Should Muslims ever make alliances with LGBTQ activists?

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A recent Islamic conference in Texas asked the question if Muslims should ever make alliances with LGBTQ+ activists.

The conference was addressed by prominent American Muslim theologians such as Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and Omar Suleiman, as well as an anonymous Muslim who confessed to having same-sex attraction but was determined to walk the straight path of Islam.

Shaykh Yasir outlined the Islamic position on homosexuality which he said was clear cut according to the Quran, Sunnah and consensus of the scholars from all mainstream Islamic schools of thought.

He said that the homosexual act is haraam but that Muslims who are experiencing same-sex attraction should not be shunned by the community. Rather, they should be treated with compassion.

But he said the matter of whether to form alliances with LGBTQ activists on certain issues was not a matter of halal and haraam, heaven or hell, but rather a matter of politics as long as theological red lines are not crossed.

“I fully understand that some people are very concerned about these alliances,” he said. “They are sincere people, I respect their sincerity; they do have solid concerns. At the same time the other side is forming alliances that they think is for the betterment of the Ummah and they are getting some tangible results.

“When the presidential candidate (Bernie Sanders) invites a mainstream Muslim speaker to his campaign speech last night that is clearly not just a symbolic victory, it is a massive victory for Islam in America. But that’s not going to be possible if those individuals have statements that are problematic. It’s a give and take.”

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The Yaqeen Institute’s Imam Omar Suleiman did not dispute the mainstream Islamic position. However, he argued that there may be benefit in collaborating with these groups on issues of mutual concern such as homelessness. This is no way means he is endorsing this lifestyle, he said.

He added that we should be “engaging the broadest coalitions possible to advance social change of benefit to everyone or that removes an imminent harm – poverty, homelessness, public education, the mistreatment of migrants at the border.”

Waheed Jenson, who runs the The Straight Struggle blog, also addressed the conference via an audio feed because he did not want to reveal his true identity.

He admitted to feeling same-sex attraction from a young age but said he was determined to remain within the framework of the Quran and the Sunnah. He said he had felt so low at one stage of his life that he contemplated suicide. He added that the Muslim community as a whole had not helped him through his struggle.

The conference created a lot of online controversy when it was announced and Shaykh Omar Suleiman was heavily criticised by some for his stance.

In a Facebook post the writer and lecturer Daniel Haqiqatjou, of the Alasna Institute, said the correct stance for Muslim activists is to oppose homosexuality and the “LGBT normalisation and political agenda whilst calling out its fasaad in no uncertain terms.”

Speaking about certain Muslim activists he wrote: “They know very well that the vast majority of Muslims are not falling into liwat. They know very well that the question of supporting LGBT rights is the main issue and that the community is under siege by the LGBT rights movement due to:

  • Categorise teaching against this as “hate speech”
  • Force pro LGBT curriculum in public schools and even Islamic schools
  • Force Islamic schools and masajid to abide by LGBT anti discrimination policies
  • Criminalise “conversion therapy” i.e., training those with same sex desires to possibly leave homosexuality
  • Allow gay couples to adopt children, including Muslim orphans
  • Create a culture of silence and self-censorship because imams and teachers are afraid of prosecution merely for teaching the ayat in Quran about Qawm Lut

He added: “But some imams refuse to even acknowledge the possibility of Muslims resisting and pushing back against this onslaught! They won’t even acknowledge it, let alone promote it, demand it!”

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