.An issue we need to talk about
I have always felt most sympathethic with the situation I believe many gays find themselves in. Which is kind of ironic because I have also met quite a few homosexuals who were rather wary when it came to Muslims, especially practising ones ("Muslims, aren't that those guys who can't wait to whip / burn / stone us to death?").
I have always felt most sympathethic with many gays because as a convert I know what it means to realise you're different, to figure out in what way you are not like the majority of people around you, to redefine your identity, to be reluctant about sharing the news about the "new you" (who, in so many ways, is still the person you used to be before, only some refuse to acknowledge it) with others...
Just like homosexuals I know what it means to be a minority, a minority that is often despised and looked down on in our society. Just like many of you, I have also had my coming out. I know. I do. It might not be the same, but the parallels are striking.
And no matter what you think about homosexuality, whether you consider it a sin or not, a matter of choice or not, it is not right that the topic continues to be treated as a taboo by many Muslims. There are men out there who love other men. There are women who love other women. Get over it and let's talk about it, let's try to figure out the best way of dealing with the situation. You can like it (or not), you can consider it a sin (or not), but it is not right to behave as if the issue did not exist.
Even if you believe it is a sin.
Even if you believe it is a sin?
Even if you believe it is a sin.
Because you also believe drinking alcohol is a sin. Or cheating on your wife. Or beating your wife. Or not praying.
I think we should ask the question why Muslims freak out when being faced with a homosexual when you don't see the same reaction when they're confronted with a person who does not pray. Or who drinks. Cheats on his wife. Why are we disgusted by homosexuals? And not by murderers or thieves or dictators?
If there is one thing this Islam has taught me it is that we do not have the right to look down on people. We don't. You can have your opinion on what is right and wrong, you can say it and act according to it, but I don't think you have the right to demean, belittle, insult or even physically attack someone you think commits a sin. You don't. That's not Islamic. That's not what this religion teaches us.
And just by the way...
It doesn't work.
If a friend of mine tells me tomorrow she wants to leave Islam, she has decided not to be a Muslim any more, will my going mad change anything? Will my insults, my threats, my looking down on here change anything about it? No. I have to be there for her, try to understand her, be as non-judgemental as possible - because anything else will not help. Because it might actually make things worse. Because I owe it to her as a person.
The same goes for someone who drinks. Who does not pray. Who has feelings for the other sex.
I know it might be difficult, especially since many of us come from a background where culturally homosexuality is pretty much the worst thing you can accuse someone of, where men have to be "real men" and calling someone "a girl" is actually considered an insult (WTH??) ... but let's try to put culture aside and treat gay Muslims as who they are (yes, even if you believe they are committing a major sin) - brothers and sisters in Islam.
And now read Mohammed Yusuf's article on Suhaib Webb on the topic (and make sure you have a look at the comments section, too - it's almost more interesting than the article itself...).