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Reza Aslan causes controversy by asking Muslims to accept same-sex marriage

Megan Boyanton July 13, 2015
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An academic who called for Muslims to embrace same-sex marriage has sparked a strong reaction on social media.

Dr Reza Aslan and Hasan Minhaj released a joint declaration, entitled, “An Open-Letter to American Muslims on Same-Sex Marriage,” that incited strong reactions of support and opposition on social media.

Last week, the pair pushed their fellow Muslims, as a minority in the country, to accept same-sex marriage, in order to promote progress for everyone.

After the letter was linked to Twitter, many were, above all, thankful for the topic to be discussed amongst American Muslims.

The piece states: “But now that same-sex marriage is legal in America, it’s shaking up your faith.

“You’re afraid of the future and what this could mean for your kids.

“You recognize the growing acceptance of gay rights, but personally you just can’t bring yourself to embrace the shift.”

Some Twitter users expressed that discontent publicly.

The two argue the opposition, though, saying: “We shouldn’t be perpetuating our marginalization by marginalizing others.

“Rejecting the right to same-sex marriage, but then expecting empathy for our community’s struggle, is hypocritical.”

A 2014 poll released by Ipsos MORI reported that the Muslim population was only around 0.8 percent of the US population in 2010, which opposed the common belief that they made up about 15 percent.

Gallup’s study from May 2015 stated that about 3.8 percent of Americans identify as part of the LGBT community.

However, Americans thought that it was 23 percent of the population.

The stereotyping towards both of these minorities is overwhelming, though.

The letter continues: “Think about the way people look at your hijabi sister or your bearded brother when they walk through the mall.

“Think about the grumbles and stares you get at airports.

“Think about the vitriol that’s spewed on you by your own elected political leaders.

“That’s how your LGBT brothers and sisters feel every day of their lives.

“Are you okay with that?”

However, an overwhelmingly positive reaction from Muslim and non-Muslim readers, straight and otherwise, was voiced as well.

Before citing a passage from The Quran, the letter states: “We don’t know about you, but our faith teaches us to care for the weak and the marginalized, the poor and dispossessed, those who are trampled underfoot, those who are persecuted—no matter who they are, no matter what they believe, no matter who they choose to love.”

Many identified with the political points made throughout the piece: “. . .the constitution that just ensured the rights of LGBT communities is the same constitution that protects our mosques and community centers, that keeps our Islamic schools open, that allows us equal rights and privileges in the face of overwhelming hatred and bigotry from our fellow Americans.

“You can’t celebrate one without the other.”

It concludes: “Tolerating another community only stirs up concealed fear toward the marginalized and apathy toward the political process.

“As minorities we don’t have the luxury to have either of those emotions.

“We have to do more than tolerate.

“We have to embrace.

“We have to fight for the right of others to live their lives as freely as we want to live ours.”

With reactions from every part of the spectrum, the open-letter accomplished what it intended to do- have the community acknowledge same-sex marriage.

Originally from Iran, Dr Aslan is an academic, writer and professor at the University of California.

Comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj is American-born, but both of his parents are from Aligarh, India.

Related topics: Anti-gay, Discrimination, equal marriage, Gay, gay marriage, Gay rights, gay weddings, hasan minhaj, Homophobia, homophobic, Law, lesbian, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, LGBT, LGBT rights, marriage, marriage equality, muslim american, open letter, Religion, reza aslan, same sex marriage, same sex weddings, Same-sex wedding, Twitter, US

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