When we talk about homosexuality, we often think that Muslims like to shut this subject off completely. Truth be told, this is unfortunately often the case. We are raised in an environment where culture and religion often get mixed up. Whilst we were growing up, homosexuality became recognised and accepted. We developed awareness of the different types of people that our parents were never familiar with, which makes it easier for us to communicate with our future children, the next generation.
We often perceive evolutions in society from a cultural perspective instead of an Islamic one. As a matter of fact, Islam is the only religion that accepts the feeling that comes along with homosexuality. Many other religions consider(ed) homosexuality as a disease or an illusion, whereas the Islamic religion accepts its sane existence but looks at it as a tribulation. In other words, feeling the way you do isn’t something you should be embarrassed about. The way you act is another story though, because we won’t deny the fact that to act upon it is listed as a sin.
It is funny though, how we can easily walk past people who do drugs and drink alcohol and pray for them to repent tomorrow. But when we talk about gay people, we see them as a lost cause. When did we decide to categorise the different types of sins according to our own home-grown principles? Why should we judge the whole existence of a human being based on a sole act? Isn’t that superficial and against our religious principles?
Same-sex marriages are now legal in all fifty states of the US. But does that change anything for American Muslims? Drinking alcohol and entering premarital relationships are also widespread practices in the West, but that doesn’t mean we have no choice but to implement them in our own lives. In a world where cultures are blending, enmeshed and interdependent, it is crucial to realise the importance of coexistence and the dangers of rejecting it. We hope that people who are not in touch with our religion respect our way of life, we put up the standards and expectations for ourselves towards them. We try to create a climate where both parties can live in peace. The time of conservatives is gone, by applying this two-way-street thinking; we do not solely place our own needs first but the needs and the well-being of an entire society.
We think that in order to have a safe and harmonious environment for the next generation, there is a great need for tolerance between the different lifestyles. This tolerance can be taught early in life. We believe that it is important to educate the next generation in a proper way; respecting other people’s decisions and gently taking down hands that tend to point at others. We have religious aspects that will always be important to us, Muslims, no matter what time or generation we are living in. But we cannot lose touch with reality.
As Yasir Qadhi put it:
“Just as all of us Western Muslims have non-Muslim friends (at college, or work, or our neighbors) who drink and ‘party’, yet we get along fine with them in civil society and benefit from their companionship in our lives, it shouldn’t at all be a stretch to understand that people of alternative sexual orientations as well can be our colleagues and neighbors and classmates, and there is no need at all to be preach hatred against them or discriminate in any fashion or form. In fact, our religion commands us to be ideal role models for all people of all backgrounds.”
We hope that Muslims (as well as non-Muslims of course) realise that in modern day societies, we don’t need to be copies of each other to be living together.
Written by: Donjetë Vuniqi, Ismail Eddegdag, Latifa Saber, Fatima-Zahra Naimi, Hayat El Khattabi, Mansour Jamal, Soufyan Harraoui, Hanan Challouki and Taha Riani