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British Muslim group condemns Bahrain gay arrests

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  1. Christine Beckett 8 Feb 2011, 10:45am


    I’m not a big fan of any faith, but it’s nice to see some religious groups speaking out against anti-gay bigotry.


  2. musclelad23 8 Feb 2011, 10:49am

    Very nice to hear this.

  3. People have always warped religion to suit their own agenda so it is refreshing to here this. If this organisation has been around since 1889 then why do we not here from them more often?

  4. I’d never heard of this group before, and to be honest, they don’t seem to be recognised as part of the lineage they describe. A small minority group with little influence both within the UK Muslim population and with the government.

    Their alleged founder, William Abdullah Quilliam, can be traced via teh Quilliam Foundation, which is influential within some parts of British Muslim society and with the authorities. They openly and actviely advocate an end to violence and opnely and actively condemn terrorism and seem to be working towards a greater liberalisation of Islam in the UK

    I say ‘seem’ as I am generally suspicious of any religious group’s pronouncements nowadays, having been bitten, hard, before.

    Treat any statement by fringe religious groups as suspect therefore.

  5. The peace of Allah be upon them, if it exists!! More liberal muslims need to speak out, though I know how threatening their co-religionists can be to them.

  6. If you belive one word of this then you deserve what you get

  7. I wish more Muslims thought this way. We still have the minority of radicals though, saying the Qur’an says gays should be thrown from a mountain or a tall building.

    All about interpretation. If you hate someone you can interpret it to mean anything you want. That’s why I would like to see an end to all religions. Absolute nonsense all of them.

  8. TheSuburbanBi 8 Feb 2011, 12:54pm

    @Jennifer, it’s not relevant if they are a small group with what you call a ‘questionable’ lineage (you’d have to be deeply vested inside a religion to care about lineages, etc) — frankly, the fact that they are not a part of any long-standing religious institution is a good thing. It’s called independence.

    The point is they are an organised body of British Muslims formed to speak about peace with the world community and respect for diversity in British culture. That’s a good thing.

    Every organisation has a starting point — you’re reservations are like saying Stonewall or NOW or any such organisation should have been ignored in their first few days because they were new and had not yet established a lineage… gotta start somewhere.

  9. The press should make more use of this group, rather than seeking out sensationalist extreme viewpoints which only serve to stir up islamophobia.

  10. i wish their views were the prodominant muslim views

  11. Anthony Venn-Brown 8 Feb 2011, 3:04pm

    wonderful news…..we need more people to speak up again the horrors done in the name of religion and because of ignorance about sexuality

  12. actually the fırst Islamıc books in the 7th 8th centuries on jurisprudence say the same thing. homophobia in islam is strictly post colonial… in fact there are some statements by Mohammed (saws) which are favorable. they Quran itself condemns rape and sex as means of execution.

  13. quote: saying the Qur’an says gays should be thrown from a mountain or a tall building.:unquote. nothing. not one word in Quran about killing gay people. What they quote are Sayings of the Prophet. However even Muslim scholars say that those sayıngs are fake. There are no sayings that are recognized traditionally which ever mention execution. the worst is EXİLE/shunning for public indecency. gay or straight public indecency.

    there are 3 major traditions sunni, shia and ibadi. sunni has 4 branches. shia has 4 or 5 branches. ibadi has several branches.

    each one is different.

    none of them ever executed gay people before colonialism and BRİTİSH anti-gay and Portuguese anti-gay legislation. BUT the Inquisition in Latin America according to official records burnt tens of millions of gay people alive in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The Inquisition wasn’t shut down until 1960! the 20th Century.

  14. I wish British Muslim groups would do more within their communities here to tackle homophobia. As if the treatment of women wasn’t bad enough, this is just even too taboo to discuss, let alone do something about.

    One of the reasons why multiculturalism has failed so badly.

  15. I second observations here about Muslim homophobia being created by Western colonialism and being relatively modern. There is a huge amount of homoerotic poetry in Medieval Arabic. Abu Nuwas wrote about beautiful men as well as women and the clerics never batted an eyelid.

  16. Refreshing to see an article showing as Muslims/Islam defending gay/civil rights. More of this please.

  17. What a joke 8 Feb 2011, 6:46pm

    Riondo……..”I second observations here about Muslim homophobia being created by Western colonialism”

    are you being serious? you think homophobia in saudi arabia, iran, iraq, yemen, turkey, and every other muslim country which is homophobic is caused by western colonialism?

    LOL. what a joke.

  18. The ABM are a small, and generally uninfluential group of Muslims.
    The Muslim Council of Great Britain, however, are considered the ‘voice’ of most Muslims, even though many Muslims view them in the same light gay people see Stonewall: They are not representative of their community.

    The MCGB are funded by Suadi Ariabia via the Regent’s Park mosque, and they are hell bent on trying to convert moderate Muslims into extremists with a Jihad agenda.

    It’s about time this government faced up to them and got to hear what most British Muslims want, a democratically elected body, not this bunch of lunatics.

