Islam does have a problem with homosexuality. But so do western conservatives

Omar Mateen – who shot dead 50 people in an Orlando gay club – was both an

Islamist terrorist and a violent homophobe.

These things are not mutually exclusive. They are concomitant. Mateen attacked

the West in general but targeted gay people in particular. Inevitably some people

say Islam is incompatible with Western life because it is incompatible with our

attitudes towards sexuality.

Are they right? Well, it’s complicated. And on a matter as sensitive as this, there

is nothing wrong with admitting that it’s complicated.

Liberals, say the Right, must find themselves in a terrible quandary. As

supporters of both gay liberation and multiculturalism, how do they process the

fact that many Muslims believe homosexuality is a crime?

Conservatives insist that their confident defence of Western history and

philosophy is more gay-friendly than liberal multiculturalism.

Liberals listening to Trump and Spahn might choke on their tofu. When, they

would counter, did Western conservatives suddenly become fans of sexual

freedom? Haven’t they spent decades fighting gay rights?

Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, was one of the first Republicans to say that

Orlando was an attack on gay people – and good for him. But Left-wing critics

argued that his outspoken opposition to gay marriage was part of the cultural

environment in which Mateen’s bigotry grew.

Islam wasn’t the only religious authority that Mateen would have encountered in

Florida telling him that gay people are going to Hell. He could have tuned in to

any evangelical radio show to hear that.

When we ask Muslims to interrogate attitudes towards sexuality in their

community, we do so assuming that our own culture is 100 per cent gay friendly.

It is not.

Polls suggest that around a third of Americans still believe that homosexuality

should be discouraged. Homosexual acts have only been legal in the West since

the 1960s. Gay marriage has only been on the agenda for a decade and is still

bitterly resented by social conservatives.

The conservatives are right: Islam does have a problem with homosexuality. Yet

so do many conservatives. And it would be an inversion of Western values to

insist that any individual suddenly rethink their religious beliefs if they want to

be accepted into society.

But Muslims, I’m sure, would welcome a social contract requiring everyone to

obey the law and respect the distinction between church and state. And, most of

all, live and let live.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/13/islam-does- have-a- problem-

with-homosexuality- but-so- do-western- c/

Op-ED: The Muslim Silence on Gay Rights

An Afghan-American Muslim walks into a gay club in Florida on Latin night during Pride Month. In my dreams, that is the beginning of another great story of remix, tolerance and coexistence that is possible only in America. In reality, it’s the start of a nightmare massacre fueled by hatred and perpetrated by a man from a group already scarred by a generation of suspicion and surveillance.
Whether Omar Mateen was a militant fighter financed by the Islamic State, a self-radicalized extremist or a lone wolf psychopath with a gun license, the distinction for committing the worst mass shooting in our history now belongs to an American Muslim.
No religion has a monopoly on homophobia. The track record of exclusion and outright abuse of gay men and women in the name of God is a depressing reality across faiths. But we cannot use those analogies to excuse our own shortcomings. Omar Mateen went on a rampage at a gay club out of hatred he attributed to his faith. He shot and massacred Americans for thriving in their safe space, for being among those they love and were loved by, and he did it during both Ramadan and a Pride Month that epitomizes self-love in the face of hate. The toxic cocktail of gun violence, unchecked mental illness and deranged ideology that propelled the massacre at Pulse is a threat to all Americans.
NY Times: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/opinion/the-muslim-silence-on-gay-rights.html

A JOINT MUSLIM STATEMENT ON THE CARNAGE IN ORLANDO

On behalf of the American Muslim community, we, the undersigned, want to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the barbaric assault that occurred early yesterday morning at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We unequivocally say that such an act of hate-fueled violence has no place in any faith, including Islam. As people of faith, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that each and every human life is inviolable.
We know that, given the tenor of the times, some will associate this tragedy with the religion of the perpetrator. While we may never learn conclusively what motivated this misguided individual, many news sources claim that he was motivated by his faith, which would be a reprehensible distortion of Islam adding the religion to the long list of innocent victims in this callous crime. Any such acts of violence violate every one of our Prophet’s teachings. For Muslims, that this carnage occurred in the blessed month of Ramadan—a month of charity, introspection, and self-purification—only adds to the foulness of this enormity.
Orlandostatement.com: http://orlandostatement.com/

The Latest: Muslim Girl Picks School That Will Allow Hijab

A 17-year-old Muslim girl from Florida says she’s grateful Vermont’s Norwich University agreed to allow her to wear a headscarf beneath her military uniform so she can achieve her goal of becoming a naval officer.
Sana Hamze had initially hoped to attend The Citadel in South Carolina, but the school would not change its uniform policy to accommodate her headscarf.
Norwich agreed to her request. The “religious headgear” must be in “authorized colors and fabrics that can be covered” by the uniform.

