The word “homosexual” is absent in the Koran.

In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, there has been speculation about the attack motives of Omar Mateen, the gunman. The shooting led to the death of 49 people. The rationale of such a loathsome crime was also fluid, first thought of being a homophobic one, and then there were news that Mateen had gay dating apps installed in his smartphone, which turned the thought rationale for the crime into self-loathing.

It was also found that he regularly patronized the nightclub. In every case, Mateen's religion, Islam, was alleged to be the fundamental reason for this massacre. It seems that in Islam, homophobia is a default setting.

In these choppy times, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Advocacy Group, created a flutter of sorts when Nihad Awad, the head of this organization, other than denouncing this attack, also expressed a clear support for the civil rights of lesbian, transgender, gay and bisexual people.

He said that for a number of years, the LGBT community members have stood in tandem with the Muslim community against any kind of hate crimes, discrimination, Islamophobia, and marginalization. Awad added that it is not possible for his group to be selective in its support when it comes to social justice.

When it came to Islam, the word “homosexual” is absent in the Koran. This is because the word was invented only in the latter part of the 19th century. Only the hadith, a compilation of sayings linked to Prophet Mohammed, has condemned homosexuality. Muslims believe in their duty to seek out marriage and have children, an idea that some interpret as sticking to one sexual orientation, which it is not.

The news of such a stance has shocked many in the Islamic community. Omid Safi, who holds the post of director of Duke University Islamic Studies Center, termed such comments and other statements from a few other Muslim groups as shocking. He said that the group members, even a few days ago, will be loath to public utter words like lesbian and gay in a public environment. This shooting has brought to the limelight the attitudes of Muslims towards homosexuality.

There was also the problem of dealing with LGBT Muslims. Faisal Alam, a gay American Muslim who founded the advocacy and support group Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, holds the opinion that such comments have resulted in the “historic opportunity” of discussing things which were previously thrown under the carpet. His views have been echoed by other gay Muslims like Eman Abdelhadi of New York University who said there is no visibility for LGBT Muslims. Indeed, their identities were frequently erased.

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