Monday, May 13, 2013

Khaled Beydoun Searches for the Ultimate Victim

Khaled Beydoun recently wrote an article in the Huffington Post's "Religion" section asking if Jason Collins (who I assume you know) had been a Muslim. He begins by telling the story of a basketball player named "Jihad," who may or may not be fictional, who is also a gay Muslim. In the course of the article he basically ignores the very serious problems Islam has toward gay people in the following way:
"Perhaps no struggle is more imposing that that faced by LGBTQ Muslim-Americans. LGBTQ Muslim Americans are stigmatized from without and, more acutely, from within their spiritual communities. Indeed, a vast portion of Muslim America feels that "coming out" must be accompanied by renouncing one's adherence to Islam -- or, de facto excommunication. This position marks one instance where the external caricaturing of Muslim America aligns with an internal platitude -- namely, that homosexuality and adherence to Islam are clashing lifestyles that cannot be integrated."
They are clashing lifestyles. Islam specifically forbids homosexuality. Muslims in Britain have zero tolerance of it, and we don't know about Muslims in America but it's safe to say that the proportion of American Muslims who don't like it is somewhat higher than a "vast portion." It's not like this is central to Islam either: Christianity and Orthodox Judaism isn't tolerant of gays, but I don't think anyone would go on the Huffington Post and say that they do.

I'm not trying to gave Khaled too much of a hard time about this because at least he admits there is a problem and that the Muslim community has room to improve regarding attitudes toward gays. What bothered me was this statement here:
"The Muslim-American struggle for full-fledged humanization and equal treatment under the law, ultimately, may not be fully realized until Jihad's jihad for acceptance, is first achieved. Perhaps a Muslim Jason Collins, or a figure of similar stature and standing, is the essential first shot of the game. But until that individual openly steps into the center, the ball is in our court -- as heterosexual Muslim Americans -- to unabashedly demonstrate that we are on the same team as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters."
What? Muslim-Americans already have equal treatment under the law. Can Khaled please provide an example in which they are not treated equally? I'm also curious what he means by "full-fledged humanization."   Don't get me wrong, I admire what he is trying to say with this article: namely that Muslim Americans should take care of their own house with regards to homosexuality. But I still see a desire here to be a victim, and it seems odd that this controversial statement was thrown in as if it was the simple truth. It is not.

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