  19. Good to see Muslims speaking out about things like this. Moderates and those who are not homophobic need to speak out and let people know that not all Muslims are down with this sort of thing.

    Yeah, definitely the peace of Allah be upon them–cause the fanatics certainly aren’t going to give them much.

  20. Paul Salahuddin Armstrong 8 Feb 2011, 10:13pm

    Just a general note; the Association of British Muslims (AOBM) was founded by Shaykh Abdullah Quilliam. As the organisation is over a hundred years old, it’s inevitable there have been times when it’s been more influential and other times when it was less so. Since January 2010, the AOBM has currently been undergoing a revival, we have developed an extensive support base and are becoming increasingly influential. The Quilliam Foundation simply adopted the name of a well known British Muslim, they do not have any particular connection to Abdullah Quilliam, other than the fact they obviously must have found him very inspirational. AOBM is the only mainstream Muslim organisation in the UK, actively supporting our brothers and sisters in Tunisia, Egypt and neighbouring countries in their struggle for representative government, democracy and human rights for all especially our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community.

  21. “the worst is EXİLE/shunning for public indecency. gay or straight public indecency.”

    Yeah, very enlightened view there. And you blame the British past for this? Very convenient. Maybe less blaming the past and more responsibility for your religions brutal actions against gay people by the majority of your followers today, and you might get somewhere near civilised without looking for a scapegoat to validate these atrocities.

    You may also want to re-read your history in the inquisitions:- the last inquisition, the the Roman Inquisition, ended in 1860, not 1960. The one you refer to was the Portuguese Inquisition, and was extinguished in 1821, and was no where near millions as you stated, under 50,000 in fact, and no records exist of how many were gay. And the Inquisitions were a barbaric episode in christian history, but hardly an excuse for the execution of gay people in “modern” islamic countries.

  22. Excellent story. Irrespective of the size of the AOBM, this is very positive. I hate the way gays and muslims are normally pitted against each other in the media.

  23. What a joke –
    Yes, I am serious. Since the 18th century the domination of the Muslim world by the West has been huge and as a minimum a prima facie case for what I say looks very strong. Medieval and early modern Islam was celebratory in its attitude to homosexuality and was often demonized by the homophobic Christian West for precisely that reason. A crucial difference between the two cultures was that scientific development and capitalist innovation and growth raced ahead in the West and stalled in the Islamic world. This permitted the colonial domination of muslim lands by Western powers and great influence on them by Western attitudes, including homophobia.
    The irony is that Western countries have become much more affirming of lgbt people in recent decades and Muslim ones, conservative and defensive in reaction to the West, have clung on to attitudes learned over a couple of centuries. The oppressive foreign policy of the modern West towards Muslim countries makes the new Western liberalism and pluralism guilty by association, sadly entrenching these attitudes.

  24. “Since the 18th century the domination of the Muslim world by the West ”

    Slight flaw with this analysis, most of the Muslim world was not dominated for centuries by the ‘West’. Most of the Muslim world, up until the end of the 19th century was dominated by the Ottoman Empire. The ‘West’ only dominated some countries of the Muslim Middle East for decades, and some not even that. And Saudia Arabia and Iran not at all! How do you explain homophobia in those countries?

    And to say that homosexuality was celebrated in medieval Islamic societies is just a joke. Is this something else you have made up?

    The truth is, no matter where lesbian and gay men have stood up for their rights they have been trampled on.

    Seems to me you have an agenda that is separate from LGBT rights.

  25. Blaming colonialism isn’t justified. Aside from the West NOT having colonised all Muslim states, if colonialism/British influence were so strong, why are Britain’s Muslims today so homophobic when we are now into our 2nd and 3rd generations who have all been exposed to British culture and law?

    Not to mention that western imperialism and values are spread through globalisation today – so why are Muslim states not becoming more liberal? Shouldn’t they be doing that if we have so much ‘influence’ over them?

    Whoever suggested it was western colonialism that cause Islamic hatred of homosexuals needs to read the Koran and get over their post-colonial guilt and self-hating white man syndrome!

  26. ‘The Association of British Muslims, which is not to be confused with the Muslim Association of Britain’

    Or The Peoples Front of Judea

  27. Mmmmm and Richard –

    I will fess up to a too loose use of the words ‘colonialism’ and ‘colonial’ – clearly not all Muslim lands were directly occupied in this way from the 18th century on but their defensiveness and relative decline faced with the soaring technical, economic and military ascendancy of the West is indisputable. The feeling was especially acute following the high noon of Ottoman power in the 15th and 16 centuries. And the direct domination is not that insignificant – Britain’s long control of India with its huge Muslim population, Napoleonic battles slugged out in Egypt, British control of Egypt and the Sudan, the French conquest of Algeria in the 1830’s, the advance of Tsarist Russia into extensive Muslim areas of central Asia, the game of tug-of-war over the declining Ottoman Empire between Russia and the ‘nearer’ Western powers.

