Two gay men in Indonesia sentenced to 85 lashes for having sex


Sure, granted. That’s self-evident.

But I believe in the idea of a world where someone can walk around and not live in fear, or be subjected to bigotry, just because of their ancestry or sexual orientation. One of the few places I’m happy Canada’s speech laws are more restrictive than the US’s is right here with what you describe - a sign like that would be considered hate speech.

People believe what they choose to believe. Recent studies suggest that people make up their minds about each other mere seconds after meeting subconsciously anyway. But IMHO what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to choose to ignore our base instincts and instead act out of an abundance of consideration for others. And I choose to fight for, and promote, the world I would hope to see for everyone, free of such things.

It’s good to see that we’ve reached a point in the west where what happened in Indonesia can be considered “barbaric” by most. It sucks that there are parts of the world where this is not so. And it sucks that even in the most “enlightened” places in the world, people still need to fear discrimination for how they look or who (or how) they love. They are all important facts, both worthy of discussion and worthy of action against.


I don’t think it’s self evident to a number of regular contributors here.


Exactly. Bears repeating.

I didn’t call out Islam. I called out those who practice Sharia law.
I didn’t call out Islam. I called out those who practice Sharia law.
I didn’t call out Islam. I called out those who practice Sharia law.


Except Sharia Law isn’t one singular thing that looks the same across time and space, it’s a body of jurisprudence, several bodies in fact, which are interpreted by Imams or clerics. It’s practiced in different ways depending on any number of factors. Even different Islamist groups have different interpretations of Sharia Law. Daesh is sort of in competition with groups aligned with Al-Qaeda for followers, and even distinct groups who align with either group are going to have their own view points on Sharia and how it should look.


I went to an “ask an Imam” event, and tried to ask as tactfully as possible about that issue, especially the deal with young boys. I was told that no Islamic person would ever have sexual relations with a member of the same sex, and that any media reports of such things happening are lies to slander Islam.


I am trying to understand the progressive tendency to romanticize Islam. Especially among Feminists and LGBT persons. The men lashed in Indonesia or killed in Saudi Arabia for homosexuality are given those punishments specifically because of Islamic law. Not because of poverty. Nepal is a good counter example. It is one of my favorite places. And a place that is pretty serious about LGBT protections. It may well be accurate to state that impoverished countries are somewhat behind the pace of Western first world nations in such protections, but there is a general momentum towards protection and tolerance almost everywhere that the ruling majority is not following Islamic law.
Although a heterosexual, part of my job is to ensure the security of coworkers in all sorts of places. This always includes briefings on local restrictions on public affection, if any. There are a number of very poor countries where LGBT behavior is technically illegal, but never enforced. Namibia is an example. Also a very cool place to visit.
If you want to visit an Islamic country without fear of prosecution for your LGBT identity, enjoy your visit to Albania.


Is there an interpretation of sharia under which:

  • it is acceptable to forsake Islam for another religion or for no religion?
  • women have equal civil liberties with men?
  • gays are allowed to marry?


Simple. Conservatives are against sharia, and some are against Islam in general. Therefore, Islam is glamorous by definition.


Why are you asking me that? Do I look like an imam to you? If you’re seriously interested, then why not look one up. I’m not versed in theology, so I can’t answer that question.

As the Islamic world was indeed one of my areas of historical reading, I am aware of how the law itself and the use of law as a social force changes over time. I also know that in addition to the divisions between Sunni, Shia, and Sufi, there are different schools of theological thought and different contextual interpretations of law, depending on the imam, the political situation, and the location.

A book like this might help answer some of your questions in one particular context:

But much like the rest of the world, the over 1 billion people who practice Islam, tend to like it when you don’t lump them in with their worst examples.

Not assuming they’re all conservative bigots is far from romanticizing Islam. I’m trying to understand why some conservatives wish to make 1 billion people into mindless automatons with little to no agency and no complexity in their lives.


Let me try and remember. Ah yes!!! I think it’s because you said that

Now…either you know of some more tolerant/pluralistic interpretations of sharia, in which case you could answer my comments and those of Max and Mister44 just by pointing us to them, or you don’t know of any, in which case your comment about “practiced in different ways” brings no additional content to the discussion.

I’m sure there are many Muslims who hate living under misogynist, homophobic theocracies. I’d like to hear more from them. A lot more.


I did not say I was a religious scholar with an intimate knowledge of how religious laws are adjudicated, enough to where I could point you to direct rulings about these issues.[quote=“lolipop_jones, post:52, topic:101086”]
either you know of some more tolerant/pluralistic interpretations of sharia, in which case you could answer my comments and those of Max and Mister44 just by pointing us to them, or you don’t know of any, in which case your comment about “practiced in different ways” brings no additional content to the discussion.

So basically, if I can’t give you precise answers, then I’m just ignorant? I’m sorry, but I don’t have to give you all the answers.

Try looking at the book I gave you. Note that many Muslims happily live where these things are perfectly legal with no problems. Note that there are in fact LBGQT Muslims, who aren’t being killed or jailed for their sexuality (@Max_Blancke notes Albania as an example and I’d add Kosova to that). Note that the uptick in this sort of hardline Islamist governments and terrorist groups in many cases stems directly from our support of religious oriented regimes and groups, because Socialist Pan-Arabism was seen as a far worse option.

