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Comment: Canada is embracing gay Muslims

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  1. I’m glad to see Muslims in Western countries are starting to emulate their Christian counterparts…Cherry- picking is the first step required for a rational mind. Next Atheism, hopefully.

    1. The religious nutters cherry pick too. I never see them concentrate on or campaign against (or for, as the case may be) clothes with mixed fibres being banned, different crops being planted too close together being banned, disobedient children being stoned to death being legalised, adulterous wives being stoned to death being legalised, a ban on shellfish etc. All religious people cherry pick ultimately.

  2. Barry Dennison 30 Aug 2013, 7:38pm

    But why does it have to be cherry picking? Christian or Muslim?.

    Why can’t it just be human beings wanting to live by modern terms, not practice an orthodoxy of a 7 Century interpretation?

    Especially one that discriminates against gays and women!

    And why can’t progressive Muslims practice their faith without death threats from traditionalists?

    1. de Villiers 1 Sep 2013, 6:01pm

      I agree entirely. A major problem with the religions is that people today try to read the word of the texts literally – which was never intended at the time that they were written.

      Similarly, however, those who dislike what is done in the name of the religions then complain that the people who want to live by a modern interpretation must also follow the literal meaning of the texts if they are to be consistent and not to be cherry-picking.

      It is just as you have said it – people wanting to live by the modern terms and not the interpretation of the seventh century.

  3. the article, unlike the subject, is as interesting and engaging as assembly instruction for ikea wardrobe.

    1. you missed the appropriate qualifier: “this article….. is as interesting and engaging as assembly instruction for ikea wardrobe……TO ME”. I invite yo to consider not choosing to believe that what you don’t find interesting, is not interesting.

      1. richard, perhaps starting with ‘in my opinion’ would add some credibility to your ‘eloquent’ critique

  4. Colin (London) 31 Aug 2013, 9:29am

    This article touch my heart and I thank Barry Dennison for it.

    I was dragged up as a catholic. I once was almost expelled from school for asking if we could compare the catholic religion with the other religions of the world. Instantly I was sent out of the room with a loud shouting there are no other religions. That day I gay up all religion.

    I am not religious and felt very very hurt during the debates on equal marriage and have thought very bad things of religion having read almost every submission to Parliament. The churches or supposed church groups where the worst. To me living in the past being exclusive and using one upmanship. Turned my stomach and I am scarred for life now.

    However your article touched a nerve and it was instant. I don’t seek an god. I believe in science but groups that can come together support each other and let each other be has to be the way to go. Religion will destroy this world unless we all become more accepting.

    1. Colin (London) 31 Aug 2013, 9:33am

      Delighted to hear of all the good stuff going on in Canada. Heartwarming and just may have made me more tolerant of religion.

      I’d rather see it as community but just maybe it’s a step in the right direction that we the human race can come together to sort this planets issues out and still be tolerant of religion…You have me thinking today.

      Thank you Barry

      1. Barry Dennison 1 Sep 2013, 12:53am

        Oh, you’re awesome Colin from London. Yes, you capture the spirit of the OP/ED message perfectly. Thank YOU!

        Kindness begets kindness. Acceptance begets … you guessed it! :)

        Like you, I need no need for a god as the creator, science is slow to uncover more mysteries of the world, but until then … when I am treated with acceptance, tolerance, kindness … I want to give it back.

        Indeed, you’re right, all we are is humans is a community of people from different backgrounds and different faiths, internationally and local … many who believe in God, and if we take the example of these gay Muslims and female progressives to just open their door and invite people in for a meal and socializing, we’d sure get along better.

        The problem comes when some people think they’re holier than thou, and want to tell other people how to live.

  5. The_unforgiven22 31 Aug 2013, 9:58pm

    These people that you have met are an absolute minority… For me this is not a good thing- it only means more Muslims invade Canada… There is a page on FB in which f you can see Muslim and Arab ,,generosity” ,and treatment of their opponents… religious, political etc… As for the article it looks good

    1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 4:11am

      Aw, The_Unforgiven, thanks I’m so happy you can share my optimism in meeting such a minority. Indeed they are. But I was happy to meet them. I’m not one who needs a god, so I went to understand a different lifestyle, one that was super liberal. Not heavy handed. Just a, “live and let live” philosophy.

