Post Orlando, a Muslim’s comment on homophobia within the Muslim community

US Politics
on 111 Comments

As a teenager my impression of religion was that if you had an abortion, were gay, or had sex before marriage, you were going to hell. I was a contemptuous atheist.

(Image: Katie Miranda)

(Image: Katie Miranda)

It wasn’t until living for 3 years in a Muslim society, in Palestine, that I began to see the many benefits of becoming religious. This Muslim majority society had something I utterly lacked in my teenage years; social cohesion, structure and limits. I became more curious about Islam and religion in general. I knew I didn’t believe that a human being, Jesus Christ, was also God. And Judaism’s exclusivity was off putting, especially after living in Hebron where Palestinians couldn’t walk on certain streets, drive cars and were subject to constant detention, harassment and violence simply because they were not Jewish. The violence in Hebron produced a visceral reaction; despite my Jewish heritage I wanted nothing to do with Judaism.

There was one issue that kept me from actually taking the Islamic testament of faith, the shahada, and becoming a Muslim; that was the homophobia I witnessed from the majority of Muslims. As someone who had grown up with queer family members and friends, the question I kept asking Muslims was “if I become Muslim, does that mean I also have to hate gay people”? I could never get a satisfactory answer. I knew I wanted to be a Muslim but I also knew I couldn’t suddenly become homophobic and I was worried that was a requirement based on the reactions I received. In the end I decided that since one of God’s 99 names in Arabic is The Compassionate, there must be more to Islam and homosexuality than I was hearing in casual conversations.

Calligraphy says Al Rahman, The Most Compationate. (Image: Katie Miranda)

Calligraphy says Al Rahman, The Most Compassionate. (Image: Katie Miranda)

Upon returning to the US I began attending Masjid Al Iman in Oakland. Their motto is “everyone is welcome.” I had to assume that also meant LGBT people so I began asking worshippers if that was the case. The answers were astonishing.

“I don’t want them here checking me out.”

“Faggots should stay away.”

“You can’t be a Muslim in you live that lifestyle.”

The imam at Majid Al Iman is Yassir Chadly. He’s a gem and all his khutbahs are very inclusive, uplifting and motivating. I assumed he was the one who wrote the “everyone is welcome” motto and that it extended to LGBT folks too, despite what his congregants said.

I searched for more answers in the book Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims by scholar Scott Siraj al Haqq Kugle. Anyone wanting to have a serious discussion about this issue needs to read this book.

The source of homophobia in all Abrahamic faiths comes from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, specifically a group of men who had non-consentual sex with other men.

The Quran says:

We also sent Lot: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”

— Quran 7:80–81

But the transgression, Kugle argues, is not gay sex, it is instead a group of straight, married men committing the double sins of both adultery and rape.

In 2013 Pamela Geller ran a series of bus ads in San Francisco pitting the LGBT community against the Muslim community.

Everyone was riled, this is not what San Francisco is about. There were articles, Facebook posts, discussions, hang wringing about what we should do in response.

There is so much that Muslim activists and community leaders could learn from the legal and social struggles of the LGBT community and vice versa. I wished there was more communication and cooperation between the two communities.  As an artist I thought the best way to fight back against Pam’s ads would be to organize a joint Muslim and LGBT art show. I was riding high on my own genius for a few days until I started asking people from both communities if they’d like to participate.

(Image: Katie Miranda)

(Image: Katie Miranda)

That idea went over with both communities like a ham sandwich on Passover. The underlying sense I got from everyone I polled was that their responses were based on fear of what other people would think.

I decided to take my brilliant idea to an Islamophobia lecture and discussion at UC Berkeley. At the question and answer session I stood up, shaking, my voice was trembling and made my case; that both Muslims and LGBT communities could learn and benefit from making connections with each other and that we should have a joint art show to fight Islamophobia and homophobia.

I don’t recall the actual words that were said to me by one of the panelists because I was so nervous but the gist of it was that I was forcing my neo-colonialist white liberal beliefs down her throat.

The show never happened, I’m better at creating art than organizing art shows but I wasn’t going to let the issue go. I regularly attended lectures at Ta’leef Collective in Fremont, a community center focused mainly on under 40 Muslims and converts. One of the discussions in 2013 centered around inclusivity. The brother who was giving the guest lecture was adamant that we welcome and accept everyone who came to Ta’leef no matter what their background. I saw it as a good opportunity to see how far he was willing to extend the welcome so I raised my hand and again, heart pounding in my ears asked:

“Are LGBT people welcome here at Ta’leef ?”

The young man paused for what seemed like forever and then answered with a firm and well considered “Yes.”

And people started clapping. One woman hugged me and said “we’re so glad you are here, you are very welcome here.” She was so kind and gracious, her eyes shining, that I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was straight. Then something amazed me. A young man raised his hand and said that he had come out in a youth group meeting at Ta’leef the week prior and that everyone had welcomed him. I almost started crying I was so happy to see a glimpse of a future where someday, inshallah, homophobia will not be the standard in American Muslim communities.

People are free to believe what they want to believe about homosexuality. The problem is the homophobic rhetoric in the Muslim community which is as vile as the Islamophobic rhetoric coming from Pam, Donald and the mainstream media. Let’s not keep our heads in the sand about this anymore.

As we learn more about what may have been Omar Mateen’s latent homosexuality as motive for murdering 49 people in Orlando, the subject of homosexuality in the lives of American Muslims is brought front and center. I hope for the sake of the LGBT community and LGBT Muslims in particular that our community does some serious soul searching and that our leaders (whatever their beliefs about homosexuality may be) make it a priority to tone down the vitriolic homophobia in the mosques and classrooms.

About Katie Miranda

Katie Miranda is an illustrator, jewelry designer, calligrapher, and cartoonist living in Portland, OR. Her Arabic calligraphy jewelry and apparel are favorites of people in the Palestine solidarity community. Katie runs Palbox: a quarterly subscription box containing Palestinian goods benefiting the Northern California branch of the International Solidarity Movement. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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111 Responses

  1. Atlantaiconoclast
    June 21, 2016, 10:53 am

    I am glad that homophobia within the Muslim community is getting attention. But do we have any proof that the Orlando maniac attacked the Gay club simply cause it was a Gay club? Maybe he attacked it cause he had been there before, he knew its layout, and knew it was an easy target. I am Gay, and have NEVER seen anyone carrying a gun in a Gay club. Not once.

    We DO know that he condemned America’s violent foreign policy in his 9/11 calls, yet the media seems obsessed with pushing the angle that he was striking out at Gays rather than just committing terror against a soft target. Even the Left shirks away from discussing the impact of our foreign policy on the radicalization of young Muslim people. People will not tolerate continued waves of Muslim immigration if this violence continues, so I hope those of us who understand the problems with our foreign policy will start to focus on WHY these Muslim terrorists became radicalized and not just on whether they are more homophobic than other groups of people.

    • Laurent Weppe
      June 22, 2016, 4:01 am

      do we have any proof that the Orlando maniac attacked the Gay club simply cause it was a Gay club? Maybe he attacked it cause he had been there before, he knew its layout, and knew it was an easy target.

      I’ll give the same answer than to the question “Was it an ideologically motivated murder OR the act of a lone mentally disturbed man?“:
      Yes

      • Emory Riddle
        June 23, 2016, 10:43 am

        Then there’s this:

        Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons of the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce his participation in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.”

        While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in pushing Mateen towards an act of lethal violence.

        Since 9/11, the FBI has relied heavily on informants to entrap scores of young, often mentally troubled Muslim men and send them to prison for as long as 25 years. As Aviva Stahl reported for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, the FBI recently encouraged an apparently mentally disturbed recent convert to Islam named James Medina to bomb a South Florida synagogue and pledge allegiance to ISIS, a militant group with which he had no prior affiliation. On trial for planning to commit an act of terror with a weapon of mass destruction, Medina has insisted through his lawyer that he is mentally ill.

        Trevor Aaronson, a journalist and author of “Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror,” revealed that nearly half of terror cases between 9/11/01 and 2010 involved informants, including some with criminal backgrounds raking in as much as $100,000 from the FBI. The FBI’s assets have often preyed on mentally ill men with little capacity to resist their provocations. “Is it possible that the FBI is creating the very enemy we fear?” Aaronson wondered.

        The revelations of FBI manipulation have cast Mateen’s case in a troubling light. Though he refused to bite when an FBI asset attempted to push him into a manufactured plot, he wound up carrying out an act of spectacular brutality years later and allegedly swore loyalty to ISIS in the midst of it.

