Showing posts with label Muslim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muslim. Show all posts

December 17, 2016

Educational Animated Vid on Gays Getting Arrested Goes Viral in Morocco

An animated video educating gay Moroccans on their rights if they are arrested has gone viral.

Collectif Aswat, a non-profit organisation calling for Morocco to repeal its homosexuality ban, created the video as a "tutorial" for gay couples on what to do if they are accused or caught by authorities.

The animation, first posted on 10 December, International Day of Human Rights, has now been watched more than 30,000 times.
It shows two men being caught and arrested by police officers, who then mistreat and humiliate them.

Homosexual activity is punishable in Morocco by up to three years in jail. A divisive law - known as Article 489 - has been the subject of several protests.
Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, have demanded Moroccan authorities to decriminalize homosexuality, calling Article 489 a violation of international human rights law.

November 14, 2016

Trump Changes theCore Fight for Civil Rights on Muslims and LGBT in the US


For the combatants in America’s long-running culture wars, the triumph of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans was stunning — sparking elation on one side, deep dismay on the other.

American Muslims are reeling after the election of Trump, whose campaign was rife with anti-Islamic rhetoric and proposals that included banning Muslims from entering the country and heightened surveillance of mosques across the nation.
Meanwhile, advocates of LGBT rights and abortion rights fear setbacks. The election outcome has emboldened the antiabortion movement and breathed new life into the religious right’s campaign for broad exemptions from same-sex marriage and other laws.

For Muslims living in the United States, there is significant fear, along with some reports of harassment; one hijab-wearing student at San Diego State University said she was briefly choked by suspects who made remarks about Trump’s victory.
‘‘There are lots and lots of people who aren’t going out of the house,’’ said Eboo Patel, a Muslim who heads the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization that works with colleges and government officials to build interreligious relationships.

At New York University late last week, hundreds of people sat shoulder-to-shoulder on a grand staircase of a student center to express solidarity after the word ‘‘Trump!’’ was scrawled on the door of a Muslim prayer space at the school.

Students spoke of friends who wore headscarves or other traditional clothing and were afraid to take public transportation home for fear of being harassed.

Sana Mayat, a 21-year-old senior who wears the hijab, said the election made her realize ‘‘there was a large part of this country that didn’t want me here.’’

‘‘There is an intense state of anxiety about the future,’’ said Rami Nashashibi, a parent of three and executive director of Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network. ‘‘I grappled with the conversation I had to have with my children.’’

The outcome was especially bitter after an unprecedented voter registration drive by American Muslims, including get-out-the-vote sermons at mosques and the creation of a political action committee, Emerge USA, to mobilize Arabs and Muslims.

Enas Almadhwahi, a 28-year-old Yemeni immigrant who has been in the US since 2008, became a citizen this year and voted for the first time.

To mark the occasion, she brought her 7-year-old daughter, along with some coworkers. The next day, when she told her daughter Trump had won, the girl cried.

Trump’s administration could radically reshape the Justice Department, which has been an ally under President Obama in protecting Muslim civil rights. Trump could also repeal a key Obama program that prevents the deportation of some immigrants, including Muslims, living in the country illegally.

Religious conservatives have been heartened by the election of Trump.

Kelly Shackelford, head of First Liberty Institute, a legal group that specializes in religious freedom cases, said the environment for his cause will be transformed from ‘‘brutal’’ under the Obama administration to friendly given GOP control of both Congress and the White House.

His clients include two Christian bakers in Oregon who were fined for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

David Crary

June 18, 2016

Muslim Views on Gays are Complex but Their Teachings Have to Change

 The new american-muslim family
As one of a tiny number of openly gay imams in the world, Daayiee Abdullah has felt the sting of rebuke from fellow Muslims. No good Muslim can be gay, they say. And traditional schools of Islamic law consider homosexuality a grave sin.

But Abdullah, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who studied Islam in the Middle East, says that mainstream Islamic teaching on gays must change.

“It has to or it will die from its harshness or rigidity,” Abdullah said. “The way it is presently understood, it rots the heart and decays the brain.”

In the days since last’s week massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, in which a Muslim man killed 49 people, attention has focused on homophobia among Muslims. And gay Muslims have talked about living between that rock of anti-gay anger and the hard place of Islamophobia that only increased after the Orlando attacks.

Investigators are considering whether Omar Mateen was at least partially motivated by his inability to accept that he was gay. Mateen’s father said his son was disgusted by two men he saw kissing days before the rampage, and that it was up to God to deal with gays — not his son.