Terry Jones, Quran-Burning Pastor, Plans ‘Dearborn Freedom Rally’ In Front Of Mosque

June 3, 2014

Terry Jones, the Florida pastor known for burning Qurans, is planning a rally in Dearborn, Michigan, outside one of America’s largest mosques. The event is schedule to take place on Flag Day, June 14, outside of the Islamic Center of America (ICA).

Jones, author of Islam Is of the Devil, explained on his website, Stand Up America Now, that “the purpose of the event is to rally against Islamic Sharia Law which threatens freedom of speech in the United States.” It’s being billed as the Dearborn Freedom Rally and it will be hosted by the American Patriotic Bikers.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. called his cause “un-American,” but noted that Jones has the right to free speech, according to the Detroit Free Press. Dearborn has a large Muslim population, and about 40% of the town is of Arab descent.

This isn’t the first time that Jone has planned Islamophobic events in Dearborn. In 2012, the city asked Jones and his Stand Up America Now co-founder, Wayne Sapp, to sign an indemnity agreement before speaking. A federal court later ruled that Jones’ freedom of speech had been violated, which led the city to change its special events ordinance.

5 years later, Fla.-Va. terrorism case in limbo

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For five years, a federal judge upset with the prosecution of a Florida professor once accused of being a leading terrorist has simply refused to rule on his case. It’s left the government unable to deport him, unable to prosecute him, and flummoxed on how to move forward.

In April 2009, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told lawyers she would rule “soon” on whether to dismiss criminal contempt charges filed in Virginia against former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, a longtime prominent Palestinian activist, who refused to testify in a separate terror-related investigation.

The ruling hasn’t come, and nothing has happened in the case. The delay is unusual for Alexandria’s federal courthouse, known in legal circles as the Rocket Docket for its swift disposition of cases. Legal experts say they can’t think of a similar case elsewhere that has languished for so long.

On the surface at least, Al-Arian — who has declined to invoke his speedy trial rights — benefits from his silence and the standoff. If the Virginia case were dropped, Al-Arian, 56, born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugees before coming to the U.S. in 1975, would be deported under the terms of a Florida plea.

Al-Arian’s critics said he was a leader of one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the world — the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — and that he used his position as a computer science professor as a base to quietly raise money for attacks. His supporters saw a man who was trapped by anti-Muslim hysteria, unfairly snared in a vague, amorphous web of guilt-by-association when his real goal was to help his native people in the Palestinian territories.

In 2003, federal prosecutors in Florida filed an indictment alleging Al-Arian was a leader of the terrorist group and complicit in the murder of innocent civilians. A jury acquitted him on numerous counts, and was hung on others. A mistrial was declared.

Pete White, a former prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia who is now a defense attorney, said it is rare for a criminal case to sit this long under these circumstances, especially in the Rocket Docket. There are no official statistics that document the rarity of a criminal case sitting in limbo for such a long time, but White and others said they could not think of a similar case, especially one that grew out of a terror-related investigation.

White said the only option prosecutors have to propel the case forward would be to file something called a writ of mandamus against Brinkema — basically asking another judge to order her to take action.

House gives nod to Volusia-inspired textbook review bill

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House, essentially reacting to a months-old protest over the portrayal of Islam in Volusia County school textbooks, passed a bill Monday that would give local school boards, parents and protesters more power over classroom materials.

Hours later, a small but vocal group of demonstrators in Daytona Beach rallied to keep textbook selection free from political battles over religious and cultural differences.

“I’m concerned about having a narrow point of view presented to students; they need to have all sides of an issue, multiple points of view presented,” said Dan Spink, a retired teacher from Port Orange who joined the rally.

The proposal, which still has to go to the state Senate for approval, was the less dramatic of two textbook bills in the Legislature — the other a Senate bill that would have eliminated altogether the state’s role in short-listing and choosing books.

“This is a win for us,” said state Rep. David Santiago, R-Deltona, who joined in the 84-33 House vote to approve the measure. He said he spoke to local school officials, and “they’d rather take this version of it than the Senate’s.”

Rep. Dwayne Taylor, D-Daytona Beach, voted yes in a break with the House Democrats, most of whom voted against the bill. Rep. Dave Hood, R-Daytona Beach Shores, was not present for the vote.

The issue itself started in Volusia. A November School Board meeting was canceled because of security concerns when conservatives rallied to protest the use of the 10th-grade world history textbook they called pro-Islam. The book had a chapter about the rise of Muslim civilizations without a corresponding chapter on Christianity.

