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There Is No Slippery Slope From Same-Sex Unions To Bestiality And Incest

The neo-traditionalist Muslim strategy is to diminish same-sex relationships to urges and whims and then make the analogy with those things.

11/23/2017 15:27 EST | Updated 11/23/2017 15:27 EST
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Neo-traditionalist Muslims use the FIB argument against same-sex unions. They argue that basing relationships solely on consent would lead to the slippery slope of allowing fornication, incest and bestiality (FIB).

However, there is no slippery slope from same-sex unions to FIB.

FIB is a play on the acronym PIB, coined and addressed by philosopher John Corvino, where polygamy replaces fornication.

Discourse on PIB is relatively easier, as neo-traditionalist Muslims downplay homophobia and point towards Islamophobia.

Yet, both neo-traditionalist Muslims and Islamophobes make for strange bedfellows as they agree that Islam could not be any different than the sexist, homophobic and supremacist caricature that they espouse.

But neither group speaks for all Muslims.

The neo-traditionalist Muslim strategy is to diminish same-sex relationships to urges and whims and then make the analogy with FIB.

But it is not clear on what basis are fornication, incest and bestiality lumped together. If the grouping is based on sinful acts, then anything and everything could be included. Scholars like Ahmad Kutty already include murder, theft and watching pornography in their responses on homosexuality.

However, Conservative rabbis remind us that "this kind of 'slippery slope' argument is faulty on several grounds. First, the very essence of moral and legal sophistication is the increasing ability that one learns to distinguish cases."

Regardless, if same-sex relationships are equated with FIB on the basis that they are all consensual acts, then the analogies fail on multiple grounds.

First, same-sex relationships based on intimacy, affection and companionship affirmed through a legal contract are distinguished from acts committed outside a legal contract. A sexual outlet through marriage offers an alternative to fornication, a right that is currently denied to LGBTQ Muslims. Therefore, the analogy with fornication or adultery is moot.

Second, the juristic rule on the spouse being from the same species, based on verse 30:21, pre-empts bestiality. There is no way to ascertain consent from animals. Even if consent were somehow divined, it is not clear how the paperwork for a legal contract would be obtained and how the rules for divorce and mahr (dower) would be enforced, especially if the animal is female.

Additionally, if the animal has sharp claws or venomous poison, then it is not clear how the issue of progeny and the potential lack of tranquility, peace, and compassion would be addressed.

Third, the prohibition of incest emerges from an explicit text, whereas the prohibition of same-sex unions rests on a contested analogy between LGBTQ Muslims and Lot's people.

Verse 4:23 is quite explicit in stating that, "forbidden to you are your mothers, daughters, and sisters" along with a whole array of other related women. However, despite the tactics of neo-traditionalist Muslims to place their prohibition of same-sex unions on par with the six articles of faith and the five pillars of Islam, there is no express text on same-sex unions.

All we have is the story of Lot's people whose conduct includes ambushing travellers, cutting the highway and committing evil deeds in public assemblies and by some hermeneutic gymnastics, we are told that all of this signifies the prohibition of same-sex unions!

Incest between adults and youth of either gender has to be rejected based on power dynamics, exploitation and lack of consent. While consent could be divined between siblings of similar age, such relationships break the family unit. When sexual relationships are avoided amongst good friends to keep the friendship intact, such boundaries are even more sacrosanct in the case of family ties.

However, neo-traditionalist Muslims argue that if consent is accepted then incest should be allowed. Ironically, they show no concern for familial ties based on blood, semen and milk and the entire emphasis is on sex.

For them, outside "Allah says so," there is no reason to forbid FIB. Yet, even divine imperative in the absence of reasonable arguments is problematic, as it has been used to justify a wide array of heinous actions.

Neo-traditionalist Muslims should address their own tradition of incest, which includes the khawarij group allowing marriage with grandparents, the jurist Shafi allowing marriage with illegitimate daughters, and marriage with first cousins, all of which ignore concerns on progeny.

Same-sex unions are closer to marriage than FIB. Therefore, a better analogical argument is that if sterile couples and women past childbirth are allowed to get married to realize the benefits of intimacy, affection and companionship, then there are no reasonable grounds to deny these benefits to same-sex couples.

Yet, disgust and fear drive neo-traditionalist Muslims to regurgitate the FIB argument even as they deny charges of homophobia.

Consider for instance the words of the Grand Mufti in Egypt, who asserted last month that, "The calls to allow homosexuality as a human right are blatant and are completely strange to eastern men ... who are naturally disgusted with such deviance."

Also consider that one of the reasons in juristic discourse against marriage with jinns (supernatural spirits) is that the male jinn could pose as a female!

Unwilling to address their own discomfort and latent inclinations, they scapegoat LGBTQ Muslims. They sell them the un-Islamic prescription of permanent celibacy as "compassion."

They get outraged when their "compassion" is called out as oppression. They project themselves as perpetual victims, even as they bully LGBTQ Muslims through death texts and Hell fire.

They showcase celibacy poster boys who buy into the lure of martyrdom as examples of piety. But such poster boys are responsible for their own loneliness and misery and that of others, especially when they foist the same morally corrosive choice onto others.

In the presence of such fear and disgust, we simply cannot expect a reasonable and objective religious discourse from neo-traditionalist Muslims. Unless they acknowledge their deeply entrenched homophobia, which infects their religious discourse, any discussion with them is futile.

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