Amrou Al-Kadhi writes for the Independent that “Jahed Choudhury, 24 – who identifies as both gay and Muslim – married his partner in an Islamic ceremony, even though his family refused to attend.” He goes on to admit his family would also decline to attend his wedding, no matter how steeped in Islamic tradition it was. He says his relationship with his parents fell apart when they discovered his sexuality and tried to reform him. He writes that “this felt much more to do with their cultural association with Islam – their fear of what relatives would think – rather than anything to do with Islamic scripture.”
Yeah, why would you think it had anything to do with Islamic scripture? Cultural association with Islam has nothing to do with the Quran, just like Christian culture has nothing to do with the Bible. And by that I mean, I call bullshit. You can’t pretend the ceremony is primarily religious and the homophobia is primarily cultural.
He tries to blame our perception of Islam as homophobic on phenomena like The Muslim Council of Britain’s opposition to same-sex marriage in 2013. This is patently ridiculous. It would be like blaming our image of Christianity on the Southern Baptist Convention and in no way the Bible. The fact is there are passages in the Bible which can be interpreted as anti-gay. Some theologians have offered legitimate interpretations that aren’t homophobic, but no Christian worth his salt ignores these passages or pretends they don’t need to be explained.
Likewise, the Muslim holy texts have some damning things to say about homosexuality. The primary reference in the Quran itself is somewhat vague: “Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people. And the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves).” [7:80–84] Many scholars agree this passage refers to anal sex (Rowson, 2006).
In the Hadith, things warm up considerably: “The Prophet said: If you find anyone doing as Lot's people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.” (Sunan Abu Dawood, 38:4447) It’s not hard to see how these texts influenced traditional Islamic law. Cultural and religion operate in an exchange of ideas. They are not separate from each other. Today, some scholars argue that reinterpretation of these original texts is necessary (Dialmy).
Pretending Islam is a blameless flower of progressivism, which Amrou Al-Kadhi comes close to doing in the original article, is senseless. What the religion and the nations it was a part of accomplished in the past do not atone for present shortcomings. Christianity has been reformed numerous times, and continues to be formed. Universal reform is needed in Islam. Pretending otherwise isn’t healthy for anyone, least of all LGBT people.
Perhaps gay people are one of the ways Islam will find a way to become a peaceful religion.
Amrou Al-Kadhi. “After Britain's first gay Muslim marriage, let me tell you what it's actually like to be a gay Muslim.” The Independent. July 11, 2017. Web.
Everett K. Rowson (2006). "Homosexuality". In Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. 2. Brill. pp. 444–445.
LGBT in Islam