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Islam and Homosexuality

The Islamic position on homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive issues facing Muslims living in the West, particularly in Europe. It is being held up as the key to any eventual “integration” of Muslims into Western culture, as if European culture and values could be reduced to the simple fact of accepting homosexuality. The contours of this de facto European culture is in a state of constant flux, shifting according to the topic of the day. Just as some insist, as do the Pope and certain intellectuals—often dogmatic and exclusivist defenders of the Enlightenment—that Europe’s roots are Greek and Christian (thus excluding Muslims), so several homosexual spokesman and the politicians who support them are now declaring (with an identical rejection of Muslims) that the “integration of Muslims” depends on their acceptance of homosexuality. The contradiction is a serious one: does Christianity, which forms the root structure of European culture, and which purports to embody European values and identity, not condemn homosexuality? A curious marriage. Unless the contradiction is intended to stigmatize Islam and Muslims by presenting them as “the Other”… without fear of self-contradiction.

 


We must reiterate, as does Isabelle Levy in “Soins et croyances” [1] that all the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions—from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam—condemn and forbid homosexuality. The great majority of rabbis hold the same position, as do the Pope and the Dalaï Lama, who condemns homosexuality. For these traditions, as for Freud (who speaks of “perversion”), homosexuality is considered to be “against nature,” an “expression of disequilibrium” in the growth of a person. The moral condemnation of homosexuality remains the majority opinion of all religions, and Islam is no exception. It would be senseless to wish to deny the facts, to contradict the textual sources and to force believers to perform intellectual contortions so that they can prove they are in tune with the times.

 


But the question is not whether one agrees with the religious texts, the beliefs and the convictions espoused by individuals. It is to determe what is appropriate behavior in the societies in which we live together. For more than twenty years I have been insisting—and drawing sharp criticism from some Muslim groups—that homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, but that we must avoid condemning or rejecting individuals. It is quite possible to disagree with a person’s behavior (public or private), while respecting that person as an individual. This I have continued to affirm, and gone further still: a person who pronounces the attestation of Islamic faith becomes a Muslim; if that person engages in homosexual practices, no one has the right to drive him or her out of Islam. Behavior considered reprehensible under the rules of morality cannot justify excommunication. There is no ambiguity, and ample clarity: European Muslims have the right to express their convictions while at the same time respecting the humanity and rights of individuals. If we are to be consistent, we must respect this attitude of faith and openness.

 


Today we are witnessing an upsurge of unhealthy, ideology-driven movements. To affirm one’s convictions and respect others is no longer sufficient. Muslims are now being called upon to condemn the Qur’an, and to accept and promote homosexuality to gain entry into the modern world. Not only is such an attitude doomed to fail (the majority trends in both traditional and reformist Islam, as in other religions, will never waver on this question) but it also reveals a new dogmatism—and a whiff of colonialism, not to mention xenophobia—at the heart of so-called modern, progressive thought. Certain prominent intellectuals and lobbies have ordained a new form of political correctness; they would like to force everyone to be “open” or “liberal” in the same way. At first glance, this open, liberal thought would seem to warrant respect; but it reveals a troubling tendency to impose its own dogmas, leaving little or no room for the convictions of traditional philosophical, spiritual or religious world-views. Betraying the ultimate goal of modernity, which should help us manage freedom and diversity, we are now told that there is only one way to be free and modern. Both dogmatic and dogmatizing, this trend, in the name of liberal thought, is a dangerous one, and should alarm all women and all men, whether atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians or Muslims. It strikes at the very heart of our freedom of thought, of the most intimate aspects of our lives, of the ways we strive for social and intellectual emancipation.

 


Let us not delude ourselves. These developments, along with recent tensions surrounding the return of religion, its accompanying fears, and the social visibility of homosexual “believers” is directly related to the presence and new-found visibility of Muslims in our Western societies. We, as societies, can choose to exacerbate these sensitive issues and to exploit the natural stresses created by the arrival of new immigrants to demonstrate the impossibility of integrating Muslims, and the danger they are said to represent. There are political parties that may win elections by playing on these themes. The long term outcome will be to exacerbate social divisions, and will ultimately prove counterproductive. Social cohesion will become impossible, and daily life will be undermined by mistrust and insecurity. It is time to stop playing this harmful game, and return to a more just and reasonable approach.

 


The good news comes from the younger generation: cultures and religions cannot stop them from getting to know one another, from living together, and from sharing both spaces and hopes. They are the future; there can be no doubt that they will leave our past fears far behind.

 
 

 

 

 


[1] Isabelle Lévy, Soins et Croyances, Guide pratique des rites, cultures et religions à l’usage des personnels de santé et des acteurs sociaux, Editions Estem, Paris, 2002, p.149

 

 

65 commentaires - “Islam and Homosexuality”

  1. The issue is not really the acceptance of homosexuality as ordinary practice, rather the fact that one day it might be punished in the same way it is done in some Muslim countries and this [according to western fears] will happen once Muslims have invaded Europe completely .
    The problem is that up to now Muslims in the West [and specially in Europe] haven’t been able to explain
    1] why corporal punishments are apparently so harsh in Islam if compared to other religions and 2] that Muslims in the West have no intention to build a Caliphate, rather to abide by the law of land and to ask for their rights when possible
    So saying that also other religions have our same views or that we do not want compromise our belief, simply doesn’t make sense because we are talking about secular societies in which these other religions are not seen as a threat. Moreover we give the idea to be arrogant because we do not grant same freedom of religious practice in many Muslim countries .

    1. Education, education, education. How’s that going? Let’s take a snapshot of the state of our schools. For instance, here’s three stories from the past few days. Official figures revealed that nearly half of all children from low-income families fail to achieve a single pass at GCSE.
      More than 42 per cent of the 75,000 pupils entitled to free lunches last year could not manage a single ‘C’ grade in any subject, which is the minimum level recognised by potential employers. As many as 7,500 of them are classified as ‘persistent truants’. They left school virtually unemployable, fit only for a life on benefits or a career in crime. These were the very children Labour came to office promising a better future, pledging to raise them out of a cycle of permanent low achievement.
      Pervez Latif removed his two sons from school during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month

      Twelve years on and billions of pounds squandered later, they’re still bottom of the heap. Yesterday, another report showed that despite the Holocaust supposedly being an integral part of the National Curriculum, an alarming number of secondary-school children think Auschwitz is a brand of beer. Six out of ten had never heard of the Final Solution. They probably think it’s some kind of washing powder.

      Against this horrifying backdrop, you might think any drive to elevate history teaching in schools and clamp down on truants would be welcome.
      So, on the face of it, you’d applaud the decision by Waltham Forest Council to prosecute parents who fail to send their children to school.
      More than 30 pupils were absent without leave last week at the George Tomlinson Primary School, in Leytonstone, East London, one of the country’s most deprived areas.

      Waltham Forest is treating this as mass truancy and says parents could be dragged into court, fined and forced to sign parenting contracts.
      But these aren’t the usual feckless mothers and absentee fathers content to let their children bunk off school. They are deeply moral and religious people who object to their children being force-fed homosexual propaganda in the classroom. As such, they exercised their right to withdraw their sons and daughters from lessons ‘celebrating’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.