    And, Richard, the homofriendly character of early and Medieval Islam is pretty well established. Medieval Arabic literature contains positively homoerotic themes which clerics and Caliphs alike enjoyed. John Boswell’s ‘Homosexuality, Christianity, and Social Tolerance – The Story of Gay People in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian Era to the 14th Century’ (a long title – think I’ve got it all right!), published in 1980, is an excellent read on these and other topics, inspite of the passage of 3 decades. Possibly hostile attitudes in the Koran don’t tell you much about the actual daily experience of the religion – much as exhortations to turn the other cheek or condemnations of the lending of money at interest in the Bible tell you much about the outlook of pious Christians. The point is that the rise of homophobia in Islam seems to coincide with the emergence of Western global dominance – ie, that of a culture which had been profoundly homophobic since about the 13th century. There is at least a strong case for saying that this is not a coincidence. There are parallel cases in other contexts – the Native Americans who now deny the existence of the Berdache, for instance.

    Why, asks Mmmmmm, have not Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality liberalised since the increasing global projection of (a newly liberal) Western culture in recent decades? But this has happened in the context of increasingly aggressive Western, and specifically US, policy in the Middle East and elsewhere in more than half a century. A consumerist and hedonistic image of the West flashes through the global media in association with policies seen as destructive and unjust. Inevitably a more visible and legally protected l&g community in the West will be seen by many Muslims in these circumstances as part and parcel of an evil and ‘decadent’ culture which is trying to ‘destroy’ theirs. Religious demagogues easily exploit this. Irrational taboos can easily become badges of belonging and loyalty to a ‘beseiged’ identity. This may explain the emergence of such attitudes even among indigenous Muslims in the West for whom religion is tied up with minority ethnicity and identification with what they see as Muslims abroad victimised by Western policy.

    I don’t have a separate agenda from that of equality for lgbt people, Richard. I just happen to think that when religiously-inspired people use a simplistic view of their faith (‘our tradition has condemned X consistently and forever’) to justify homophobic bigotry, it is as well to be in a position to point out the weakness of their position (it’s important to do it with Christians, too).

    Mmmmmmm – I have no ‘white self-hatred and post-colonial guilt’. If anything my interest is in pulling out the rug from under Muslim homophobes who condemn my culture as ‘decadent’ and then promote prejudices which in all likelihood originated in it and are now disappearing from it, though not fast enough.

  28. Riondo the existence of homoerotic literature doesn’t mean that the society from which it came from accepted Lesbian and Gay rights. We’re not comparing like for like here. The concept of lesbian and gay rights is not in anyway comparable with how people in the 19th century and earlier viewed the nature of human sexuality, let alone human rights.

    Anyway Shakespeare wrote homoerotic ballads, as did Oscar Wilde, yet you don’t need me to highlight to you that this is not evidence of a homo friendly society!

    The roots of the Islamic (and Christian and Jewish) attitudes towards sexuality all come from a common source. Yet western Christian and Jewish countries now have lesbian and gay rights and Middle Eastern Muslim countries don’t. It would take a superficial analysis to say that the reason why Christian and Jewish countries do have human rights and Islam don’t is because of Islam itself. I would add however that it would be also superficial to conclude that the reason Islamic countries don’t have gay rights is because of western imperialism in the past (especially in places that were not even under British or French rule!!). Hindu India, which was part of the British Empire for much longer than the Arab states that were, has a different climate when it comes to gay rights for example. Which brings me onto my final point.

    I would like to suggest my own theory. Call it simplistic if you will. Human rights are universal, not culturally relative. And the incorporation of universal human rights ARE unique to something, and its not culturally relative. You see it doesn’t matter whether a society has a Christian, Jewish, Islamic background or whatever. Countries that have a democratic tradition – have a free press, and independent judiciary etc are the countries that accept the modern concept of lesbian and gay rights. It doesn’t matter whether the country is Muslim or not (or even African Christian). What matters is democracy and its relationship with the universality of human rights. And the concept of democracy, like human rights, is universal.

  29. I am so tired of white gay people trying to lecturize non white groups on how to deal with homophobia. At least the Muslim group is speaking out against homophobia. I am tired of whites trying to lecture non white groups while revealing their own prejudices and Eurocentric attitudes. Different cultures deal with sensitive issues such as homosexuality differently. It is better for a Muslim group to condemn homophobia than for an uppity white gay group to speak out about it. I am sick of tired of outsiders, people that don’t understand certain cultures speaking what they don’t know. I prefer hearing from people inside a community that have more knowledge to speak out about issues of homophobia than uppity white westerners.

  30. Gay Daily Mail Reader 6 Jun 2011, 1:38am

    This shows that not all Muslims are homophobic. Unfortunately it is always the extremists who court publicity. Same with Christianity and the likes of Fred Phelps and Pope Benedict XVI.

  31. Haroun Ar-Rasheed 8 Mar 2012, 8:40am

    Listen puffs!
    The Quran mentions the fate of sodomy, which is the full wrath of God. The people of Lot were punished because they engaged in sexual activity with men and forsoke natural and lawful intercourse with their wives.
    Shi’a people can interpret the Holy Quran whichever way they want, but the Sunnah rejects homosexuality altogether. The punishment of homos is death by beheading.

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