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Friendly reminder on LGBT issues and LGBT Muslims

21 Comments

As a friendly reminder- I will not tolerate any negative comments that go beyond polite discussion on LGBT issues and especially LGBT Muslim issues in any of the fora in which I participate, be it here, Twitter or FB or on my other blogs. I judge you in private. And now in public.

To rehash something I have already said in a private forum, My position on LGBT Muslims is simple, I want them to identify as Muslim. I don’t particularly care who they sleep with. Islam teaches me that other people’s sex lives aren’t my biznass. I’m tired of jobless no-good, welfare-cheating, multiple-wife-beating ignorant scrubs (all also “forbidden” in Islam) being able to hold their head up high at jummah and dirty MY religion by being called a good brother when we, as a community, don’t have any more answers for LGBT Muslims other than “ZOMGS teh Islamz sez being gay is HARAAAAAAAAAAM.” I’m over it. It’s the same head-up-the-ass type of philosophy that people apply to

-Muslims engaging in politics or political activism (ZOMGS teh Islamz says No Politics Without Khalifah don’t talk to TEH KUFFAR)

-Muslims engaging in interfaith dialogue (ZOMGS teh Islamz is the final monotheistic religion, talking to TEH KUFFAR makes us TEH KUFFAR ASTARGHFIRULLAH)

-Muslims glossing over Domestic Violence issues in the community: “in Islam our Prophet Salla Allahou Alaihi wa Sallam was the best of examples, so all your husband needs to do to stop beating you is follow the religion. Have some sabr sister (and lose weight/stop nagging/clean more/cook better so that he will stop beating you), but DON’T go to counseling or a mental health professional or a DV shelter or anything because teh Islamz says that is HARAAAAAM.”

I don’t care whether you believe being LGBT is a choice or not a choice. It’s about recognizing the fact that LGBT Muslims EXIST, have a right to exist as members of humanity, and recognizing that our ummah has to do better to make sure all Muslims are in the fold. And by in the fold, I don’t mean “on the haqq.” In the fold means “Islam is for everyone.” We do not have an exclusive right on Islam, and it is poor dawah to think otherwise. And very, very very few of us are specialists in doctrine. I don’t want any of you assholes to go google Bukhari or something, I can do that myself. We, as simple Muslims, are not here to decide who is and isn’t burning in the hellfire. The stuff we learn about the religion is first to be applied to ourselves, but sadly people we Muslims never check ourselves and instead go and google Bukhari to spread namimah and be all Judgy McJudgerson.

What’s my final point? Sticking our heads up our collective asses as an ummah is why Islam and Muslims have a major PR problem. There’s a way to “enjoin the good and forbid the evil” without being a bigoted, close-minded asshole. What breaks my heart the most is that LGBT people of Muslim culture usually just wind up not being Muslim any more and LGBT people not from Muslim backgrounds have absolutely no reason to convert given the current state of affairs. Our goal as Muslims, as a I have said countless times before, is threefold: 1) check our own Islam; 2) make the Muslims around us happy to be Muslim and treat them in the way Islam tells us to do (regardless of their supposed “shortcomings’); 3) make people around us who aren’t Muslim think Islam is pretty cool by being examples of human deceny, kindness and fair treatment. We are failing BIG TIME on all three as an ummah.

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Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

21 thoughts on “Friendly reminder on LGBT issues and LGBT Muslims

    • Salams Yahya,
      Thank you for these posts! Normally I don’t let people post links in comments but as I liked yours and they are relevant I made an exception 🙂
      I completely agree with you when you say “I am of the opinion that unless we Muslims are willing to defend the human rights of everyone then we cannot – without being hypocritical – insist that our rights be protected while sitting on the sidelines and watch other people suffer.”
      Best,
      Nicole

  1. OLÉ!!!!!

  2. LOVE IT.

    I’ve wanted to speak of this topic for a while but never had your courage. Good job!

  3. great post! totally agree.

  4. Hi Organica,

    It is important to learn to have courage and speak your most deeply held convictions – always respectfully. When you do you will find that you have allies. 100% guaranteed.

    If you want to read about courage, then take a look at what this Jewish man is doing:

    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11585.shtml

    Yahya

  5. Love this. LOVE!! this. All of it, totally brill.

  6. Dear Nicole,

    “What breaks my heart the most is that LGBT people of Muslim culture usually just wind up not being Muslim any more and LGBT people not from Muslim backgrounds have absolutely no reason to convert given the current state of affairs.”

    As an LGBT person from a Muslim background (at least in the extended family, if not immediate family), I’m going to back you up on this sentiment 200%. I am not a person of faith–and I have followed discussion of LGBT issues within Islam specifically, but till now, I didn’t even KNOW such a discussion could happen. Muslims have a PR problem on two levels. One has little to do with Islam–it has to do with non-Muslim bigots or xenophobes who know no Muslims but associate Islam with 9/11. But the 2nd PR problem, the one you reference, is precisely the one that stems from Muslims that we DO know. The holier-than-thou types that you describe above.

    “…by being examples of human deceny, kindness and fair treatment.”

    I think it makes life better if everyone, no matter what their religion, aims toward that. Having read the Qur’an as a non-believer, I can say there are many principles of kindness, charity, and social justice implicit in Islam, and I think it would be great if more Muslims focused on that than, say, sniggering at their neighbors (read: me and my parents) for having the wrong kind of soap or for (Allah forbid) having a gay son.

