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/