The measure the House approved retains the state-level textbook screening process, along with an existing option (passed by the Legislature last year) for local school boards to take over the instructional materials review and selection process if they want.

The House’s language also would require school boards to adopt a formal process for public review and comment on textbooks being considered for adoption and resolution of any objections that might arise from that.

In the Senate, Hays’ original bill would have gone a step further, eliminating the state review and short-listing of appropriate textbooks altogether. That task would’ve been turned over to local districts individually or in small groups. That version passed the Senate earlier this month by a vote of 21-19. Local Republicans Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and John Thrasher of St. Augustine supported it.

Islamic group accuses Republicans of fostering anti-Muslim sentiment

A Florida Islamic group is accusing some Republican Party lawmakers and local party organizations of fostering anti-Muslim sentiment.

 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, sent letters to almost every Republican Club or party extension in the state, asking the groups to stop bringing speakers who espouse anti-Islamic views. The letter said it represented the interests of more than 150,000 registered Florida Muslim voters.

 

Hassan Shibly, executive director for CAIR, based in Tampa, said such speakers not only inflame anti-Islam tensions but have also led to discriminatory legislation: namely Senate Bill 386, which would ban foreign laws from being enacted in Florida; and House Bill 921, which allows school districts to select textbooks instead of adhering to the statewide curriculum.

Sen. Nancy Detert, who represents Sarasota County and part of Charlotte County, refused to comment on the two bills and the letter sent out by CAIR.

“Why should I care about a letter sent out by someone I know nothing about? Is that really worth a story?” Detert said.

SENATE BILL 386 & HOUSE BILL 903

 

Referred to as the “Anti-Foreign Law Bill” and the “Anti-Sharia Law Bill,” this legislation would keep Florida judges from applying foreign laws. The only exception would be if the foreign law guarantees the same constitutional protections found in the Florida and U.S. constitutions.

 

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, in the Senate and Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, in the House.

 

Gov. Rick Scott has voiced his approval for the measure, but critics say the law is unnecessary and there are virtually no examples of foreign law previously intervening with state laws.

Shibly said the bill is thinly veiled anti-Islam legislation, citing a booklet Hays handed out to other Senators.

 

According to the Miami Herald, the booklet was called: “Shari’ah Law: Radical Islam’s threat to the U.S. Constitution.”

Shibly of the Council on American-Islam Relations said the bill would create a patchwork of curricula that would make it more difficult for the state to set standards for achievement. He also worried some districts might use the measure to push their ideas onto students.

State senators advance controversial ‘anti-Sharia’ bill

TALLAHASSEE—A controversial measure dubbed an “anti-Sharia bill” advanced out of the Florida Senate on a 24-14 vote Monday.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, touted SB 286 as “an American bill.”

It would restrict judges from considering foreign law in matters of divorce, alimony, child support and custody.

Under the language of the bill, an order of a foreign court would not be enforceable if it “offends the public policy of the state.”

It goes on to say: “Any attempt to apply the law of a foreign country is void if it contravenes the strong public policy of this state or if the law is unjust or unreasonable.”

Several senators said they were baffled by perceived need for the bill, feared it would inhibit foreign trade and adversely affect the state’s large Jewish population and their Israel-granted divorces.

“There is no record of Sharia law being implemented in the courts of Florida or any other state,” Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat said, in opposition.

Sharia is the moral code and religious laws that governs Muslim life.

Muslim groups say ERAU guest spews hatred

March 4, 2014

 

DAYTONA BEACH — A professor known for his controversial views about Islam and terrorism will field questions at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this week.

Professor Jonathan Matusitz of the University of Central Florida maintains that “coexistence with Islam is not possible,” citing extremist groups responsible for mass violence, including attacks in Syria and Egypt in recent weeks. In a recent public appearance he said Islam is “a religion of pieces — piece of body here, piece of body there.” He will be discussing his views and fielding questions Thursday night as part of the annual President’s Speaker Series, which covers topics ranging from aviation to education.

Embry-Riddle officials have received a wave of emails over the past few days from people who take issue with his stance. Hassan Shibly, Florida executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties group, described Matusitz’s statements about Muslims as “un-American.”

“We do feel it is very irresponsible for the university to give him a platform to promote such bigoted views,” said Shibly, who is a practicing Muslim.
Marc Bernier, a talk radio host on WNDB-AM 1150, will interview Matusitz, then open the floor to the audience. Bernier, a special assistant to the president at Embry-Riddle, said he doesn’t reveal his planned questions to guests or the public before his interviews, but he tries to “run a very balanced discussion.” The university isn’t paying Matusitz.

The Dayton Beach News Journal: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140304/NEWS/140309746?p=1&tc=pg