      Pervez Latif, a 41-year-old accountant, kept his nine and ten-year-old sons at home and is now facing prosecution. He wrote to the chairman of the school governors, but his protests were ignored.
      Sarah Saed, 40, withdrew her eight-year-old daughter with great reluctance. It was the first blemish on her 100 per cent attendance record. ‘This was the only choice I had,’ she said. ‘It is not an appropriate age for children to be learning about homosexual relationships.’
      As the law stands, parents have the legal right to exempt their children from religious education and *** lessons. That’s why this is being smuggled in under the radar in the guise of ‘history’.
      Yet the ‘lessons’ on offer include a story called King & King – about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with their brother – and another featuring a pair of gay penguins at a New York zoo.
      Regular readers may remember these fairy stories from a couple of years ago, when they were part of a £600,000 government-sponsored project designed to peddle gay propaganda to children as young as five.
      What has any of this got to do with ‘history’?
      It’s about as historical as Andy Pandy. (Come to think of it, I’m surprised the relationship between Andy and Teddy isn’t being explored as part of gay history month. Goodness knows what they got up to in that box.)
      And why a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender month, anyway? Why not a Foot Fetishists, Spankers, Sadists and Masochists History Month?
      Risibly, Waltham Forest said that action was being taken against the parents as part of a policy of ‘promoting tolerance’.
      So why not tolerate parents who, for sincerely-held reasons, consider their children too young to be taught about gay relationships?
      That’s because when it comes to so-called tolerance, the new, intolerant state religion of ‘diversity’ trumps the old religions any day of the week.
      Parents who choose to tell their children about homosexuality only when they feel the time is right have to be pummelled into submission, using the full might of the law if necessary.
      This isn’t education, it’s cultural fascism.
      As I’ve written before, I have no problem with homosexuality being discussed in secondary schools. But not with children who won’t even hit puberty for another few years. Let them enjoy their innocence, for heaven’s sake.
      And what about some respect for decent, law-abiding parents, trying to bring up their children in line with their own belief system?
      Instead of hounding caring mums and dads like Pervez Latif and Sarah Saed, the education establishment should be targeting the tens of thousands of selfish, wastrel parents who never send their children to school.
      Rather than filling the heads of impressionable boys and girls with fatuous drivel about gay penguins, schools should be ashamed of the fact that they are sending children out into the world barely able to read, write and add up properly.
      Labour’s deranged obsession with social engineering over genuine education has betrayed an entire generation, especially those unfortunate enough not to be blessed with conscientious, loving parents like Pervez Latif and Sarah Saed.
      Is it any wonder some leave school unable to tell the difference between a concentration camp and a can of lager?

      The article is an eye opening for those who keep on sending their children to state schools to be mis-educated and de-educated by the non-Muslim monolingual teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

      There are hundreds of state and Church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools.
      Iftikhar Ahmad
      http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

    2. I agreed with much of what you said. I can’t say I agree with the last few paragraphs suggesting that Muslim children go to Muslims schools in a secular state in which they are often either immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants or children of converts.

      Muslims are still a minority in Europe, though a growing minority and a minority that does not have the right or might of governance cannot expect to dominate and dictate or impose its views on the wider society.

      Muslims globally have done such a lousy job of governing themselves both as individuals, societies and states that they have no moral right at this time in history to even suggest they should have right or might of governance anytime soon.

      Let us get our house in order and when we create enviably orderly, happy and successful societies based on Islam then other nations will be running to us to find out how we did. That’s real leadership.

      But here is the dilemna as we bake in our current grovelling positions in the global playing field: As a Muslim myself I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I don’t trust the Muslim schools in Europe to be safe from extreme interpretations of Islam. I don’t want my boys to be intolerant or aggressive towards others who believe or view things differently. Yet I don’t want them to be systematically indoctrinated against what Allah (swt) has prescribed for them in the Quran either.

      My instinctive preference is a good traditional Anglican or Catholic school. After all, I went to two excellent Catholic schools and converted to Islam while I was still a student!

      But to the point, the cultural fascism you referred to is very much on point. The irony of all this liberalism is that freedom of speech and belief is actually not only undermined but opposed.

      If parents could be taken to court for having their children refrain from a certain lesson which is known by the society to be in contradiction with their parents’ religious views, then what freedom does the khateeb have to teach what the Quran tells us on the pulpit at the Friday prayer?

      Christians who centre their faith around the Bible and not around interpretations that are influenced by the political-social milieu have the same dilemna. Is the government going to ask that we create a New Age Revised Edition of the Bible that eliminates all references to Sodom and Gomorrah and to homosexuality not being an act in line with God’s instructions?

      And how is this religious freedom?

      Is liberalism short for “liberation from religion?”

      The irony is that on a personal basis, I’m liberal by nature. If there was no indication from the Quran that same sex sexual relations were not in our scope of what is permissible I would not object to it and I would be a vigorous a defender of the GLB movement, but as a Muslim I choose to have my impulses and opinions checked and regulated by the Quran which like millions of others, I believe to be God’s word.

      As for the spiritual side of the discussion: Why would God have given us impulses and abilities that He then asks us to suppress or manage? Science is forever showing us that there are genetic variations in how we respond to bitter foods, cigarettes, alcohol and sugar, that our hormones influence the ease or difficulty with which we struggle to be faithful to our spouses, to be monogamous or to have additional partners. Many believe that homosexuality is a matter dictated by genes. Others say environmental stressors (eg xeno-oestrogens in the food chain) affect not just our disease patterns but our sexuality.

      Whatever the origins of homosexuality, as long as there are people on the earth who believe the Quran is God’s word, it will not be embraced by such people as a way of life they can endorse or participate in with good conscience.

      The West would have made real progress when it ceases this ideological battle with Islam and gives encouragement and support to folks like Tariq Ramadan who are actually trying to make sense of Islam and separate Islam from historical and cultural baggage that has been ADDED to it, as well as the grip of thoughtless “scholars” who believe that Shariah can be dictated by regular men and women who made judgements centuries ago, and whose views and judgements have been taken as “law” over the Quran itself.

    3. Dear Balqis,

      Allow me to clarify certain things to you. First of all, the corporal punishment is not limited to Islam. Even Torah suggests similar punishments (for ‘adulterers’). And Jesus was to only confirm the law of the Torah.
      Number 2, the word “Caliphate” has nothing to do with a political system. The word “Khalifah” literally means a ‘Vicegerent’ or a ‘Trustee’, and Qur’an mentions this word while relating to the story of the creation of Adam. Here, Adam or Human beings in general are related to as “Khalifah” or the “trustee” of God on earth, as his representatives. In that sense, every human being is a ‘Caliph’ of God according to Islam. Now, the “Caliphate” that came into being after the death of Prophet Muhammad, takes the same meaning of Caliph, meaning Caliph to the Prophet, who would represent or lead the Muslim community of that time after the Prophet. If you analyze the political system of that time in a secular way, you would notice that it was the first time in the recorded history that a political system was established where the ruler or the leader would be CHOSEN on the basis of merit by representatives, instead of the leaders being made from a family like in a monarchy. In effect, it was an attempt to bring democracy.

  2. Hello professor Ramadan,

    Really it is in need to hear Muslim intellectuals, imams, fuqahaa’ etc speaking more and more about homosexuality and especially from an Islamic point of view as it is just a fact that these days people choose to live as being both a Muslim and homosexual (practically or not) whether people like it or not and whether it is forbidden by religion or not. These days men can really mention that there is a lot of misunderstanding round the subject.

    What you mentioned professor Ramadan is very important ‘A person who pronounces the attestation of Islamic faith becomes a Muslim; if that person engages in homosexual practices, no one has the right to drive him or her out of Islam’.

    Once people except that important sentence, than one will be able to start any kind of discussion with people about any kind of subject and so even about homosexuality.

    It is really a pity that one can mention that in practise just the opposite is sometimes happen or even worser when it comes to homosexuality. For example if one is hearing voices as ‘ homosexuality cannot exist at all in Islamic countries or beyond muslims’ or ‘when parents reject or even have the idea to kill their son or daughter because they say to be homosexual (whether it is because of their religious point of view or cultural point of view)’ or ‘that one is telling that he prefers his daughter or son to have ‘another detrimental disease’ as cancer or aids than that he will be or become homosexual’.

    What I think that is very important as it was also the most important in all the other subjects is: Education and time

    Very nice that you write about this subject

    May god bless you, guide you, protect you and love you, Hakima

  3. What I’m confused about and would like to hear mr. Ramadans views about is 1. What, from an islamic viewpoint, the purpose of a homosexual disposition is; why did God create people who are gay? and 2. What, on a personal level (I understand when you say that as a cummunity/ society one should respect peoples choices) the remedie would be; how should a gay muslim, who wants to live an islamic life cope with his tendency?

