ACCEPTANCE of homosexuality in Islam is discussed now more than ever before particularly after Britain has recently passed the same sex marriage legislation.

A British Pakistani Muslim discovered he had feelings for the same sex whilst he was in high school.

Jamaal Kareem, 20, of Greater Manchester, prays regularly, visits the mosque for the Friday prayer, fasts in Ramadan and contributes with the finances at home.

However, like most LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Muslims, Jamaal is afraid of being honest to his family about his sexuality. His family are a prime example of South Asians who are unwilling to accept any form of homosexuality, believing it to be a greater sin than adultery or suicide.

There are over seventy countries in the world where homosexuality is still punishable. Thirty six of these countries are Islamic states, at least five of which impose the death penalty.

This presentation highlights parts of the world, mainly Muslim countries and their laws on homosexuality.

While Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) groups are making great progress in non- Muslim societies, gay communities in the Muslim world are facing discrimination and are left fighting for basic human rights and in extreme cases, their lives.

LGBT Muslims are determined to migrate to non-Islamic countries to live under the protection of LGBT influences.

Despite the revolutionary changes that have been made in the UK allowing same sex civil marriages, many of the South Asian LGBT youths in the UK face pressures from their communities and their families.

A Gallup survey carried out in early 2009 found that British Muslims have zero tolerance for homosexuality. Not even a single British Muslim interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable.

Islamic context on homosexuality

Homosexuality is mentioned in the Qur’an in the story of prophet Lut (Lot in Judeo-Christian context).

According to the Islamic tradition, Lut was commissioned as a prophet to the city of Sodom and Gommorah, located on the Western shore of the Dead Sea.

These twin cities were known to have committed great sins. Their evil acts led to inhospitality and robbery, which in turn led to the humiliation of strangers by mistreatment and rape.

When Lut conveyed the message of god and warned the people of Sodom of their godless life, they denied him, refused his prophet-hood, and carried on with their perversion.

The city was subsequently turned upside down as punishment of their wrongdoings.

The story of Lut is the only context in which homosexuality is discussed in the Qur’an.

Prophet Lut describes men who are attracted to men instead of women as immoderate people.

In Christian and Islamic circles, the story of Lut has been interpreted as a rejection of homosexual relations. But some argue the story discusses all the sins and not just homosexuality.

Hamza Tzortzis, Greek Muslim convert and a writer, lecturer and public speaker. He gives the Islamic perspective of homosexuality.

He talks about how:

-Homosexuality is a sin and forbidden in Islam
-Many other sins are greater than having homosexual tendencies
-Homosexuals should not be singled out in society
-To control homosexual tendencies

In the video below, Jamaal explains how he has finally accepted his homosexuality but has kept it from his family due to fear in being rejected.

Jamaal talks about:
– what is happening to him, being attracted to the same gender
– how difficult it is to approach the subject with his parents compared to non-Muslims
-the responsibilities he has being the eldest

In the second video Jamal discusses the future for LGBT Muslims and how the community should not treat LGBT Muslims any differently.

It is clear the Muslim society is aware that LGBT Muslims do exist but are still very afraid of showing any support. This is because they are worried they will be singled out by the community and inherently seen to be supporting homosexuality.

By Fiza Ikram

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