Two afghanis find refuge on love and each other
Attitudes towards LBGT people in Muslim communities are complex, and far from universally anti-gay.

Some Muslims, like Abdullah, are welcoming what they see as an opening within their communities to address anti-gay attitudes. Several groups supportive of gay Muslims have sprung up within the U.S. in past years, including Muslims for Progressive Values and the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

And young Muslims who often feel differently about homosexuality than their elders are increasingly speaking out in support of gay rights, as religion scholar Reza Aslan and comedian Hasan Minaj did in an open letter to American Muslims after last year’s Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.

Others are pointing toward the Quran and a history of relative tolerance.

“In 1858 the Ottoman Empire decriminalized homosexuality, 100 years before they did so in the West,” said Abdullah, referring to the empire that ruled over Turkey and much of the present-day Middle East in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its official religion was Islam.

But Abdullah is under no illusions about the strength of homophobia within modern Muslim cultures.

In the U.S., a 2014 Pew Research Center study shows, Muslim Americans are less accepting of homosexuality than Americans as a whole: 47 percent of U.S. Muslims said it should be discouraged and 45 percent said it should be accepted.

But they were not the religious group that was most disapproving: Evangelical Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons oppose homosexuality by larger margins.

Abroad the picture is starker. And a 2013 Pew global study of Muslims showed overwhelming disapproval of homosexuality. In only three of the nearly 40 countries surveyed do as many as one-in-ten Muslims say that homosexuality is morally acceptable: Uganda (12%), Mozambique (11%) and Bangladesh (10%).

And almost all of the 10 countries that allow the death penalty for same-sex sexual relations are Muslim-majority nations. The president of one of those nations, Iran, has denied that gay people exist in his country.

“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at Columbia University in 2007. “ I do not know who has told you we have it.”

The gay capital of the Middle East is in the Jewish state of Israel: Tel Aviv advertises itself as a safe, vibrant destination for LGBT tourists, and attracts gays from the Palestinian territories and other societies where it is unthinkable to be openly gay. But even in Israel, a Jewish teenage girl died after an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man went on a stabbing spree last year at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade.

While Muslim nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have legislated violent punishment for gays, there are no laws against gay sex in either Jordan and Lebanon.You can find gay-friendly bars in Beirut, Amman and Istanbul.

And because socialization between unmarried men and women is unacceptable in conservative Muslim society, same-sex social gatherings are the norm, and may present opportunities for gay people to follow their hearts, Abdullah said.

That doesn’t mean that gays don’t suffer beatings and worse in these somewhat more tolerant countries, or that their families accept them. But even in places like Egypt, where the government has jailed and tortured its gay citizens, some LGBT people are still organizing, carefully, to improve their situations.

Those Muslims who reject gay relationships often point to sacred writings, as is the case with like-minded Christians.

For example, Adbdullah has often heard Muslims invoke the story of Lut in the Quran (comparable to the story of Lot in the Bible) to argue that Islam condemns men who love men. Like many other gay Muslims, he reads the same verses and comes to a different conclusion: that the story condemns cruelty, not any particular sexual act.

In the Quran, he finds nothing to condemn his sexual orientation. The word “homosexuality” is not used in the text, he notes. “The Prophet was not prejudiced.”

Pointing to the Quran or any religion’s sacred writings to explain current day moral stances also makes little sense, said Aisha Geissinger, who teaches about Islam at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

“Nobody takes all of their sexual morality nowadays from an old text. Christians don’t do it. Muslims don’t do it,” Geissinger said. “Otherwise, we’d have slavery.”

And like Abdullah, she offers an example from history that counters the idea that Muslim societies are monolithic and have always been hostile to same-sex desires.

In “Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800,” author Khaled El-Rouayheb points out that much of the poetry in the Arab world prior to the 19th century was written by men about a male beloved, or a person whose gender is ambiguous.

“It is difficult to imagine that this type of poetry was so popular if it didn’t reflect something about what people were seeing as normative,” Geissinger said.

Lauren Markoe,

June 17, 2016

Muslim’s LGBT Exist, How DoThey Feel about Orlando Killings?


Sunday morning’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando left the LGBT community in shambles. The attack, carried out by Port St. Lucie resident Omar Mateen, has been declared the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Mateen reportedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call just before the first shots were fired. Although the gunman’s family and ex-wife said he wasn’t a practicing or religious Muslim, the Islamic community is facing backlash as a result of the extremist’s actions. The LGBT community is also reeling as information about the victims pours in.

