope and strength). The religious element seems insurrmountable to me. But, as you said, if the "just keep your mouth shut" thing works, that is a really good first or final step. In pluralistic societies, that is the best one can hope for sometimes.
posted by Falconetti at 7:32 PM on April 19, 2006


i think because they're starting from a realistic standpoint (the golden rule), there's more hope than usual....the haters are dividing and conquering there and over here--maybe this can be a model for stopping them?
posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on April 19, 2006


The sort of liberal wing of Christianity that is accepting of gays doesn't have an equivalent in the Muslim world (or at least an equivalent of the same scope and strength).

Instead, the religion as a whole does. Or used to, traditionally. Homosexual activities have, in some segments of Islam, been regarded as equivalent to masturbation, and no-where near as sinful as adultery. This probably doesn't apply to the current crop of young islamopunks, though.
posted by Jimbob at 7:52 PM on April 19, 2006


there was also a Council of Europe summit recently, and they added Islamophobia: ... Islamophobia was also introduced in the final declaration of the Council of Europe leaders' summit held in Warsaw on May 17, 2005.

In the declaration, Islamophobia was considered equivalent to anti-Semitism. "We condemn all kinds of sexual, verbal, racial and religious discrimination, and intolerance including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We affirm our determination to set rules and establish an effective mechanism within the Council of Europe to prevent and remove these inequalities." ...


(I guess i'm dreaming that this would make a difference anywhere, if it even happened here at all--we need it tho--badly).
posted by amberglow at 7:53 PM on April 19, 2006


Homosexual activities have, in some segments of Islam, been regarded as equivalent to masturbation, and no-where near as sinful as adultery.
jimbob: While that's a definite improvement over "Queers go directly to hell; do not pass Go, do not collect $200," somehow I don't exactly feel welcome by "It's only as sinful as masturbation," either. :)

Waiting for the obligatory MeFi tagline in five... four....
posted by brett at 8:25 PM on April 19, 2006


An interesting side note from Wikipedia:
In 1976, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa to allow people with hormonal disorders to undergo gender reassignment if they wished, as well as to change their birth certificates to reflect their new gender role. Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there was no particular policy regarding transgendered individuals. Iranians with the inclination, means, and connections could obtain the necessary medical treatment and new identity documents.
posted by Aknaton at 8:28 PM on April 19, 2006


Islam is a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans learn that, things will continue to get worse.
posted by matkline at 8:32 PM on April 19, 2006


Like doctrinal aerobatics of the Catholic Church or the weighty tomes of Jewish scholars, Islamic jurisprudence and commentary can sometimes lead to seemingly bizarre results.
posted by Falconetti at 8:33 PM on April 19, 2006


Homosexuality is still a death penalty offence in Iran and Saudi Arabia, by the way.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:38 PM on April 19, 2006


if you have nothing positive to say keep your mouth shut

What does Bush and Iraq have to do with this?
posted by HTuttle at 8:40 PM on April 19, 2006


Islam is a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans learn that, things will continue to get worse.


A bit like xenophobia?
posted by pompomtom at 8:53 PM on April 19, 2006


Islam is a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans learn that, things will continue to get worse.

Orange juice is a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans lean that, things will continue to get worse.
posted by maxreax at 9:47 PM on April 19, 2006



posted by Tlogmer at 10:07 PM on April 19, 2006


That wasn't a response to maxreax, I just thought a map would be cool.
posted by Tlogmer at 10:25 PM on April 19, 2006


Interesting map tlogmer.

This post mentions antisemitism, anti-islamism and anti-homosexuality.

Unfortunately it's the semites and homosexuals that are being bullied, intimidated and beaten, as Falconetti mentions, by islamics.

A lot of Europeans of islamic origin do not show a lot of tolerance.

Reducing the tensions that this behaviour creates to fascism is ridiculous.
posted by jouke at 10:38 PM on April 19, 2006


That wasn't a response to maxreax, I just thought a map would be cool.

Maps are a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans learn that, things will continue to get worse.
posted by maxreax at 1:19 AM on April 20, 2006


"Some 200 lesbian and gay Muslims were contacted by the programme makers but only a handful were willing to be interviewed, and most of those insisted on keeping their identities hidden. Only one was prepared to show his face and give his true name." [Channel 4 on a programme they did about gay Muslims in Britain, some of the not-so-encouraging reactions.]
posted by funambulist at 1:22 AM on April 20, 2006


"Tolerant of everything, save intolerance."