    1. the qn is should we let homosexuals be it lesbians . bisexuals into islam.its unnatural..if we desentisize it then we have become like the kafirs.

    2. gender is culturally constructed. a boy/girl may become a girl/boy due to the way he/she is being educated and brought up by others/self.
      so is homosexual. people created and formed the homosexuality. not god.

  4. there are many curious bisexuals muslim sisters in south africa, predominantly johannesburg. many feel they can’t cope with daily life and are suicidal as they are forced to marry the opposite sex only to please their family and community but feel betrayed by their religion. how do we compromise between the two. im in this dialemma. I love Allah but also love women.

  5. your article is the first soothing message ever since i knew i was a lesbian. islam is my religion and will never give this up, but im only attracted to women. but ive been told theres no room for that in islam. what can i do if islam doesnt support me. im thinking of distancing from islam now. We need scholars to help us in this transional and tubulance times!!!!

    1. yes in Ridgeway, Johnannesburg in South africa there is a muslim sister who has been a lesbian for a long time and is struggling..we have both fallen for each other and is torn between our faith and our love for each other..many times we have pursued men in order to convince ourselves that we are normal, but we still come to full circle..we are thinking of eloping to europe together where its safer for homosexual relationships.

      Bibi Aisha V.

    2. But the thing is this, I’m not homosexual, I’m a heterosexual woman, but I too could fancy someone that’s not for me. I too could be tempted, but as a muslim I should restrain myself. It sometimes seems like homosexual muslims, beacause they are homosexual demand more sexual freedom than other muslims.

    3. I tend to agree with the point about homosexual muslims and non-muslims demanding more sexual freedom than heterosexuals. As a muslim living in Australia, I have at times found it particularly difficult to uphold the Islamic principles of abstinance, and “waiting til after marriage”… however, it seems as though being homosexual gives individuals (muslim and non-muslim alike) the freedom to have sex with whomever they choose whenever they choose to.

      I understand that as homosexuals, they do not have the right in society to marry (in most western societies) and in such a circumstance couldn’t “wait until after marriage”, but… I don’t know, shouldn’t they wait until after they have at least found a life-partner or something? What makes it ok for homosexuals to be openly promiscuous?

      Islam makes it clear that modesty and privacy are integral to the way muslims should live their lives. As Dr. Ramadan states, we cannot denounce or shun others for what they do in their private lives. However, especially in Australia with the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, homosexuality has become something that we’re supposed to celebrate. Homosexuality is no longer private or modest, and as other writers in this forum have stated, it’s being almost shoved in our faces by education systems, the media and almost every other source.

      Why don’t we have a straight parade? Or Marriage parade? Are these concepts passé in modern society?

      I don’t think it’s right or Islamic or moral in any sense to condemn other for behaviours that some find wrong or reprehensible. Who are we to judge? But I do believe that whatever we do in our own private lives does not need to be promoted or publicised.

    4. Yes, that´s what I mean: waiting until after marriage. And it’s not always that easy to find someone that’s compatible with you. I’m 30 years old, I’m not married and maybe I won’t find someone that’s muslim, that my family approves of and that I like. Does that make it ok to have sexual relationships outside of marriage? I don’t think so.

    5. I talk about this a lot with my non-muslim (Dutch) friends, who are single like me, but sometimes have relationships. They often are very confused about the intentions of the men they are involved with: Does he love me? Is he serious? It causes a lot of confusion and hurt, especially on the side of the women. Some of them have expressed their envy at my situation. I think they and myself want the same, one good man that’s loyal and with which we can build a future. But western women have learnt to make too many concessions to men, and now there’s no turning back.

    6. You cannot make something haram halal just because you have the inclination to do it. That is the problem: trying to make something wrong something right…it is impossible.

    7. Of course it’s haram, but there’s a reason for that. I think Sarah is quite intelligent. Western(ized) women have given control over their sexuality away. They play a men’s game (sorry for the negative stereotyping of men), under the banner of feminism, while they can’t always bear the emotional consequences.

    8. have you ever thought about why the islamic principles of men-women relations provokes so much fuss especially from women. couldn’t it be that women feel they have lost something. a woman should’nt be forced to become a man. she must make men (a man in particular) love her as she is.

    9. Hmmmm, so what you actually say is that change in sexual morality must or will come (primarily) from women??! As much as I’m aginst this thought, I’m afraid you’re right…

      P.s Funny how a discussion about homsexuality, becomes a discusion about heterosexuality:-)

    10. It´s about getting what you want. It seems with western women when they enter a relationship talking about commitment is a ´taboo´. Of course some of these relationships eventually turn out to be long term or result in marriage. But men don´t seem to like it when women in the beginning talk about commitment, while the women might have the need to know the ´status´ of the relationship. So in the meantime they keep seeing the man, who gives mixed signals and they keep guessing about what this all means. That´s what I mean with them making consessions.

    11. It’s not just western women, stupidity is universal. But you are right islam should save us ladies from that trap!

    12. I don’t know if it’s stupidity, it’s a culture, girls and women are being told this is how relationships are formed, that they and men are equal, but in the meantime they are the ones who get hurt again and again, and they believe that’s ok and normal. I don’t think it´s ok. And I don´t think loose relationships are equal, because men and women don´t experience them the same; I think women in general get attached more quickly than men and have other expectation. Girls in our cultures often are being raised very protected, and I hink that’s a good thing. Hey have to be proteced and learn to protect themselves. What we may be doing wrong though is making it about ’honour’ and being harsh about it, instead of making it clear it is really a protection for the girl herself. The result often is girls and women who get rebellious and hurt themselves in the process.

    13. With great acclaim to those who work in this area: Very briefly that Alinalaslami rejects the adultery or Aalzeny awareness and punished severely punished .. how the process of homosexuality of any marriage ideals .. This is something that may not be legally forbidden and faith. Brother Karim you know, or know the story of Lot’s people how the punishment of God and how eclipsed them underneath the top and make a guide here in Jordan and we are seeing every day, a visual confirmation of the Dead Sea …….. Valloat haram then haram then haram Obey God or may not be entitled to any Muslim to work the work of the people of kufr never

  6. Tariq i heard you in Amsterdam, 2 years ago. I was very afraid you would take the discussion the way you took it in your article. In general you say muslims should stop being victims, but is letting yourself being forced in a corner, and defend your position not alike?
    In my opinion it is not so difficult. But then i am a woman, 58, and lived the whole outcoming of homosexuals in the dutch society. I find it very important to stand ones ground as a muslim or otherwise that in the holy/sacred books homosexuality is forbidden. Like so many other things as abusing your wife, hadith do not strike your wife in the face. So to give your enemies ammunition, to let yourself be dragged into this subject again and again is not wise strategy. There is another saying in the quran, the basis of the Quran, greet everone with salaam for you will never know what they will be tomorrow, what they will believe tomorrow. Also the Quran is clear, Allah is always against oppression. And the homobashing which happens by moroccan youths more and more in Amsterdam is an outrage. On one hand maroccan youths have been known for decades in the Netherlands and in Marakesh to sell themselves as prostitutes, on the other hand no homosexual feels safe when walking the streets in Amsterdam. So yes the dutch tolerant ways are very much under threat with all the influx of other cultures. Notice it is again men causing this racket. On international womens day in Amersfoort we celebrated together, women from all cultures, heterosexual women, and lesbian women, muslim women in full attire, and muslim women not wearing a hidjab. Then as an intellectual i would love you to take the road to explain why men and women relations are so important to form a cohesive society. When doing a module in islam at the university of Amsterdam, i read a beautiful islamic article explaining this. Also in the Chinese ancient knowledge, as probably the ayurveda one can find reasons why. There is a special energy formed when a man and a woman come together, which keeps them both in balance. Good marriages keep the peace in societies.Strong families strengthen cohesion in societies. The loss of cohesion leads to more and more unsafety in societies. It is religion, churches, mosques and all their related activities, which were especially responsible for guarding cohesion, A spanish scientist Manuel Castell has written extensively about this. These are politicology studies. So instead of falling for defensiveness, letting our own buttons be pushed, our hurt feelings be triggered, let us muslims get stronger, and become better at radiating the brilliant light of our hearts in the world. And as a grown man, please speak out to all these nasty young foreigners, who have for so long now created false fearful expectations, and ruined reputations of intelligent loving beautiful people.
    Every person should feel an undeniable right of existence, or else Allah would not let that person be in the world. Accepting another never means accepting his or her views and actions. But that would be an endless discussion. Affirming faith, love and light, strengthening inner peace, fighting ons own inner jihad, has always been my choice, and seems to be a far more appropriate path to take on a planet, that give signal after signal of no longer standing the abuse done to her by humans.