      What is your country, and history with Muslims that you think there’s an invasion?

      There is a divide for sure, but we all live in this world together and I’d rather try to understand than to fear and hate them (or any other minority).

      Admittedly, even member of my own family were silent after reading it. Typical family cudos on how it’s written, but didn’t want to discuss the content AT ALL!

      I just hope I shone a light on aspects no one has written about before.

  6. John Baird is Minister of Foreign Affairs. Chris Alexander is Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

    Recent article explains how Canadian federal conservatives have taken a different path from their American counterparts in just 8 years.

    1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 4:59am

      Thanks, Hue-Man, excellent link to a right wing news paper to boot! Good stuff.

      Why not put credit where credit is due? Political party be damned.

      Was so pleased to see El Farouk’s email confirming the content of the piece in an affirming way, but he was quick to object to my credit to Stephen Harper’s conservative government.

      I understand El Farouk’s loyalty that took him in, and that’s awesome. But it’s too polarizing and hyper-partisan to the max.

      1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 5:01am

        Truth is, these are policies from previous governments, Liberals, and the conservatives could’ve axed it, but didn’t.

        Instead, Canadian conservatives embraced it. Built it to be their own and have done an amazing job in championing human rights in Africa and the Arab world, condemning hangings and murders of people only because they were gay.

        Again, thanks Hue-Man for picking up on the political aspect.

        The Prime Minister is showing he’s not a hard core Christian condemning monger he’s made out to be. I think that’s worth acknowleding.

        1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 2:14pm

          Correction* El Farouk’s loyalty to a party that took him in …

  7. Helge Vladimir Tiller 1 Sep 2013, 8:49am

    Canada has been a shining star when it comes to accepting LGBTQ refugees from Iran–for many years. Some of them are religious, to different degrees of course. Some are secular. I’ve been supporting IRQR in Toronto ON for several years. IRQR has helped hundreds of gay, lesbian and transgender persons to find a safe haven in a new country. The most numerous part in Canada. We all know that the situation in Iran is just horrible for gay people ! My deep experience is as follows : Gay and transgender persons from Iran are nice, proud and good-natured individuals. THANK YOU, CANADA ! ( Helge in Norway )

    1. Helge Vladimir Tiller 1 Sep 2013, 9:11am

      IRQR : Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.

      1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 5:47am

        Helge, so few know about IRQR : Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. So I was surprised to see you did. Salute!

        The young Iranian in the OP/ED piece was introduced to me by Arsham Parsi, the Exec Director who travels the world bringing refugees in trouble back to safety. Busy guy.

        How did you become introduced to IRQR?

        Actually, this is the second ‘railroad’ of its kind in Canada, as in the late 1800’s, slaves from southern USA travelled hidden in barrels and road by horse and buggy for days, all organized by an underground of people who harbored them til they reached Canada and were considered free men.

        Glad IRQR is an NGO and works with governments to refugees harbor from the storm. So much easier than the old days! :)

        1. Helge Vladimir Tiller 5 Sep 2013, 6:46pm

          Hi dear Barry ! I have known Iranian resistance since 1980 / 81 ( political resistance ! ). I fell in love with an Iranian guy in London in 1968. And I have met several gay iranians over the years–even if an absolute majority of them are closeted ! And I have had Iranian sweethearts. I consider iranians to be my best friends- THEY are my real Family !! ( By the way : I have no contact with my own Family, or any relatives. ) A few years ago I found IRQR’s website on the internet. I met Arsham Parsi in Stockholm almost 2 years ago. And I support IRQR by sending an amount of money EVERY MONTH: They do a fabulous job !! Iran means A LOT to me–and I sincerely hope this beautiful country will get rid of the present Regime as soon as possible ! Thank you so much for asking Barry Dennison ! Greetings from Oslo – Norway ! ( where I live )

  8. MerlynHerne 1 Sep 2013, 8:14pm

    Canada is great at this sort of thing. Wish I could say the same about the US. We tend to give our fundies and other anti-gay fanatics too long a leash, I think.

