Do you support the death penalty for gay sex? – Muslims respond.

Posted on November 3, 2015

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I watched the recent iERA debate ‘Is Islam the cause or solution to extremism?’ where some of the panel found it difficult to answer Peter Tatchell’s question about supporting the death penalty for apostasy, blasphemy and gay sex.

Dr Anas Altikriti (Cordoba Foundation)Dr Anas Altikriti from the Cordoba Foundation was rather pissed off (left) that Tatchell had even dared to ask the question:

“Whether any one of us said yes we support or no we don’t support, will change absolutely nothing. And by the way it will change nothing in your own mind and your perceptions and your prejudices against Islam and Muslims. That is the problem. That’s the real problem.”

Yes, Peter. How dare you ask about extremism during a debate on extremism? The obvious problem here is that views which have been considered extreme for many years now in Britain, like advocating the death penalty for gay sex, are not extreme within normative* Islam. This debate will continue to go round and round in circles. The debate that should really be taking place is should ‘normative’ Islam be treated in the same way as other ideologies with very dodgy ideas on gay sex, blasphemy, minorities, apostasy and stoning? Of course it should, and I’ve already shown the kind of treatment the likes of Christian Voice receive, but if iERA and others believe that it should be treated differently then I’d like to hear why.

I asked some other Muslims if they supported the death penalty for gay sex. I knew they didn’t, but they were happy to put their views forward. And here they are:

Tehmina Kazi (British Muslims for Secular Democracy):

“I’ve been a vocal ally of LGBT communities since I was 17, when my best friend came out to me. Who the hell are these people to tell consenting gay and bi adults that they can’t have sexual relationships, and must remain celibate? Would they ever set such a standard for themselves if the boot was on the other foot? Hell no!”

Kalsoom Bashir (Inspire):

“Unfortunately many people focus on the ‘sex’ in homosexuality and forget that it’s lewd behaviour that Islam warns against. So unless you are having sex out in the middle of the street it’s none of anybody’s business. That’s for heterosexual as well as gay couples. A bucket of cold water is what I would prescribe if a couple were at it in broad daylight!”

Paul Armstrong (Association of British Muslims):

“Equality: We affirm the equal worth of all human beings, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, creed, sexual orientation or ability. We are committed to work toward societies that ensure social, political, educational, and economic opportunities for everyone.”

“Universal Human Rights: We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. We fully endorse and uphold the human and civil rights of all human beings, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexuality, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Usama Hasan:

“There is no mandatory punishment for homosexual acts. As the theologians and jurists Ibn Hazm and Ibn al-Qayyim pointed out, the Companions and later jurists disagreed about punishment for homosexual acts because there is not a single authentic case of homosexual acts committed by anyone during the time of the Prophet.  The hadith, “Kill both the active and passive partner in homosexual acts” is disputed, with some authorities authenticating it whilst others regard it as weak and inauthentic.  Therefore, there is no mandatory punishment (hadd pl. hudud) for homosexual acts.

Imam Abu Hanifa, another major Sunni jurist, also ruled that there was no mandatory punishment for homosexual acts. Thus, Muslims should ditch the incorrect notion that our religion requires us to punish or kill homosexuals, and get on with civic integration, community cohesion and fruitful social contribution!”

Thanks to Tehmina, Kalsoom, Paul and Usama for their responses. If anyone else would like to add a response please get in contact and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.

* normative – a term used by iERA and others to describe the form of Islam they adhere to.

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