    1. On the french site I called for a more holistic/ integral aproach to sexuality and relationships, rather than emphasizing the prohibition of homosexuality. The example of the morrocan boys that’s used here helps me to explain what I mean. When the discourse is just about homosexuality and how undesireble this is, it tends to become a macho-thing, used by especially heterosexual men in our cultures (I’m moroccan myself) to underline their masculinity. A better (more feminine?) approach would be to talk about how a dignified relationship between men and women should look like (including fidelity, etc.) and what the benefits are.

    2. “When the discourse is just about homosexuality and how undesireble this is, it tends to become a macho-thing, used by especially heterosexual men in our cultures”….. I agree. Many men, who aren’t that religious or uphold islamic principles when it comes to their own sexuality, say they don’t like homosexuality beacause it’s forbidden by islam. But ít’s really about their own emotions, their aversion to it. And I think this is not just with muslims, many heterosexual non-muslims have this aversion towards homosexuality as well. I think muslims should overcome this and 1) focus on their own sexual purety an 2) bring -as is said above- some sense in the discourse about homosexualitt: why is it forbidden, what are the alternatives?

    3. I agree with your eloquent views. It is not for us to judge and God is compassionate, however we should uphold Islam within a framework of modesty and respect.

    4. Well! Read every comment here and to all the concerned muslims brothers and sisters here who have advised homosexuals should not practise homosexuality etc. (Practise?).. Trust us homo-muslims, we believed so too, that there’s something wrong with us and something can be done about it ( may i say ‘cure’ it)… ( But then i am aware Suicide is HARAM too, isnt it?).
      But my brothers , tell me one thing,if homosexuality is really about choice, about environmental conditioning, about simply being curious etc. Then Why would one choose difficulties for himself/herself? when he can can live a much peaceful life and of convenience.. A life clean of all this HATRED and where he has his/her PEACE OF MIND?…

    5. What you say is true in the fact that it is illogical to “choose” to be Gay.

      What one must realize is that the “choice” is not so by oneself but more by the environment.

      People opt to become gay because they tend to be pushed into it mostly unintentionally. It is a culmination of many events that come together to cause said result.

      If one is feels that they may be “gay” which they aren’t ’cause it’s not a biological thing but a mental one, they should go and privately tell their elders and ask for help guidance and a loving hand to guide them back with the knowledge that they are fine and realize the true reasons behind their feelings have deep religious conversations and learn as much as they can about everything even if you go off topic. People must realize that it is absolutely normal to appreciate the human form just as one appreciates anything else made by god be it a butterfly or a giant mountain to the magnificent galaxy we live in, loving something is different from lust and there are many different kinds of love too. though lust is basically chemical, love is something that is grown due to the appreciation of something or someone. You mustn’t mix your feelings of love and appreciation for another of god’s creations with those of the wish to copulate. If your’e feeling “confused” just sit back take a breathe and remind your self that it’s natural to appreciate god’s work I even find garbage cans nice to look at with all the different shapes and colours, don’t cloud your perception of the world with smudged glasses joining everything with intercourse. for the gay ladies who posted above, I would tell them not to rush into things or run after men to fix themselves, relax and remember that nothing is urgent. Stop, look at your life as it is with a long way to go. be good friends with each other and stop doing it if you are (you aren’t married) so don’t sleep around with anything that’s first then remind yourself that you are a good Muslim and don’t have anything to be afraid of because Allah loves you, you won’t go to hell ( I know, but won’t tell you how ’cause i’m not allowed to and you’re all not ready my supervisors said no)even if you haven’t prayed ever or broken all the rules Allah is most forgiving and merciful, Start Praying now, smile and be happy and since you two WANT to marry a men Wait wait till you find someone you can love and appreciate (you need not be in “love” the way grownups use the term) just like the person for who he is, get to know him better talk about things you both like and you two can even take your boyfriends on dates together with each other if you both find someone at the same time. Only get married to your fiance if you love him , don’t marry any one just cause you are attracted to them at a primal level,. remind yourself that the Quran Sharif speaks out against icky sodomites not good people like you even though you may not feel so good right now. and since you live in Africa and polgyny is permitted there you two can even marry the same guy though I would not propose you do so.

      If you are having problems with your faith remember that each and every thing on this planet was made by God and that everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t become normal this time it’s okay eventually you too will be. Love god and try and find his work in everything around you look back into history (Islamic history = Christian history =Jewish history) even trace signs Allah left for you to pick up and learn from Buddhism and the tales of Gilgamesh. After all Allah did create everything and he controls the flow of everything even when he Let’s you go astray EVEN that is for a reason, you may not understand why? it may not even seem to affect of change anything around you but you aren’t required to know why yet not when you are still so unready for what we have for after you die. I even find “Scientology” nice to look at even though they look so strange 😀 try to follow Allah’s prophets and their actions heed their message Love thyself and love Allah and keep faith in him. If you ever feel frightened or lost about feeling muslim Block out anything anybody else tells you about muslims and islam being “unfair bla bla bla” remember even Isa alaisalaam was sent by God.remember your roots and live the life of a nun for a while ( I mean be chaste don’t go ahead and join a Church! :D) Love yourself and TRUST God everything will work out for the best. If ever you are sad hug yourself and remind yourself that you are SAFE and Happy and think of how the rasul would guide you and what he would tell you to do? 🙂

      Goodluck!!

  7. As an Serbian Orthodox Christian I do welcome Mr Ramadan`s protection of human rights and freedoms and avoiding any dogmas and stigmatizations that modern “free liberal” world could impose to Muslims,Hindu,Eastern-Orthodox…
    Homosexuality as a new ideology is provoking disturbances in all societies.
    As long as anyone`s preferences is a private issue I am sure nobody would protest.
    Also,a question to discuss is hipocrisy and turning blind-eye among all religions to homosexuality among
    clergy or among young people in strict societies.

  8. I have read the responses to the article on Islam and Homosexuality.
    Many of these responses seem to be from people who are torn between their faith and what they believe are their instinctive temptations in life. Many are asking what they should do and what is the answer. I do not proclaim to have all of the answers nor do I proclaim to fully understand what homosexuals feel and what they are born with and what they are not.
    What is clear however in my opinion is that all weakness in facing temptation in this life is a result of a weakness in Iman(faith). The core of accepting Islam is an absolute faith in Allah, his angels, his books, his messangers, the day of judgement, and fate whether good or bad. This cannot be separated and cannot be partially accepted. All of us are faced on a daily basis with questions of our existance and and tests of our faith. Those of us who are torn and question are blessed by Allah. The answer to facing any test and tempation is to go back to understanding your Iman (faith) and working on strengthening this. Takwah is the fear of displeasing Allah. Takwah is a measure of your strength of Iman.
    There is no question in Islam that homosexuality is forbidden, as is adultry and incest. Sexual relationships are clearly defined in Islam. Homosexuality is not your identity as many advocates of homosexuality will have you believe. We are Muslims above all else and our ulimate goal as Muslims is to obtain salvation through obeying Allah and his messanger. Homosexuality is a temtation for some as is any other temptation.