        “It looks like it’s pretty much standard operating procedure for preliminary inquiries to interview the subject or pitch the person to become an informant and/or plant an undercover or informant close by to see if the person bites on the suggestion,” Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, told AlterNet. “In the case of Mateen, since he already worked for a security contractor [G4S], he was either too savvy to bite on the pitch or he may have even become indignant that he was targeted in that fashion. These pitches and use of people can backfire.”

        To highlight the problematic nature of informants, Rowley pointed to the case of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian physician whom the CIA used to gather intelligence on Al Qaeda,. The CIA ignored obvious warning signs like Balawi’s extremist online manifestos and never subjected him to a vetting process. While Balawi claimed to have penetrated Al Qaeda’s inner circle, he was actually exploiting his CIA security clearance to plan a major attack. On December 30, 2009, Balawi strode into Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, and detonated an explosive vest that killed seven CIA agents and wounded six more — the deadliest attack on CIA personnel in 25 years.

        Mateen, for his part, displayed many of the psychological characteristics that typify both FBI informants and the disturbed figures they attempt to ensnare in bogus terror plots. Raised in a troubled home by an abusive mother and an apparently eccentric father, Mateen exhibited signs of erratic, violent behavior throughout his life. His ex-wife told reporters that he physically abused her and was “unstable and mentally ill.” He transformed from a chubby adolescent to a burly young man with the help of steroids, yearning for a career in law enforcement.

        Seven months into a job as a prison guard in 2007, Mateen was fired for threatening to bring a gun to class. He settled on a career as a low level security guard for G4S Security Solutions, a global security firm that employed him for nine years. Though Mateen’s applications to two police departments were rejected, he was able to pass a G4S background check and receive several guard assignments. (The world’s third largest private employer, G4S has accumulated a staggering record of human rights abuses, including accusations of child torture.)

        While the full extent of Mateen’s contact with the FBI is unknown, the fact that an informant encouraged Mateen to agree to carry out a terror attack should provoke serious questions and further investigation. Whether or not manipulation by a FBI informant had any impact on Mateen’s deadly decision, there is no denying that the attempt to entrap him did nothing to protect the public.

        “The FBI should scrutinize the operating procedure where they use undercovers and informants and pitch people to become informants,” said Rowley. “They must recognize that, in this case [with Mateen], it had horrible consequences if it did, in fact, backfire.”

  2. a blah chick
    June 21, 2016, 11:19 am

    I can attest to the fact that there is still homophobia in the African American community. This is a difficult conversation that many people feel uncomfortable with. I can’t imagine trying to be who you are in a community that also confronting racism and other social ills and doesn’t want to deal with you. I don’t know what the solution is except to be confront the prejudices of your own people. That being said homophobia in the Muslim community should not be used to justify a denial of their rights.

    • silamcuz
      June 21, 2016, 11:42 am

      Nah you need to fall back on that self-hatred sis. Sure there are homophobia within blacks, but it is extremely superficial and merely a reflection of the dominant social order that molds the worldview of person living within the hegemony. I have never met a black person who was as virulently hateful of gays and queers as most of the white bigots, who occupy positions of power within religious institutions, schools and worst of all, the government.

      • Mooser
        June 21, 2016, 8:10 pm

        “I have never met a black person who was as virulently hateful of gays and queers as most of the white bigots, who occupy positions of power within religious institutions, schools and worst of all, the government.”“Silamcuz”

        He’s right, you know. You never or hardly ever see stuff like this!

        Yeah “silamcuz” why don’t we do a nice long thread on who is more homophobic, white or blacks?
        Wouldn’t that be diverting?
        I’m starting to think it might be about time for you to go.

      • silamcuz
        June 22, 2016, 4:55 am

        Mooser

        He’s right, you know. You never or hardly ever see stuff like this!

        Yeah “silamcuz” why don’t we do a nice long thread on who is more homophobic, white or blacks?”

        Do you know what homophobia means in the context of civil society? Every race and ethnic group is equally capable of producing idiots that spew vile hatred for attention, this is true.

        But how could you possibly say black and white homophobes are equally threatening to the well-being of LGBTQ folks? Last time I checked, all of the homophobic laws of the country was written and passed for enforcement by overwhelmingly white politicians, representing a overwhelmingly white voters.

        Until there is a equivalent power bloc representing black people that is capable of producing and willing to enforce homophobic laws in the same manner it is being done by the white right-wing figures in power, homophobia will remain a strictly white-specific phenomenon.

      • Citizen
        June 22, 2016, 4:13 pm

        No Holds Barred: The Jewish view of homosexuality (one of them anyway) http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/No-Holds-Barred-The-Jewish-view-of-homosexuality#.V2rxQSEQACs.twitter

      • Citizen
        June 22, 2016, 4:17 pm
      • ohplease
        June 22, 2016, 4:21 pm

        Silamcuz maybe you need to read more Hadith. It’s really part and parcel of Islam, this anti-gay thingy and all.

      • ohplease
        June 22, 2016, 4:23 pm

        I’m happy that Cape Canaveral is home to a space launch center and not a patchwork of Teepees. Does that make we racist?

      • gamal
        June 22, 2016, 7:58 pm

        “you need to read more Hadith”

        gosh yes lets always good to hear from a scholar

        https://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1094745.files/Rowson_The%20Effeminates%20of%20Early%20Medina%20-%201991.pdf

      • ohplease
        June 22, 2016, 9:41 pm

        gamal in every classical religion that frowns upon and condemns homosexuality (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) there are apologists who bend and twist the plain meaning of the holy texts in order to show that the verses mean the exact opposite.

        Forgive me if I golf clap at such disingenuous antics.

      • gamal
        June 23, 2016, 2:55 am

        “the plain meaning of the holy texts”

        oh you are a fundamentalist, the “plain meaning” says who?

        look here is a Muslim scholar explaining, well you’ll know the verses whose explication is this

        It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue

        and get into fights

        The lover is just as bad: He falls in to a hole

        But down in that hole he finds something shining

        Worth more than any amount of money or power

        Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street

        I took it as a sign to start singing,

        falling up into the bowl of sky

        The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere

        Nothing else to do.

        Here’s the new rule: Break the wine glass

        and fall toward the glassblowers breath”

        Now wipe the spittle from your lips and tell me

        That not what you got from it?

      • Mooser
        June 23, 2016, 5:03 pm

        “in every classical religion that frowns upon and condemns homosexuality (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) there are apologists who bend and twist the plain meaning of the holy texts in order to show that the verses mean the exact opposite.”

        “oh please” can you give me one example of a Jewish text which “frowns upon and condemns homosexuality”
        from which which “apologists” “bend and twist the plain meaning of the holy texts in order to show that the verses mean the exact opposite”

        So you say there are Jewish texts (and Christian and Islam, too!) in which the “plain meaning of the holy text”
        is twisted and bent until the text actually appears to praise “homosexuality” and smile on it?

        Gosh, I’d love an example, just one. Just one. A text which plainly condemns “homosexuality”, but has been so twisted by apologists it is cited to praise “homosexuality”. I mean their must be hundreds, right? But one or two would be fine. Got any?

  3. silamcuz
    June 21, 2016, 11:37 am

    We were just having a deep discussion on this issue in our socialist think group recently that included voices of Muslims of various genders and sexuality.

    What we realized from our discussion was how much of the anti-LGBTQ within not only the Muslim community, but pretty much all non-European communities are rooted in the oppressive colonisation and the imposition of European ideals on the common folks that were colonized. It was done in the same manner the Westphalian ideal of nation-states, legal system and governance were put into place onto a set of peoples that had no power to reject them. Homophobia and state persecution and repression of LGBTQ folks were strictly a fruit of Western civilisation.

    In the Quran for example, there is nothing that calls for any form of discrimination towards the LGBTQ folks, nor is homosexuality even mentioned. In addition, Islamic literature during the Golden Age of Islam was full of homosexual references and positive portrayal of same-sex love and physical relations. Pre-colonised Muslim societies recognized the fluidity of gender and the disconnect between physical sexuality and physiological gender of a person at a time when Europeans were still learning about basic hygiene.

    Finally, we learned that Muslim empires never actually had any laws that can be interpreted in modern times as oppressive towards LGBTQ, while at the same time, heavily came down on any form of sexual violence towards members of either sex.

    All of the accusation of homophobia within Islam is actually part of the Islamophobic attempt to discredit Muslims as backwards and hateful savages, when in reality, we all know who the actual hateful savages are, both in history and in the present.

