Today I have one more reason to respect and love Germany. In addition to opening their hearts to refugees and giving them a chance for a new life, Germany proves today it is a great functioning democracy that respects human rights. I am truly pleased to see love triumphs and people who choose to love and marry a person from the same gender are giving their rights to marry whom they wish to. It is also great to see that all of Germany’s Muslim MPs voted in favour of same-sex marriage
But what does faith has to do this? Well, I am a practicing Muslim and I do believe that Islam teaches us mercy, justice, love, integrity and solidarity with the oppressed. I believe in a ‘just’ and ‘wise’ God who created us in the best form and Who loves us all regardless of sexual orientation. The love of God should inspire us to be live a life of virtues and to hold on to high ethical principles. It really angers me when I see discrimination against the LGBT community, and it angers me much more when I see that discrimination done under the name of religion. I am writing this blog in solidarity with LGBT communities and with the hope it might open the eyes of people of faith. Many Muslims have demonstrated support and solidarity with the LGBT community. The Mayor of London Sadik Khan is a brilliant example.
Coming from a conservative background, sex was not something that we would discuss much in public. Also, the religious teachings require that physical intimacy comes only after marriage. We were also taught to respect the choices of people who do not have the same religious restrictions. However, living here in the UK, I witness all types of reactions when I ask about the rights of gay people, and especially gay Muslims who wish to follow the religious teachings and get married.
In the US, there are many progressive Islamic scholars who support gays’ rights. Many of them are outspoken especially after the tragic attack in Orlando that was carried out by a gay Muslim man and killed many people. It is painful to think how many beautiful souls we could have saved had the perpetrator found love, support and acceptance from his family and his community.
But unfortunately there is still a big problem with the way Islamic teachings are interpreted in regards to homosexuality. And we have a responsibility to speak up against it. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said – and here I am translating from Arabic- “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or oppressed. A man asked him: “I help him when he is oppressed. But how could I help him if he is an oppressor?” And the prophet explained that helping an oppressor is actually by stopping him from oppressing others.
I was once outraged with a highly educated friend who obtained a PhD from a prestigious UK university who said that “in Islam the ‘punishment of homosexuals’ is that they should be thrown from a high building so they die!” When I asked her where did she came up with this horrendous idea, she just said she had heard it somewhere. It was hard to believe that we both read the same book and believe in the same religion! So another friend called her father who is supposedly more knowledgeable about the Islamic teachings. He agreed that there isn’t any type of punishment mentioned in the Quran or in the life story of Prophet Muhammad for homosexuality. He talked about the beautiful, tolerant and rational Islam. He also narrated a funny story:
In a speech at a mosque, an imam said that the Quran has answers for all our problems. A man challenged him and said “I have a problem in my stomach and it is very painful. I’d like you to show me where in the Quran it shows the answer to my problem.” The imam promised to do some research and answer him the next day. And to the man’s amazement, the imam came the next day with a remedy. The imam explained that the Quran directs us to to ask people of knowledge if we do not know! Chapter 16, verse 43. So he asked a doctor regarding the man’s problem…
My friend’s father used this anecdote to explain how a practical life could be inspired from faith. However, to my frustration, he refused to agree with the rights of gay Muslims and completely dismissed my argument by telling me to first go and spend years studying the Quran and Arabic linguistics, even though I had told him I am already an Arabic linguist!
Sadly many people nowadays prefer to stick to what they were told rather than putting the efforts to understand the religion or even to ask the people of knowledge as the Quran teaches us. Almost all people of knowledge (i.e. doctors and psychologists) have agreed homosexuality is not a disorder and there is no treatments for it, nor does it requires a treatment.
Today, I am really happy with the victory of the German Parliament! I do hope a day will come when all people respect each other and stand in solidarity against all injustices. Also, I hope that Muslim scholars spend more time and efforts addressing the controversial misunderstanding of homosexuality in Islam.
-Last edited on 03/07/2017 to include the German Muslim MPs’ vote and the example of the Mayor of London solidarity with the LGBT.