    Ahmed

  9. Professor Ramadan,
    May Allah (swt) protect you and give you strength, we need many more scholars like you. Thank you for all that you do.

  10. Homosexuality seems like another topic suited to the method of ‘Radical Reform’ of fiqh, i.e. drawing together the scholars and latest knowledge from ethical, human, and hard sciences. Why have many religions and other cultural systems condemned homosexuality historically? Was a simple lack of understanding of human and animal biological construction a factor? Psychology, sociology, and history also have thinking to contribute to this issue.

    For now, reducing the persecution of individuals’ lifestyles, including Muslim homosexuals, is a major change that benefits these persons. It will also open the discussion and amplify the voice of Muslim homosexuals, and thus help develop an ‘archeology’ of human homosexuality and, arguably, reform fiqh towards a positive ethics of homosexuality.

  11. Very nice article. I always wonder how Muslims want the west to percieve them as normal and accept them as different when we Muslims and Arabs do not do the same. I think everyone is entitled to their sexuality and to his/her relationship with God, this is a private matter.
    http://alidahmash.blogspot.com

  12. The claim that all religions condemn homosexuality is inaccurate: in Canada, neither of the major protestant denominations (United Church, Anglicans) condemns homosexuality (though they have a few differences regarding same-sex weddings in churches), nor do a number of smaller denominations (Quakers, Unitarians, etc.).

    Importantly, this acceptance has come about in recent decades, just as the acceptance of women clergy only began in the middle of the last century. So the idea that religious doctrines “never waver” on such issues seems highly implausible: the R. Catholics have only forced their priests to be celibate (at least, publicly celibate) for less than half of that church’s history (and birth control only became a “sin” for Catholics relatively recently). The evidence would seem clear: most religions change over time & space. Buddhism in China and Japan is not the same as in India or Tibet!

    I quite agree that children are the hope for our collective future: just as children will naturally learn tolerance of their religious differences, children of different faith backgrounds (and none at all) naturally learn to accept that their homosexual class-mates, friends, co-workers and family members are not “deviants” to be condemned. And eventually religious leaders have to catch up with the new consensus which is part of their flocks’ social reality, or risk losing touch with new generations of the faithful.

    Peace to all.

  13. I once had a conversation with an ex-colleague, a young homosexual man. We were talking about being homosexual and the islamic way of looking at it. He said: actually homosexuality is an impediment, in the sense that something in a person is out of balance. What’s important, he said, is that muslims don’t treat homosexuals with disregard or violently. Sounds familliar?

  14. this is as ridiculous as it is offensive. Homophobia is, and will always be obscene. It may be that the catholic church condemns homeosexuality, but – not surprisingly – Mr. Ramadan makes things just a tiny and convenient bit more simple than they actually are. The Protestant church who represents about half of the christian population of Europe, does NOT condemn homosexuality – a fact that Mr. Ramadan simply ignores because it does not fit his purpose. And he forgets the most important thing – one crucial element of European culture and identity is the successful emancipation from religious doctrine. It’s ironic because this emancipation is the very prerequisite for muslim life in christian Europe. If European mentality would be identical to Mr. Ramadan’s, there would be no room for Islam in Europe. That’s ironic, isn’t it?
    In short – homophobia is a pathetic, neurotic and fundamentally brainless idiocy. It’s the homophobe who’s the pervert, not the homosexual. And please, Mr. Ramadan – you need to reread your Freud before you qote him!

    1. I must say from a non-muslim point of view I can understand this reaction. And I also understand why homosexuals would find this ‘offensive’. But still, from an islamic viewpoint practicing homosexuality just is not allowed. So maybe we should agree to diagree here. As for individual muslims with homosexual tendencies: it’s up to them to make their own choices, just like it’s up to muslims to choose weither they stick to the prohobition of alcohol or smoking. And we all know how many muslims do drink and smoke, just like they commit other prohibited acts. But it still is prohobited.

    2. Unfortunately a lot of people on this forum are struck with the outdated view that homosexuality, in any shape of form, is a choice. We can always choose whether or not to pick up a glass of vodka, or to swallow a morsel of pork, but the idea that we have any control over the direction of our sexual attraction is downright offensive, as if a 13 year-old boy wakes up one morning and says “Wow, I’d love to be attracted to guys.” Moreover, a quick glance of what we’ve learned about psychology and evolutionary biology proves that homosexuality is NOT a disease or “condition” like alcohol addiction, and that homosexual practice is evident among animals, refuting the idea that it’s “unnatural”.

      If we accept the fact that homosexuality is not a choice, than we’re left with two options. We can continue to rip the Qu’ran out of it’s cultural and historical context, declare that being gay is a sin, and then have the mess of explaining to those with only homosexual desires that thanks to their random genetics they should be denied any access to sexual or romantic love (and thus a form of divine injustice, easily an argument against the existence of God). Or instead, we could understand that God is greater than his Qu’ran, his Bible, his Bhagavad Gita, and does not demand unreason to follow him.

    3. On the subject of the Pope not being representative of a great numnber of Christians, the Dalai Lama is only the leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The history of homosexuality in Tibet has shaped prevalent negative views on LGBT activity, but in Theravada countries (Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos) attitudes to homosexuality are largely neutral, while Japanese Buddhism has at times actually encouraged homosexuality.

  15. The key words are Law and Culture and Actions.

    Culture: That muslims may culturally be non-appreciative of homosexuals is fine by me. People may like or dislike anyone they like for whatever reason they may have. I see no reason to force anyone to condemn verses of the Quran if all those verses do is form people’s likes and dislikes, and not their actions or laws.

    Actions: Muslims and others who privately undertake “actions” against homosexuals on grounds of sexuality are not acceptable. It’s not a religion thing, but simply what we have hopefully become about: acceptance of difference even though we may not exactly celebrate it. Which brings us to the most important point …

    Law: If muslims want to be part of a movement turning back the clock to before 1970 in outlawing homosexuality and homosexual acts, then they are working for a different society than the one they have moved into, a society of non-acceptance and intolerance. As far as I’m concerned, people may be as intolerant as they will inside heir own heads, but once it comes to action or law, intolerance is just not acceptable.

    Is the fear of some justified, when they wonder which laws an imagined (?) muslim majority in a European country may pass as far as homosexuality is concerned?

  16. While this article is a good start for Reformist Muslims,and even Conservative Muslims,to start viewing Homosexuality as a part and parcel of humanity,and that even if we believe it to be a perversion or if a natural process,we have to tolerate it for a simple fact that there are more important issues needed to be addressed than what and with whom one does in his or her own bed.There are a plethora of issues to be discussed and eradicated or atleast minimized in our society instead of homosexuality:rape,torture,poverty,female mutilation,indoctrination of children,and the list goes on.
    This article has little to console the hearts of bereft Muslim homosexuals torn between homosexuality and religion and yes,little for conservatives to be provoked and little for them to ponder over.But still atleast some Muslim has the guts to be open about his reservations about homosexuality while focusing on individual life’s worth.
    Congragulations Mr.Ramadan

    1. Not provoking enough? Not enough to ponder about? What about the idea that although homosexuality may be inate for some people, they can choose what to do with it? What about people being responsible for their behaviour, regardless of their nature? A radical thought the world has yet to understand. Tariq Ramadan didn’t choose for the provocation you talk about because it’s not his belief, he believes in personal responsibility and self-control.