    Source: http://islamicommentary.org/2016/06/the-roots-of-homophobia-and-anti-gay-sentiment-in-the-muslim-world-by-ali-olomi/

    • Mooser
      June 21, 2016, 3:38 pm

      “All of the accusation of homophobia within Islam is actually part of the Islamophobic attempt to discredit Muslims as backwards and hateful savages, when in reality, we all know who the actual hateful savages are, both in history and in the present.”

      Now, there’s a “deep discussion”! So basically ‘it’s all their fault’! And you won’t even say who they are. Real deep, and a real basis for effective organizing.

      O BTW, when you say “we all know who the actual hateful savages are, both in history and in the present. who exactly, are you talking about. Would you mind specifying?

      And you still haven’t told me what the “some” is. You know the tiny percentage of Jews involved in Zionism who ‘forced all the Jews into the box.’ Who is that?

      • silamcuz
        June 22, 2016, 4:44 am

        Mooser

        “Now, there’s a “deep discussion”! So basically ‘it’s all their fault’! And you won’t even say who they are. Real deep, and a real basis for effective organizing.”

        “They” are the Western European colonial governments that imported Western social norms and cultural traits onto Muslim land, through the threat of violence. The bulk of the legal and governance system of Muslim countries at present are a remnants of colonial establishments, particularly the legal persecution of LGBTQ folks. There were no similar cultural or legalistic opposition to LGBTQ lifestyle within these societies prior to Western colonisation and imposition of European values.

        Have a read through these well-written articles on this topic that explains how Africa became homophobic as a result of colonialism :

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/africa-homophobia-legacy-colonialism

        http://www.consented.co.uk/read/western-criticism-of-homophobia-shows-colonialism-has-gone-full-circle/

        I know many Muslim queer folks who are unapologetically gay and fiercely devoted to their Islamic faith. This would never be the case if homophobia was rooted intrinsically within Islamic thoughts and theology. Here are some references for those interested in finding out more on the life of LGBTQ Muslims :

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/20/what-you-should-know-about-being-lgbt-and-muslim-from-a-leading-lgbt-muslim-group/

        http://www.mpvusa.org/lgbtqi-resources/

        http://www.lgbtmuslimretreat.com/

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 3:54 pm

        “They” are the Western European colonial governments that imported Western social norms and cultural traits onto Muslim land, through the threat of violence.” “Simulcast”

        They did all that through “the threat of violence”? Very disappointing to hear.
        Look, “simulcast” this is a very rough world. You’ve got to stand up for yourself. You’ve got to fight for your right to party, if you get my drift. Can’t just let some guy with a “threat of violence” up-end an enlightened and sexually liberated society and try to turn it into a Edith Wharton novel or something.

        Really too bad they gave in that easy.

      • Citizen
        June 22, 2016, 4:24 pm

        Ever watch the reality series Shahs of Sunset? Among the regular characters there is one who has a homosexual (white) partner and both seem to be accepted by the circle of friends who are a combination of Iranian non-Jews and Iranian Jews, mostly the latter–or as they all call themselves, Persians. Just asking.

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 4:43 pm

        “Really too bad they gave in that easy.”

        If it was a good as you say, “Simonize”, they should have resisted this European cultural chastity belt with might and main.
        Even the Chinese, who have low main, resist that kind of wet-blanketing.

        “They are…”

        Yup, that just the kind of specificity I was expecting from you.

    • Sibiriak
      June 22, 2016, 3:23 pm

      silamcuz: we all know who the actual hateful savages are….
      —————–

      “Hateful savages”? A revealing slip. Not surprising, though, that you employ the fallacious colonialist civilized/savage dichotomy. Your true ideological colors are showing through your fake MW persona.

    • Walker
      June 22, 2016, 4:31 pm

      The argument that Muslim homophobia came from European colonizers is irrelevant. We are all responsible for our own minds and behavior in this and every regard.

    • Mooser
      June 27, 2016, 12:39 pm

      “We were just having a deep discussion on this issue in our socialist think group recently”

      Probably took up the whole evening. And there’s three more scheduled this week!

  4. RoHa
    June 21, 2016, 10:53 pm

    Interesting.

    Kate, you begin by saying “I was a contemptuous atheist” but then go on to say “There was one issue that kept me from actually taking the Islamic testament of faith, the shahada, and becoming a Muslim”. In order to truthfully proclaim the shahada, you have to believe in God. May I ask what made you start believing in God?

    “People are free to believe what they want to believe about homosexuality.”

    I’m never really happy about stating this freedom to believe what we want, since it seems to hint that we have no obligations. Yes, we are free to believe, but our duty is to base our beliefs on facts and sound reasoning, regardless of what we want.

    “As we learn more about what may have been Omar Mateen’s latent homosexuality as motive for murdering 49 people in Orlando,”

    But let us not assume that he actually did it.

    • silamcuz
      June 22, 2016, 5:00 am

      Roha

      “People are free to believe what they want to believe about homosexuality.”

      I’m never really happy about stating this freedom to believe what we want, since it seems to hint that we have no obligations. Yes, we are free to believe, but our duty is to base our beliefs on facts and sound reasoning, regardless of what we want.

      Why would you assume believing in God is not based on facts and sound reasoning?

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 4:04 pm

        “Why would you assume believing in God is not based on facts and sound reasoning?”

        Without a God, the day would never end. Without a God, the road would never bend. A man is born, but he ain’t got a friend, without a God!

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 8:29 pm

        “Why would you assume believing in God is not based on facts and sound reasoning?”

        Exactly. We should reason from first principles, and from the self-evidence of self-evident propositions.

      • RoHa
        June 23, 2016, 12:00 am

        silamcuz.

        I don’t understand how you could think I assume that believing in God is not based on facts and sound reasoning. I did not suggest any such thing.

        I simply expressed my unhappiness with stressing our freedom to believe instead of our duty to make sure our beliefs are well-founded. (And the context was in reference to beliefs about homosexuality, not about God.)

      • silamcuz
        June 23, 2016, 4:02 am

        Roha

        The problem with the assertion that we need to ensure our beliefs are well-founded on facts and sound reasoning is that it ignores the fundamental aspect of being human. We will never be perfectly knowledgeable in anything, and our cognitive and reasoning ability is extremely limited. Hence to claim that you reject or accept the notion of God based on facts and sound reasoning is denying our limitations as humans to know and think beyond what we were blessed to.

      • Mooser
        June 23, 2016, 8:36 pm

        “We will never be perfectly knowledgeable in anything, and our cognitive and reasoning ability is extremely limited.”

        You are much too modest “silamcuz”! You’ve got something, that tells you what it’s all about:

        “There is nothing more empowering and validating for me than waking up, looking in the mirror, and say to myself , “At least I’m not white”. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/silamcuz/?keyword=white%25#sthash.Y6gmxHQ4.dpuf

        “white people, especially white men have no place in the field of activism for social justice and liberation of oppressed.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/silamcuz/?keyword=white%25#sthash.Y6gmxHQ4.dpuf

        No “limitations of humans” for you “Simalcuz”

      • RoHa
        June 23, 2016, 9:13 pm

        “We will never be perfectly knowledgeable in anything, and our cognitive and reasoning ability is extremely limited.”

        But we should do the best we can with what we’ve got. If we want to make our beliefs a closer match to reality, there is no other way.

        ” Hence to claim that you reject or accept the notion of God based on facts and sound reasoning is denying our limitations as humans to know and think beyond what we were blessed to.”

        I’m struggling to make sense of that.

        What does ” our limitations as humans to know and think beyond what we were blessed to” mean?

        Are you saying that
        (a) we are limited in what we can know and think, and
        (b) claiming to accept or reject belief in God on the basis of facts and sound reasoning denies (a)?

        How does [claiming to accept or reject belief in God on the basis of facts and sound reasoning] imply [not (a)]?

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2016, 2:04 pm

        RoHa, I know what you mean. There seems to be a common misconception that reaching one’s conclusions about God must be the result of very subtle and abstruse reasoning. Like trying to see gravity waves (You know, you can do just that, out in the desert on hot days in just the right spot) or something.
        Or finding the spot where the road goes downhill, but if you stop and put it in neutral, the car rolls uphill!
        It’s not like that. Sometimes it’s much more obvious than that.

      • silamcuz
        June 28, 2016, 1:30 pm

        Roha

        “Are you saying that
        (a) we are limited in what we can know and think, and
        (b) claiming to accept or reject belief in God on the basis of facts and sound reasoning denies (a)?