But there’s another confused, broken community that lies at the intersection of the tragedy: LGBT Muslims.

“Gay Muslims exist. Lesbian Muslims exist. Transgender Muslims exist,” said Abdon Jose Orrostieta, a gay Muslim from Fort Lauderdale. “I have friends who are in the closet and they’re afraid of coming out.”

National organizations like the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity -- a group consisting of Muslims who identify as LGBT -- have released statements condemning the Pulse nightclub shooting, saying there is "no religious justification or precedent in Islam for mass shootings targeting any population, regardless of identity."

In South Florida, however, the LGBT Muslim community is not as visible or well-known. 

The reason for this, Orrostieta says, is culture.

“It’s not accepted,” Orrostieta, who converted to Islam when he was 19, said. “And with certain friends, they can’t bring gay friends home.” 

Hytham Rashid, a gay Muslim who recently moved to South Florida to attend medical school at Nova Southeastern University, said he was kicked out of his house after his parents found out he was gay. He was homeless for six months.

“While my friends were getting accepted to medical school at Harvard, at Yale, at MIT, I was homeless,” he said. “I was arguing with my parents every night.”

Rashid, who is of Palestinian descent, has reached a level of understanding with his parents now. "Time heals all," he said. But being a gay Muslim with an Arab background still presents challenges for the 27-year-old.

“For me, it’s 'How do I translate my identity in a way my culture will not only understand, but accept?'"  

There are not a lot of terms to describe gender identity or sexual orientation in Arabic, Rashid said. The word "transgender," for example, translates to “You are like a woman” or “You are like a man,” which can be considered offensive, he says.  

As a gay Muslim, Rashid says he faces both Islamophobia and homophobia everyday. He said in the wake of the Orlando tragedy, he doesn’t feel safe going to memorials and events.

“We can put up our stickers and wave around our rainbow flags in Wilton Manors, but the core issue is, there isn’t a safe space for us,” he said.

As a whole, it isn't easy to define the LGBT Muslim community. Within the doubly marginalized group lie other racial minorities that also face discrimination and judgment.

Orrostieta, for example, comes from a Mexican background. He converted to Islam because he felt the religion was accepting and loving toward his beliefs

"When I spoke to an imam, he said everything was between me and Allah," he said. 

After media reports emerged suggesting Mateen himself may have been gay, Orrostieta said, “It’s always the gay-basher who comes out because they can’t accept themself.”

Rashid said that regardless of whether the attacker was gay, larger issues -- such as gun control, safe spaces and access to mental healthcare -- need to be seriously discussed. 

Abeer Jadallah, a Miami Shores resident who advocates for LGBT rights, also thinks mental health is important to talk about in light of the tragedy. 

“You don’t do this if you’re Muslim,” she said. “[This] wasn’t a Muslim problem. People are homophobic. People are mentally ill. This is an American problem. This is as American as apple pie.”

Around the country, gay Muslim leaders and organizations are speaking out against the attack and supporting the rights of the LGBT community, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

“Homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia” are “interconnected systems of oppression,” Council of American-Islamic Relations national Executive Director Nihad Awad said Sunday. The organization also said “discussion should focus on anti-LGBT hate.”

The Orlando shooting came at a time of utmost significance for the LGBT community and the Muslim community: Pride month and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Rashid said he was in Miami when he first heard word of the attack. His first thought was: "Please don't be Muslim." 

"It hurts so come to school the next day and have to defend your identity," he said. 

“It just doesn't make sense for a Muslim to kill someone during Ramadan." 

June 16, 2016

Pew Survey: In USA Muslims More Likely to Support Gay Marriage than Evangelicals


It may be mystifying to conservatives and libertarians that a good chunk of angry response from the left over the Orlando shooting is directed toward conservatives, not just about gun control but over the way they've historically treated gays and lesbians.

PollPew Research

It is most obviously true that even to the extent that Christian social conservatism has been hostile to acceptance of gays and lesbians, it has certainly not risen to the horrifying levels of Sunday's attack by Omar Matteen, which he dedicated to the Islamic State. Certainly there have been radical Christians within the United States calling for violence against homosexuals. But their calls to arms have been ignored and are not institutionalized by authorities (with prison terms and even executions) as they frequently are in Muslim-dominated countries.
There has nevertheless been plenty of generalizations about the attitudes of Muslims toward homosexuality that has led some on the right to wonder why people are yelling at themover what happened on Saturday. I agree with conservatives that trying to deflect away from what actually happened to hobby-horse issues like gun control is an awful thing to do.

