Keith Ellison on gay marriage

Ellison is the first Muslim representative elected to Congress.

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Yasir Qadhi: Dealing with Homosexual Urges

Muslim Matters: His take on the issue and the many comments it has generated.

I disagree with the advice to get married and that the proliferation of sexually charged images is a reason behind the supposed increase in the number of lesbians and gays. The get married solution could work if I could marry a partner of my choosing, most likely a woman, in more than just a few jurisdictions. I and many others I know knew that we were different and liked those of the same sex in childhood when the hottest images we saw were is Disney movies and cartoons.

My own comments:

I’m a Muslim woman that struggles with same sex attractions and in my experience, you cannot talk about these issues safely with anyone in the Muslim community other than those with the same tendencies. This is a double-edged sword, the ability to talk openly and honestly with someone who understands and the social support is invaluable but there is also the added risk of mutual attraction.

For some marriage is a realistic option, for others it is not. Celibacy is an option, but a difficult one. Others give in to their desires.

One thing, I would like to mention is that much of information available about homosexuality from Muslim sources, denigrates and/or alienates Muslims with same sex attractions from their faith. It is this attitude and stigma, which prevents many from coming forward to seek out help and may lead them to turn to non-Muslim sources or to leave their faith completely.

Beside expressions of sympathy, one real way to help those of us dealing with this issue is to stand up to such hateful and harmful talk about people with such attractions, your brothers and sisters. Shaykh Yasir is to be commended for speaking about the issue with such sensitivity in his article, yet I personally have heard him make stridently anti-gay remarks in class and it is precisely these remarks and attitudes, which cause immeasurable harm to our Muslim brothers and sisters and may alienate them from their faith. Don’t think of us as the other, we are right here, reading Muslim Matters, attending AlMaghrib seminars, memorizing Quran, learning Arabic, fasting, trying to improve ourselves and learn our deen, praying next to you, etc.

Separating out the Islamic viewpoint from our own personal biases is important and choosing our words carefully to avoid inadvertently harming other Muslims is also important. More than expressing sympathy for people with same sex attractions, stand up to the hate speech and bigotry and vitriol from the minbars and from friends and families against Muslims that struggle with their sexuality.

To his credit Yasir Qadhi responded:

You’re absolutely right, I have at times allowed such feelings to show in crude jokes. Jazak Allah for pointing this out and I will try my best to ensure this does not happen again. Also, please take it as your duty to correct such attitudes (via private comments) and, at least from my side, it will be taken very positively.

Yasir

And later in response to some other comments I wrote the following: Continue reading “Yasir Qadhi: Dealing with Homosexual Urges”

Dr. Sherman Jackson: Is There A Place For Gay Muslims?

Unfortunately, all of the Dr. Jackson’s articles have been removed from the Washington Post website including the one about same-sex marriage rights. But you can still read his words at The Politcal Muslim: Dr. Jackson in an article in the Washington Post:

A major feature of this framework is the tendency to assume that religion, and therefore Islam, invariably aims to translate its every moral sensibility into laws and policies. On this understanding, if we know a religion’s moral judgments, we can assume that we know its legal/political ones.

This understanding, however, is not consistent with the perspective of Traditional – to be distinguished in many ways from Modern – Islam. Simply put, before its encounter with the vision of the modern nation state, Islam was pluralistic: neither law nor politics, i.e., the applied legal order, was a zero-sum game.

One Islamic school held a substance to be unlawful; another held it to be harmless; neither, however, could bind the other to its view. Muslims unanimously condemned pork and wine consumption as immoral; but they did not deny this to Christians or others whose religious values allowed it.

In short, Islam did not seek to translate its every moral value or sensibility into a political order consisting of rules to be imposed on the entire society.

In this light, I have serious misgivings about a constitutional amendment that would ban gay unions across the board, not because I support or even condone homosexuality but because I believe that marriage is essentially a religious institution whose definition should be left to religious communities.

The state should be limited to the role of executor, just as it does in the case of the bylaws of professional organizations or the terms of multinational contracts.

In other words, if a religious community (e.g., the Episcopalians) deems gay unions to be consistent with Christianity, the state should only act to curtail their religious freedom for a compelling state or public interest. Otherwise, the political value of religious freedom should trump the moral perspective of the state. The matter, in other words, is not one of morality but one of religious freedom in a pluralistic society.