  17. On Ramadan’s Critique by Adam Dexter

    Tariq Ramadan’s critique of homosexuality in Islam illuminates Christianity’s glowing hypocrisy: that Christianity mandates that Islam accept homosexuality when Christianity condemns it as well. Ramadan says that homosexuals and “their spokesmen” have been pressuring Islam to recognize their homophobia and reject it at all costs. Ramadan contends that this is hypocritical. Here is the difference: When Muslims murder gays, their religion and their government rewards them for they are “honor killings of sexual deviants.” They are heros, in countries where being gay, or just being rumored to be gay, is punishable by death.
    I once wrote a paper on anti-gay sentiment in the Middle East: they often reserve the cruelest punishments for gay men, like sealing their rectums shut with glue and force-feeding them laxatives, literally causing their insides to implode. A spokesman from the UAE (United Arab Emirates) will blatantly say to the media that there is no room for any gay people or gay lifestyles in their countries. In Iraq recently a seventeen year old was murdered just for being gay, there has been an increase in assassinations of gays, a few years back a Turkish man was assassinated just because he was seen leaving a well-known gay establishment.
    So then the two are not the same, and Ramadan cannot hide behind his argument of excusing Islam because Christianity might harbor the same sentiments, and the same “homosexual spokesmen” will even denounce Christianity for its same homophobia. . Ramadan calls the idea of denouncing Islam duplicitous, writing:

    “We must reiterate, as does Isabelle Levy in “Soins et croyances” that all the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions—from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam—condemn and forbid homosexuality. The great majority of rabbis hold the same position, as do the Pope and the Dalaï Lama, who condemns homosexuality. For these traditions, as for Freud (who speaks of ‘perversion’), homosexuality is considered to be “against nature,” an “expression of disequilibrium” in the growth of a person. The moral condemnation of homosexuality remains the majority opinion of all religions, and Islam is no exception. It would be senseless to wish to deny the facts, to contradict the textual sources and to force believers to perform intellectual contortions so that they can prove they are in tune with the times.”

    And this is absolutely true. Modern Christians do indeed view homosexuality as a sin; they believe their God forbids it in Romans, and Leviticus, saying that “any man who lies with a man as he would a woman commits an abomination.” Yet the true abomination here is religion and their complete misunderstanding of the Bible’s translation, and the fact that they choose to use their misinterpretation as more defining of their religion as that little verse that commands us to love others.
    The fact remains, we do not definitely know what was meant by these words, for the laws in Leviticus continue later saying that men and women who have sex outside of marriage commit the same abomination. It is true that murder of people who violate these laws is advocated in the Bible, and one could therefore that the murder of gays is advocated, yet so is the murder of a woman who committed adultery or a woman who has sex while menstruating. Which should we take and which should we leave behind? We must recognize that these laws in the Bible were written to an ancient people, and their meaning of homosexuality (actually, such a word didn’t even exist) was drastically different than ours. Should we stand behind the verse that is used to advocate hate against gays, yet leave behind the verse that forbids the consumption of lobsters? And do we not even realize how conflicting the two stories are: that God would inform us to hate gay people and then tell us to love them. No, of course not. How foolish would this be?
    God, if you believe he exists, never hated anyone, and never in his Bible did he ever advocate hatred against anyone. Man is the one with the hatred. No Christian today (save for the complete extreme) would ever advocate taking those laws as serious rule. Muslims, however, do. Their Quran is violent and full of apologetics regarding the murder, rape and beating of women. Worse, these Muslims take seriously everything Muhammad, who lived and died like any normal human, wrote. Instead of America, where laws are supposedly free from religion, their Quran is their law.
    Ramadan does, thankfully, note that much of Islam is being driven by unhealthy, ideology-driven movement, yet he says that Muslims should not be required to reject their Quran because of its inherent violence. Such, he writes, only perpetuates xenophobia and colonialism. In Ramadan’s thinking, and I understand this completely, being prejudiced to prevent prejudice does not make much sense at all. Yet I also disagree with him on this.
    So does Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali, my personal hero and one of Ramadan’s fiercest critics, as well as one of Islam’s most outspoken foes, insists that tolerance is not always good; in fact, she says, it is quite dangerous. She writes that when Islam advocates the abuse and murder of women and gays, condoning it because one is afraid of being called an Islamophobe is not only ridiculous, it is dangerous. Too much behavior is condoned under the threat of being called prejudiced or racist. We must condone their behavior, is the general attitude, no matter how dangerous, threatening, or anti-democratic it be. Look, for instance, at Israel: look at how much behavior has been condoned by the US under the threat of being called anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist, when one needs to realize that the Jewish people and the state of Israel (as a law- and policy-making state) are too completely different entites. Ramadan continues, arguing that condemning Islam for condemning homosexuality is hypocritical and dangerous to freedom of thought. But should one have such a freedom? Yes, there is freedom, but there is also responsibility and tolerance. For instance, when one drives a car, they have complete freedom with the vehicle, but they respect other drivers, stop at stoplights and stop signs. Thinking, as a driver, that because you have such freedom gives you permission to endanger others should strip you of the right.
    I am not deluding myself: I know that there are people who would identify as Christians who would not particularly disagree with the murder of gay people simply for being gay, yet they are not awarded by their god or by their government. Let me be clear, if you choose to not read the article, that Ramadan is not supporting the homophobia inherent in Islam, he is merely stating that trying to fix other people’s problems without realizing our own is incredibly colonialistic, a tad imperial, and completely ridiculous. He does state that he believes that there can be a welcome environment for Muslims who believe that homosexuality is a sin, believing that people can disagree with each other yet still respect one another. Ramadan rejects the idea that “there is only way to be free and modern.” Yet the subject of Ramadan’s article does not attempt to correct Islam’s homophobia or even denounce it; in fact, it only passingly recognizes it. He is almost too defensive of Islam to consider its infallibility and violence.
    As for me, and the purpose I decided to write this response, I refuse to condone a religion that does advocate the murder of gays, as Islam does, and the same goes for Christianity: I am not expressing any anti-Islam sentiment by speaking out. I am speaking out against intolerance and hatred and hiding behind a God who does not feel the same as you. Tolerance of intolerance will not be tolerated.

  18. Of course the dogmatic vision of all world religions’position on homosexuality is that ‘goes against nature’since those religions were born in times of either war or clans in which cases it was necessary to procreate in order to defend your clan or your grounds. Later on it was necessary to create heirs to grounds and possessions so of course óne would condemn homosexuality in such a context, cause it wouldn’s serve the purposes mentioned above.
    But that is what I believe and there are many different beliefs. What I never get is that most religions apparently can reconcile ‘god almighty’ with a need to condemn and exclude certain groups of people. I should think that people can leave eachother be and interact with eachother without exclusion, as they can leave the matter of homosexuality up to god (or Allah, or Atman etc)
    Still…I should think that if two people love eachother (and it isn’t hard to tell when two people love eachother!!) god won’t have any problem with that, if they lead pure lives and fulfill the same duties as are also part of any religion. If good people lead good lives and happen to be gay, I don’t think there is anyone upon this earth who has the right to interfere.

  19. There are indeed many religions which condemn homosexuality, although very few are clear on exactly why. At the time of the covenant made by The God with Moses and the twelve tribes of Jacob, homosexuality was an integral part of the rites of the pagan nations surrounding them, not merely worshippers of idols, but abominations beyond what most of us today can imagine, represented fairly well by the practice of casting their first born sons into the fire as a sacrifice to Moloch.

    On a more fundamental spiritual level, if humanity as the image of the Creator is divided into both male and female, then the union of both is necessary to fully reunite that image. Homosexuality doesn’t fulfil that purpose. On the other hand, it doesn’t really harm my salvation if my neighbor is engaging in a form of love that doesn’t reunite the image of the Creator. As it becomes increasingly clear that some people are by nature inclined toward their own sex, not merely seeking it as a past-time, compassion calls for some consideration of how such people can find their place in a community.

    In America, many things are legal that one faith or another teaches are sinful. Some Protestant denominations, and all Muslims, teach that consuming alcohol is forbidden. Roman Catholics, Jews, many other Protestants, think it is fine. Jews and Muslims forbid eating pork or shellfish. Both Roman Catholics and almost all Protestants accept both — although I think Seventh Day Adventists follow the Jewish dietary laws. As legal penalties for homosexuality have been rescinded, homosexual practices are not a crime, but any faith remains free to forbid or condemn them. We have a constitution well tuned to allow and respect religious laws, by all who freely submit to any faith, without making those laws the law of the land.

