Muslims perceive homosexuality as a ‘western disease’, and as “a natural outcome of the West’s secularity and cultural degeneracy”. Although more liberal viewpoints have developed towards sexual differences in modern times, moral issues continue to remain relevant in arguments based on opposing discourses on homosexuality in the Muslim communities. The decriminilazition of homosexuality, and the increased visibility of homosexuals form the core of Muslim objection. Movements and struggles for achieving the acceptance of homosexuality are perceived as an integrated homosexual front attempting to diminish the socially dominant norm of heterosexual relationships. The general Muslim response for correcting the “perceived ideological corruption is to resort to Islamic doctrine, which prohibits homosexuality and gives merit to heterosexism”.
Contrastingly, a wide prevalence of homosexuality in Medieval Islam which Medieval Christians found unacceptable; and the Islamists’ opposition to contemporary Western homosexuality, emerge from “the different attitudes of their respective cultures to sexuality in general and homosexual practices in particular”,
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the social implications of homosexuality in Muslim communities, and its various dimensions.
The Social Implications of Homosexuality in Muslim Communities
It is necessary to define homosexuality not in terms of behaviour, but in terms of sexual orientation or sexual preference. Thus, a homosexual is defined as an individual who experiences emotional and/ or physical attraction towards people of the same sex. Weeks (1992) states that this definition is intended to be universal, and relates to homosexuals across time and across cultures. According to Western writers, in the medieval times Islam was allegedly “tolerant and even encouraging towards sexual practices between people of the same sex” (Schmidtke, 1999. p.260). From the western viewpoint this was yet another representation of Islamic self-indulgence. With Western civilization becoming secularized, and increasingly tolerant towards sex in contemporary times, the relevance of moral issues has declined in western arguments against Islam. At the same time, however, Muslim societies perceive “the liberal sexual morality of the modern Western world” (Schmidtke, 1999, p.260) as “an indication of the growing decadence of the West”. This is employed by Islamist propagandists as proof of Islam’s moral superiority. The Attitude of the General Public Towards Gay Muslims The Muslim community in England and Wales had increased by 75%, according to the population censuses between 2001 and 2011. This demographic fact, together with the growing role and voice Muslims have established in British national life, are causing surveys and research regarding the general public’s attitude towards the community and towards gay Muslims (Field, 2013). “The Islamic position on homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive issues facing Muslims living in the West, particularly in Europe” (Ramadan, 2009, p.2). It forms the core element to a potential integration of Muslims into Western culture, although European culture and values cannot be reduced to the acceptance of homosexuality. The description of actual European culture is in a state of constant change. Thus, the Pope and some intellectual defenders of the Enlightenment, insist that Europe’s roots are Greek and Christian, thereby excluding Muslims. Hence, numerous homosexual representatives and the politicians who support them while rejecting Muslims, now declare that the ‘