        How does [claiming to accept or reject belief in God on the basis of facts and sound reasoning] imply [not (a)]?”

        Wrt to (a),

        Yes, we are definitely limited in what we can know and think using the faculties that we are born with. We can’t see into the future, nor do we have perfect memory of the past, and our understanding of the present is often riddled with all sort of bias and psychological complexes.

        Wrt to (b)

        It is my belief that anyone who claims to have logically reasoned and factually deduced the existence or non-existence of an omnipotent God is an untrustworthy fool. That being said, yes you are correct is saying that (b) denies (a), because to be able to derive existence or non-existence of God using facts and sound reasoning dismisses the concept of God entirely, and grossly misrepresent the ability of a human in knowing.

        God is beyond time and space. Who knows how many layers of reality is between us and God, we don’t know if there is anything outside the time-space continuum our universe is operating in. For a person to claim factual understanding of God would mean to have knowledge of not only the universe itself, but everything beyond it. A person would have to know all the numbers in existence in order to know what is the final number, the value of infinity. This is of course, plainly impossible. 99.9% of humans can’t even prove why 2+2=4, let alone prove what’s the final number is. It is laughable then to claim people are somehow capable of proving or disproving factually the existence of God.

        Even when Muhammad and Jesus preached to folks about God, they didn’t claim to have discovered God, nor did they try to teach anyone on figuring out if God was real. They never had such abilities themselves, having known God entirely due to the process of revelations. You either believe in God, or you don’t. It’s not about religious people claiming to know God exists, while those opposing claiming to know God doesn’t exist. Both sides in this scenario are hopelessly misguided and ignorant.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2016, 6:40 pm

        ” You either believe in God, or you don’t.”

        Hey, “Sophomore Simalcuz” you are mixing up the question of other people’s belief in God with the question of whether God exists or not. The two are not related.

        The question is whether God exists, or does not. Not whether people believe in God or not.

        If you have no relevant information to add on that question (the existence of God), please, do not confuse the issue.

        Of course, if you want to introduce us to the idea of the ‘atheist Muslim’, go right ahead.

      • RoHa
        June 29, 2016, 2:37 am

        “to be able to derive existence or non-existence of God using facts and sound reasoning dismisses the concept of God entirely,”

        Well, that depends on the concept of God. If you conceive of God as a carnivorous, pink and purple Paisley patterned, rabbit who lives in the butter compartment of my fridge, then it is easy to use facts and sound reasoning to show that such a God does not exist.

        I look in my fridge. I see no such rabbit near, under, above, behind, in front of, or hiding in the butter. I conclude no such being exists.

        (Carnivorous indeed! He’s offended that I could even imagine that about him.)

        On the other hand, if you conceive of God as a being whose existence cannot be proven or disproven, then it is (amazingly!) logically impossible to prove its existence using facts and sound reasoning.

        Your concept of God looks as though it places him/her/it/other beyond human knowledge. Of course, we cannot prove that such a being does not exist, but, since we have no reason to believe it does, we are rationally justified in proceeding on the assumption that it doesn’t. There is no point in believing in things we cannot know about.

        Standard God-based religions, however, usually proclaim Gods who have characteristics which affect humans, and thus can give a means by which the existence of such Gods can be tested.

        You can see a fine example of this in Drange, Theodore, 1998, Nonbelief and Evil, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. (Also see my characteristically brilliant and insightful review of same in the journal Philosophical Inquiry, Vol. XXII, No. 1-2, Winter – Spring 2000, )

        Drange shows that the Evangelical Christian God would not permit a world in which there is so much disbelief, and a good God would not permit a world in which there is so much suffering. This strongly suggests that such a God does not exist.

        (He also applies his methods to other conceptions of God, with varying results.)

        It might not be irrefutable proof, but it is certainly a good use of facts and logic to show that we have good, intellectually respectable, reasons for doubts about the Evangelical Christian God. In this case, at least, we are far from being hopelessly misguided and ignorant.

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 1:47 pm

      “latent homosexuality”? Really? Me, I put that one up there with “Gentile”

    • Katie Miranda
      June 22, 2016, 5:51 pm

      RoHa: it was a much a decision based in reason, logic and science as one based on faith and the unexplainable. I had read all the research about how religious people tend to be healthier, happier, and to live longer. It’s been my goal since I was a child to live to be at least 100 and I decided that given my goal, it would be a smart choice to become religious. I decided this long before I actually believed in God. Later, had a bunch of crazy spiritual “woowoo” experiences that contributed to developing a real connection with a high power.

      I think people do not have any obligation to be ok with homosexuality. However, I do have a problem with mean, nasty, and/or threatening comments and/or actions by Muslims (or anyone) against LGBT people.

      Muslims are supposed to strive to follow the example of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)

      [Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasai’l al-Shi`ah, vol. 8, hadith no. 18312] states:

      The Prophet (pbuh) once gave guidance to Abu Dharr, saying: “O Abu Dharr! Beware of backbiting, for backbiting is graver than adultery (zina).”

      Abu Dharr (r) said: “Why is that so, O Messenger of Allah?”

      He (pbuh) replied: “That is because when a man commits adultery and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance. However, backbiting is not forgiven until forgiven by its victim.”

      The Quran states:

      “O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter is better than the former…” [Al-Hujuraat 49:11]

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 6:33 pm

        “I had read all the research about how religious people tend to be healthier, happier, and to live longer.”

        That’s right, there can be significant personal sacrifices associated with religious belief. But they are borne without complaint.

      • RoHa
        June 23, 2016, 12:09 am

        Thanks, Kate.

        It sounds to me as though you started by wanting to believe, and then convincing yourself in a Pascalian way. (This is not a criticism.)

        “I had read all the research about how religious people tend to be healthier, happier, and to live longer. It’s been my goal since I was a child to live to be at least 100”

        My irreligious mother managed it. Her secret was a vitamin-free English diet of salt, sugar, and fat in roughly equal quantities. And lots of milky tea and chocolate.

        “Later, had a bunch of crazy spiritual “woowoo” experiences that contributed to developing a real connection with a high power.”

        My years of study of religion and philosophy of religion lead me to consider religious experience the most rational ground for being religious.

    • silamcuz
      June 28, 2016, 8:30 pm

      Mooser,

      If you had followed the comment chain, the statement was a response to the assertion that we should base our belief in God on facts and sound reasoning.

      Now, I’m not sure about the sound reasoning part, but if you could in someway prove or disprove God’s existence through facts, I along with billions of others would like know about it. Seriously though that assertion makes no sense and totally nullifies the concept of God.

  5. Boris
    June 22, 2016, 12:54 am

    Homosexuality is universally persecuted in Muslim countries and is rejected by the majority of Muslims everywhere.

    But why bother with facts?

    • silamcuz
      June 22, 2016, 2:40 am

      It is also universally persecuted in most of countries in Africa, even though many are Christian countries. The truth is the legal system in these countries that calls for the persecution of LGBTQ are not indigenous, but imposed on them during colonisation by European powers, especially the British.

      Pre-colonisation, none of these places whether in Africa or West Asia had any form of legal and criminal justice system that specifically targeted LGBTQ folks unlike the countries in Europe. Muslim poets (who were held in high esteem by the rest of society) openly wrote on the pleasure of homosexual relations and the important role of homosexual tenderness in the psychological health of society. Countless literatures were published on topic with the blessing of the government, in fact most were commissioned by the government itself.

    • Talkback
      June 22, 2016, 8:53 am

      Now bring some more facts. Which of the Muslim countries who criminalize homosexuality wre not under colonials rule and therefore follow not the former law of colonial empires regarding homosexuality?

    • traintosiberia
      June 22, 2016, 8:55 am

      You bother because you fight the status quo . You also bother because the 20th century practice may not have 7th to 19 the century antecedents. You bother because the discussion might offer a you valid knowledge -based space to disagree

    • Katie Miranda
      June 22, 2016, 6:01 pm

      Boris: I wrote this piece because the persecution of LGBT folks is wrong, not just in Muslim majority countries, but everywhere.

      • gamal
        June 23, 2016, 10:08 pm

        hi Katie you might like to take look at this, i was the guy Zaki Badawi sent to attend meetings with the authorities so that we could shoot down Sacranie’s jaamati islami minions and deny them hegemony in the community, the UK state gave these Wahabi funded crooks far more credence and thus influence than they merited on any grounds and knighted the blithering utterly ignorant and corrupt Sacranie

        My eldest girl is gay but we are non-scene Muslims

        “In 2000, Zaki Badawi – an elderly but far-sighted scholar who was head of the Muslim College in London – took the unprecedented step of giving an interview to Gay Times.

