There has been a lot of discussion lately on the issue of Homosexuality. There is a tendency, ever so slight, among some of us to make this behavior acceptable in the name of fairness and tolerance. On the other hand there are those who would suggest summary execution of those engaging in homosexual behavior. This confusing message can be a danger in that it can erode and dilute some of our basic values. Let me preface my suggestions to develop an effective way to address this very sensitive and critical issue, with some background information.
Homosexuality is, of course, not a new behavior. It has existed in practically all cultures and among all people, but usually in fewer numbers and in secrecy, not with an “in your face” attitude as it does in the west now. Unfortunately this is the reality of the times we live in, especially in the western societies, and we need to deal with it. The Homosexual, or the gay as they call themselves, in an attempt to polish their image, constitute a very active and powerful lobby group. They have strong political and social ties and access to the elites of the society, especially in the US, up to and including President Clinton. Even though majority of the people in the US believe that homosexual behavior is wrong, it is intriguing, but never the less remarkable, that the homosexuals have gained public acceptance for their behavior in a very short period of time. This acceptance by the US public is a reflection of people who are committed to their cause and give due thought, time, money and effort to achieve their purpose, though a wrong one. The homosexual’s agenda is a very simple one to make their behavior acceptable as NORMAL, and in the process recruit more to their ranks. They have a sophisticated and multifaceted campaign to achieve their goals. These include active participation in social and political issues other than their immediate ones, like feeding the hungry and dealing with human right issues.
They promote their agenda through legislation, presenting themselves as victims of prejudice and discrimination, helping to enact the gender discrimination act, legalizing and securing full benefits for same gender marriage, funding research similar to the hypothalamus issue (which shows a genetic propensity to homosexuality), teaching at even kindergarten level that the two-male or the two female can make a family unit which is an acceptable alternative that is even comparable to the traditional MOM and POP family, religious and moral blurring on the stand by establishing gay churches and synagogues, etc. etc. The most effective milestone in the homosexual movement, was probably when in 1976 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that homosexuality was no longer to be considered an illness but was to be regarded merely as an orientation or a sexual variant. The rest, as they say, is history. This made a lot of people very suspicious of the scientific community, who went against known scientific data that the homosexual behavior can be changed. Even though the APA has taken an official stand, this debate continues and many prominent members of APA oppose this stand. Again this has happened and continues to happen even in religious circles, amongst Muslims and others, where experts or priests make pronouncements in favor of those from whom they stand to gain favors at the expense of the masses and against clear moral and/or scientific stands supporting the contrary or opposite views.
The strength of the movement was demonstrated by the outbreak of AIDS. Up to that point in history, there was a standard to deal with ALL communicable diseases. The scientifically developed and tested system that is in place to contain communicable diseases was bypassed with political muscle. As a result, the disease spread very rapidly and affected many innocent lives through blood supply and other preventable methods whose implementation was suppressed politically. AIDS, a communicable disease up to that point that mainly affected the homosexuals, was forced to become a political issue and became the exception to the rule. The innocent were put at risk and their lives made a living hell, some were even lost just for a political gain. The lie that is being promoted is that AIDS is equally rampant amongst the heterosexuals as it is amongst the homosexuals. Statistics contradicts this statement.
The homosexual movement has a strong network of support groups who encourage each other to “come out of the closet”, thus advancing and actively promoting this behavior. They thrive on conflict amongst the family and/or community members. They have been known to provide moral, psychological, social, and financial support to any one of their own who is making the transition into their lifestyle or who is “coming out of the closet”, so to speak.
They use proven methodologies in changing social acceptability and behavior towards themselves. Like the shows on television, they will introduce the radical issue which will provoke a hue and cry from all quarters the first time out, the second time there is less and in subsequent times the opposition will die out. They then discuss, or frame the issue as it is known, to convince us of their legitimacy and how wrong, narrow minded and bigots all these moralists are. The trick is to say it enough times, and what was once a taboo to even talk about is becoming normal, acceptable, and even desirable to more and more people.
They now have an annually “Gay Pride Parade” in many US cities with full fledged TV coverage. A “Gay Pride Month” has been established in some school districts to remove bigotry and prejudice. Additionally, colleges and universities have a profound impact on the intellectual development of our young people. It is the time in their lives where new and independent thoughts are introduced, incubate, and develop. However, most of these institution are a bedrock of secular extremism and promote all other values except the divine ones. In these circles, it is politically and socially acceptable to talk about, promote and experiment with all behaviors, homosexuality included, but to discuss and further divine values is considered being close minded and narrow.
