It’s being reported that the largest American Muslim organisation has joined a coalition in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
According to the Human Rights Campaign website, The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has joined a broad interfaith coalition, calling for a “measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their personal characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The move came in the context of the decades-long debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA.
In a “milestone advancement” for the LGBT rights movement, the Senate approved ENDA last Thursday, a bill that protects against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Human Rights Campaign said despite advances in anti-discrimination in the workplace, Muslims continue to face unfair employment discrimination. The supposed “shared experiences” of discrimination will somehow provide a common ground to work with one another to mold a more “inclusive America”.
Commenting on the shift of position, Dr. Sharon Groves, Director of Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Religion and Faith Program, regarded ISNA’s support of ENDA as a major step in right direction.
She said: “LGBT Muslims both in the US and abroad need to hear from organizations like ISNA that their experiences as Muslims are recognized in the spirit of Islam’s emphasis on compassion and respect for all humanity.”
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Islam and homosexuality
Apparently the movement for greater acceptance of LGBT people in Islam is growing.
According to the HRC, LGBT Muslims “continue to be at the forefront of cutting edge scholarship at the intersection of Islam and issues affecting the lives of LGBT Muslims” – though this claim has not been substantiated by any statistical facts.
The HRC also claims that “around the nation and the world, LGBT Muslims and their allies are working to build an inclusive faith — and having some notable success”.
A Pew Research survey released in August 2011 found that 39 percent of Muslim Americans belief homosexuality should be accepted by society. Still, there is greater support for societal acceptance of LGBT people among US Muslims today than there was a few years ago when only 27 percent accepted.
The orthodox Islamic position is that homosexuality is a sin, something which is a common position in all islamic sects.