        “In Britain,” he said, “we Muslims are in a minority, and it should not be our task to encourage intolerance towards other minorities.”

        Dr Badawi, who died earlier this year, told the magazine: “Homosexuality has always existed and continues to exist in all Islamic countries … Many high-ranking leaders in the Islamic world are gay.”

        Recalling the film My Beautiful Laundrette, which portrays a love affair between a British-Asian Muslim and his white boyfriend, he described it as “a useful reminder to the Muslim community that they cannot simply sweep gays and lesbians under the carpet”.

        It is true, of course, that most Muslims today regard homosexuality as bad and do try to “sweep gays and lesbians under the carpet”, but this is a product of society rather than their religion. The vast majority of Christians and Jews held a similar view half a century ago but since then significant bodies of opinion in Judaism and Christianity have begun to question it.

        Today, opinion in both Christianity and Judaism covers a broad range from outright hostility to complete acceptance, with many shades in between. As a result, it is no longer possible to speak of a single “Christian” or “Jewish” view of homosexuality. So far, there has been no comparable debate within Islam – but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t happen.

        There is a widespread misapprehension – repeated yesterday in readers’ comments about Peter Tatchell’s article – that the Qur’an “is plain in its condemnation of homosexuality”. It is not plain at all and it depends, as with the Bible, on how you interpret the relevant verses. Nor is there any sound theological reason why Muslims should condemn anyone simply for being lesbian or gay.

        Nevertheless, while attitudes towards homosexuality in the west over the last few decades have generally been liberalising, Muslim countries have been moving in the opposite direction. This is largely a result of international politics. Perceptions of a domineering west, coupled with fears of globalisation and modernity have brought a revival of imagined “customs and traditions”, along with the spread of rigid and puritanical versions of religion. Historically, though, Muslim societies have been relatively tolerant of sexual diversity – perhaps more so than others. Evidence of this can be found in classical Arabic literature, in the accounts of early travellers, and in the examples of Europeans who settled in Arab countries to escape sexual persecution at home.

        Muslim societies have also traditionally recognised that people can be attracted to members of their own sex, and have usually seen nothing wrong in that. It is worth remembering that in the Qur’anic vision of paradise, along with the famous 72 female virgins, the faithful enjoy endless supplies of drinks (non-alcoholic, of course) served by handsome young waiters.

        In orthodox Muslim teaching, the question of sin arises only when people act upon their sexual impulses, but same-sex acts are not among the small number of crimes for which a penalty is specified in the Qur’an. What punishment – if any – should be applied is a matter of opinion and interpretation. Furthermore, the levels of proof required by Islamic law are so high that if the rules are properly applied no one need ever be convicted unless they do something extremely blatant, like having sex in the street in broad daylight.

        The general idea in Islam is that sex should take place within a legalised framework that includes conventional marriage but can also extend to other forms of contractual relationship (such as slavery in the days when that was practised). The original purpose of this was to avoid disputes about parentage and inheritance in the event of pregnancy – an issue that is unlikely to arise in the case of same-sex couples.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/may/05/whatswrongwithbeinggayand

      • Boris
        June 24, 2016, 9:36 am

        gamal: thanks for the link and mazel tov on your great skill of selective copy-n-paste

      • gamal
        June 24, 2016, 10:48 am

        “and mazel tov on your great skill of selective copy-n-paste”

        careful now or i’ll issue a fuckwa

  6. traintosiberia
    June 22, 2016, 8:50 am

    Part of me wants to believe that my “homophobia’ stems from my ideas about (heterosexual) sex . It is something you don’t talk about, dont engage before marriage,don’t go into a situation where my still un-married body can get riled up sexually, and it is something that imposes dress codes on men and women . Until lately that was the case in West and it is still prevalent ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/13/islam-does-have-a-problem-with-homosexuality-but-so-do-western-c/) It is very much in vogue in non western countries.
    For the mind to handle another layer – homosexuality- LGBT issue- without squirming like a trapped earthworm is difficult – This uneasiness and and inability to process this uncomfortable emotion ( why people on earth should worry about 2 guys or galls- who are no harm to them ,-going to hell ? At least the heaven will be less crowed . For heterosexual it also means less competition for sex .These logic should stop Heterosexual from being preoccupied with this . ) are expected sequel of the attitude .
    It is not the full story . It must be some other sort of fears . I think its the freaking image of 2 men naked together somewhere in the dim lit chamber. Its not the religion but this reaction that possibly underlie the visceral negative attitude of men and women irrespective of the religion

    Our DNA and our brain is trying to bolster the case of Darwin’s survival of the fittest – one might argue . But this is why we also have fore-brain that goes against the emotional amygadlaoid primitive reptilian brain.

    For Homophobia to disappear, the prevalent ( both wetern and non western )attitude to sex in general have to disappear

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 1:23 pm

      “For Homophobia to disappear, the prevalent ( both wetern and non western )attitude to sex in general have to disappear”

      That’s right. Some day, in a more enlightened age, there will be only two possible answer when somebody asks for your sex: “yes” or “no”!

    • Bumblebye
      June 22, 2016, 1:32 pm

      Yes, well – if we take that image in our heads thing, our parents and any other relatives need to be banned from having sex from the day we learn about it! And those we may deem too unattractive…

      Our personal “ugh” factor is no reason to deny someone else a love life!

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 1:52 pm

        “Our personal “ugh” factor is no reason to deny someone else a love life!”

        You bet! I never let it deny my own, so why should I impose it on anybody else?

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 2:48 pm

        ” if we take that image in our heads thing, our parents and any other relatives need to be banned from having sex from the day we learn about it!”

        Believe me, from the day I learned about, I begged them, pleaded, threatened, all to no avail (And my Uncle Noah Vale was the worst, a lecher) but they just laughed at me.
        So I solved the problem by telling everybody I was adopted.

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 1:50 pm

      “Our DNA and our brain is trying to bolster the case of Darwin’s survival of the fittest – one might argue”

      One might, if one never bothered to learn what Darwin was actually saying. And how evolution works.

      • RoHa
        June 23, 2016, 4:54 am

        “One might, if one never bothered to learn what Darwin was actually saying. And how evolution works.”

        What, real science rather than Sunday supplement “science”? That won’t win you friends among the artsy-fartsies, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        June 23, 2016, 7:44 pm

        “That won’t win you friends among the artsy-fartsies, Mooser.”

        No, but the fact that I have not heretofore descended to the rhetorical nadir of calling those few special, noble and self-sacrificing individuals what they who have devoted their someday soon and for the rest of their lives, even if they regret it, to making time with one (or several, the cads) of the Seven Sisters, “the artsy-farstsies”, just might!

      • RoHa
        June 25, 2016, 12:59 am

        Mooser, artsy-fartsies aren’t artists.

      • Mooser
        June 25, 2016, 8:15 pm

        “Mooser, artsy-fartsies aren’t artists.”

        I only collect activist computer art. The kind they call “radical click”.

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 4:28 pm

      “It must be some other sort of fears . I think its the freaking image of 2 men naked together somewhere in the dim lit chamber.”

      Oh, let them have their fun. That isn’t the real harm.
      The real harm is the complete irresponsibility with which those two homosexual men produce new children in situations where they are unwanted, unplanned, or un-affordable. Or worse, will be the victims of abuse or neglect… And this goes on all over the world

      Oh my God, I just figured it out, you meant the two men were with each other?
      Some people will go to any length to have a son, won’t they?

  7. traintosiberia
    June 22, 2016, 9:17 am

    “A growing number of contemporary traditionalist sunni and Shia scholars including Shaikh Mohamed El-Mochtar El-Shinqiti and Zaytuna College’s Shaikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali — while affirming the immorality of the act — assert that there is no temporal punishment stated in the two primary sources of Islamic law, the Quran and the Sunna (teachings and sayings of the Prophet), for merely being homosexual. Prominet Iranian scholar Abdolkarim Saroush even notes that any persecution or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation would be wrong.

    Like the punishment for adultery and fornication, there is strong basis to argue, as many scholars have done, that the punishments are really for public indecency within the context of Muslim society. In fact, this is reinforced by the fact that even in the classical Muslim era, evidence of homosexuals in Muslim lands abounded but with minimal instances of prosecution. This may have been partly due to the combined effect of Islamic law’s strict evidentiary requirements and the prioritization and pre-eminence of privacy rights.