    1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 5:53am

      Yup Merlyn, it’s that interpretation the US has on ‘free speech’. The Christian nutcases get equal time and credit. It’s a sickening cycle to watch.

      In other countries, their language is shut down and deemed frivolous.

  9. As a secular humanist and a Canadian, I believe that in our democracy members of a religious institution are free to practice their religion and interact with members of other religious institutions in any civilized way they want as long as they do not interfere in the governance of the state.

  10. Is the heavenly reward for a Canadian gay Muslim the same as it is for a Canadian straight Muslim?

    1. Helge Vladimir Tiller 2 Sep 2013, 7:40am

      Yes, Jonpol- some people are just crazy and inhuman. Even in gay friendly Scandinavia there are persons like this fanatic, from different religions.

      1. Barry Dennison’s original question made a lot of sense.

        /// As a journalist, I wanted to go see for myself why this religion was so important to those who have faced such discrimination.

        My first question upon meeting immigration lawyer, El Farouk Khaki, was to ask: “Why does this religion mean so much to you after being viciously shunned by Mosques?” ///

        El Farouk Khaki did not answer the question and derailed the interview.

        In my opinion, young gay Muslims who are perfectly aware of Islam’s condemnation of homosexuality should be getting as far away from Islam as they can instead of attempting to sugar coat the real mission of Islam to convert non-believers or fight against them.

        These young gays need guidance, and the sooner the better.

        1. Helge Vladimir Tiller 2 Sep 2013, 2:11pm

          I very much agree with you ! ( I’m an atheist myself— ) One major reason is that 4 out of 5 Law Schools in Islam prescribe the death penalty for homosexual activity-) HORRIBLE !

          1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 6:37am

            Jonpol, I truly like your cautious skepticism and observations

            But alas, it is I who is the bastard sugar coater! ;)

            And you’re right, it would be good to delve into. But I wanted to leave it at the essence of it all, in quoting El Farouk about looking at his real priority of practicing his religion with other liberal men and women, gay and straight who wish to congregate.

            To politely say, “screw you” to the tradionalists who will never give any slack in acceptance and equality of gays and women.

        2. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 6:39am

          Jonpol, I truly like your cautious skepticism and observations

          But alas, it is I who is the bastard sugar coater! ;)

          And you’re right, it would be good to delve into. But I wanted to leave it at the essence of it all, in quoting El Farouk about looking at his real priority of practicing his religion with other liberal men and women, gay and straight who wish to congregate.

          To politely say, “screw you” to the tradionalists who will never give any slack in acceptance and equality of gays and women.

          1. Barry Dennison 4 Sep 2013, 6:46am

            Sorry? Twice? Too much! And I’ll tell ya, I don’t sense these people see the mission of Islam to convert … or fight against non-believers.

            There was just none of that. Jjust praying, then socializing. Inviting me and others in to share in a tradition.

            Also, El Farouk is not a young Muslim, he’s an older gentleman of 50ish who runs a social and support group (with his partner Troy Jackson) for young gay Muslims who want to know the Canadian way … people born here or arrived who don’t leave their religion because its in the very soul of their person … they must continue their devotions as they have all their life and if meeting in secret and putting extra security on your computer is the only answer, then so be it. I respect that.

            But I’m like you, ain’t no religion is going to tell me what to do, I would never submit. And I’m satisfied that however slow science is in uncovering pieces of creat

          2. Barry — I don’t claim to be an expert on religion, but I know enough about Islam to say that any Muslim, gay or straight, Canadian born or not, who attempts to transform the ruthless teachings of Mohammed and Sharia into a casual and ecumenical prayer meeting is asking for serious trouble.

            The only relationship Allah is offering Muslims is that of master/slave. Allah is not a god of love, and if individual Muslims have come to realize that love and compassion is better than hatred and exclusion, then he/she is already an apostate and would be well-advised to leave the Ummah before he literally loses his head.

            Young gay Muslims – older ones too – are simply naive to believe they can reform Islam in any way.

          3. Salaam expresses a deep yearning for freedom from oppression, political and religious. I’ll grant them that, of course.

  11. Holiday Baker Man 3 Sep 2013, 6:51am


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