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Why Homophobia is so Deeply Institutionalized in the Muslim Religion

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written an article explaining why homophobia is institutionalized in the Muslim religion. Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub prayed to Allah and proclaimed his support of ISIS. When you examine the thought process of a genocidal killer you must only look at their actions from their own viewpoint.

In this case Mateen was a devout Muslim who prayed several times a day and whose parents came from Afghanistan. Afghanistan is one of nearly twelve countries where homosexual activates can be sentenced to death. Under Sharia Law death is the sentence, but the method varies by sect. For example:

“The Malikites, the Shiites and some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites are of the opinion that the penalty is death, either by stoning (Malikites), the sword (some Shafi’ites and Hanbalites) or, at the discretion of the court, by killing the culprit in the usual manner with a sword, stoning him, throwing him from a (high) wall or burning him (Shiites).” Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law, Rudolph Peters (2016).

In addition to the illegality of homosexuality, the moral values of 36 Muslim countries where the majority of the population is Muslim, were surveyed in 2013 by the Pew Research Center. More than 75% of those survey in 33 countries said that homosexuality was “morally wrong” and in just three countries more than 10% of those surveyed said that it was “morally acceptable”.

Religious Islamic leaders also regularly state that homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.

  • In 2009 Anjem Choudary, an infamous London imam and self-proclaimed “judge of the Shariah Court of the U.K.,” stated in a press conference that all homosexuals should be stoned to death”.

  • Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a Shiite cleric educated in London, declared of homosexuality in 2013: “Death is the sentence. We know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence.”

  • Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s leading Sunni clerics and chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, was asked how gay people should be punished, he replied: “Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement. . . . The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.”

Therefore in a large part of the Muslim world the government, family upbringing and religious leaders all preach that homosexual behavior should be punished by death. A Muslim growing up in that world often sees it as an obligation to kill homosexuals. They see their action as justified and morally correct. Beliefs do not easily go away, especially when the belief is constantly being reinforced by so many elements of society.

In mainstream Islam, otherwise known as Sharia Law, killing one who sodomizes is prescribed by Muhammad. Hundreds of millions of worshipers follow Sharia Law, therefor they cannot be considered extremists. In the Muslim religion those that are tolerant to homosexuals are actually the extremists. This is the clash of Western and Muslim beliefs. Beliefs can easily blind each side to the views of the other and cause people to underestimate the danger presented by different beliefs.


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