    There is some fear that Muslims will try to legislate sharia as the law of the state. After all, in many Muslim majority nations, Muslim law, if not sharia in full, IS the law of the state. The open question is, do Muslims harbor desires to do that in nations where they settle? Actually, Americans once had the same fear about Roman Catholics, who turn out to be good citizens for the most part. Of course there are some Muslims who do envision sharia ruling the whole world, as there are some Roman Catholics who envision the Pope once again rulling a large part of the world, if not all of it, and Protestant sects who believe their particular code will someday be legislated over everyone. It is individuals of these visions who must always be kept from seizing the levers of earthly power.

    1. Dr. Ramadan:

      I always thought that you are man of great vision but after reading this article, I am absolutely ashamed of it. How in the world can you justify being homosexual in Islamic context. You simply mentioned your own view without bringing examples and references from the Quran. Tell me the reason why Allah subhanhuwatallah destroyed Qaum -e-Lut (People of Prophet Lut. JUST BECAUSE THEY USED TO PRACTICE HOMOSEXUALITY !!!. Tell me what our beloved prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) said regarding one of the biggest sign of QAYAMAH. You cannot acclaim yourself more knowledge than Allah rabulalamin and our beloved prophet.

      Don`t justify your thoughts merely on the basis of your own interpretation of Islam. Islam is clear and simple. Quran is the word of Allah and it is mentioned in Quran it the book that separates right from wrong. So by justifying this shameful act and not saying what is wrong-wrong, you are not doing right brother. May be tomorrow some one will come up to with their own interpretation and say that having sex with animals is also legigble….. nauzubillah !

      May Allah guide us all to straight path and save from evil whispers of shaitan and hellfire Ameen.

  20. Assalaamu Aleikum,

    The way homosexuality and Islam are being positioned against each other creates a false dichotomy and does no favors for GLBT folks or for Muslims. One of the more interesting facets of this issue is how many people who have been outspoken anti-gay “defenders of tradition” have suddenly decided to include gays in their defense of Western Culture. “Friends” like this nobody needs.

    Brother Tariq here takes on quite a few issues, rather confusing the point. But one of the beautiful things about Islam is that it recognizes that we all bring our own backgrounds, biases, and information gaps to any argument and should listen to diverse opinions with respect.

    The word “homosexuality” and the understandings of that word have a peculiar history. The term was itself coined in 1868 for political purpose and quickly found a medical niche. We know that there has been same-sex love through history, that it exists in all human cultures and that there is same-sex activity in hundreds of animal species. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that same-sex attraction is innate, that it has a largely genetic component. Like left- or righthandedness, one’s eye color or height, it is part of a range of normal variations. However the way sexuality is understood varies greatly from one culture to another.

    Brother Tariq makes a very firm declaration about the universality of religious rejection of homosexuality, but there are in fact a growing number of religions that accept same-sex love. Unitarians, Quakers, and an ever-expanding range of protestant denominations accept GLBT members and offer same-sex marriage to loving couples. In the largest denominations – the Lutherans, Anglicans, and Presbyterians – the issue has been controversial exactly because same-sex love has been gaining so much acceptance. What “a majority of rabbis” accept I can’t say, but the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism are accepting of homosexuality. Gay and lesbian rabbis are common and serve on rabbinical boards. A small, but growing number of Muslim groups are even becoming more accepting.

    In Islam condemnations of homosexuality rest on the story of Lot (Sodom and Gomorrah) which is about men raping men. This is common in prisons, and we see it mostly in situations where men who identify as heterosexual attack men they perceive as gay. I’ve personally known men who were savagely attacked and gangraped by groups of men this way. There are also stories of such abuse by Egyptian and Iranian police. This has nothing at all to do with men loving men or women loving women.

    Brother Tariq’s assertion that “Muslims are now being called upon to condemn the Qur’an, and to accept and promote homosexuality to gain entry into the modern world,” is quite an overstatement. There are people like Geert Wilders who urge us to reject or revise the Qur’an, and that of course is impossible. Some people do make impossible demands only to create trouble. That is quite separate from the issue of homosexuality, even if they do exploit that issue. Homosexuality is not something that can be promoted any more than blue eyes or being six feet tall can be promoted. People can experiment and “fool around” just as they might wear contact lenses or high heels, but in the end you are who you are. Heterosexuality is promoted, and in many places even mandated, but our God-given human nature will out, and homosexuals forced into heterosexual marriages by cultural and familial pressures live unhappily in loveless marriages, often leading double lives, cheating on their mates. Not only are gays and lesbians being deprived of fulfilling, loving partnerships but so are their heterosexual husbands and wives. Gay people, constantly urged to heterosexuality, know that a sexual orientation cannot be effectively promoted. It can only be accepted – or rejected – that there are people of different sexual orientations, and that everyone, regardless of orientation is entitled to equal rights.

    Brother Tariq is addressing the situation of Muslims living in western nations. Muslims who live in pluralistic societies, or as minorities, are obliged to respect the laws and customs of the lands we live in. In democratic nations where we are part of a dialogue where attitudes towards homosexuality are changing, we can take a voice in that conversation. Politically it is in our interest to promote acceptance for diversity. Our religion tells us to “live and let live.” Brother Tariq is quite correct when he says:

    “There is no ambiguity, and ample clarity: European Muslims have the right to express their convictions while at the same time respecting the humanity and rights of individuals. If we are to be consistent, we must respect this attitude of faith and openness”

    This is exactly what GLBT activists are working for – no more; no less.

    1. I need something ceearld up France is still a democracy is it not with freedom of choice and what not? How can you ban someone from expressing religious views through clothing? Doesn’t that take away from the whole point of being free?

  21. I, for one, find this article’s comments on homosexuality amazingly one dimensional and poorly informed and thought out. It (knowingly?) ignores vast swaths of historical evidence and religious scholarship from pretty much every religious tradition. The current beliefs about homosexuality held in all religious traditions are extraordinarily varied and nuanced and range from widespread condemnation to complete and total acceptance. And this holds for Islam as well as other traditions! Anyone actually interested in the topic can find a plethora of resources on every side of the debate. (I would simply advise one to read with an open mind and heart.)

    Additionally, the homophobia that is prevalent in some strands of Islam and Christianity is, all told, primarily a product of the last few hundred years. There is ample evidence that views toward homosexuality were very different in earlier eras and in other cultures. And, I strongly believe, there is every probability that the views about homosexuality that your great-grandchildren will hold will be virtually unrecognizable to many today.

    All in all I’m quite disappointed in this poorly researched article. But, I suspect this is not a topic that is particularly dear to Mr. Ramadan’s heart and so he is not likely to delve into an exhaustive and open-minded study of it; he is simply willing to regurgitate platitudes. I’m not trying to be overly critical in this, after all, each of us have our our personal priorities and agendas and this is clearly not Mr. Ramadan’s. However, a willingness to acknowledge his own limited understanding or that the reality is more nuanced and fluid than he states, would go a long way.

  22. Salaam,
    I’m very confused, where in the Quran shareef is mentioned about lesbianism and punishment? I acknowledge that it’s very clear for male homosexuality but not for female homosexuality. Please help me about this. Is there anything about it in the most authentic hadiths? If i’m not wrong, even the four schools of thought differ in the way a lesbian should be punished as it has not been clearly mentioned In the Quran. Please help me to have some light over this issue. Thank you

    1. Don’t you study the clear instructions regarding those who commit adultery ut of wedlock?
      I suppose it covers both men & women.

  23. A complex issue, I don’t agree with all Mr Ramadan said but I applaud him for having a go at a somewhat objective look at it. I find too many other Islamic commentators either avoid answering questions or just say ‘it is the will of Allah, I need to follow that, end of story”. Let’s create a dialogue not an obfuscation or a lecture!