  7. This is a great post. I applaud you for writing it and saying what needs to be said.

  8. Salaams:

    Masha Allaah! Wonderful post. I, too, have written about this. It’s reality and needs to be spoken about. I work in a woman’s prison, and this topic comes up often 🙂

  9. I’d like to give this post an internet high-five.

  10. while i agree that it is important to show compassion to others, i think we do a great disservice to “gay”muslims if we fail to make clear to someone, who chooses to base their identity on feelings of same sex attraction that acting on such feelings in any way, is expressly forbidden in islam.
    by expressing our views openly to those who seek them (not in a coercive or insulting way, but matter of factly) and by continuing to respect the human dignity of those individuals struggling with same sex attraction, muslims will perhaps provide their struggling brethren with the necessary motivation to change an aspect of themselves which wider society would leave them condemned to.

    islam remains the only dissenting perspective in the current age and, if we attempt fanciful interpretations to accomodate homosexual lifestyles, we will end up like the fruit seller who keeps reducing his price to attract customers who, even in spite of this, pass by him so that by the end he has nothing left but a pile of rotten fruit.

    i have seen too many former classmates “turn gay” and the attendent depression, dissatisfaction that accompanies this lifestyle to know that to take a neutral stance on the issue is not helpful to gay people themselves who, once labelled in societies such as in western europe, cannot,because of the way in the gay identity is perceived to be fixed and essentially unchangable are not given the impetus to change, struggle and live more satisfying lives. even those in non-muslim society who physically attack gay people (and let’s be fair, how many muslims in spite of their holding homosexuality/acting on same sex attraction to be forbidden actually beat gay people up?) on the basis of their sexual identity do so believing that their gayness is an inherent part of their makeup.

    • Salams Africana,
      I see your point of view, I really do. But for me, what bothers me when we argue what is and isn’t forbidden in Islam is that we let, as a community, a lot of Forbidden in Islam stuff slide. While I am not equating being gay to these things, we let wife beating slide, we let rampant irregular (not in keeping with Islamic principles) polygamy slide, we let welfare cheats and yet we let these brothers and sisters come to our masajid, we let these brothers and sisters call themselves good Muslims, and so on. What kind of message are we sending, if being gay is forbidden in Islam and we shut gays out, but wife beating is forbidden in Islam and we let these brothers in the fold? Why, out of all the forbidden things in Islam, do LGBT people get shut out? It’s the same thing for me when people reduce women’s issues in Islam to ” does she have a scarf on or not.” Do you see the difference? I just want people to have access to Islam, that regardless of what the mainstream thinks is right or wrong, that all people should have the right to identify and associate with Muslims. That is what makes me angry- I’m tired of the no good losers “claiming Islam” for themselves when Islam is supposed to be for everyone.

  11. Africana:

    It’s not our job to point fingers at people’s sins. We let God do the judging.

    It’s a given when MUSLIM you shouldn’t be having any type of sex outside of marriage or with your same gender.

    Does it happen?

    YES.

    What do we do about it?

    Be proactive about these issues and find ways to address them. Whatever these issues might be.

  12. I personally don’t believe someone chooses to be gay, they were born that way. Regardless of one’s position regarding this issue, it is incorrect and violates the spirit of our faith to discriminate against or mistreat anyone who is LGBT.

  13. salaams Nicole,

    thanks for your response.

    I must admit that the attitude of ostracising people on the basis of one perceived vice and not another seems very odd.

    i must admit that i have never encountered the attitude that a complete overhaul is necessary in order to enter the fold of islam, although i’m not saying that this means it doesn’t exist. it strikes me as an unusual attitude because, as muslims, we accept that human beings are limited in their capacity for change and that only real sustained transformaton can occur with His assistance which, as believers in islam we know results from first accepting and believeing in Him (ie, becoming Muslims).

    the view that same sex attraction is a spiritual disease (and thus blameworthy) seems a common one amongst learned muslims. if it this were to be true, then it would place it in a category occupied by other diseases of the heart such as greed, jealousy and avarice which hardly preclude a person from becoming muslim but do mean that, unless dealt with, that that individual will be heavily flawed, given the emphasis in islam on wanting for one’s brother (or sister) what one wishes for oneself, for example. i think it important not to attempt to make islam conform to the desires, inclinations of flawed human beings (WHATEVER they might be struggling with) otherwise we deny ourselves and others that transformative power.

    as an aside, i think it’s wholly wrong that wife beaters and the like are given afree pass, i think the differerence in attitudes might be explained by the dislike for open admission of wrongdoing. i recall once having been quite taken a back by one young muslim woman’s open, light hearted admission (mid conversation) that she was a backbiter. at the time, i had only been muslim for a matter of months but knew enough to know that open admission of sinfulness is, as per certain hadiths, is frowned upon in islam and so the admission took my breath away. i wonder as to whether part of the rejection might lie in the fact , even more than others, “gay” muslims are mich more likely to have admitted to or acted in a way that indicates the feelings present in their hearts.
    if we look to the situation of people who are known to act on homosexual tendencies in the muslim world, it’s my understanding that such people were generally left alone. i think the difference lies in the fact of such tendencies are in one case concealed whilst in the other case, revealed and made an identity of.

  14. I am of the view that sexuality, in its many forms, are tests for us as humans. As muslims, we aren’t suppose to have sex outside marriage, but many do, we aren’t supposed to view pornography, but many do, we aren’t supposed to have same sex relations, but many do. The TEST is resisting. The TEST isn’t supposed to be easy, or it wouldn’t be a test.

    There are very few things that expressly remove one from the fold of Islam. Last time I checked, NONE of the sexual forbiddens was on that list.

    I would rather be praying next gays and lesbians than for them to ostracized from Islam. Not a single one of us is perfect.

  15. I like the post Nicole!

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