Junaid Jahangir
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Dr. Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is inspired by the elder Muslim mystics. With Dr. Hussein Abdul Latif, he has co-authored the forthcoming book "Islamic law and Muslim same-sex unions."

Entries by Junaid Jahangir

Canadian Communities Must Unite Against Hatred

(9) Comments | Posted December 6, 2016 | 7:36 AM

Recently, Noah Rabbani, a skinny 15-year-old teen of Pakistani origin was brutally assaulted with a baseball bat in Hamilton. He has gone through surgery to repair his cracked skull, jaw and teeth.

This has left some Canadians of Pakistani and South Asian descent to worry about the...

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Ethnic Community Leaders Should Support LGBTQ Youth

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2016 | 2:50 PM

Recently, CBC reported the criticism directed at the Alberta Teacher's Association "Professionals Respecting and supporting Individual Sexual and Gender Minorities" (PRISM) resource for secondary schools.

The resource is meant to help foster inclusivity for all students. However, the argument of accommodating gender and sexual minority students at...

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Toronto Police Chaplain's Sexist Views Don't Define My Islam

(10) Comments | Posted November 3, 2016 | 11:45 AM

Concerns have been recently raised about the Muslim Toronto police chaplain on his personal views about women and marriage. Officer Musleh Khan's viewpoints come across as strongly patriarchal and infantalizing of women. However, he claims that he does not believe women are second-class citizens and that his words have been taken out of context.

Khan is a young officer who seemingly follows a morality shaped by patriarchal values. It is easy to find similar counterparts amongst certain conservative religious communities where women face restrictions and duties of various kinds. As such, instead of trivializing the problem to the viewpoints of one Muslim chaplain, the issue at hand should be one of patriarchy-infused religious morality.

Can we really expect Khan to espouse liberal views if the type of traditional religious education he may have received could instigate him to reject equality? As such, the concern for conservative Muslims should be aimed at the sort of traditional religious education that is being imparted to young Muslims in less moderate communities, which paralyzes their critical faculties.

The problem is the belief amongst certain groups of conservative Muslim groups that reason must be replaced by taqlid (mindless imitation) in religious affairs. This is perhaps why some individuals are able to read and recite Arabic verses, but are rarely able to explain the meaning of those texts.

Khan has expressed that wives should be obedient to their husbands and seek permission before leaving their homes. He also asserts that it would be a major sin to refuse sex to husbands without a proper excuse such as sickness or obligatory fasting. He believes that it is the nature of men to demand sex more than women.

Had Khan studied the Qur'an based upon tadabbur (reflection) and aql (reason), he would not have fettered the meaning of the texts with patriarchy. Indeed, the idea of seeking permission from husbands before leaving home and the notion of greater sexual desires of men are extraneous to the Qur'an. Such viewpoints can be found in medieval legal manuals, but Muslims are not bound by the opinions of fallible scholars who shaped classical jurisprudence.

Reducing a human being to the servitude of another goes against the principal Islamic teaching on submitting to none except Allah.

Classical scholars were expounding upon the Qur'an based on their social mores. Their opinions coloured by their cultural constructs are not binding upon later generations of Muslims.

Conservative Muslims like Khan will have to explain that if they do not view marriage as a contract in which the husband buys exclusive access to a woman's private parts, then on what basis do they continue to impose restrictions on the mobility of women, which was a feature of such marriage contracts?

However, since Muslims like Khan have abandoned legal reasoning for mindless imitation of the texts, they may not be able to appreciate how patriarchy of the legal jurists influenced their viewpoints. Additionally, such Muslims may not be able to answer whether the increasing number of Muslim stay-at-home dads will also have to seek permission from the bread-winning working wife.

There exists a secondary text in which angels curse a woman for refusing sex to the husband. However, this text is also extraneous to the Qur'an. The very idea behind sexual relationships is to engender mawadda (affection), which cannot arise if the wife is obligated to perform sexual acts without regard to her emotional welfare. Moreover, reducing a human being to the servitude of another goes against the principal Islamic teaching on submitting to none except Allah.

The whole Khan fiasco will die out when the media loses interest. It will however provide fodder to xenophobes who will stoke their pet peeve of Islam bashing. They will contribute to negativity and hatred, but will not support Muslims like the Canadian Council of Muslim Women who are actually combating patriarchy and bring much-needed change.

The need of the hour is for Muslim communities to revive the use of critical reasoning in religion and free Muslims from the stranglehold of popular male celebrity scholars who infuse religious teachings with their unthinking patriarchal biases.

In this regard, progressive and Universalist Muslims will continue to assert the truth that patriarchy does not define Islam.

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Muslims And Allies Celebrate High Holidays And Diwali

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2016 | 11:57 AM

The festering Israel-Palestine conflict and the continued tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is sometimes painted as a conflict of Islam with Jews and Hindus. Both are economic and political conflicts. Yet, there are Muslims who wish to revive the domination of past Caliphates and the inegalitarian...

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Edmonton LGBT Community Stands Against Islamophobia

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2016 | 3:43 PM

Ubuntu - we belong in a greater whole and are diminished when others are humiliated or diminished ~ Desmond Tutu

Recently dozens of flyers were distributed anonymously to mailboxes in Edmonton. Referring to Islam as a violent and "delusional seventh-century cult," they constitute the latest incident of hate...

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To Canadian Imams: Give Muslim LGBT Youth The Support They Deserve

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2016 | 4:04 PM

Imam Soharwardy in Calgary, Dr. Shabir Ally in Toronto and Imam Jebara in Ottawa serve the Muslim community's interests in their respective cities. They lead their communities through tumultuous times that have stoked many incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry along with the rise of extremist Muslim groups. Retired Muslim leaders like...

