Remember the Muslims who aren’t anti-LGBTQ

Gay muslims
Gay Muslims seek respect as part of Oslo Pride Parade in 2008  Middle sign says, “I am Muslim + Lesbian.”  Sign at right says “We demand RESPECT.” (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Cairo-based ophthalmologist and blogger Eman Hashim says that Muslims are more accepting of gays and lesbians than most media portrayals indicate.

Muslim scholars are speaking out against homophobia, she says.

In the article “Not There Yet: Inclusion, Acceptance and Support for LGBTQ Muslims,” she writes:

As we can see in media stories of Muslim scholars condemning homosexuality in Nigeria, Australia, and Ghana, among others, dominant narratives both inside and outside of Muslim communities portray Muslims as unified in their opposition to LGBTQ communities.  Such stories ignore the increasing number of Muslim scholars … who have at least come to take a strong stand against homophobia.

Her article appears in Muslimah Media Watch, a blog where Muslim women critique how they are portrayed in the media and popular culture. There she states:

Without getting into a never-ending theological debate on LGBTQ rights, it somehow seems that the discussion is finally getting Muslims from different perspectives together to condemn homophobia. …

[S]haping the values and beliefs of our communities takes more than few scholars and politicians supporting the cause. Talking about homophobia and violence in our communities, promoting understanding and, above all, fighting homophobia through education are some of the most powerful ways in which we can start reshaping opinions and values while rejecting violence. …

Within a Muslim context, questions of definition in Islamic sources have also presented a challenge in identifying and addressing issues related to queer women specifically, which may contribute to the lack of discussion surrounding the topic.

Much is at stake.  The death penalty is accepted as a potential punishment for homosexual activity in seven countries with large or predominant Muslim populations (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Sudan, the northern section of Nigeria and the southern parts of Somalia).

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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