The overriding objectives of Islamic law include justice, human dignity, equality, removal of hardship, prevention of harm, and realizing benefits for people. It would be against the spirit of Islam to advocate that Islamic law invalidates the prayers of queer Muslims or to condemn queer Muslims to a life without intimacy, love and companionship. How long will conservative Muslim leaders inflict scriptural abuse and channel their prejudice by selectively parsing the religious tradition?
Assistant Professor - MacEwan University
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 "Islamic law and Muslim same-sex unions."
In his April 11 show, "The Arab Underground," conservative political activist Ezra Levant interviewed a former Israeli army officer to highlight the imparting of homophobia in the government funded Edmonton Islamic Academy. Conservative Muslim parents need to be concerned whether their children are being taught values of tolerance or exclusion.
04/15/2013 12:23 EDT
Instead of stereotyping and generalizing, can the likes of Pamela Geller recognize the immense work being done by both straight and queer Muslims? Instead of creating divisiveness, can they work with Muslims towards affecting positive change?
03/28/2013 05:49 EDT
The dialogue on queer sexuality is shifting, most recently in Turkey, from the fixation on anal intercourse and zoophilia towards recognizing the humanity of one's queer children. Indeed, the stories of queer Muslims indicate concerns no different from those of straight Muslims.
03/18/2013 05:23 EDT
For many Muslims, the Islamic values of compassion and social justice trump spiritual stinginess and homophobia. Inspired by the Prophet's teaching that 'kindness is a mark of faith', straight Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder with their queer brothers and sisters.
03/13/2013 08:15 EDT
Would it have been possible to prevent human tragedies in the Middle East attacks this November if relations between Israel, its Arab neighbours and the larger Muslim world were driven by human dignity and justice rather than business and political interests?
01/06/2013 11:40 EST
At the interfaith vigil in Connecticut, U.S. President Obama, fighting back tears, expressed overwhelming grief, as a parent, on the killing of 20 innocent little children. In contrast, columnist George Monbiot noted that President Obama has remained silent over the 168 children killed by American drone attacks along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. President Obama has stated that, even if there were one step to be taken, there is an obligation to try to save another child from harm. When will Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders go beyond themselves and truly express concern not just for their own children but also those of "others"?
12/22/2012 06:59 EST
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that of the 158 Palestinians killed in the November Israeli assault on Gaza, 103 were civilians. Israel's deputy defence minister indicated that Palestinians would bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" -- holocaust. Unitarian Chaplain Reverend Audrey Brooks questioned how Israel could inflict the horror of the Holocaust on the Palestinians. Time and again, Jews and Muslims, notwithstanding the narrative of bigots in their respective faiths, have reached out to each other.
12/11/2012 12:23 EST
Permanent celibacy is a value foreign to Islam, which recognizes the legitimate sexual need of human beings. Some traditional scholars admit that most human beings are not super-moral figures. As such, permanent celibacy imposes great hardship on human beings including queer Muslims.
10/16/2012 07:48 EDT
Some conservative Muslim leaders, like their Christian counterparts, are disseminating a letter expressing the right of parents to withdraw their children from course content that conflicts with their understanding of faith. The letter expresses concerns about introducing children to sex-education and the realities of queer families.
10/02/2012 05:11 EDT
A single murder or suicide of a queer youth is way too many. Fortunately, across the globe, both progressive and conservative Muslims, while differing on same-sex unions, have come out to strongly condemn homophobia in all its ugly forms. Muslim law has always contained majority and minority opinions especially on controversial issues. As such, in contrast to conservative Muslims, progressive Muslims fully support same-sex unions. For them, the Islamic emphasis on justice and compassion outmatches classical rules any day.
09/15/2012 08:13 EDT
Many queer activists rise above their circumstances and assert their voice for justice that is not limited to LGBT issues. Belonging to a vulnerable minority, they understand prejudice and can empathize with "others." Queer Muslim activists, despite facing immense prejudice, continue their work quietly and with dignity. Their work ends up helping the very Muslim communities that so strongly shun them. They truly know the meaning of spiritual chivalry, to practice good without expecting the same in return.
08/31/2012 12:03 EDT
A faculty member at an elite educational institution in Pakistan mentioned in his recent <em>Express Tribune</em> blog piece that more than 80 per cent of his students replied in the negative on the question of Mother Teresa's entering Heaven. The overwhelming majority of students reasoned that despite saving thousands of lives, she was not a Muslim. The essence of all these discussions was that notwithstanding good deeds, it was the correct belief that decided salvation. I think being a good human being trumps religious beliefs and rituals any day.
08/29/2012 05:19 EDT
Recently, reports surfaced of an Islamic book sold in a Toronto store that contained advice on disciplining one's wife. The book caused an outrage within the Canadian Muslim community. Despite the Qur'anic text on disciplining disobedient wives, it seems that an overwhelming majority of Muslim leaders had rendered the command obsolete. Many faithful Muslims struggle with the Qur'anic verses on women including those that prescribe twice the inheritance share to men and equate the testimony of two women to one man. Several of my religiously observant friends have privately expressed that they would have rejected such prescriptions had they come from a human Imam rather than the Divine Qur'anic text. However, my friends are neither the first nor the only ones to have a "crisis of conscience."
08/27/2012 12:45 EDT
Alarmed by the rise in religious extremism and its consequences for stability in South Asia, Alberta's Dr. Wasim established the "Defy Enmity Encourage Peace" forum for peace. In Urdu, the acronym DEEP stands for a small clay lamp symbolizing light and hope in utter darkness. DEEP maintains a secular outlook and has managed to create a safe space where people can share ideas irrespective of religious or political affiliation, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
08/22/2012 05:02 EDT
Muslims for Progressive Values, like affirming Christian and Jewish denominations, have broken the consensus espoused by conservative Muslims that Abrahamic faiths prohibit same-sex unions. Online Islamic forums and are increasingly framing the issue as one of desire, if not sexual orientation.
08/20/2012 05:11 EDT
The Prophet is reported to have stated that keeping good relations with people was better than praying, fasting or charity. Pakistani Muslims in the diaspora can wield much influence through their connections and networks. In the hallowed name of the Prophet, they must help rescue these Hindu girls not because it is politically expedient to do so, but simply based on the recognition that these girls are their own daughters and sisters.
07/18/2012 12:05 EDT
Conservative Muslims have tradition by their side. They can easily refer to countless manuals of jurisprudence that did not distinguish between consensual and non-consensual homosexual conduct defined specifically as "male anal intercourse." However, it is important to understand the context in which the classical jurists formulated their opinions.
06/29/2012 07:58 EDT
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