    Though classical jurists deemed homosexual conduct immoral, they appear to have had a more sophisticated take on the issue. Shaikh Hamid Ali in his The Homosexual Challenge to Muslim Ethics, documents how some jurists attempted to understand those who behaved effeminately (mukhannath) based on whether it was innate or by choice. He quotes Shaikh Yahya b. Sharaf al-Nawawi (1277 CE) as writing that “there is no blame, censure, sin, or punishment on this type [one acting out of natural inclination] because he is excused by virtue of having no hand in that condition.”

    Shaikh Ali also refers to classical jurist, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaini (1448 CE) who cited Imam Ibn Jariri al-Tabari (922 CE) to conclude, that when men exhibited feminine characteristics due to their innate nature then rather than being condemned they should be taught to gradually unlearn thisn, because they may have been created this way.

    Islamic law did not seek to regulate feelings, emotions and urges, but only its translation into action that authorities had declared unlawful. Indeed, many scholars — including prominent 11th century jurist Abu Muhammad Ali Ibn Hazm — even argued that homosexual tendencies themselves were not haram but had to be suppressed for the public good.

    Though not what the LGBTQ community wants to hear, it reveals that even classical Islamic jurists struggled with this issue and had a more sophisticated attitude than many contemporary Muslims. Moreover, such fiqh works offer Muslims some lessons on how to live with differences.

    A case in point is a ruling by Shaikh Ibn al Qayim al Jawziya, a prominent Hanbali jurist of the 14thcentury, who was asked whether the Muslim state should ban the Zoroastrian institution of self-marriage whereby men were encouraged to marry their mothers and sisters. While affirming that this was unlawful and morally repugnant under Islamic law, Ibn al Qayim (a student of the puritanical Ibn Taymiyaa) ruled that the state could not ban this practice and that in fact the institution ought to be recognized under two conditions:

    1) the matter is not brought to a Muslim court; and

    2) the Zoroastrian community recognized self-marriage as a valid tradition.

    Given the dynamism and sophistication inherent even in classical Islamic jurisprudence, it can be argued that there is plenty of room to accommodate differences within, particularly in a secular liberal democratic context. To make it workable though, both sides of this debate need to understand the other.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/31/muslims-and-same-sex-marriage/

    Islam does allow a lot of wiggle room . Most of the Koraniac verses end with asking for forgiveness even for the worst kind of crimes because “God is Merciful”

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 1:45 pm

      “who was asked whether the Muslim state should ban the Zoroastrian institution of self-marriage…”

      Ban it? It’s a great idea! Who would I get along with better? Always somebody to ride motorcycles with! I’ll never care if the seat is up, or underwear is on the floor! I can eat what I want, never have to vacuum! This’ll teach my wife a lesson, I’m gonna divorce her and marry me! I do, and I take this Mooser to be mine until dearth do us part, you may now jump back and kiss yourself..ahh, I can hear the organ playing “Oh Promise Me” and smell the orange blossoms, next stop, Niagara… and think of the money I’ll save on my honeymoon with my new spouse, me! And open marriage takes care of that old “is you your husband or your wife taunt”. Either or both, you prudes!

      “whereby men were encouraged to marry their mothers and sisters.”

      !!!!! That’s where this was going? But I don’t want to marry a girl just like the girl who married dear old Dad! I knew that before I was Bar Mitzvah frankly. There’s no problem with my sisters, they wouldn’t have me on a bet!
      I’d much rather find myself under the veil.

      I’ve gotta figure this out fast. My wife has been reading about the open-marriage laws, and says if I cause any trouble, she is going to divorce me, and marry a man!

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 3:48 pm

        Now I’m so anxious I’m breaking out in hives and itching over it.
        I must have an Epidermis Complex.

  8. ohplease
    June 22, 2016, 4:20 pm

    “And Judaism’s exclusivity was off putting, especially after living in Hebron where Palestinians couldn’t walk on certain streets, drive cars and were subject to constant detention, harassment and violence simply because they were not Jewish. The violence in Hebron produced a visceral reaction; despite my Jewish heritage I wanted nothing to do with Judaism.”

    So much for differentiating between Judaism and Zionism.

    • Mooser
      June 22, 2016, 8:18 pm

      “And Judaism’s exclusivity was off putting, especially after living in Hebron” from the article

      “So much for differentiating between Judaism and Zionism.” “oh please”

      Oh, I gotta hear this one!

      Please, “oh please” tell us, “Oh please” tell us how one differentiates between Judaism and Zionism in Hebron!!

      Oh wait, let me guess? Judaism always excuses Zionism? So any violent Zionist act by the settlers can be blamed on extreme Judaism, so Zionism doesn’t have to take the hit? Just a wee bit too enthusiastic about Jewish tradition and ritual? They were just “praxissing”?

      Yup, if there one thing Zionism knows the value of, it is the use of Judaism as a human shield. But of course, the power of Judaism is such, that nobody dare question acts done in its name? You go ahead and count on that, it’s never failed us before!

      • ohplease
        June 22, 2016, 9:44 pm

        Because she wasn’t born Palestinian and she saw other Jews than settlers. She is American and probably knew about Reform, Conservative, etc. That not everyone was a crazy zionist settler.

      • Mooser
        June 23, 2016, 4:48 pm

        “She is American and probably knew about Reform, Conservative, etc. That not everyone was a crazy zionist settler.”

        That’s right! There’s really not that many “crazy zionist settlers” compared to the number of “Reform, Conservative, etc.”

        So how come the “Reform, Conservative, etc.” can do nothing to stop or even control the “crazy zionist settlers”??
        Even if only to eliminate the trouble, expense and bad image the “crazy zionist settlers” give Israel.
        But they don’t, do they? Almost like the can’t. Why is that?

        Gee, if a person looked at Judaism today, they would think the “crazy zionist settlers” were running the place, and had the “Reform, Conservative, etc.” scared out of their wits, and gee, also control the Rabbinate and the IDF.

        So you know what it adds up to? We all might as well be “crazy zionist settlers”. The entire Jewish world, let alone Israel, seems incapable of doing anything but supporting them.

    • Katie Miranda
      June 22, 2016, 9:27 pm

      I understand your point, ohplease. However one cannot understand the effects that the violence in Hebron takes on one’s psyche until one has lived there. Your argument is rational, my experience of Hebron was not rational.

      • ohplease
        June 22, 2016, 9:46 pm

        OK but isn’t that like saying “Isis – therefore all Muslims?”

        Weren’t you aware about all the Jewish streams and viewpoints prior to going to Hebron?

        Doesn’t your experience, even though it isn’t rational, justify a person who has experienced jihadism being turned off by Islam in general?

        Isn’t countering islamophobia a core value here?

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2016, 9:51 pm

        “Your argument is rational…”

        “Katie” You think a rational person can differentiate between Zionism and Judaism in Hebron? How does one do that?

      • echinococcus
        June 23, 2016, 12:08 am

        Where’s “Hebron”? Locating semi-mythical named places is always a bit iffy by archeology only. Calling it its recent name will make it more recognizable.

      • ohplease
        June 23, 2016, 2:42 am

        echo archaeology has unearthed many of the “mythical” names but nevermind that.

      • silamcuz
        June 23, 2016, 3:36 am

        “Weren’t you aware about all the Jewish streams and viewpoints prior to going to Hebron?

        Doesn’t your experience, even though it isn’t rational, justify a person who has experienced jihadism being turned off by Islam in general?”

        The problem I had with even the progressive streams of Judaism is that is was still based on a flawed set of theological doctrines and core beliefs. There was this strong sense of hypocrisy within me when I tried to reconcile my progressive beliefs with Judaism, which I felt was akin to putting up a new paint and facade on a structurally compromised house. No matter how pretty you made it look, the sense of uncertainty and doubt will always be there while living in it, which for me is completely against the point of having a house.

        But with Islam, it’s the total opposite. The theology of it are, IMO, rock solid without any sense of internal contradiction or idiosyncraticies. The only problem I had with Islam is how it was being represented to the world, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The house is structurally sound, but the paint and facade was or is in a state of disrepair.

        As for Jihadism, I believe this video explains the term extremely well.

        https://youtu.be/CZP1nAoajh0

      • echinococcus
        June 23, 2016, 1:55 pm

        “Echo”? I think you’re totally unaware of the problems of name identification.
        No matter if some antique naming at a very circumscribed short period of ancient history was positively identified or not, English usage just continues the locally used names. I believe the lady was speaking of El Khalil.

      • silamcuz
        June 24, 2016, 3:31 am

        a person who has experienced jihadism being turned off by Islam in general?

