International: Islamic Texts as a Source for Acceptance of Queer Individuals
Queer Muslims face a multitude of challenges, of which one is rejection. This is anchored by the belief that homosexuality is a major sin in Islam and punishable by death under Shariah law. The Inner Circle has documented through engaging with the local Muslim community of Cape Town that most people who react harshly towards queer Muslims do so from a position of fear and ignorance of the challenges facing queer Muslims.
There have been attempts in the past to raise the topic of homosexuality within Islam and to highlight homoeroticism within Muslim communities. Yet there is a lack of literature on the issue from a theological perspective. This perspective is necessary as most clients who approach the Inner Circle for help seek a theological answer for their inability to reconcile their faith with their sexuality.
Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle examines this need in his book “Homosexuality in Islam” and braves the waters of addressing the issue from a theological point of view. However, the book is an academic piece of work and it does not provide uncomplicated answers to the ordinary Muslim. This article therefore attempts to meet this need.
Islam, its sacred texts and their authenticity have been under more scrutiny in the West since 11 September 2001. This, coupled with the international queer sector’s demand for human rights, has placed pressure on orthodox Muslim clergy to defend its religious texts and to publicly authenticate their position on non-hetero normative sexualities. These events provided an opportunity for progressive Muslim thought to re-emerge. Hence, we observe progressive Muslim individuals and organisations re-opening the discourse on Islam, gender and sexual diversity in the last decade. Scholastic work such as that of Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle and Kecia Ali was possible due to the re-emergence of progressive Muslim thought around homosexuality and sexual ethics in Islam.
“And say: Truth has now arrived, and falsehood perished: for falsehood by its nature is bound to perish."
It is an Islamic belief that the trajectory towards unravelling matters is a universal process through which truth authenticates itself over falsehood. Those who perceive themselves to be the custodians of the truth would attempt to justify and defend their position as if it were the only truth, until such a time when new information is presented to them, compelling them to change their stance.
By Muhsin Hendricks, Director of the Inner Circle, a queer Muslim organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 2006, the Inner Circle gives support to queer Muslims locally and internationally and has a number of empowerment programs for queer Muslims and the communities they come from. It also hosts an Annual International Retreat that brings together queer Muslim activists from different queer Muslim organisations across the globe.
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