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How We Can Help End The Persecution Of Ahmadi Muslims

(4) Comments | Posted September 27, 2016 | 2:06 PM

Imagine all Kashmiris were Ahmadi Muslims, would you still speak up for their rights? ~ Kashif N. Chaudhry

The persecution of Ahmadi Muslims is denied, ignored or at best condemned with the caveat "but Ahmadis are not Muslims." Their plight may go unaddressed unless Muslims...

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Muslims Should Reject Exclusivism And Excommunication

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2016 | 3:08 PM

Recently, a top cleric in Saudi Arabia branded Iranians as non-Muslims, referring to them as "sons of the Magi." Such takfir (excommunication) is neither a unique feature of the Saudi clerics nor is it restricted towards Shia Muslims. Throughout Muslim history, scholars have held similar opinions.

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Updating 5 Muslim Beliefs On Homosexuality

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2016 | 4:43 PM

Conservative Muslims believe that the earliest jurists and exegetes have best explained and analyzed the Qur'an and the Hadith. However, it is important to underscore that the reasoning of the past scholars was informed by the social mores and medical knowledge of their times.

Past scholars associated the invention...

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Critics Must Join Progressive Muslims For Effective change

(14) Comments | Posted September 1, 2016 | 2:47 PM

My articles are based on a hermeneutic that is religiously plural, atheist inclusive and LGBTQ affirming. Yet, time and again, I have received strong responses from those critical of faith and Islam. Shahla Khan Salter of Universalist Muslims and Kelly Wentworth of Muslims for Progressive Values...

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Logistical Rules Do Not Hinder Muslim Same-Sex Unions

(0) Comments | Posted August 30, 2016 | 3:26 PM

Dr. Mohammad Fadel, a Professor at the University of Toronto, offered a reflection on the possible theological inclusion of gay Muslims in Islam. His main argument is that while the Qur'an does not countenance the possibility of same-sex relationships, gay Muslims may be accommodated based on necessity.

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LGBT Muslims Should Reject Misery Sold As Compassion

(4) Comments | Posted August 26, 2016 | 5:24 PM

Remember, those that try to destroy your happiness, do so out of jealousy, they are unhappy with their own miserable lives ~ Online meme

The ex-gay movement has been thoroughly discredited with scandal after scandal. Their Muslim counterparts, who identify as being afflicted with same-sex attraction (SSA), have...

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5 Ways Muslims Can Support LGBT Acceptance

(1) Comments | Posted August 25, 2016 | 1:10 PM

Many conservative Muslim leaders, at least in North America, no longer uphold the death punishment for homosexuality. There are popular speakers who still do so but they are increasingly finding that it is not politically expedient to air such views. Although, they still prescribe permanent celibacy to gay...

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7 Shifts In Islam On LGBT Issues

(1) Comments | Posted August 22, 2016 | 4:58 PM

Conservative Muslim leaders often claim that the Islamic position on homosexuality is clear and immutable. They exaggerate the issue of homosexuality to be on par with the six articles of faith and the five pillars of Islam. Despite their claims, the contemporary Muslim position on LGBT issues has gone through...

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Addressing 5 Muslim Misconceptions On Homosexuality

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2016 | 4:17 PM

Earlier this year the Indonesian Psychiatric Association issued a statement branding homosexuality and transgenderism as curable mental illnesses. A school for transgender women in Indonesia was also shut down. When the founder of the school, Ibu Shinta claimed that Islam affirms diversity, she was simply labeled...

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Muslims Must Speak Out To Let The World Know Black Lives Matter

(3) Comments | Posted August 9, 2016 | 12:28 PM

Recently, many Canadians marched for justice in Ottawa and other cities for a Somali Canadian, Abdirahman Abdi, who died following an arrest. In Edmonton, Bashir Mohamed was called the "N" word. He says that people have intimidated him, cursed him, thrown things and spat at him...

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5 Ways LGBT Muslims Can Resist Deep-Rooted Heterosexism

(1) Comments | Posted July 27, 2016 | 6:51 PM

It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with my interpretations; even the classical Qur'an commentators disagreed on many details. Disagreement deepens our understanding of the Qur'an. -- Muhammad Asad

Post-Orlando, some conservative Muslims supported a rebuttal of the LGBT affirming and life saving work by American Muslim...

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Unpacking 5 Muslim Beliefs On Homosexuality

(3) Comments | Posted July 25, 2016 | 4:33 PM

You brought it upon yourself and upon your poor family ~ Dr. William Waller to Kizzy - Roots (2016)

After Orlando, conservative Muslim leaders have become more conscious of the need to defend themselves against charges of homophobia. However, they blame LGBT Muslims for bringing oppression upon themselves and oblige...

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Homosexuality Is Not A 'Test' From Allah

(2) Comments | Posted July 21, 2016 | 6:58 PM

Not even 7000 years of joy can justify seven days of repression ~ Hafez

After Orlando, instead of perpetuating the discourse of obscene tastes, calamitous diseases and protecting children, mainstream Muslim leaders have begun reaching out to LGBT brothers and sisters. However, when it comes to LGBT Muslims,...

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Can Islamic Scholars Like Ghamidi Help LGBT Muslims?

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2016 | 9:36 AM

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is one of the most brilliant contemporary Islamic scholars from Pakistan. In a country festering with the hatred of minorities, he has upheld a rational approach to religion. Recently, in a seemingly Australia-based video, he argued against same-sex unions on the basis of...

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