Try listening to them, then. They write books, and give talks, and are interviewed on the radio and TV, and in some cases are martyred by assholes like this, but too many people are unwilling to hear them because they are too busy making assumptions based on events like this.

Massad is a classic and controversial:


A quick check reveals that the Muslim reformers who wrote the books you cite appear to be residents of the United States. That does not particularly surprise me.

There are quite a few Muslim feminist and LGBTQ organizations. As far as I can tell, most of them are based in the USA, Canada, Australia or Europe.

I would like to find out about Muslim reform movements which are active in countries where sharia is the law of the land.


Yes, that’s true. Because as more Muslim majority countries have embraced more religiously oriented governments, influenced by hardline views of Islamic law (like the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and now the terror oriented groups) who have come into power since we helped them squash the pan-Arab movements in the 1960s. I’d suspect that the countries that do have sodomy type laws have done so rather recently… I’d also guess that the more secular Muslim majority countries might have gay rights organizations, too. I’d also guess that many countries with strong religious components to their governments also regularly chase out their gay citizens, to @Wanderfound point that it’s not an Islam problem, but a conservative, “traditionalist” problem.

Again, I’d suggest some of the books above, which are written by scholars of Islam and the Middle East, who can read the languages they work with.

Up until recently, we hosted many kinds of political and cultural refugees. I live near a lot of former residents of Yugoslavia and not too far from communities of people from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. [quote=“lolipop_jones, post:54, topic:101086”]
I would like to find out about Muslim reform movements which are active in countries where sharia is the law of the land.

In countries that are more authoritarian, they aren’t going to official exist, and exposing themselves is a serious danger. Maybe look up information on that with groups like Amnesty International or Human Rights watch, etc. Again, authoritarianism is the problem. That’s a universal and it has been expanding as a workable idea for running a government again, for the past couple of decades.


It doesn’t exist.

Usually its just pushback from conservatives who employ wildly over the top bigoted arguments about the faith and all of its adherents. A new spin on the kind of demonizing done with other faiths. Less defense of Islam, more attack on the kind of rhetoric and arguments employed. As if making generalizations of a belief of 1.4 billion people can ever be considered rational or taken at face value. There really is no such thing as a sane “___ religion is evil!” argument.

It gets bad especially when people start making noise about treating all Muslims as inherently suspect or as undeserving of civil liberties in this country on the basis of religion. Less about Islam and more about avoidance of bigotry and respect for the notion that religious freedom applies to all (with the same limitations for all as well).

Plus there is always the nonsense of “Their Islamic Sharia is bad, but my Christian Sharia is not”.


Texas had one on the books until 2003. Struck down by SCOTUS when it was actually enforced and challenged.


No, Yes, No*.

This would be the most likely public response from most Imams, and should be considered a stereotypical response, and the stereotypical response from Christian priests was the same until the sound of the audience’s laughter basically drowned them out. Which was… sometime in the last twenty years, after over a thousand years of well documented Christian child sexual abuse. I do not mean to set up any false equivalency here, instead, I am trying to confirm that yes Islam has a very large hypocrisy problem regarding homosexuality, but @Wanderfound is right - it is not something that sets them apart from other religions (I could bring in several more).

This is a fundamentally false claim. Sharia literally means religious law. The mainstream of conservative thought in the United States is openly and loudly in favor of religious law taking precedence over secular law. To claim otherwise is either the most blatant propagandizing against one specific religion’s laws, or against one specific language (arabic) that uses the word sharia to describe something we all know mainstream conservatives consistently support - putting their religion above the concerns of atheists and other religions.

Haha! Good luck with that. Abundant technical and financial assistance given to such countries by the US government and other such “progressive” and “secular” nations means that you will have very little access, unless you are willing to risk your life and wealth to do so. However: If you are really serious, and have the money and time to the travel, I can hook you up.

My religion was performing marriages for homosexuals in violation of US law for decades, while secular authorities would not. Just as @Mister44 is overstating the role of Islam in this, you are overstating the role of religion. There are intolerant, gay-hating religions everywhere, but those are not the only religions that exist. There are life-affirming, non-dogmatic, even atheistic religions that you can join today, that are a positive force for good in the world.

* Actually Yes but only when the form of Sharia recognizes primacy of secular law, which is almost never and nowhere, so for all practical purposes No.


The Muslims I am personally acquainted with left (or their parents left) countries with rule-by-imam precisely because they could not abide it.

Good people, every one of them. They would love to see the imam rulers get a course of Ceaucescu therapy.


I used to work with an Iranian engineer* who had to flee the Ayatollahs, and later with an Indian engineer** whose parents had to flee Afghanistan just ahead of a (US-funded) Islamic lynch mob. They had much the same attitude!

* Shi’ite & Persian.
** Hindu & Gujarati.


And we literally only legalized same sex marriage 2 years ago! And not by popular vote, like they did in Ireland, but by a SCOTUS ruling. And people rebelled against it.


I can’t go so far as to believe that people would support a movement that explicitly calls to have them killed, just out of spite.
But people can be unpredictable.