  24. Assalamu alaikum

    Firstly i apologise,i havent read the article or the responses,it all sounds very academic and i have not the intelectual capacity or qualifications to join in your debate..i logged onto this websitebecause im desperately seeking help..first let me apologise if anything i say disgusts or appals anyone who reads it,i dont intend to,but my problem is strange,and it sickens me..

    I am a 38 yo male living in south east asia,and have struggled with homosexual desires all my life.in 1997,for some strange reason only Allah knows about,i was invited to perform umrah.i didnt want to go as i was afraid that i would be struck by lightning or spontaneously combust upon setting foot on the holy land,but resist as i did it was like i was in a trance and ended up going anyway..

    While there i managed to perform every single thing that a muslim yearns for,totouch the Holy K’abah,to kiss the Hajar Aswad stone,things that i truly never hopedfor or expected to do.while infront of the Ka’bah on the last day,i closed my eyes,and begged Allah “please allmighty God,take from me these homosexual desires,i detest them,and am ashamed of feeling this way”

    I do not claim that God spoke to me with words,for that would be a blasphemy,but an inspiration came into my mind that said “you will have to suffer yet,there is a purpose for you,in war time,you shall flourish,do not worry,you shall pay for all that you are meant to do with your flesh and your blood,and when you have suffered justly enough as a cleansing,then you shall be “ijab qabuul” in safety”

    If all of that wasnt bewildering enough,the phrase BEAST OF THE EARTH!BEAST OF THE EARTH kept on repeating itself over and over again in my head as i was leaving the grand mosque for the last time..on one of the nights i was there,while sleeping in the hotel room,i had a dream i was walking with my head down,feeling a weight of shame and suffering crushing my whole being,and suddenly i looked up and was infront of the Ka’aba and we were both bathed ina blinding light from above,at which point i was jolted awake from sleep..

    I am afraid to say things have gone completely to pot for meever since returning from that visit..i have been diagnosed with HIV,almost died of AIDS,and while recuperating in the hospital a nurse brought me into a private room and said “we do not know how you are still alive..your CD4 count is at 1..the only way i can describe your situation is akin to your body being invaded by millions of communist soldiers in the form of viruses and pathogens,while you have only one soldier with a handgun fighting them all off”..that was a year ago.my latest bloodtest shows that my CD4 count is nearly 500,which is far higher than a healthy persons count which averages at 300++…

    I have been told by the doctors treating me that my situation is miraculous,but to be honest i dont think about such things.personally i hate myself for the desires ive felt and the things ive done,and im quite willing to die and be punished by ALLAH for being a recalcitrant sinner..im not showing boldness for the fire of hell,iam terrified of going there,but i just dont feel like i can do anything to redeem myself,be accepted by God and the Prophet Muhammad PBUH,be one amongst those promised the meeting by the pool,or enter paradise,and so i despair,and just hope for death.

    But death will not come!ive been kidnapped by thugs,incarcerated and tortured by them,extorted by them and threatened with death by shooting,yet still,here i am!ive been in severe car accidents,yet am still alive!ive been bitten by snakes,yet still im here!ive had hemmoragic dengue fever,yet still im here!i am not particularly strong or brave,yet my life force is tougher to chew up than a leathery old boot!

    Can someone please help me figure out what all those strange cryptic words i heard in Holy Mecca are please?especially,what is “THE BEAST OF THE EARTH”?..I have no idea what that is..and toany salafistsreading this posts,who think i should be killed for indulging in homosexuality,you can try,if you want,but you will have no better luck at doing so than i myself,vehicular accidents,dangerous wild animals,deadly viruses,or criminal thugs have had.save your lectures,i realise that indulging in gay relationships or sex is wrong,i have stopped,i dont touch other people anymore..

    And to any gay muslim liberals reading this who think that i should just embrace the lifestyle,you are free to do what you wish,i offer neither condemnation nor encouragement,all i can say is “ive lived that lifestyle,i made all the excuses and justifications to myself regarding it,and ive paid a humiliating and painful price for indulging”..ijust cant bring myself to argue against ALLAH anymore,HE has made certain things haram for a reason and he knows best..

    Please help me with answers,anyone who knows,thank you..

    Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

    1. Salam,

      Brother I have no answers for you, I am not a scholar. I am a baby new to Islam also and trying to find my way as well as trying to eliminate my homosexual feelings but have been unsuccessful as I have lived it proud all my life. Your story is a miraculous one, you are a strong human being Mashallah. Unfortunately the psychological damage we face is intense, heterosexuals forever argue just fight your desire while forgetting they have marriage sanctioned for them. So what is the outlet and solution for us? It’s a question that has already caused me to question whether I was destined or cut out to be a Muslim. You’re a brave person and have suffered greatly and I am so happy to hear you’re still with us and fought through your illness. I much like you now do not condemn nor do I encourage the lifestyle because I am torn between my love for Allah and what I feel is my instinct. Inshallah we both come out with light at the other end, Inshallah Allah guides us and gives us a remedy because I can say with certainty I am in pain that indescribable, a Muslim shouldn’t want to die or hasten it, or take their own life like I have been feeling. More to the point, I can’t offer suggestions in regards to your experience, is it a sign or a warning, guidance or reminder who knows but one thing I do believe I might be right about is this…..Why are you still here? So many near death experiences and you survived one of the most aggressive diseases… why? Did it occur to you that Allah has been keeping you alive so that you come back to him and repent?????

      Allah is giving you a chance my brother, repent to him. We are sinners but the best of us I have been told are the ones who feel remorse and repent. It’s never too late brother, no matter how many times you commit a sin if you turn to him and repent he won’t let you down. He is just waiting to hear your voice.

      Brother I wish you all the best on your journeys and may Allah continue to protect you as he has and Inshallah one day you will come out on the other end full of light.

      Sarah

    2. This was an amazing story. God bless you. Please check out the yahoo group, “The Straight Struggle”, where you will find others who put their Faith in Allah before their sexual desires, just as all Muslims should do.

  25. Murdering gay people is immoral. It is an attack against human dignitiy. Do not hide behind your religion. Any religion that commands the murdering of gay people is making you a vile murderer.

    Religion derpives your more the correct sense of morlaity, it takes away remorse from you and make you a vile machine deprived of moral dignity.

    Break free from the traps of religion and learn the value of human life.

  26. A-0-A…
    Brother…as many commented on this post…that homosexuality is not created by God but it’s a path that people chose….but the example I’m giving…I don’t know I should or not…but we all need guidance and light….As A MUSLIM…I wanna know what is right and wrong for me….being homosexual is not something I chose….at a very young age I figured about my self that I’m homo….and the pain and fear….I’ve suffered is what only I know and still living that….when think about future…it’s hard…and suicide is Haram….as I fear ALLAH….and If I could chose that….I would have chosen a much peaceful life…where I had no fear….and I could stand in my society….which is like impossible while living in PAKISTAN….as the example is in homosexuality men/women r attracted to same gender….but its Haram in Islam….and I accept that…I had no prob with that….but what is for me….what is the guidance for me…what should I do as this society do not accepts me….and even If I do a heterosexual marriage as in Islam….I fear that I would be cheating my mate spending my whole life as a lie and in fear…..please guide me…tell me what can I do…..now the example for those who says that its chosen by us…or is in our heads..I would like to tell u…that children born like this…as a girl normally dont has any man like parts…but when a lesbian girl takes birth….she born with a body part that a man has….and when gay boy born…he born with a body part missing that explains manhood…..now my question is….again….what is for us….should we commit marriage against each other…as if a lesbian marries a man….when that man should come to her in bed…..they both will have the part…or a gay man doesn’t has his manhood….do guide me…

  27. Plz….only a person with complete ISLAMIC knowledge guide me…..A Muslim brother only….who holds the knowledge of QUR’AN….plz reply me…

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