But a couple of Pew polls might help explain what's going on here. It is true that there is a tremendous amount of hostility to gays and lesbians in countries where Islam is a dominant religion. A Pew poll from 2013 had the vast majority of Muslims in 36 countries overseas declaring that homosexuality is immoral. When I say "vast majority," I mean numbers like 90 percent.
But a recent poll in 2015, also by Pew, shows that American Muslims are much less likely to share this attitude. By comparison, 45 percent of American Muslims approve of homosexuality, and 42 percent of Muslims support same-sex marriage recognition. In both cases, a greater number disapprove of acceptance than approve. But then, so do Evangelical Christians in numbers greater than American Muslims. Only 36 percent of Evangelical Christians approve of homosexuality and only 28 percent of Evangelical Christians support same-sex marriage recognition.
The good news is that support for acceptance of gays and lesbians in America has increased in all faiths between 2007 and 2014. And the point of this post is not necessarily to hold up social conservatives to criticism over an incident they had nothing to do with.
Rather, these numbers help demonstrate why exactly we cannot treat American Muslims as though they're inherently suspicious and prone to jump into extremism and jihads. American Muslims are not necessarily more conservative than many of our country's Christians. There are a whole host of different reasons for this (including the likelihood that Muslims immigrate to the United States in the first place to get away from extreme social conservatism within their own religion). Americans (including gay Americans) who interact regularly with Muslim citizens are probably less likely to see them as being profoundly different. Because they're not—in the United States.
Add to this mix information that Mateen apparently declared allegiance to different Islamist groups who are opposed to ISIS, like Hezbollah. In the end, Mateen may be a vicious garden-variety psychopath that we're treating exotically because he declared a connection to a terrorist group that hates the United States and has called for attacks against it. But in reality he may well be more reminiscent of serial killer Ted Bundy blaming his behavior on porn addiction.
The Islamic State is a violent, terrorist group (I realize that's the mother of all "to be sure" caveats), but it's important not to treat it like it's a virus that people of Muslim faith can just catch. American Muslims don't share the attitudes of the Islamic State, and so treating them with skepticism, generalizing about them, and also expecting some sort of collective responsibility that all Muslims must be held accountable for the policing those who share the faith, doesn't seem any more helpful than more gun control regulations. It's fear-based collectivist attitudes from the right and it reads like so many other historical fears about how various minorities will drag America down. Such generalizations feed a culture war (just like the gun control arguments) rather than examining the roots and potential solutions for the problem.

February 4, 2016

Why Most US Muslims Back the GOP and Some are for Trump


Almost three-fourths of American Muslims plan to vote in the presidential primaries and the hard-core Republicans among them say they will vote for Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee, according to a new survey from the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The six-state survey found that 73 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to go to the polls in upcoming primary elections and 67 percent of them expect to vote for Democrats.

Question-Two-Which-political-party-do-you-plan-to-support-in-your-upcoming-state-primary-electionMore than half of the people polled say they’ll support Hillary Clinton (51.6 percent), followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (22 percent) and Donald Trump (7.5 percent).

Muslim voting patterns have shifted over the past 15 years. Muslims supported George Bush in 2000, but the majority have voted for democrats in every presidential and midterm election since then.

“Muslim voters traditionally supported the GOP by a greater margin than the Democratic party,” Robert McCaw, government affairs manager for CAIR, said in an email. ”Following the Republican party’s general turn against American Muslims through toxic political rhetoric, state and federal legislation targeting Islamic religious principles and practices (Sharia law), and imbalanced national security programs, American Muslims by majority have shifted in their support.”

Yet, despite making anti-Muslim comments on the campaign trail and calling for non-American Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, Trump placed third among candidates from both parties.

“I think because of his anti-establishment [views] and his business background gives hope for economic policies Republicans traditionally aligned with,” Saba Ahmed, founder of the Republican Muslim Coalition, told ThinkProgress. “He has worked with Muslims all his life, and he has properties all over the Middle East, despite [his] anti-Muslim rhetoric, and many business dealings with our constituency and knows we’re good people.”

Question-Four-What-is-the-most-important-issue-to-you-in-the-2016-presidential-election“Seven percent of Muslims supporting Donald Trump is not surprising given that 15 percent of Muslim voters identify as Republican,” McCaw said, “and Trump has the greatest name recognition among GOP candidates.”