The argument from some of the elites of these institutions is that we need to adhere to the separation of church and state, which has historical merit. In fact, it is obvious to most observers that what is meant is to take God out of the equation and confine Him to the walls of homes, mosques, churches, and synagogues only. We, the youths and the parents, all need to be aware of these trends so as to enable us to develop an effective way to deal with these issues and inoculate ourselves against harmful behaviors. This is a summary of our study of the homosexual movement that we undertook to try and understand various movements, religious and those based on other various causes, that have succeeded to transform themselves from being the abhorred or persecuted groups to becoming key players in the American society. Homosexual movement is one of them, the others are the Irish Catholics, the Quakers, etc. The reason for providing the background information here is to first to come to grips with the sophisticated nature of the problem, and know who we and our youths are dealing with. The second is to enable us to formulate an effective response to it.
Discussion here of homosexuality is a reflection of the success of their movement to force us to address this as an issue, even though we would rather not. We do not know how many can claim, with any degree of certainty, the pervasiveness of this behavior amongst our community members. We are for sure affected by the society in which we live, however I think on this score, we as a community, have not yet been too adversely affected. In our studies of the youths of Toronto, which was subsequently published in a book entitled “Muslim Youths at the Crossroads, Advancing into the 21st Century”, we did not see this as a major problem. This does not mean that it has not developed into a problem now, or that we do not need to address this as an issue now. I believe that any discussion needs to take into consideration the following:
We as Muslims need to state unequivocally and unambiguously that homosexuality is a deviant behavior and that there is not even an iota of doubt that Islam condemns the behavior.
* The most important thing for us as Muslims is that Islam is not our ethnicity, it is our religion which regulates our lives and from which we derive our values.
* Even though our religion allows us latitude, more than most, to ponder and reconsider some issues, homosexuality is clearly and explicitly condemned by the Quran (7:80-83, 11:77-79), the Prophet, and his progeny.
* When we have a conflict with the Quran, which is the word of God verbatim, we do not ask where the Quran went wrong but rather why are we, limited beings, in conflict with the wisdom of the absolute, God Almighty.
* As Muslims we do not make up our religion, but we receive it and we obey it.
* Thus stated, we need to clarify, that it does not mean that we hate the homosexual person but rather that we find the behavior abhorable. We want to help with sensitivity and care whoever has these tendencies, or practices such behavior.
We can further point out the following:
God has created everything in pairs each endowed with physical and psychological characteristics to complement and complete one another. The Quran (4:1) indicates that human beings have been created from one living entity (nafs), which represents the origin of both the male and the female. The human species though has included male and female since its existence. The “mating” or “spousing” of male and female sexes is original in human nature and out of this instinctive relationship the human race develops, continues and spreads.
Between the two sexes a gravitating combination of love, tenderness, and care is engendered, so that each finds in the other completeness, tranquility, and support (Quran 30:21). Having children and loving them represents another fulfillment of the human nature (Quran 42:49-50). It is through this spousal complementation and completion, according to the Quran (7:189), that each spouse achieves comfort, and enjoys peace of mind, satisfaction, and fulfillment. These relationships extend beyond the physical sexual contact and to psychological, spiritual relations.
The blessings of this completeness are not ended by their accomplishment, but they continue and develop through bringing forth children, raising them, and providing the whole family with material, emotional, and moral needs.
The pleasures of completion and procreation may well be extended and multiplied, when one is granted grand children, who not only represent genealogical continuation, but are also a dynamic revitalization of the human race.
Such physical-psychological-spiritual development through spousing and mating, followed by procreation, that may continue for more than one generation, ought to lead every sensible human being to be grateful to God for His successive and multiplying favors with his own family throughout his lifetime. Such persons and their happy veritable families would be models for the whole society (Quran 25:72).
* One of the criteria or litmus test of a behavior that is beneficial to humanity at large is, “what if the action that you are promoting is exercised by a majority of the people of the world? Will it advance humanity or will it retard it?” In this case human beings will cease to exist.
* If there is any truth to the claim that the male homosexual behavior could be genetic, how about the bisexuals and the lesbians. They for sure are making a choice and by our standards a wrong one too.
