Parvez Sharma engages in some fashionable moral equivalence here — neither Judaism nor Christianity are today calling for the killing of gays — and ignores the fact that Muhammad himself called for the killing of homosexuals, but his words here nonetheless represent a tremendous advance over the denial and deception that usually dominate the mainstream media’s treatment of Islam and jihad.
“Gay Muslim: Islam Is No Religion of Peace,” by Parvez Sharma, Daily Beast, June 16, 2016:
…The same defensive, apologist Muslims are called upon every time something like this happens. I, too, have been called several times, but have so far refused the TV parts because I am not sure what I have to say is palatable. Mateen, the homophobic gay Muslim, is not a new phenomenon. The Muslim religious elite is directly responsible for inspiring the guilt and self-hatred that this man must have felt, needlessly struggling with his sexuality. And then he became a mass murderer, whose actions can never be condoned.
What I do know is this. As a devout gay Muslim I am not going to make a claim that “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Growing up in a small Indian town with a large Muslim population, I heard young men talking about jihad in Kashmir and Palestine. I have even heard such matters discussed in hushed whispers at Manhattan’s 96th St. mosque, where I sometimes go and pray on Fridays and where subjugation of women is discussed in the open without the blink of an eye. The mosque was built largely with Saudi money, and its Imams often come equipped with the perversions of Wahhabi ideology.
A few weeks after September 11th, its Imam at the time, Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha resigned and left hastily for his native Egypt. He was quoted in The New York Times as having said amongst much else including the familiar deriding of “homosexuality” “‘only the Jews’ were capable of destroying the World Trade Center” and added that ‘’if it became known to the American people, they would have done to Jews what Hitler did.”
Calling Islam a religion of peace is dangerous and reductive. Like the other two monotheisms that precede it, it has blood on its hands. It’s time we Muslims start looking inward at our own communities so that the bloodshed can stop. I’m convinced that Mateen’s attitude is not fringe. It can be found everywhere from Mecca to my own mosque in New York City.
The vast canon of Islam that emerged after the Prophet Muhammad’s life has enough sanction for violence, if you know what you are looking for. And there is no lack of homophobic condemnation either. The Quran itself remains vague on the matter, lazily regurgitating the Old and New Testament’s story of the Nation of Lot. And for the majority of 1.6 billion Muslims, many of them plagued by poverty and illiteracy, the debates going on amongst the Western Muslim pundits, will make no sense. What they listen to is Khutba (Friday sermon) after Khutba that talks about homosexuality as a sin amongst other matters of religious import….