        A person who has experienced true Jihadism would more likely to be interested in learning about Islam and its commandments.

      • Mooser
        June 24, 2016, 8:35 pm

        “A person who has experienced true Jihadism would more likely to be interested”

        Once a person experiences a true Jihadism, it’s very hard to forget.

      • silamcuz
        June 25, 2016, 2:55 am

        Once a person experiences a true Jihadism, it’s very hard to forget.

        You don’t experience Jihadism, you actively take part in it in perpetuity. It’s it a constant, unending fight. Did you even watch the video or did you allow your prejudices to speak for you?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 25, 2016, 3:16 pm

        You don’t experience Jihadism, you actively take part

        maybe you should stick with speaking for yourself instead of defining the experience of others. just try it, like this:

        I don’t experience Jihadism, I actively take part in it in perpetuity.

      • Mooser
        June 25, 2016, 6:25 pm

        “You don’t experience Jihadism, you actively take part in it in perpetuity.”

        That is even better than one Jihadism after another. Multiple Jihadisms are good, tho.

        “It’s a constant, unending fight”

        I suppose it could very well appear as some kind of struggle.

      • Mooser
        June 25, 2016, 6:31 pm

        “But with Islam, it’s the total opposite. The theology of it are, IMO, rock solid without any sense of internal contradiction or idiosyncraticies.”

        So what? It’s still a theology. Anybody can make a theology any way they please. I prefer my theology to have a nice healthy amount of internal contradictions and be chock full of idiosyncrasies! (note spelling, “Simalcuz”)

        If I want something with no internal contradictions or idiosyncrasies, I’ll go read the electrical schematic for a public utilities sub-station. I’ve got bunches.

      • silamcuz
        June 26, 2016, 10:07 am

        Mooser

        That is even better than one Jihadism after another. Multiple Jihadisms are good, tho.

        Sigh, here’s a definition of Jihad from the video itself, since you can’t be bothered to act on your ignorance.

        “Jihad is simply the process of “exerting the best efforts,” involving some form of “struggle” and “resistance,” to achieve a particular goal.”

        A more specific explanation of the term is as such, also sourced from the same Youtube video:

        “Jihad is a central tenet of the Islamic creed which means “struggling in the way of God“. The way of God, being goodness, justice, passion, compassion, etc (not forcible conversion as wrongly claimed by some).”

        As you could clearly read from the above simplistically worded definitions, there is no such thing as a discrete, countable act of Jihad, and if there such a thing, you can safely assume that is it not actually the Jihad as prescribed by the Islamic faith. Waking up one morning and deciding to bomb some market full of civilians to make a political point is absolutely not Jihad, nor is throwing gays off tall buildings. I hope these were already clear to you prior.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2016, 2:55 pm

        That is even better than one Jihadism after another. Multiple Jihadisms are good, tho.

        Sigh

        mooser, he doesn’t experience, he only takes part.

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2016, 3:23 pm

        “mooser, he doesn’t experience, he only takes part. Sigh”

        Then let us bear in mind the Proverb:

        “They also serve, who stand and watch”

        And sigh.

      • RoHa
        June 26, 2016, 8:21 pm

        Milton wrote proverbs?

        ….God doth not need
        Either man’s work or his own gifts, who best
        Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
        Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
        And post o’re Land and Ocean without rest:
        They also serve who only stand and waite.

        Which might be OK for God, but I want the waiter to stop standing around and start serving.

      • Mooser
        June 27, 2016, 10:20 am

        Must’ve been a different Milton. Milton Prebleman was charged with voyeurism, and gave that line in his defense.

      • silamcuz
        June 30, 2016, 5:59 am

        Mooser

        “If I want something with no internal contradictions or idiosyncrasies, I’ll go read the electrical schematic for a public utilities sub-station. I’ve got bunches.”

        Yeah, electrical schematics are not perfect with no internal contradictions or idiosyncrasies by default. Give a bunch of engineering college dropouts the task of producing a schematic and you will get one that vaguely looks alright technically and scientifically, but still be full of errors in calculations, assumptions and usage of scientific principles. Use this schematic to construct a power station and expect disastrous results soon to follow.

        I believe just as there are laws of thermodynamics to govern the interaction of energy and mass, there are laws for every event of any scale that takes place within the universe. And theology in my opinion, are simply a set of laws that prescribe specifically to the interaction of human species among themselves and with the universe. You can believe it or not, but the law would still be there…just as gravity would still be there when you jump off a ledge hallucinating that you can float on air.

        Islam for your information, simply means submitting to the laws of God. Forget about the weird prayers or the beards or the creepy headgear. You must acknowledge that we are not even in charge of ourselves, our own minds and emotions, we can’t be happy or sad at will, nor are we free to think any thoughts that possibly could occur in a human brain. There are these set of laws, invisible and all encompassing, that governs everything that we do and feel. If we submit to it and use to it our advantage, IMO that’s pretty much what being Muslim is about. And God being a really decent guy, gave us the law for us to submit to…through Moses, Jesus, Muhammad. Some were pretty straight forward like don’t kill or don’t lie, some more nuanced, like the laws of shared and individual responsibilities in a settled society (Relevant to this article as the Sodomites were destroyed as a nation due to they failing a collective responsibility to be kind and hospitable to strangers).

    • echinococcus
      June 23, 2016, 12:15 am

      Oh, please! Really, that’s a bit much.

      So much for differentiating between Judaism and Zionism.

      Not much of a difference left in the facts on the ground, I’d say. Lemme see, what’s the statistical amount of the difference? Some piddling 1-digit percentage, right?
      Worse, among the non-believer there is no confusion of Judaism with Zionism, and their sole and only Judaism consists in Zionist theft, murder, aggression and genocide: a 100% correspondence.
      What’s the amount of overlap in your personal case?
      Not answering won’t make it go away.

  9. Walker
    June 22, 2016, 4:32 pm

    Katie, I really appreciate your courage.

  10. [email protected]
    June 23, 2016, 12:36 am

    Folks, Homophobia can and has been measured in various religious communities here in US including Islam by Pew research. It’s nice to debate everything about Israel-Palestine, and I’m guilty of doing that myself, but certain things can be and have been measured. Facts are in. Islam is neither the worst or the best when it comes to GLBTQ people but is somewhere near the middle. Go to the website and numerous articles regarding the changing LGBTQ landscape are researched.

  11. Katie Miranda
    June 23, 2016, 2:23 am

    ohplease:

    OK but isn’t that like saying “Isis – therefore all Muslims?”

    I’m very aware of the comparison and I was aware of it while writing it and even before I wrote it. However you’re coming at it from a perspective of logic and reason. The effects of trauma on someone produce reactions, nervous system imprints and fears that defy reason. For example, take someone from Gaza and bring them to the US on the 4th of July and tell them that the explosions are just fireworks. There’s no way that that information is going to supersede their nervous system’s reactions towards hearing the fireworks.

    Weren’t you aware about all the Jewish streams and viewpoints prior to going to Hebron?

    Absolutely. I came from a Jewish family.

    Doesn’t your experience, even though it isn’t rational, justify a person who has experienced jihadism being turned off by Islam in general?

    It’s not a matter of justification. I completely understand someone’s revulsion towards Islam if the only Islam they experienced was that of KSA, ISIS or the Ayatollahs. If that’s the only Islam I experienced, I might not want anything to do with it either.

    Isn’t countering islamophobia a core value here?

    Yes.

  12. mcohen.
    June 23, 2016, 6:19 am

    not sure which article disgusts me more …this one or the nada ellia about north american indians.

    not a word about the p.ricans who died .just more islamic apologists waffling on about islam

    • Mooser
      June 23, 2016, 4:53 pm

      “not a word about the p.ricans who died”

      Yes, Puerto Rico has had a troubled history. I assume that is what you mean by “p.ricans”.

  13. hophmi
    June 23, 2016, 10:27 am

    “And Judaism’s exclusivity was off putting, especially after living in Hebron where Palestinians couldn’t walk on certain streets, drive cars and were subject to constant detention, harassment and violence simply because they were not Jewish. The violence in Hebron produced a visceral reaction; despite my Jewish heritage I wanted nothing to do with Judaism. ”

    Right, so you converted to Islam, and you now pass nasty judgment on the religion that you were born into, just as Pablo Christiani and others did when they converted to Catholicism, just as some atheists who were born Jewish do.