Muslim voters ranked Islamophobia as the most important issue this campaign season, followed by the economy, heath care and civil liberties. A 2014 CAIR survey found Islamophobia to be the third most important issue for American Muslim voters.

CAIR surveyed almost 2,000 registered Muslim voters in six states with the highest Muslim populations: California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas and Virginia.

Overall, Muslims make up a small fraction of the electorate. There are about 2 million Muslim American adults in the country. The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of American Muslim organizations, recently announced its goal to register one million voters prior to the 2016 presidential election.


December 8, 2015

Following events how do you currently view Muslims living in America?

View Muslims the same asany other groupFearful of a fewgroups/individuals of MuslimsGenerally fearful of Muslims0%10%20%30%40%50%60%

View Muslims the same as any other group
50.8% (Confidence Interval: 54% - 47.6%)
Source: Reuters/Ipsos Poll
As of December 4, 2015 | 5 day rolling mean | Sample Size: 1,054 people polled online

Trumps Calls for Blocking All Muslims [Graph Asylum Seekers in the US by Origin]


On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a block on all Muslims trying to enter the United States. Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican presidential bid. Include the following visualizations to display:
{interactive: move cursor over map} 

June 29, 2015

American Muslims Celebrate Gay Victory at Ramadan

Often thought of as unremittingly hostile to homosexuality, some American Muslims celebrated Friday’s Supreme Court decision and chided their co-religionists who said judgment day was nigh.

Mu’min Marcos Arquero Castenada is an openly gay Muslim fasting in this Islamic holy month of Ramadan. He ululated when he heard the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide on Friday, then he went to his Oakland mosque to do his Friday prayers in celebration.
The Sufi sheikh at Masjid Al Iman mosque welcomed Castenada with open arms, he said. The Filipino-American says he sees no contradiction between his faith and homosexuality, although homosexuality is illegal on religious principles in several Muslim countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“My experience of Allah (God) is so deep and meaningful,” said Castenada, a family and marriage therapist. “There are many things we are still discovering in Islam.”
But many Muslims on social media lashed out, bashing Friday’s Supreme Court decision and saying qiyamah, the day of judgment, was near while the story of Lot condemning homosexuality in holy scriptures, including the Quran, is being ignored. Commentators and atheists Bill Maher and Sam Harris have criticized Muslims for failing to accept homosexuality as a human right.

One of Haji’s characters in her first novel, The Writing on My Forehead, is a gay Muslim. She said the best fan mail she received was from closeted gay Muslim who thanked her for his presence in the book.

Other practicing American Muslims said government and religion should stay separate, and because marriage was a legal institution, religion should not intervene.
Hawa Fana, a mother of two girls who was born in Afghanistan, said she doesn’t approve of the gay lifestyle but thinks marriage is a human right and religion should not meddle in state affairs.
“It is quite sad to see so many negative comments,” said the Fremont, Calif., resident. “Religious morals should not be the law of the land. Religious beliefs of one person should not be put upon the shoulders of those who don’t follow that faith. This is a matter of human rights. Follow your faith, don’t force its laws upon others. Just because homosexuals can marry does not mean qiyamah is upon us.”

The debate on whether Islam allows homosexuality is hotly contested among American Muslims.
Ahmed Ansari, a technical consultant in Los Angeles, said the scriptures can be interpreted in various ways and as a Muslim, he sees no conflict between his faith and homosexuality. “With any scripture, the believer decides how to interpret it, and it is the malleability of religion that affords me that right to interpret these actions through my own moral lens.”
Gay marriage should’ve been legalized long ago, he said.

Ansari congratulated his lesbian boss when he heard the news and said he was going out to play volleyball on the beach with gay friends after work.
Gay Muslims were relieved and excited to hear others Muslims supporting the Supreme Court decision. This acceptance was a welcome change in a community that often shuns them. Some gays leave the faith as a result.

Nemat Sadat, a gay Afghan-American and LGBT activist in New York, said he couldn’t reconcile his religion and sexuality so he calls himself an ex-Muslim. But he’s keen to continue fighting for gay rights among Muslims worldwide.
“The Supreme Court decision gives me solid footing to continue my campaign for universal human rights,” he said. “Before today’s decision, I felt it was an uphill battle but now I feel a mountain of support behind me … that America has taken decisive action on the most pivotal cultural issue of our lifetime.”

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