* The debate and the argument advanced by the homosexuals is “Be what you are,” and “do not be ashamed of it”. Many unsuspecting youths then start to experiment, to “discover” what they really are. They are in fact being unwittingly, and in their most suggestible period of growth, led astray with the power of suggestion and a convoluted logic. Whoever we are, whatever one might be, it is ennobling to always try to do what is right.
* Even if there is a genetic propensity towards homosexuality, it is the nobility of the human spirit that can overcome it. There are suggestions that alcoholics are genetically pre-disposed to their behavior. Furthermore, some people are inherently prone to take risks, which is an essential element for human progress and development. This pre-disposition to risk taking behavior can easily lead to the destructive behavior of gambling. We do not encourage the people with a propensity to alcoholism or gambling to keep on indulging in these vices, but rather encourage them to resist and overcome them We should do the same with homosexual feelings and tendencies. Whether one has the orientation or harbors “homosexual genes,” one’s feelings and desires cannot dictate behavior. One may have a strong urge to have a homosexual contact, a heterosexual contact with one other than one’s own spouse, or to steal or kill. The nobility of the human spirit is to resist, and this is what elevates the human being to the status above that of the angels.
* There is a period during our growth process where we are most comfortable with and try to bond with persons of the same gender. Some carry this behavior to an extreme and experiment with homosexuality. Some Psychiatrists still believe that those who continue with the homosexual behavior are really arrested in their development process. They avoid or are afraid to continue with the normal psychological growth. This condition is treatable by psychotherapy.
The reality of the society requires that we argue our positions, and deal with issues, as they prevail using some of the existing societal rationale. Though the thinking may fall short of our ideal, it can be an effective start in changing and moving the debate closer to our view point and values. The following two points are made with this thought in mind.
* As Muslims, we identify and instinctly come to the defense of any individuals or groups who are discriminated against. This reaction is due to our foundational value and commitment to justice, and also from our own contemporary experiences, as individuals and as members of a group, who have suffered from discrimination and vilification.
While we abhor acts of discrimination against individuals or groups, we also place a high value on discretion. The individual’s right of choice is a fundamental value and necessary condition for each individual to be accountable to God for his/her own actions. God’s guidance secures the balance between the individual’s and societal rights. No one has a right to spy into the private lives and affairs of individuals. Even when these private affairs should incidentally be known, the admonition is to keep them private and protect those involved.
However, when one openly declares one’s sexual orientation, a private matter, and then demands special consideration because of it, we find this an affront to the society’s well being. There are already safeguards and protections under the law against discrimination that includes heterosexuals and homosexuals. To demand further special rights and consideration based on how or who we have sex with, and claim it to be a civil rights issue, is ludicrous. To compare with and demand special protection as those who have been persecuted for their national origin, race, color, or creed and religious beliefs is baseless and has no historical or social justification or parallels. We will then have to accede similar special demands for protection and single out groups varying from those who want to have heterosexual relations to those who are left handed, when they are all currently protected under existing laws.
We are committed to uphold the family unit and its values, and protection of it as a durable, proven, most important and socially viable nucleus of any society. There is a continual struggle and effort to maintain the balance between an individual’s right and society’s well being. We place a higher value on the society’s well being than an individual’s right to actively promote counter values that will ultimately damage the society at large. We therefore have a right to resist and ensure the protection of our values against such an onslaught. This resistance should never be an aggression against any individual or groups, but a firm and principled stand against the counter values being promoted, while promoting our values in a kinder and gentler fashion with conviction. We have, indeed, a duty to promote divine wisdom and values that will advance humanity and that have withstood the test of time.
* Homosexuality is an issue that concerns most main stream Christians and Jews and we all share a common value. It can provide an opportunity to work together for the common good of the society at large.
We, as Muslims, have benefit and blessings of divine guidance and wisdom. The Quran reminds us that Allah (SWT) will change the condition of the people only if they themselves put forth the effort (13:11). If the homosexuals can promote their wrong values with vigor and succeed, we have a duty and a responsibility to not only make an effort to arrest this trend, but also to invest our time, energy, and resources to promote the divine values with as much zeal.
Our challenge is to explore and find ways to resist and counter this movement amongst our own families, immediate community, the Muslim Ummah, and the whole of humanity. This is our destiny and the challenge of the times we live in. Action more than rhetoric will make us worthy of Allah’s (SWT) help and mercy and will endear us to Him. The question is what are you, and in turn all of us collectively, going to do to promote our values, and counter this threat?
The Author of this article is a group of Islamists calling themselves “The Islam Show.”