    I’m just curious. You were born in the United States. You’ve obviously traveled. The Jews in Hebron number under 1,000 and they’re extreme religious fanatics. Why on Earth would you take them as representative of Jews? Clearly, that’s not the only reason you’d chuck the religion that you were born into to convert to Islam. There must be other reasons.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 24, 2016, 2:29 pm

      The Jews in Hebron number under 1,000 … Why … would you take them as representative of Jews?

      i’m don’t support the notion jews of hebron represent all jews, but the notion 1000 jews of hebron don’t represent a vast structural component within the jewish community supporting a fanatical element that in design empowers the occupation and settlement expansion is silly. it’s not 1000 strong, it’s thousands and thousands strong. and yes, it’s extreme and fanatical.

  14. ohplease
    June 23, 2016, 4:49 pm

    This just goes to show you how invented religion is in general. It’s not about what god or scripture says, it’s about how people bring their own stuff and use it as a prism in interpreting scripture.

    With all due respect, because I admire your concern for homophobia and hence your efforts, Katie, you are literally trying to square a peg into a round hole because you cannot reconcile Islam with your western sensibility regarding persecution of gays. I’m pretty sure the classical commentators on Islam were mostly in agreement if not unanimous on how to handle gays.

    Please quote me someone big, like Bukhari or Muslim or someone of that stature if I’m just totally mistaken. The local friendly neighborhood San Francisco Imam just ain’t gonna cut it.

    Thanks

    • Walker
      June 23, 2016, 7:37 pm

      Katie, you are literally trying to square a peg into a round hole because you cannot reconcile Islam with your western sensibility regarding persecution of gays.

      This is ridiculous. Who are you to make such a statement, some scholar of the subject? How would you react if I (or anyone) made such a sweeping statement about Judaism?

      • ohplease
        June 24, 2016, 1:19 am

        I’d agree

    • gamal
      June 24, 2016, 3:22 am

      “round hole because you cannot reconcile Islam with your western sensibility regarding persecution of gays. round hole because you cannot reconcile Islam with your western sensibility regarding persecution of gays. I’m pretty sure the classical commentators on Islam were mostly in agreement if not unanimous on how to handle gays.

      Please quote me someone big, like Bukhari or Muslim or someone of that stature if I’m just totally mistaken. The local friendly neighborhood San Francisco Imam just ain’t gonna cut it”

      you could no more perfectly demonstrate that you have no idea what the ahadith are, the status of the compilers, how Islam works, there are no Priests no one can set orthodoxy, Scholars have no authority and its not just your corner Imam who can make shit up any Muslim can, we are out of control.

      “I’m pretty sure the classical commentators on Islam were mostly in agreement if not unanimous on how to handle gays.”

      you wear your ignorant stupidity with pride, bukhari muslim tirmidhi et al compiled news of the prophet precisely so that on those days Muslims could find nothing to argue about they could consult the sahih and fight about it, pretty sure about that.

      there is a hadith that says that when he died Muhammad had such a forceful erection it had to be strapped down, good isnad, it has had little effect on my life, its just a fucking hadith.

    • Mooser
      June 24, 2016, 1:28 pm

      ,” Katie, you are literally trying to square a peg into a round hole because you cannot reconcile Islam with your western sensibility regarding persecution of gays. I’m pretty sure the classical commentators on Islam were mostly in agreement if not unanimous on how to handle gays”

      But, “Oh please” you might try and notice that it is not the “classical commentators on Islam” she is trying to “reconcile”with her ” western sensibility regarding persecution of gays”

      It is her own sensibilities she is trying to reconcile, and she is most certainly entitled to do that, and can do that, just like any individual Jew can about Judaism and various things.
      Or would you like to say we can’t, so neither can Muslims?

      “Please quote me someone big…”

      You really wanna play that game? But then again, if there’s any objective judge of what is relevant and important to Muslims, it’s you, “oh please”!
      You go on and tell us what Muslims must do.

  15. gamal
    June 24, 2016, 8:35 am

    something re the hadith

    The Prophet forbade the recording and dissemination of hadith, but this is Islam, its clear that the Rashidun observed this prohibition so that the hadith collections only came much later.

    in light of this many Muslims dismiss them in toto,

    also the content of the hadith has no bearing on its authenticity, if you think about it that’s a necessary condition therefore hadith are authentic where the circumstantial evidence for the proximity of those mentioned to the Prophet was possible, no anachronisms, linguistically correct for dialects of those involved etc and if the chain of transmission contained persons of good reputation and mental soundness, this does not exclude errors of memory misunderstanding and such to which even the honest and careful are prone.

    so authenticity of hadith has nothing to do with its contents and is in no way an endorsement of its contents, which still may be bull, some are just disjointed bits of conversation which make no sense with these the scholars have a field day.

    one doesn’t follow hadith, they are not commands, most Muslims never touch them.

    you could try

    Hadith literature: Its Origin, Development & Special Features by Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi

    • silamcuz
      June 24, 2016, 9:56 am

      I believe most Muslims view the hadith as any set of cautionary folk tales or set of proverbs, very lightheartedly and with a generally open-minded and reflective attitude.

      I honestly have never encountered ordinary Muslims debating the merits and authenticity of a hadith in real life, ever. The only time I see such debates is when I am online, and funnily enough, those most enthusiastically engaged in the debates would be anti-Islam folks trying to prove some sort of point.

      I absolutely agree with Gamal that at the end of the day, nobody can force you to believe or agree with anything in Islam. The Quran itself demands the reader to seek knowledge with the best of their ability, and make use of all of the senses God has blessed them with in discovering the truth.

      But most important of all, the Quran which Muslims believe to be direct words of God, clearly and concisely states that there shall never be compulsion in religion, and for everyone to follow their own path in seeking God.

    • gamal
      June 25, 2016, 6:54 pm

      “I honestly have never encountered ordinary Muslims debating the merits and authenticity of a hadith in real life”

      we just so great aren’t we you recall the crow Ghorab read Stephan Salisbury’s “Mohamed’s Ghosts”

      ” Ghorab, who liked the Islamic community in Philadelphia but found the overall post 9/11 situation unlike anything he had ever encountered, was also willing to engage in such activities (dialog with state security officials in the US) his friends say-but apparently only to a point.

      He was not prepared to modify his deeply held religious beliefs in order to accommodate the well to do leaders of Al Aqsa( name of the mosque and thus the committee ) or local law enforcement officials. That may seem suspicious

      ( I can’t highlight etc but) yet much of the friction seems to have revolved around the Quran’s injunctions regarding diet. This had been a historically sensitive area for Al Aqsa , and several Imams who had argued that it was sinful to sell pork or alcohol-both forbidden by the Quran had been let go in the past, well before 9/11…

      ……If Ghorab had been circumspect and more politic he might simply have stayed off the subject, since Mosque leaders owned deli’s and grocery stores selling forbidden foods, as well as restaurants that served alcohol…….but in the post 9/11 world warnings about bacon and wine could have serious ramifications”

      so in revenge the local Muslim leaders shopped him as a radical/terrorism threat and gutted the local community destroyed the mosque,

      “nobody can force you to believe or agree with anything in Islam”

      nothing to stop them trying dont get confused between Islam and Muslims, you know Simulcuz the way you talk is so demeaning to people like me what stupid things to say.

  16. mcohen.
    June 24, 2016, 8:08 pm

    Silamcuz says

    “Direct word of god” and “compulsion”

    They say the pen or keyboard is mightier than the sword….following a path seeking God according to something written by some dude years ago is one thing…….killing people because of something written is incitement.but worst of all thinking that you are justified to do so because God said so is a crime no matter which way you spin it.

    • Mooser
      June 25, 2016, 12:06 am

      Wow, what’s that one, a seven-dotter? And a four-dotter too.

      There you go, “mcohen”. You’re getting your gravitas back!
      It’s all those pregnant pauses.

    • ritzl
      June 25, 2016, 12:13 am

      You’re a supporter of Israel, right?

    • Talkback
      June 25, 2016, 7:44 am

      mcohen, I swear that I only read the comment without the context and thought you were criticizing the Torah and its followers.

  17. traintosiberia
    June 26, 2016, 5:55 pm

    What did Michael Oren actually say?

    Translated from Hebrew,the comment was:” If I were Donald Trump I would come out the minute the FBI decided to start leaking this morning that we are talking about a man who acted out of Islamic motives,with connections,First of all the name itself ,Omar Siddiqui ,Mteen a Muslim name ,the on of immigrants from Afghanistan ,who apparently was somehow in touch with extremist Muslim organizations . This already has a significant influence on the race for the presidency”

    Roger Cohen NYT A19 OO-ED Saturday June 25 ,2016

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