That needs to be the motto for a healthy and successful Liberal Democracy. It's why it really is OK to tell the fundamentalist haters of all stripes, "Sorry, but you are not welcome in our earthly paradise, until you are ready to leave others to live as they want to live."

Making Dutch immigrants watch videos of lesbians kissing is a good first step in the right direction.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:23 AM on April 20, 2006


i.e., immigrants to the Netherlands.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:24 AM on April 20, 2006


hmm, wasn't it gay males kissing? it's too easy if it's lesbians!
posted by funambulist at 2:50 AM on April 20, 2006


I didn't know that homosexuality was illegal in India, though it doesn't surprise me in southern Africa. I wonder if these are British legacies? Kept there, even after Britain (not too long ago) struck down their own laws. Both areas, of course, are notably non-Muslim.
posted by jb at 3:00 AM on April 20, 2006


jb: Technically speaking, there's no mention of homosexuality per se in any Indian statute. The closest that comes to actually out-lawing same-sex relationships is Section 377, a law passed in 1860 under the British Raj, and even that bans carnal intercourses "against the order of nature" (which, it could be successfully argued, does not apply to same-sex relationships, but anyway). While the threat of using this law, indeed, always exists, as far as I know, no consenting adults have ever been successfully prosecuted under this law in independent India.

Most post-colonial countries still outlaw homosexual relationships, mostly for the fact that no one has actually bothered to streamline all these Victorian-era oddities. Certainly, for a country that has the world's largest written constitution, and one that has used barely 10% of its Penal Code in 200 years of the existence of its current judicial system, there are other areas demanding more attention than a law that has been used very rarely.

Or at least, that's how things exist in a legal sphere. Personally, I think it's a load of bollocks; there's absolutely no reason for a mature democracy to blur the lines between sex between consenting adults, and sex between an adult and a minor, for instance, both of which seem to be covered under this catch-all law. Nevertheless, I'm rather cautiously optimistic in this regard; I remember reading somewhere (perhaps it was in Wikipedia) that both the Police and the Planning Commission have come out and publically stated support for gay rights.
posted by the cydonian at 7:53 AM on April 20, 2006


"Some 200 lesbian and gay Muslims were contacted by the programme makers but only a handful were willing to be interviewed, and most of those insisted on keeping their identities hidden. Only one was prepared to show his face and give his true name."
I see this initiative as really helping that, by establishing continuing contact and educating the imams and stuff, helping them to see that us gays aren't just evil or sinners or whatever--by regularly meeting and discussing issues about their treatment by each other and by the wider world, and by focusing on the things that are common, Muslim gays and lesbians will be put on the radar, and seen differently by both groups and supported more, one hopes.
posted by amberglow at 8:55 AM on April 20, 2006


more on it all, and on the growing hateful rhetoric here
posted by amberglow at 4:48 PM on April 20, 2006


Orange juice is a direct threat to liberal values. Until Europeans lean that, things will continue to get worse.

Idiots are a direct threat to liberal values. Until you learn that, things will continue to get worse.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:06 PM on April 20, 2006


Idiots are a direct threat to liberal values. Until you learn that, things will continue to get worse.

Iambic pentameter is a direct threat to liberal values. Until you learn that, things will continue to get worse.
posted by maxreax at 10:26 PM on April 20, 2006


someone emailed me with this, from last year, in Canada: The Muslim Canadian Congress, a Toronto-based grassroots organization, has welcomed the legislation presented by Justice Minister Irvin Cotler that re-defines marriage to include same-sex partners, and has urged Muslims and other minority groups to stand in solidarity with gays and lesbians.

Addressing a press conference in Ottawa this morning, Rizwana Jafri, president of the MCC said Muslim Canadians have experienced life as a marginalized minority and have relied on the Canadian Charter to fight for their right to be treated as equal citizens. "It is incumbent upon us, as a minority, to stand up in solidarity with Canada’s gays and lesbians despite the fact that many in our community believe our religion does not condone homosexuality," she added....

posted by amberglow at 10:59 PM on April 20, 2006


and from later in the article, this: ..."I urge Canada’s Muslim community and other minority communities to show solidarity with Canada’s gays and lesbians even if they have reservations about homosexuality. We don’t have to agree with each other to stand up for the human rights of those with whom we disagree, Mr. Raza added. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:59 PM on April 20, 2006


Thanks for clarifying that, the cydonian. I also did not know that Muslims are under different civil law, that is not good. Laws should not apply to people based on their religion or ethnicity - or sexuality.
posted by jb at 2:52 AM on April 21, 2006


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