Fifty people were gunned down in a mass terrorist shooting in Orlando; USA. They were deliberately targeted by Muslim man, Omar Mateen, 29, because they were gay. Outrage and shock followed the shooting which has been described as one of the worst mass shootings in US history. I will leave the issue of the gun ownership laws in the USA to one side, which are definitely a big part of the problem.
However, since the news broke I have noticed yet again those on the Regressive Left, Muslims and Religious Right, stating that ‘we should not ‘exploit’ the crime and talk about Islamic homophobia. As Hassan Raza put it:
If one thing that stays consistent every time there is a terrorist attack somewhere in the Western world where Muslims turn out to be the perpetrators is the response of majority of Muslims around the globe. Be it Paris, Brussels or the recent tragedy that hit Florida today, one of the responses that we often get to see is “Terrorism has no religion.” I personally believe nothing could be farther from truth. In my opinion, Terrorism definitely has a religion, whether it is the religion of Babbar Khalsa, Bajrang Dal, the Lord’s Resistance Army or the ISIS. As long as you’re carrying out attacks on innocent civilians in the name of your religion or after getting motivated by your religious sacred text, your terrorism, and extremism has a religion.
And yet homophobia and hatred is still being openly preached in US mosques. The Husseini Islamic Center in Florida, USA, invited Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar to speak at their Mosque. Dr. Sekaleshfar says the killing of homosexuals is the compassionate thing to do. In a 2013 speech Sheikh Sekaleshfar said this regarding gays:
Death is the sentence. We know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this, death is the sentence…We have to have that compassion for people, with homosexuals, it’s the same, out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.”
When Sheikh Sekaleshfar calls for the death of all homosexuals based on the tenets of Islam it cannot be ignored, he is an expert on Shariah Islamiyya or Islamic Law.
A recent survey of British (yes British) Muslims found that 50% (way more than the national average) thought that homosexuality should be illegal. Sadly, this does not surprise me at all as that has been my own personal experience when talking to ‘ordinary’ Muslims.
I taught English to a group of Algerian Muslim men a couple of months ago. Without any provocation from my side, they asked me what I thought about gay people. I had been warned by my boss (eager not to lose paying students) not to be pro-gay or say anything that might offend them (what like expressing views of a decent, tolerant human being?). He told me that a male teacher had said something to the class that showed he supported LGBT rights. They were deeply offended and told my boss they didn’t want him to teach them.So I turned the question on the men and asked them what they thought. They all stated without hesitation that it was wrong and forbidden by the Koran. I am sure many Catholics and members of other major religions would say the same thing too.
These were not extremists or radicals, they were educated, middle-class Muslim men. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let´s face it, patriarchal religion was, and is, like a cancer on this planet. It oppresses women, children and men. We cannot let multi-cultural tolerance become tolerance of the totally unacceptable (and yes that includes women wearing hijab).
Can you imagine a white man gunning down fifty plus black people and people saying ‘don’t mention the fact that he’s white because that’s exploitative and we need to let people grieve’? No. In fact, whenever a white guy guns down people in the USA it is immediately made into an issue of race. So why are people saying that when a Muslim man guns down gay people? That is the problem with Regressive Left PC advocates (and I consider myself to be a socialist-anarchist). It’s imbalanced and selective in its outrage. It also gives people the impression (in its misplaced need not to offend Muslims or people of colour) that religious homophobia and intolerance by Muslims should not be openly discussed. As Dave Rubin eloquently put it in Orlando Terror Attack is a Wake Up Call to Gays, Women, and You:
Imagine if there was a political party that believed in forcing women to dress head to toe, endorsed throwing gays off roofs, and killing apostates who left the party. Every sane person, both left and right in America, would be rightfully against this backwards ideology. Yet for some reason, as a religion, this set of ideas gets a pass. And not only does it get a pass, it gets handled with kid gloves, tacitly endorsed or intentionally obfuscated by Western intellectuals. Of course, irony being what it is, Radical Islam will come for these apologists right after they’re done with the gays, the women, and the other assorted infidels.
Some people were also angry at the hypocrisy of the sudden outpouring and grief for the LGBT community while the daily crimes against LGBT people in Muslim-majority countries (sanctioned by the state and police) go ignored and unreported. Habiba Effat had this to say about hypocrisy on this issue from the Egyptian State Department:
Where the fuck are your “heartfelt” fucking “condolences” for the thousands of LGBTQ Egyptians who are arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared and subject to the most inhumane forms of torture and killed in cold blood in your police stations and prisons, whose stories will never be heard and whose causes cannot even be publicly advocated for because both state and society viciously sanction brutality against anything remotely queer in the name of traditions and morality and religion? Do you experience the same kind of “grief” for every gay or trans Egyptian whose life you have ruined and whose family you have torn apart? Are you “united” with the many more who cannot dare express themselves freely in this country for fear of never seeing the light of day again? Fuck you, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you fucking joke of a diplomatic institution, and fuck you especially, Ahmed Abu Zeid, you hypocritical fucking cunt.
So if as many try to claim, those who hate and murder gay people are not real practitioners of Islam, how come the 10 countries that have the death penalty for gay people are ALL Muslim majority countries? Did all those people in those countries get Islam wrong then?
And also what about British, gay Muslim, Sohail Ahmed, who spoke to the BBC about why he considered terrorism as a direct result of his religious upbringing and beliefs who states: “I actually became more radical because I was gay……It`s like you really start believing you`re evil.””
With the EU recently deciding to ban ‘hate speech’ on social media and German comedian, Jan Böhmermann, being prosecuted in a German court for ‘insulting’ the Turkish President, the importance of preserving liberal, secular values on gender equality and LGBT rights together with freedom of expression has never been more acute.
As Aayan Hirsan Ali said on Twitter in response to the cowardly murders:
No doctrine is more violent to the gay community than Islamic doctrine. It is time to take on Muslim homophobia.