By Jennifer Tchinnosian
27 October 2008
Panelist Amal Amireh, professor of women and gender studies at George Mason University, said there are many homosexual Muslims that practice Islam, adding that it is important to speak for these people.
"Speaking about homosexuality and Islam is risky," Amireh said. "Not speaking about homosexuality and Islam is riskier."
While a majority of the Muslim panellists agreed that homosexuality was permissible under Islam, some said being gay was against their religion. Hisham Mahmoud, a lecturer at Princeton University, said, "No jurist will ever accept homosexuality as a practice," and condoned the punishment of homosexuality.
The lecturer's comment provoked an outburst of emotion from panellist Imam Dayiee Abdullah of the Al-Fatiha Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Religious Roundtable, both of which advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims.
"If you're heterosexual, you get away with a lot of BS. I've had enough of that," Abdullah said, adding, "If you also state Allah is the judge, then let him judge and be quiet!"
His exclamation was met with a burst of applause.
Amireh also touched on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's denial of the existence of homosexuals in Iran.
"Perhaps what he meant is that since there are laws against homosexuality in Iran, and since all Iranians are law-abiding citizens, there are no homosexuals in Iran," she said.
Abdullah said he believes that the Quran talks to homosexuals when it talks to "mankind and believers." He later quoted a passage in the Quran mentioning men who have no desire for women.
Later in the discussion Mahmoud countered this by saying that the Quran passage refers to asexual men like eunuchs. Furthermore, Mahmoud said the Quran dictates that homosexuals should be punished.
"It's very difficult to reinterpret those verses away from God's taking issue with the people of Lot for their choosing men over women," he said referring to 14 verses about the story of Lot.
Imam Johari Abdul Malik said the most important thing for Muslims to do is to know their priorities in obeying the will of Allah.
"If our first discourse in our priority is what kind of sex you have, then we're off the mark," he said.
Mahmoud said that while the homosexual act is condemned, "the feeling of homosexuality is not." He encouraged the audience to "work with" homosexual feelings and try to stay chaste.
"Struggling to suppress that feeling would be rewarded by God," he said.
Abdullah also discussed what he usually encounters when he counsels parents of children who are openly homosexual.
"Many times, the issue is the community in which they socialize, and what will people think of them? What will they think about the family?" he said.
Abdullah makes such parents decide if they love their child or the people around them more.
"You don't have to agree with your child in terms of what they want to do with their life, but listen to what they have to say," he said. "It generally allows them to talk on the level of listening."
by Tariq Ramadan
29 May 2009
The Islamic position on homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive issues facing Muslims living in the West, particularly in Europe. It is being held up as the key to any eventual “integration” of Muslims into Western culture, as if European culture and values could be reduced to the simple fact of accepting homosexuality. The contours of this de facto European culture is in a state of constant flux, shifting according to the topic of the day. Just as some insist, as do the Pope and certain intellectuals—often dogmatic and exclusivist defenders of the Enlightenment—that Europe’s roots are Greek and Christian (thus excluding Muslims), so several homosexual spokesman and the politicians who support them are now declaring (with an identical rejection of Muslims) that the “integration of Muslims” depends on their acceptance of homosexuality. The contradiction is a serious one: does Christianity, which forms the root structure of European culture, and which purports to embody European values and identity, not condemn homosexuality? A curious marriage. Unless the contradiction is intended to stigmatize Islam and Muslims by presenting them as “the Other”… without fear of self-contradiction.
We must reiterate, as does Isabelle Levy in “Soins et croyances”  that all the worlds’ major religions and spiritual traditions—from the majority view in Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism to Christianity and Islam—condemn and forbid homosexuality. The great majority of rabbis hold the same position, as do the Pope and the Dalaï Lama, who condemns homosexuality. For these traditions, as for Freud (who speaks of “perversion”), homosexuality is considered to be “against nature,” an “expression of disequilibrium” in the growth of a person. The moral condemnation of homosexuality remains the majority opinion of all religions, and Islam is no exception. It would be senseless to wish to deny the facts, to contradict the textual sources and to force believers to perform intellectual contortions so that they can prove they are in tune with the times.
The good news comes from the younger generation: cultures and religions cannot stop them from getting to know one another, from living together, and from sharing both spaces and hopes. They are the future; there can be no doubt that they will leave our past fears far behind.
 Isabelle Lévy, Soins et Croyances, Guide pratique des rites, cultures et religions à l’usage des personnels de santé et des acteurs sociaux, Editions Estem, Paris, 2002, p.149
Professor Tariq Ramadan is currently President of the European think tank: European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels