Categorised | Commentary

Malaysia’s gay threat

ON 15 Dec 2010, 32 year-old Azwan Ismail, a Malay-Muslim Malaysian, posted a video on YouTube in which he declared, “I am gay and I’m OK.”

One week later, he told the media that he feared for his life. And who could blame him? He now has the de facto minister of religion, the Perak mufti, PAS Youth, Muslim bloggers and several other Muslim organisations watching him, let us say, with great interest. One Muslim blogger even challenged the country’s leadership to kill Azwan, the insinuation being that if we were a real Islamic state, Azwan’s “confession” would be evidence enough to apply the death penalty. All this is apart from the numerous threats of violence and murder made against Azwan on YouTube and various other online forums. Azwan’s video, part of a series produced by sexuality rights initiative Seksualiti Merdeka, was eventually removed amid concerns for his safety.

These violent threats against Azwan have already been condemned by individual bloggers, citizens, and also civil society groups such as the Centre for Independent Journalism and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality. These condemnations are necessary because whether or not one supports Azwan, violence and intimidation should never be allowed to enter into civil discussions of public interest.

But how feasible is it to have a calm and dispassionate discussion over an issue like this? We hear two extremes of the debate -pro-gay, pro-human rights on one end — and the decidedly anti-gay, self-professed “Islamic” on the other. Is the rest of the country similarly polarised? Or is the gap between these two extremes populated by a diversity of citizens who are either afraid, or ambivalent, or confused, or curious, or nonchalant? How can Malaysians of various backgrounds and beliefs weigh in on this matter when it has been cast by so many as a theological battle?

Facts versus ideology

Imam Feisal

Imam Feisal

First of all, there is nothing like a bunch of facts to mess up grand ideological claims. Certainly, condemnations of same-sex relations form a large body of Islamic jurisprudence and Quranic exegesis. No quarrel there. But there have also been disagreements among Islamic scholars regarding the issue of sexuality in Islam. Contemporary ulama and scholars such as imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the Indonesian kiyai Husein Muhammad assert that prominent commentaries even from Islam’s classical era have acknowledged and probably tolerated sexual and gender diversity.

Historical and anthropological studies (for example Murray and Roscoe’s Islamic Homosexualities) have also raised evidence of non-heterosexual relationships within Muslim societies through the ages.

In light of these facts, why do the “representatives” of Islam in Malaysia insist that the debate on homosexuality is black and white and necessarily entails condemnation and violent punishment? And why is there a tendency, whether among anti-gay Muslims or pro-gay non-Muslims, to think of Islam as a “special case” when it comes to issues of sexuality, gender and human rights in general? Is this assumption valid?

Violence against non-heterosexuals has been used by those in power to interpret the foundational texts of many of the world’s major religions. Islam’s Abrahamic predecessors, Judaism and Christianity, have also had periods of great intolerance towards women, non-heterosexuals and non-believers.

Nevertheless, there are more nuanced debates happening now within these traditions. Liberal and Reform Jews no longer believe women are inferior or that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals are condemned by God. Similarly, several leaders from the global Anglican Church are now making efforts to be more inclusive and less judgmental towards women, LGBTs, ethnic minorities, non-Christians and so on.

Promo pic for Haram Iran, a film based on the execution of two homosexuals in Iran

Promo pic for Haram Iran, a film based on the execution of two homosexuals in Iran (source: haramiran.com)

Sure, these movements are not unchallenged within their respective religious traditions, but the fact is that this inclusiveness also exists within Islam. However, Islam probably is a “special case” — in the sense that the laws of the state are used to stifle diverse views within the religion in Muslim-majority countries.

Implications versus possibilities

But let us, for a moment, imagine things differently. Imagine if the Islamic authorities had said, “Azwan Ismail, you are what you are, and we respect your decision.” What would be the implications of such a declaration? Would this mean that the authorities would need to overhaul our entire corpus of Islamic criminal laws? Would the authorities need to review Section 377 of the Penal Code?

Furthermore, would this mean that the authorities condoned same-sex relationships? If yes, would it then mean that they would have to recognise same-sex marriage? If yes, then what would it mean for the current understandings of Islamic marriage?

Already, there are numerous substantive and procedural issues in Malaysia’s Islamic Family Laws. How strictly or leniently do the authorities need to treat polygamous marriages? How strictly should the syariah courts compel men to pay maintenance to wives they have divorced, and their children? Are Muslim men really allowed to beat their wives? Are child marriages allowed in Islam?

These are not merely theological concepts—  they have very real repercussions on individual lives and on the very notion of the Malaysian state. And so the fear that our “authorities” have towards LGBT Muslims, if we were to acknowledge their existence, is the fear of the unravelling of Islam — theologically, socially, legalistically and politically. This would explain the moral panic.

But where did we get this idea that an entire religion could disintegrate just by the admission of facts and reality? Where did we get this notion that if we didn’t use force or coercion, then religious adherence would cease? Is this in the foundational texts of Islam, or in any religion for that matter?

Certainty versus ambiguity

Perhaps a different illustration is called for here. The American Muslim scholar Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle points towards a prominent hadith (utterance of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) recorded in Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, No 5106), which says:

“Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

(© arte_ram | sxc.hu)

(© arte_ram | sxc.hu)

A man was with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and a man passed by him and said: Apostle of Allah! I love this man. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) then asked: Have you informed him? He replied: No. He said: Inform him. He then went to him and said: I love you for Allah’s sake. He replied: May He for Whose sake you love me love you!”

The hadith is ambiguous about whether or not this is a platonic, spiritual or romantic love. It is, however, very specifically about love between two unrelated men and it is non-judgemental. Between the ambiguity and specificity of this hadith, then, lies a great unexplored space for further debate and understanding. By shutting down the debate, the “Islamic authorities” in Malaysia are denying our vast, diverse citizenry a chance to process for itself the deep wisdom inherent in Islamic tradition.

A vast and diverse citizenry includes those who have either friends, or siblings, or uncles and aunts, or children, or nephews and nieces, or even parents (yes, parents) who are non-heterosexual. Surely a robust theology would not ask them to condemn or punish their loved ones? Surely a relevant and kind theology would explore ways in which human relationships could be celebrated with love and mutual respect?

Shanon Shah is the former columns and comments editor at The Nut Graph, and is currently pursuing his MA in Religion in Contemporary Society at King’s College London.

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159 Responses to “Malaysia’s gay threat”

  1. Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

    I fully agree that LGBT and liberal theologians have every place to be part of their religious tradition and to debate. I consider myself very conservative myself, however I have seen a lot of good come from (often heated) exchanges with fellow co-religionists of more liberal stripes. Once the heated argument is over, we can still respect each other’s views and accept each other as co-religionists.

    Nevertheless, this space for discussion and debate can only happen in an environment where the state has protected the right to debate religious matters in a safe environment.

    As you are aware, the discussions concerning the level of inclusiveness of the Anglican Church has huge and heated repercussions. A significant number of Anglicans in the UK are leaving the communion to join the Roman Catholic Church while a significant number of US Anglicans have formed their own splinter group (ACNA). No matter how benevolent the beliefs are, arguments about religion are very heated, and often very unpleasant.

    It is the duty of the state to ensure that these arguments can happen within boundaries of civility. If the state does not do so, and in fact actively favours a particular theological stripe, what you will encounter is a situation similar to Malaysia, where extremists who call out for the death of someone who disagrees can get away with it.

  2. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Pure rubbish! Islam based on the Quran and Hadith is absolutely clear on the issue of LGBT. Haram and totally unacceptable. No Malay-Muslim leader within the Nusantara can afford to contradict mainstream Islamic teachings publicly. Neither PAS nor Umno nor PKR itself dares to contradict Islamic teachings. Even here in secular Singapore, the PAP cannot approve the LGBT agenda for similar reasons.

    Political Islam has arrived in South East Asia. You just have to learn to live with it.

    • JW Tan says:

      You have a flawed understanding of what political Islam means. The writer is perfectly valid in questioning the ideas that make up political Islam, because without such questioning, there is no politics – just Islam, in its monolithic, totalitarian, conservative-religious sense. If Islam is to intrude into the political arena, it must submit to the same cut and thrust of debate that shapes (and has shaped) all other political ideologies.

      One reason why no Malay politician would countenance debate in this area in Malaysia is because the majority of them are acting like gutless cowards. I wish more politicians had the courage to defend a man who is facing violence and death threats simply because he made a statement about himself. After all, that’s what elected representatives are supposed to do. You want an example of a Muslim politician who protected his constituents and questioned an unjust law derived from so-called Islamic principles? Look no further than Salman Taseer, who paid with his life for his acts as an elected representative on behalf of a Christian constituent. That’s real courage.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        To suggest that basic Islamic teachings regarding LGBT is unjust is quite an insult to Islam. Since when did Christianity approve of the LGBT agenda? I do not believe that the Vatican will ever approve the LGBT agenda.

        • JW Tan says:

          You are probably correct in your assessment. Which means that Christianity too should be taken to task. I’m no great fan of the Vatican either.

          Threatening someone with violence, and committing violence against his person because of his sexual orientation is illegal, and morally wrong. You, the imams and the priests may share an opinion that being anything other than heterosexual is also morally wrong, but to imply that you can commit one morally wrong action in order to expiate another morally wrong action is, well, silly.

          Posing tricky questions such as these usually results in religious apologists claiming they have been “insulted”. But if you can resolve the contradiction I pointed out, then you need not feel insulted at all.

        • bibliobibuli says:

          Er … since when did the Vatican represent Christianity? It is the seat of the Roman Catholic church, just one branch.

        • Airin Zaid says:

          “Since when did Christianity approve of the LGBT agenda?”

          The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches does, at least in the sense that they are strongly committed to LGBT equality (same sex marriage being one example).

          Also, the Vatican = Catholic, and Catholics do not represent all of Christianity, just as Sunnis do not represent all of Islam.

    • Kong Kek Kuat says:

      @ Syed Alwi

      “Haram and totally unacceptable. No Malay-Muslim leader within the Nusantara can afford to contradict mainstream Islamic teachings publicly. Neither PAS nor Umno nor PKR itself dares to contradict Islamic teachings. Even here in secular Singapore, the PAP cannot approve the LGBT agenda for similar reasons. Political Islam has arrived in South East Asia. You just have to learn to live with it.”

      Pure rubbish! [...] Singapore does not approve of LBGT – OFFICIALLY – because LBGT is still generally a contentious issue in Singapore, and in the rest of the world… even in the USA. It is definitely NOT because of Islamic reasons, as you so desperately believe.

      Lee Hsien Loong:

      “…No, I don´t think we are homophobic. I agree with Mr Goh Chok Tong that homosexuals are people like you and me. But, there are some segment(s) of Singaporeans who vehemently disagree with that. And we have to be aware of that. And our job, as a government, is to create an environment, and manage an environment in which there is maximum space for each person/each view, …[pause] for each person to live his own life without impinging on other people. It´s a very difficult thing to do.

      “I mean, if you say ‘you are gay,’ ‘you must not be gay,’ that´s…[pause] very few societies do that; I mean there are some, but very few do. On the other hand, if you say ‘I am gay, therefore, I am entitled to get married.’ Well, that´s a very contentious subject. Or even ‘I am entitled to have a parade and flaunt my gayness.’ Gay pride. Well, you can do that in Sydney, in London, in San Francisco. But I´m not sure that I want to do that in Singapore. Because, I think, it will be offensive to a large number of Singaporeans, and it´ll be very divisive.

      “And, I think, from the government´s point of view, therefore, it is not a very wise thing to do. How do we provide the maximum space without causing it/without it becoming… [long pause] intrusive, and oppressive on the rest of the population, and without causing a backlash which will lead to polarisation and animosity. That´s our responsibility and challenge. It´s very hard to do; you cannot find/there´s no easy balancing point – you hold it there and that´s just about right… So, therefore, it´s a dynamic balance, and one which we will have to manage very delicately.“

      Perhaps you should learn more about Singapore. At least your factual inaccuracies would not negate the show.

  3. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Shanon – where is your ijma’ among the ulamas in the Muslim world which permits LGBT? You have none. All you do is rely upon the flawed interpretations of only a few ulamas. [This is not] mainstream Islam.

    I suggest that you [...] study the structure of the Islamic legal framework and not just pick and choose a few obscure and flawed interpretations.

    • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

      Saudi Arabia actually has a high rate of transsexual operations, so at the very least the ‘T’ in your ‘where…among the ulamas in the Muslim world…permits LGBT’ statement has been proven in error.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Just because some Saudis do it, does NOT make it halal! Just because some Malay-Muslims drink beer – it does not make drinking beer halal!

        Your confusion is obvious!

        • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

          Ok, I stand corrected, though not by you — Saudi Arabia does not do transsexual operations that much. That was Iran.

    • Shanon Shah says:

      I suggest that you study other legal principles in Islam, such as maslahah, ijtihad, amal Madinah, istihsan and qiyas, and how these have been used differently by the different Sunni mazhabs over the years, and how these have resulted in very strong differences of opinion, even on the issue of gender and sexuality. I suggest you read legal tracts by prominent classical scholars such as Ibn Hazm, which are not as clear-cut on LGBT as you think. I also suggest that you read up on other legal methods used by non-Sunni Muslims, such as Ismailis, Zaidis and Ithna Ashaaris. Don’t just read Hanbali scholars.

      I also suggest that you confront the fact that the more than 1 billion Muslims around the world are very, very diverse. Not everyone has the same interpretation of Islam, whether you or any ulama likes it or not. People mediate their beliefs according to their own circumstances. There are the central texts of Islam, the Quran and the hadith, but these get interpreted in different ways by different people. I suggest you live with that. I respect your opinions and value them very much, but somehow I suspect you do not read as much and widely as you claim to :-) I urge you to source for books on Islam which are not available in Malaysia and Singapore for reasons of censorship.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Shanon,

        I have studied these – but tell all of us here, what is the view of the majority of ulama i.e. jumhur ulama on the issue of LGBT? What are the Quranic verses that support your claim? What are the Hadith Shahih that support your claim?

        The Muslim world may be diverse – but that diversity must be within the ambit of the Quran and Hadith. Not your kind of wishful thinking. Nay – it is you who have a very dangerous agenda. But fortunately the Muslims in Malaysia are well-versed in Islam and you cannot deceive them. That’s reality 101 for you.

        No amount of your Islam Liberal can modify the teachings of mainstream Islam.

        • farha says:

          Shanon is saying that there are studies indicating diverse opinions in Islam regarding this issue… it’s his opinion based on what he studied.

          “But fortunately the Muslims in Malaysia are well-versed in Islam and you cannot deceive them. That’s reality 101 for you.”
          “No amount of your Islam Liberal can modify the teachings of mainstream Islam.”

          I don’t think it’s about modifying Islam 101, Dr Syed Alwi… so who are you trying to convince?

  4. Andrew I says:

    “These condemnations are necessary because whether or not one supports Azwan, violence and intimidation should never be allowed to enter into civil discussions of public interest.”

    Americans are now deliberating whether this was a contributory factor in the attempted assassination of a Congresswoman.

    When violence or threat of violence is needed to back a stance, it isn’t much of a stance in the first place.

  5. Politicokat says:

    And this reaction is only [in relation to] a gay man.
    I have two former classmates, one of them a good friend which become a trans man and a trans woman respectively. Both are now on hormones and are saving for gender reassignment surgery.

    They lost their families and most of their friends. Only a small group of us have remained and continue to provide support. One can only imagine what would happen if they revealed that their current identities were not the ones they grew up with.

    Malaysia is a very intolerant society.

  6. Yeo Kien Kiong says:

    Was wondering what the MCMC [Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission] is going to do about the people making [sexist and racist remarks] and manipulating religion to harass and threaten the person who posted the video on the internet?

  7. Eric says:

    I still fail to see the reason behind permanent Malaysian need to demonise LGBT. Exactly how many people die or are wounded because of LGBT issues every year? Why can’t we, and this includes our self-proclaimed in-house muftis, spend more time on corruption, which kills and maims on a daily basis (unfit coaches, collapsing buildings, etc.)? Is there a point in politicising religion if it is just to trivialise what adult people do willingly with their rude bits? Does any holy book endorse corruption? Is this why self-rated Malaysian holy [persons] seem just fine with rasuah, while they foam at the mouth at the mere LGBT whisper? Where are the fatwa council and Jakim when you need them? Can’t they leave the bedroom for the boardroom for a while?

    It really fails me.

    PS: Glad to see TNG back on the scene.

    • Radix says:

      Eric,

      As Dr Syed Alwi proclaimed “political Islam has arrived in Southeast Asia”. I think he would say that that’s the answer to most of your questions.

      To Dr Syed Alwi – your comments equate what IS with what OUGHT to be. History shows that “mainstream” rarely remains so a generation or two later. In fact the vanguards of the “mainstream” are often the most strident and shrill voices in any society that is on the cusp of a paradigm shift. Similarly, the history of most faiths often involve intense contestations between opposing interpretations. If alternative voices were never heard in the past, we would not have much of what’s considered “mainstream” today. Many of the great religions, especially Islam and Christianity, began their histories as fringe religions considered by majority as heretical and blasphemous. Therefore, in making the great leap from IS to OUGHT, take care not to silence perspectives that could be a great resource to the community. And take care not to be left behind…

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Radix,

        Islam is NOT for you to modify or revise. In Islam, the Quran is sacred. If you cannot tolerate Islamic teachings, may I suggest that you stop living in a Muslim country like Malaysia ?

        • JW Tan says:

          I think, if he cannot tolerate Islamic teachings, he is perfectly within his rights, and indeed should be applauded, if he is working to make Malaysia a country that eschews the teachings he cannot tolerate.

          He may very well not succeed of course. But it is a noble aim.

        • Kong Kek Kuat says:

          @ Eric

          It is not TNG which is back on the scene, but the bigot who entertains us.

          In every great theatre there needs a jester.

        • tourist says:

          Dear Dr. Syed

          Last night I was in a taxi and the driver told me the old “joke” about the Indian and the snake – and how you kill the Indian first.

          He then went on to tell me about how nobody likes Indians here. He then went on to tell me that they should leave because this is a Malay Muslim country.

          He thought I was just a tourist.

          This sense of “us vs them” riddles this country, and clearly your Islam is of a one-way, and one-way only, view, which simply demonstrates to me that your Islam is not going to last.

          Malaysia is not a “Muslim” country, and simply suggesting that those who don’t like “your” view should leave makes you worse in any just God’s eyes than any LGBT citizen.

        • Reza says:

          “Islam is NOT for you to modify or revise.”

          And yet there are so many interpretations of the Hadith and Quran, so many Islamic sects and schools of thought and mazhabs. To proclaim that your version of Islam is the ultimate truth is asininely arrogant. As Shanon pointed out, Islamic interpretation is stunningly diverse. Every Muslim should have access to all interpretations and decide for themselves which they think is right and want to follow, instead of being censored and banned.

  8. subliminal says:

    Dear Dr. Syed,

    I noticed you brought out the ijma. Alright now as far as I remember the structure went something like this: Quran, Hadith, Ijma and the very much not-talked-about Qiyas; which is an agreement from the Muslim community regarding an interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith.

    I suggest before we can pass any statement on any topic up for consideration regarding LGBT (since this is the context of this discussion), it is fair that it goes through all four filters, no?

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear subliminal,

      The majority of ulamas (jumhur ulama) in the Muslim world have studied the issue of LGBT. The Quran condemns it. The Shahih Hadith condemns it. What is there left to say ?

      It is common knowledge throughout the Muslim world that LGBT is totally unacceptable to Islam. This Shanon is trying to push the agenda of Islam Liberal – a group which many consider to DEVIANT. Agama sesat.

      If you people do not believe me – then check with the established Sunni authorities world-wide. None accepts LGBT !

      • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

        “The Quran condemns it. The Shahih Hadith condemns it. What is there left to say?”

        Plenty – scientific knowledge tells us that sexual orientation is natural, and worldwide, LGBT have been coming out to say that the old methods of responding to LGBT have not been working. Or are you saying that orthodox Islam has no need to regard development in science and knowledge in the formation of the Qias and Ijma?

        Theology, in its finest form, is concerned with two fields we associate with the divine: ethics and epistemology. This kind of ‘we’ll bunker in our turrets and use violence to protect our beliefs if we have to’ is simply irrational. If you can only snipe back in order to defend your faith, what is there to your faith?

        I think Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, quoted by Shanon here, is considered by significant number of Muslims to be quite an authority. In fact, he was one of the key figures in the building of the Islamic Cultural Centre in New York that was very controversial for Americans.

  9. Reza says:

    Even if one condemns LGBTs, threatening violence on those who are LGBTs or who support LGBTs is totally reprehensible and uncivilised. A truly intelligent and civilised person debates the issue calmly and rationally, trying to convince others with facts and logic rather than with force. But unfortunately this is what Islam has been reduced to. And this is exactly why many, especially in the West, condemn Islam as a violent religion. While I know that the true Islam is not like that, I am at a loss for words to defend Islam from those who condemn it as such. Because, whether or not you want to admit it, current “mainstream” Islam is exactly that: a violent and intolerant religion.

    Islam was once a beautiful and tolerant religion as described by Shanon in his article. But its administration by unintelligent and poorly educated ulama, not just in Malaysia but also in many other Muslim countries, who have blindly followed the religious texts without applying any critical thinking whatsoever in its interpretation, has effectively ruined the religion. This, in turn, has given birth to fanatics like blogger Mahaguru58, who proclaims on his website banner that “the truth must be told no matter what so that justice can live!”, but is really nothing more than a misguided closet terrorist, calling for the death of Azwan Ismail just for declaring his homosexuality. A truly sad state of affairs.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Reza,

      It is completely inappropriate to declare oneself as gay in a Muslim country, knowing full well that Islam abhors LGBT. When you do that, you are seriously courting trouble by challenging defiantly the established teachings of the Quran and Hadith.

      Azwan asked for it.

      • Reza says:

        Whether it is appropriate or not is not the issue. The issue is the response to such a declaration. If someone wants to condemn it, then fine, go ahead. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Personally, I have no problem with LGBTs. But the issue is the threat of violence for something that you do not agree with. The point of my post is that such threats are uncivilised and only serve to paint Islam in bad light as a violent and intolerant religion. In other words, these people who threaten violence are just justifying others’ prejudice against Islam, and further fan the flames of Islamophobia. If you truly love Islam, why would you support such behaviour? That you condone these threats also reveals much about your character and mentality.

      • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

        So you don’t think that threatening to kill someone is wrong? That’s unfortunate, because both the Quran and the Talmud recognize that whoever saves one life, saves a universe entire — that’s a statement of regard to the sanctity of life, at least, and a fantastic philosophical observation too.

        I think that there are few levels of moral and spiritual depravity than to have little to no regard for the universe in every human life.

        • J.Iscariot says:

          Dear Ms. Green,

          So what exactly does Judaism say about LGBT?

          • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

            Reformed Judaism, which is the fairly large denomination of Judaism, accepts LGBT. Israel has an active gay subculture.

      • Kong Kek Kuat says:

        @ Syed Alwi

        Since when is Malaysia a Muslim country?

        Heck, I am eating pork noodle even as I am typing this reply to you from my desk located in the centre of Malaysia. What are you going to do about it?

        I am asking for you to prove to the world that Malaysia is a Muslim country.

      • Yeo Kien Kiong says:

        Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

        It is fortunate for someone or anybody to declare themselves as gays, lesbians, transsexuals, or any form of sexual orientation that he or she wishes to express [...] because people have the freedom to let the world know that they are not alone.

        Malaysia is a colourful country where there is no black or white, just rainbow colours where everybody regardless of race, colour or religious preference strives for peace and harmony through justice and, most important of all, equality. The video is not about breaking rigid rules and regulations or courting troubles. It is about personal privacy, security and the freedom to express and share one’s thoughts towards a universal acceptance and for a better future.

  10. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear People,

    The views of the majority of Sunni ulama (jumhur ulama) is that LGBT is unacceptable because there are Quranic verses and Shahih Hadith that condemn it.

    Now it might be the case that there have been a few obscure and flawed interpretations – but by and large, mainstream Islam is founded on the consensus of the majority of ulama.

    What Shanon is pushing is the Islam Liberal agenda. To be perfectly honest with you, I pray that Jakim, PAS, Umno, PKR etc close down TNG and NOT allow Shanon to propagate his agenda to Malaysian Muslims.

    In any case, most Malaysian Muslims are well-versed enough in Islam to see through TNG’s agenda. If you people do not believe me, then check it out with credible and established Sunni authorities worldwide.

    • Shanon Shah says:

      Dr Syed Alwi, if you had read any of these you would be able to identify the Quranic verses and hadith yourself, instead of resorting to the rhetorical device of putting others on the spot. I have already quoted one of the hadith in my commentary.

      Besides, the Quran is not written like an encyclopedia, with an index on “homosexuality” and subsequent, specific prescriptions. If you have read the Quran from cover to cover, you will note that it has a literary, allegorical style all of its own.

      If you refer to studies of Quranic exegesis such as the groundbreaking work by Hussein Abdul-Raof (Schools of Qur’anic Exegesis), you will see that Quranic exegesis and hadith methodology has been complex and full of internal disagreements even among ulama from the earliest days of Islam. This is not to discount the value of their different opinions, but to merely demonstrate the fact that even the ulama have had fundamental disagreements on issues such as marriage, divorce, government, taxation, gender, sexuality, inheritance, war, etc. through the ages. That the “consensus” on some of these issues was sometimes built via political partisanship with or against the rulers of the day is a reality we have to come to terms with.

      To explore diversity and tensions among contemporary ulama, Qasim Zaman’s “The Ulama in Contemporary Islam” is an instructive study of how even established ulama had extremely diverse and mutually hostile understandings of things like apostasy, marriage, divorce, and anti-colonial nationalism.

      So, you are in effect constructing a fiction of uniformity in Islam – in the theological, political and social senses, and also with regard to ulama and lay believers. That fiction is, unfortunately, taken as the gospel truth by both Muslims and non-Muslims. But it is only that — a fiction. I invite you to reflect further on your claims and to venture out into diverse Muslim communities to see for yourself how Islam is actually very diverse, both in practise and the conceptual understandings of ulama. This project should be undertaken in addition to deeper and diverse readings on Islam, if you want to be taken seriously in your arguments.

      If Islam and Muslims were not diverse, then we wouldn’t be faced with contradictory issues such as Malaysia, a Shafie-Sunni state, having strong bilateral relations with Shi’i Iran, and yet arresting Shi’is for celebrating Ashura in Malaysia.

      So far, I believe you have done nothing to disprove the challenges that have been mounted to your claims. What you have succeeded in doing is making it painfully obvious that you are passing fiction for truth without actually having any sound arguments or facts to substantiate your sweeping claims. Labeling those who disagree with you as “dangerous” and “Liberal Muslims” does nothing to strengthen your intellectual credibility, but it does demonstrate to others that you probably regard your own arguments as insecure and shallow. I invite you to attempt discussing matters at a deeper and more engaging level. Yours is an important voice in the debate, but it will become but a laughing stock if you insist on making sweeping generalisations and hostile accusations against those you deem disagreeable without actually making the effort to deepen your own claims to knowledge.

      I find it sad that you, as a Singaporean Muslim, find it in your heart to wish for the Malaysian Islamic authorities to penalise voices such as mine. While I welcome your opinions and your position on matters, I find this proclamation of yours extremely problematic. I hope you [...] will one day manage to argue your points without wishing ill on others, for that would be the only Islamic way to debate.

      Warmest salams.

      • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

        “The Prophet said:
        The mightiest among you is the one who controls the instinct of rage and the most patient of you is the one who forgives when retaliation is possible.” (Hadith of Ibn Abi al-Dunya and Al Baihaqi’)

        Considering how vicious Dr. Syed Alwi’s comment was, this comment by Shanon was highly admirable.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Shanon,

        The onus is on you to provide Quranic verses and Shahih Hadith that support your claim. For the rest of the Sunni Muslim world – it is plainly obvious that Islam Liberal is an agama sesat. Deviant. Why? Because Islam Liberal makes arbitrary and flawed interpretations of the Quran without referring to the Seerah and the Asbabun Nuzul.

        • Hamdan Muhamad says:

          Dear Dr Syed Alwi

          You have not even addressed once, up to this point of this debate, the issue of the threats of violence and death on Azwan. You did jot categorically and explicitly condemn these proclamations as being against Islamic teachings. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.h) saw fit to forgive a prostitute, and you cannot find in your heart compassion and empathy?

          With regards to the diversity of Islamic beliefs and practices, surely you are aware of practices in Iran and India, for example, of praying to Islamic saints (if there is such a thing in the first place) and tombs. Surely these practices are far more grave, syiriq, than one that professes publicly that he is gay. You must remember that he may have declared himself a homosexual but he did not declare himself as a practising homesexual. That is a material difference.

    • Reza says:

      “The views of the majority of Sunni ulama (jumhur ulama) is that LGBT is unacceptable because there are Quranic verses and Shahih Hadith that condemn it”

      Just because they may be the views of the majority doesn’t mean that I am just going to stop thinking for myself and follow these ulama like sheep, which is what many Muslims have chosen to do. They have turned off their brains and let the ulamas do their thinking for them, which is exactly why there is a severe lack of progress in most of the Islamic world. It is like the blind leading the blind. This is in stark contrast to the Golden Age of Islam when Islamic scholars were genuine intellectuals who could actually think critically.

      “…I pray that Jakim, PAS, Umno, PKR etc close down TNG and NOT allow Shanon to propagate his agenda to Malaysian Muslims.”

      Spoken like a true fanatic who cannot tolerate differences of opinion and tries to curtail the freedom of speech of dissenters. Do you feel so threatened and afraid that Muslims are going to start listening to Shanon, abandon the Islamic status quo and then you will suddenly find yourself in the minority? Well guess what? Everyone has a right to voice our opinions. And we also have a right to hear every opinion and follow whichever opinion we think is right. This choice is the right of every human being. Censorship of opinion and ideas is nothing less than intellectual oppression and a breach of human rights.

      “In any case, most Malaysian Muslims are well-versed enough in Islam to see through TNG’s agenda.”

      I think a more accurate statement should be “In any case, most Malaysian Muslims are too parochially ignorant and afraid to think for themselves to see the truth of TNG’s wisdom.”

    • Hello says:

      It is strange that you uphold the fact that Islam condemns LGBT, which is fine, but remain silent on Islam’s view concerning death threats or even violence committed to protect the sanctity of a religion. Does mainstream Islam propagate the use of threats and violence to counter an issue? Which would explain why such reactions are acceptable and considered halal by followers?

  11. Andrew I says:

    “What Shanon is pushing is the Islam Liberal agenda. To be perfectly honest with you, I pray that Jakim, PAS, Umno, PKR etc close down TNG and NOT allow Shanon to propagate his agenda to Malaysian Muslims.

    In any case, most Malaysian Muslims are well-versed enough in Islam to see through TNG’s agenda.”

    So why are you so worried?

  12. Andrew I says:

    I would, however, wish to state that I do not agree with Azwan’s course of action.

    I don’t quite understand this obsession about openly declaring one’s sexuality. You don’t get straight people holding a mardi gras declaring their straightness. Most people work on the vibes they get, straight or gay.

    If religion is a form of social control, this, unfortunately, flies in the face of it.

    I am not interested in what you do behind closed doors and I don’t appreciate you bragging about it either.

    • Hello says:

      Andrew… there was more to his message than him just saying that he’s gay and he’s ok… did you even watch the video?

      • Andrew I says:

        No. As I said, this isn’t something that would interest me. Isn’t it as much my right to choose not to watch it and express an opinion as it is someone’s to post it?

        This issue is about rights, isn’t it?

        • Zen says:

          Hello is pointing out that Azwan’s video actually explained why he felt it necessary to declare his sexuality. The video itself addresses your complaint.

          Declaring you are LGBT is obviously different from declaring that you are straight. Most straight people don’t declare their sexuality because society tends to assume that everyone is straight anyway. Why blame LGBT people for reminding society that they exist?

          • Andrew I says:

            “Most straight people don’t declare their sexuality because society tends to assume that everyone is straight anyway. Why blame LGBT people for reminding society that they exist?”

            Perhaps the Lee Hsien Loong excerpt posted by Kong Kek Kuat might be of relevance:

            “Or even ‘I am entitled to have a parade and flaunt my gayness.’ Gay pride. Well, you can do that in Sydney, in London, in San Francisco. But I´m not sure that I want to do that in Singapore. Because, I think, it will be offensive to a large number of Singaporeans, and it´ll be very divisive.”

            I don’t believe in religious control over moral behavior nor violence, but it doesn’t mean I have to agree.

        • JW Tan says:

          You then open yourself to accusations of ignorance – well justified too.

          In any case, the reasons why minority groups wish to celebrate being different are not going to cause the majority to celebrate the same. Being a minority is the very reason why they celebrate.

          Culturally Singapore is not ready for a gay pride march. But that is perhaps a symptom of a greater disease – discrimination against gay people. When people feel comfortable being gay, gay pride marches will disappear.

    • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

      Andrew, the world is full of messages about what heterosexuals do behind closed doors — fashion is designed to make us look attractive to the opposite sex, advertisements are geared to appeal to our sexuality, songs on the radio are almost entirely about heterosexual love and lust. We don’t recognize this blatant display of heterosexuality because we think it is normal. To quote a transsexual I know, there is no shortage of men who dress to advertise that they like cheerleaders.

      Azwan’s video wasn’t a ‘Coming Out’ video. It was part of the “It Gets Better” project, which is a project to help suicidal LGBT teens understand that life is worth living. As part of the project, LGBT adults shared how they overcame the challenges they had in life and how they learned to live as they are.

      • Andrew I says:

        Thank you for enlightening me. If the intentions are indeed noble, then I withdraw my initial assessment.

        Call me old fashioned, but it’s the over the top, in your face, display of sexuality that I’m more irked about. From the drunk who who tries to grope the nearest woman in a bar to the hairy man in a bikini prancing about in the street.

        It really boils down to the individual, doesn’t it?

        • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

          If it helps you any, an acquaintance of mine who is an MTF transsexual is training to become a nun in an Anglican convent. Even before her decision her attire has always been very conservative. I think there are plenty of LGBT who are strongly conservative or even prudish in many other views and behaviour, but we just don’t happen to notice them.

          • Andrew I says:

            Good on them, because sexuality shouldn’t be made out to be the be all and end all. I know of a gay couple who have bought a house together. That is an achievement in itself, considering how many straight relationships don’t even get that far. They’re not loud and they don’t go out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable. I wish them all the happiness.

  13. lezzo says:

    Dear Dr. Syed,

    As much as you want to argue that Islam abhors homosexuality, as much as you want to scream shout and stamp your feet, as much as you want to threaten Divine retribution, the fact of the matter is that LGBT Muslims do exist. And unfortunately for your conscience, a person’s sexuality will not change just because you tell them it is wrong. So instead of saying things like Azwan deserves it, and propagating a violent and discriminatory climate which is against the virtues of a peaceful and just Islam, why don’t you get over your nonsensical fear of homosexuality and learn to live in peace with your Muslim LGBT brothers and sisters?

  14. Albert says:

    The problem here clearly isn’t the “religion” they think they’re following, but their own masochistic and misogynist complexes. You can choose to interpret any religion as you want and hold it accountable – psycho killers do it, and even governments. It’s a true disservice to the any holy book that people use it to justify bad things they do (stoning, whipping etc).

    If you believe in God, he gave us free will so that we can choose to act morally or not. And then it’s between us and God.

    If you take that choice away, and you think you’re going to compel people to act morally, you’re doing a disservice to the will of God.

    Because he gave us the free will, you can’t take it away. You can’t take away our morality.

    Because without choice there is no morality.

    To those who still believe Azwan chose to be gay, have you ever thought the other way? That Azwan chose to accept himself even after everyone compelled him to act “morally” according to their own interpretation of morality?

    It takes a lot of courage to accept oneself. It takes a whole lot more of it to say it in a video. Even more, it’s a video to give advice and hope for people who just might pick up that knife, or just might jump off a ten-storey building.

    What he did does not do any harm to anyone but good. No one will turn gay just because he came out. No one will start finding the same sex attractive just because they watched his video. Just like how no LBGT person will start finding the opposite sex attractive if you throw death threats at them.

    Give him a hug not a bullet to his head. Please.

  15. Idris says:

    Nowadays, among those who consider themselves the elite (at least in the intellectual sense), learned, liberal etc., often there are those who hold to the view that LGBT is wrong, for religious reasons or otherwise, who are frequently considered bigoted, mentally unsound, prejudiced etc.

    This leads to my question: are you sure you’re not trying to say LGBT is permitted in Islam, to whatever extent, just to pander to these views? Could it be that Islam allows for the existence of LGBTs but not for the practices involved among LGBTs? Could it be, perhaps, that Islam’s stand is “OK, you’re a Muslim, and you’re gay. No sin in that. Now put a lid on it (as in, do not indulge in same-sex sex), for if you abstain, you will be rewarded with such and such a number of pretty men/women/prepubescent boys for you to do as you please in the afterlife?” Or maybe God will free them of their ‘unnatural’ desires?

    If one can abstain from sex, would there be need to make a public declaration that one is gay or whatever? Would it even matter what one’s sexual orientation is? Some people live their entire lives without ever having married or even having sex, so are gays so special that they deserve better?

    • Shanon Shah says:

      But who decided which desires were “natural” and which “unnatural”? As you suggest, one way to view this is that Allah has unambiguously declared this and the debate ends there. But as with any religious teachings, these are based on interpretations by human interpreters. Could it be that they read their prejudices of the “natural” versus “unnatural” into their interpretation of a far more complex and inclusive text?

      • Idris says:

        I don’t understand why you decided to focus on the nature of things without touching on the other points. I did, after all, write ‘unnatural’ with the inverted commas.

        I ask that you ignore the sentence with that word (Or maybe God will free them of their ‘unnatural’ desires?) and attend to my other points.

  16. Idris says:

    “Furthermore, would this mean that the authorities condoned same-sex relationships? If yes, would it then mean that they would have to recognise same-sex marriage?”

    The way it’s going in the West, the answer to both would seem to be ‘yes’.
    http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/191

    From a non-religious point of view, I believe that if we accept same-sex relationships – which is not the same as accepting the existence of gays/lesbians – we will eventually have to accept same-sex marriages, all in the name of “consenting adults, no harm done to others, I have a right to personal happiness” and variations thereof.

    By the same token, shouldn’t we also accept other “deviant” practices such as incestuous marriages?

    Since we are talking about the right of consenting adults to live as they please (no harm done to others, of course), wouldn’t we also have to accept other non-related practices, e.g. prostitution (two consenting adults engaging in a business transaction)? In fact, there is no need to consider marriage. What if, for example, you have a son and a daughter (or two sons/daughters, for that matter), both adults, and they want to live together and have sex with each other (noting that procreation has nothing to do with this)?

    If Abrahamic religious traditions are anything to go by, incestuous relationships are probably more “natural” than homosexual ones (starting from Adam and Eve’s offspring). The Quran prohibits incestuous relations? It needs “reinterpretation”, then.

    • Shanon Shah says:

      I think this is a falsely constructed analogy. The analogy between incest and same-sex attraction has been made by anti-LGBT groups for ages and ages. In my opinion, it is an analogy that does not hold, and puts the spotlight on same-sex relationships in a dishonest manner, when there are problems within current practices in heterosexual relationships that also raise equally alarming questions.

      Specifically, in what passes for normative “Islamic” heterosexual relationships today, there are some problems that remain unresolved. Can we interpret Surah 4:34 as a justification for male to female violence in heterosexual marriage? In Malaysia, an adult Muslim man married a 14 year-old Muslim girl. Is 14 the bottom limit in age for Islamic marriage? What about 13-, 12-, 11-, and 10-year old girls, and so on?

      I think the first thing that needs to be clarified is, what assumptions and evidence are there that drive this correlation between same-sex relationships and incest? Perhaps once these assumptions are laid out openly, the discussion can be elaborated on more effectively.

      • Idris says:

        I’m not sure if I follow you. Falsely constructed analogy? Underage marriage? I was taking about consenting adults, men and women at or above the legal age for marriage.

        I am not familiar with the arguments used by anti-LGBT groups, nor, in this case, am I arguing from the religious point of view. I am talking about consistency of principles.

        If two sane adults wish to live together – whether they be of the same sex, related, or ‘normal’, then in the name of human rights, who is to say they can’t?

        Arguments in support of same sex relationships are along the lines of
        - sane consenting adults under no duress
        - no harm done to anyone else
        i.e. human rights. I don’t see why the same arguments cannot be used for incestuous relationships as well.

        • Idris says:

          Say you have an adult son. He tells you he’s gay and he wishes to live with his gay partner. No problem you say? Good on you for being so understanding.

          Now say you have a son and daughter, both adult. They wish to live together as man and woman. You’re going to say no? That would be downright hypocritical, I think.

          • Shanon Shah says:

            To be very brief, here is the difference between same-sex attraction and incest. Same-sex attraction is a sexual orientation. It means a man is attracted to other men (not necessarily his own brothers/father/sons etc.), etc. Incest is where two individuals within the same family unit form sexual relationships with each other. Incest could either be same-sex or opposite-sex. It is NOT a sexual orientation. A heterosexual man attracted to his own daughter would not be ORIENTED towards an attraction only for his own offspring, but would also find women not related to him attractive as well. Some view incest, therefore, as a fetish. It has its own attendant problems in terms of power relations.

            So, while it would appear that the consenting adults theme might apply to incest, it is actually much more problematic than that. I’m not that well-versed on current debates within psychology or gender, so I urge you to refer to other studies on this. I suppose a close analogy that I could think of would be, i.e. if a student and teacher were consenting adults, then should they not have a sexual relationship? The answer is no, not because it’s about denying their capacity as consenting adults, but it’s about preventing a potential abuse of power and its wider ramifications. I.e. how to then determine impartiality when the teacher grades the student? If the teacher is indeed impartial, how then would the other students and teachers within that community view the relationship? Would they be convinced that no special favours/advantages are being awarded? Etc. It’s not the perfect analogy, but it’s one that is, I think, more useful analytically to talk about incest rather than conflating incest with same-sex attraction.

            Whereas the tests for same-sex relationships are a bit different. The big test for same-sex relationships in mainstream discourse now is: (1) Are these relationships harmful to those conducting them, and to the wider society in general? (2) What do religious/ethical systems say about them?

            These questions are important because the answers to them are not as clear-cut as they seem, both ideologically and factually.

            The debate of course would be complicated if there were comparable numbers of challenges to notions of incest. I.e. is there a movement of sisters claiming liberation by wanting to have sex with their own brothers/sisters?

            I do not mean this facetiously, but I do believe these are the points which need to be addressed in the conflation of the concepts of same-sex relationships and incest. I invite other readers more knowledgeable about this to weigh in as well (whatever their ideological positions are on the matter).

          • Albert says:

            If that’s what they wish, I don’t think I have a problem with that.

            It’s their life. Not mine. Not ours.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        What rubbish! Go and read the Asbabun-Nuzul and the Seerah. You cannot arbitrarily interpret Quranic verses. They must be read in light of the Asbabun-Nuzul and the Seerah.

        This is the usual Islam Liberal nonsense regarding the Quran. They make arbitrary and totally flawed interpretations of the Quran and they reject the Hadith.

        That is why all the credible and established Sunni authorities worldwide REJECT Islam Liberal as being deviant. Agama Sesat.

  17. yusmar yusof says:

    Dear Shanon,

    Quran is perfect, Muslims are not…and I pray for us to be compassionate to others who we deemed to be different. Islam is not abusive, threatening nor abusive. Anda Gay, Saya Okay.

  18. awan gebu says:

    Dear Dr. Syed Alwi,

    I am one of the young Muslims of today who are secure enough in our religion not to be easily ‘insulted’ by what people do. People proclaim they’re gay, I am not insulted. People want to leave the religion, I am not insulted. People use ‘Allah’ to refer to God, I am not insulted. So when you say “To suggest that basic Islamic teachings regarding LGBT is unjust is quite an insult to Islam”, count me out. I am not insulted. And I’ve a feeling the Prophet probably wouldn’t have been, either. He wasn’t one who was quick to look for offense, peace be upon him.

  19. Sambal says:

    Dr Alwi,

    Homosexuality has always been and will forever be here, live with it.

  20. suzi says:

    “This leads to my question: are you sure you’re not trying to say LGBT is permitted in Islam, to whatever extent, just to pander to these views? Could it be that Islam allows for the existence of LGBTs but not for the practices involved among LGBTs? Could it be, perhaps, that Islam’s stand is “OK, you’re a Muslim, and you’re gay. No sin in that. Now put a lid on it (as in, do not indulge in same-sex sex), for if you abstain, you will be rewarded with such and such a number of pretty men/women/prepubescent boys for you to do as you please in the afterlife?” Or maybe God will free them of their ‘unnatural’ desires?”

    Interesting insight. I never thought of it that way. So perhaps the real “issue” that Islam has with LGBTs then is not that they are who they are, or that they love who they love; but, just as with heterosexual couples, the problem is with sexual relations between two unmarried adults, and that is what is prohibited in the religion.

  21. Mohd Dawkins says:

    There is no god. So stop worrying, lead productive, fulfilling lives and be excellent to each other.

  22. Ponderer says:

    Mr Alwi, are you scared that Islam will diminish due to TNG?

    “What Shanon is pushing is the Islam Liberal agenda. To be perfectly honest with you, I pray that Jakim, PAS, Umno, PKR etc close down TNG and NOT allow Shanon to propagate his agenda to Malaysian Muslims. In any case, most Malaysian Muslims are well-versed enough in Islam to see through TNG’s agenda.”

    So if most of Malaysian Muslims are well-versed with their interpretations of Islam, then why are you scared of articles like this by Shannon Shah? Why is there a need to close this place down? Is the path of silencing others the correct way of Islamic teaching?

  23. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear People,

    Why the need for any more argument ? There are clear Quranic verses condemning LGBT. There are clear Shahih Hadith condemning LGBT.

    Shanon and TNG has an agenda to distort mainstream Islamic teachings.

    Even Christianity and Judaism condemns LGBT. The Abrahamic faiths clearly do NOT accept LGBT. Unequivocal.

    I therefore pray that the ISA be used against the TNG team to stop them from pushing an agenda – supported by foreign elements – that will hurt Malaysia’s fragile multireligious society.

    Hopefully the home affairs minister will take immediate action against Shanon and his gang. Lock them up and throw away the key

    • Pei Ling says:

      Congratulations Shanon! You’ve arrived. Obviously Dr Syed Alwi could no longer use reasonable arguments to counter your points and could only resort to threats, this time even the ISA, to attempt to shut you and TNG up! Should I send you some champagne from KL?

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Pei-Ling,

        Where are the Quranic verses and Shahih Hadith that supports Shanon’s claims? NONE whatsoever. In fact Shanon does NOT even provide any.

        No one stops the Non-Muslims from engaging in homosexuality. That’s your business.

        But Malaysia is a Muslim country. When TNG crosses the line by allowing deviant Islamic teachings to challenge accepted mainstream Islamic teachings – then I think the ISA should be invoked. Why is TNG so adamant in challenging mainstream Islamic teachings? This is something very peculiar. And I believe that there ARE foreign agendas involved.

        We Muslims do NOT want TNG to be used as a platform to attack mainstream Islamic teachings and to propagate deviant teachings.

        As for non-Muslims – they are free to embrace the LGBT lifestyle. But NOT Muslims.

        • Reza says:

          “But Malaysia is a Muslim country.”

          Wrong. Our constitution states that Malaysia is a secular country whose official religion is Islam. This is not the same as being an Islamic country. Unfortunately, our own corrupt politicians have twisted its meaning to suit their own purposes.

          “And I believe that there ARE foreign agendas involved.”

          The same paranoid rhetoric used by our idiotic politicians. Are you sure you are not a government plant?

          • Idris says:

            Since we want to be fussy with words…

            Not to sound like I am defending Dr Syed Alwi, but do note that he said ‘Muslim country’ not ‘Islamic state’ or even ‘Muslim state’. There is a difference.

            The majority of our population adheres to the Islamic faith. Therefore it IS a Muslim country, only not in the legal sense. One doesn’t need politicians, corrupt or otherwise, to tell us what it is or isn’t – the numbers speak for themselves.

            And besides, I do not recall Dr Syed using the term ‘state’ with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ anywhere.

            Sad nonetheless. If Islam were as great as we Muslims have been taught it to be, then I believe non-Muslims wouldn’t care a damn if Malaysia became an Islamic State complete with Syariah law.

            As for LGBT, while I do not like the idea (yeah, I’m an uneducated, conservative religious bigot), I am of the opinion that Islam HAS to accept LGBT practices if it is to survive.

          • Idris says:

            But then I suppose if you want to be fussy you could insist on ‘country with a Muslim majority’ an not Muslim country…

            But still, I think what Dr Syed Alwi meant to say was that the majority of the country is Muslim and therefore the dominant religious, and therefore social culture, is that of Malay-Islam.

            And that this obviously affects the LGBT cause.

    • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

      I find your obsession with TNG and Shanon really bizarre. Now you are praying imprecatory prayers in order for the government to take action against TNG and Shanon. What is next for you after this? Death threats? You are already silent on the issue of whether it was morally wrong to utter violent threats against Azwan.

    • Long-lashed Lass says:

      Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

      I have read all your comments with growing incredulity. While I agree that all Abrahamic faiths do not accept LGBT in its theology, the truth of the matter is that some of us have no problems with LGBT and embrace them as they are. After all, we are all not perfect beings ourselves. Why should we judge something that’s so personal as being right or not? Who are we to make that judgement?

      Theologians from each branch of the Abrahamic faith are divided on this matter, some say it’s alright, some say it isn’t. I’d like to refer to the statement “Quran is perfect, Muslims are not”, which is spot on. Individuals form their own perception of the Holy Book and if it’s different from person to person, that’s okay…

      Christians have this saying, “Do as you would have done to you”. And my wish is this, that something as personal as a person’s sexual orientation is something that is between that individual and their God. How would you feel if the situation were reversed and you were in his shoes? Kindness is one of the key things that Islam propagates [...] If you think that Shanon is part of Islam Liberal, so what? If your faith is rock solid, it really shouldn’t matter, should it? Wishing ill on him is something that totally goes against the tenets of your religion.

      On the other hand, Shanon has been a model of patience and understanding and has taken the trouble to explain his perception and has provided examples of Islamic literature. If I were to take his comments at face value, and avoid factoring in sexual orientation, he definitely comes across as being more knowledgeable on the issue compared to you, who come up with declarative statements and only that.

      And just to clear the air, the Malaysian Constitution refers to Malaysia as a “secular” nation. All of us born in this country – be it Malay, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese etc – all have a right to be here.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear Long-lashed Lass,

        I really do not care if Christians accept LGBT. Non-Muslims can embrace homosexuality. Thats your business. BUT – Islam does NOT accept LGBT. Period. The issue before us here is Shanon propagating deviant teachings – agama sesat – using TNG as a platform. His so-called patience is to win NON-MUSLIM support. The Muslim world is familiar with the tactics of the Islam Liberal deviationists.

        As Muslims we cannot allow TNG to be a platform where accepted mainstream Islamic teachings are challenged – and deviant teachings like Shanon’s Islam Liberal – is freely propagated.

        Malaysia is NOT America. Malaysia is a Muslim country and Islam has a very special place and role. Malaysian and Singaporean Muslims like me do NOT want TNG to be used as a platform to attack mainstream Islamic teachings.

        I am NOT sorry for asking the ISA to be used against Shanon and TNG. The other alternative is chaos and anarchy. Muslims are especially sensitive to attacks on their practices and beliefs.

        At the end of the day – I put it to you – that there ARE foreign agendas involved. The West does NOT want to see Malaysia succeed as a model Muslim country.

        In view of this – I stand by my plea for the ISA to be used against Shanon and the TNG team.

        • Long-lashed Lass says:

          Dr Alwi,

          Faith in the case of Abrahamic religions, is a case of interpretation. Just because Shanon interprets it one way and you interpret it another way, doesn’t make either of you wrong.

          Islam teaches us about patience, kindness and understanding among other things. Shanon being patient doesn’t mean he has an agenda… It rather sounds like you have one.

          Please, do respect his position on his belief…as much as he respects yours, please respect his. There’s no need to take a higher moral ground when you both come from the same faith.

          As for this sentence- “Muslims are especially sensitive to attacks on their practices and beliefs.”- why should you be? Faith should be something that stands the test of time and situations… Nothing should shake what you believe, especially when it’s been something that you have known since birth.

          • Long-lashed Lass says:

            I can bet this exchange with you has only served to strengthen Shanon’s beliefs and thought processes…

    • JW Tan says:

      The need for argument is obvious. “Condemning” LGBT relationships, i.e. not just expressing verbal disapproval but actually infringing the right of people to do what is purely their own business, is wrong. If Islam in your interpretation prohibits this, then I’m happy to have an argument about it. Ditto Judaism, ditto Christianity.

      Dr Syed Alwi, you also do not realise the level of irony in your second last sentence. Malaysia’s fragile multireligious society is threatened not by TNG or secular elements, but by the inherent contradiction of having multiple religions in a country where the dominant religion is Islam, a religion that on many interpretations (including the mainstream Malaysian one) does not brook the presence of or competition from other ideologies.

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Dear JW Tan,

        I am not here to argue about the merits of Islam. Malaysia is a Muslim country. Muslims in Malaysia are subject to Islamic ethics and values. If you do not like those values – which are NOT even imposed on you – then I suggest that you migrate to a Non-Muslim country.

        • JW Tan says:

          Believe me, it was definitely a factor in my decision to leave, although not the main one.

          And you truly do not know the situation if you believe Islamic ethics, values or viewpoints are not imposed (albeit sketchily and sometimes merely insensitively, rather than out of malice) on non-Muslim Malaysians. Muslim Malaysians tend to be quite unaware, or if they are aware, tend to choose to condone it, possibly in the mistaken view that it is a good thing.

  24. subliminal says:

    Dr. Syed,

    “Even Christianity and Judaism condemns LGBT. The Abrahamic faiths clearly do NOT accept LGBT. Unequivocal.”

    Whose brand of Christianity condemns LGBT again? There are major strides taken by the Christianity community in understanding them. And these vary from either allowing them to operate LGBT churches (Metro Community Church in the States) to even being part of the ecclesiastical order of the church (the Episcopalian churches and their appointment of gay bishops).

    And even though there are some fundamentalists around, most evangelicals who’d disagree with homosexuality, due to biblical exegesis and so on, are also reaching out to the LGBT community, seeking to understand them. And when push comes to shove, there are many strong Christians who would stand up or even help a homosexual in need.

    You see, despite theological differences, Christianity advocates mercy over religiosity. It’s sad to see that in your definition of Islam, there is no room of diversity and there is no room for addressing issues.

    Which leads to the ultimate question: What makes Islam attractive, then?

  25. KW Mak says:

    I have friends who are gay / lesbian that are wonderful loving persons. I see no evil in them for being who they are.

    On the other hand, I have to deal with corrupt government officials, gangsters who intimidate the public and politicians who make sweet promises but never deliver.

    Where exactly are our priorities, I wonder?

    KW Mak
    MBPJ Councillor.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear KW Mak,

      You are NOT Muslim. I think that it is fair to say that the Muslims in Southeast Asia do not care what your thoughts are on this issue. You are free to accept homosexuality. That’s your business.

      HOWEVER, to us Muslims, sexuality is a major issue in Islam. What bothers me most is this Islam Liberal propaganda of Shanon which borders on the deviant. Islam Liberal is an AGAMA SESAT. And we Muslims do NOT want people like Shanon and websites like TNG to propagate deviant teachings to our children.

      If corruption is an issue, then why is TNG bothered to propagate deviant Islamic teachings such as the Islam Liberal? You say you want to deal with corruption. Well and good. But why is it that these pro-West NGOs are so involved with challenging the accepted teachings of Islam? Shouldn’t they focus on corruption as you suggest?

      I have been a voice on the Internet since 1995. Many have read my writings. Today – let me tell you this – it has become adequately clear to me that some of these so-called liberal NGOs are manipulated by FOREIGN AGENDA. They do not want to see Malaysia succeed as a model Muslim country.

      Like I said – if you are so concerned about corruption – then why are you promoting some other agenda like gay rights?

      I have no qualms to make a police report against TNG and demand the minister of home affairs to detain the TNG team under the Internal Security Act (ISA) because they are sowing discord in Malaysia’s fragile multireligious society by distorting mainstream Islamic teachings. If it is corruption that you want dealt with, then stick to it. Why are you pushing for gay rights?

      Regards
      Dr Syed Alwi

      • subliminal says:

        Dr Syed,

        I am not sure why you resist change. And probably there are many others like you out there too. But even if you’d try your very best to remain dogmatic on issues like this, your approach and style, which I assume are practised by many others like you since you’ve used “we”, isn’t the best solution around, isn it? In fact, it is not getting anywhere. You can’t curb what would seem to be “Islam Liberal”, neither can you address homosexuality and LGBT issues effectively.

        I think what Shannon has done here has probably ruffled some feathers. But it is needed, because you also wouldn’t want to portray a lack of depth or shallowness when it comes to Islamic theology and it’s interpretation regarding issues today, right?

      • KW Mak says:

        @ Syed Alwi

        You have misconstrued my statement. I am neither for nor against gay rights, although that is also to say I have nothing against gay people. I’m ambivalent to them on the choices they make, but I would treat them as a human being first and foremost.

        If I were to distinguish gay persons by virtue of their sexual preferences, then I may as well also distinguish you, Syed Alwi, by your race, your gender or even your religion and stereotype you accordingly.

        On the matter of corruption, it has a far wider impact on society as a whole, affecting persons of all races, gender and sexual orientation if you even need to go into that classification.

        Malaysia has an endemic problem with corruption that prevents it from being better than Singapore. Is it then not imperative that Malaysians should focus first on dealing with corruption that affects all?

        Indeed, I would like to hear how it is you intend to deal with issues like corruption from a religious standpoint.

        Regards,

        KW Mak
        MBPJ Councillor

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear KW Mak,

          Let MACC be free of the PM’s office. Period.

          Look – I have no problems with attacking corruption. Whack those who are corrupt by all means. Whether by means of religion or otherwise.

          My problem with TNG and these pro-West NGOs is that they go all out to challenge accepted mainstream Islamic teachings. Why ?

          If they want to whack corruption, then in fact many Muslims, including myself, would openly support them. But instead, these people choose to openly attack mainstream Islamic teachings. I am sorry but I think most Muslims will NOT accept that.

          So if you want to attack corruption – then my advice to you is to stick to the plot of attacking corruption. Do NOT instead attack Islam!

      • Reza says:

        “Islam Liberal is an AGAMA SESAT. And we Muslims do NOT want people like Shanon and websites like TNG to propagate deviant teachings to our children.”

        Islam Liberal is only an agama sesat to you and Muslims like you. Do not presume to speak for ALL Muslims. And just because Islam Liberal is a minority view, that doesn’t mean that we do not have the right to voice our opinions. In a truly democratic society, the views of all should be heard, regardless of how popular they are.

        “They do not want to see Malaysia succeed as a model Muslim country.”

        Malaysia is far from being a model Muslim country with its track record of human rights violations and intolerance. And this is not caused by foreigners. Malaysian Muslims themselves are hindering our progress.

        That you continue to threaten to invoke the authorities to silence TNG only confirms that you are an intolerant religious fanatic and anti-democratic.

      • Assalamualaikum.

        As I am deemed a Muslim, I will just state my opinion and leave it at thus.

        Islam in the Quran and Hadith does have its objections against homosexual acts. We can see this in the early passages of the Quran for sure, when they state that a man must never lay in the same bed with another man, nor must he expose himself to another man.

        I have no quarrel with this statement.

        However, the Quran does not specify the punishment against such men in the hands of man.

        For those who happily quote the tale of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah, I challenge you to prove that you can in fact change people into pillars of salt in the name of Allah the All Powerful, who did this and made the earth swallow those towns.

        It was God Almighty, not [people], that doled out the punishment.

        As for the hadith side. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuH) states that he will not admit a homosexual as a part of his tribe. He did not say cast him out, nor did He say kill him, nor did the Prophet threaten him with exile and the ISA.

        If you want to attack on the basis of religion, then I implore you to attack with facts, not fiction. I implore you to discuss rationally, not purely out of emotional stature.

        I remind you to remember that in Islamic history, bad relations due to bad blood and boiling tempers was what resulted in the murder of Uthman Affan while he was reciting the Quran.

        And if we want to focus on Quranic teachings, there has been no invocation of a call to arrest a person for stating his belief which is worthy of debate.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Hafidz Baharom,

          The problem is when you get Islam Liberal people – using TNG as a platform – to peddle their beliefs in the guise of open debate.

          I DO have a problem with TNG. Why does TNG always attack mainstream Islamic teachings? It seems to me that there is a HIDDEN AGENDA here.

          I do not apologise for my views. Why should I be sorry to a website that has habitually been challenging mainstream Islamic teachings?

          I find this strange. Ada udang di sebalik batu…

          Even as I write this – I doubt this reply will see publication. TNG is now censoring my replies. What to do?

          • Salam Dr. Syed,

            I do believe your earlier reply was posted, albeit a bit later that you expected due to the vetting process as stated by the comment rules mentioned.

            If you do have a problem with TNG as you say that they are supporting or condoning attacks on mainstream Islamic teachings, then perhaps it could be suggested that they get an Islamic scholar from JAKIM to contribute a point of view, or perhaps you yourself would like to come up with a piece to counter this.

            I truly see no reason for you to be apologetic for your views and opinions. It is a partially free country to comment, and I do believe that TNG is perhaps one of the more open websites in allowing multiple points of view politely written out, to be shared. However, I think threats being made instead of intellectual prowess and proof being displayed is truly not in the best light to produce here.

            If such a challenge being put forth against mainstream Islamic teachings, then I suggest the mainstream Islamists counter these challenges through debate.

    • Reza says:

      I think Mak has touched upon a very important point that I would like to elaborate upon further. I myself have met gay people who are decent and good. They are like normal people, you and me, in every aspect except for their sexual preferences. But the religious zealots would have you believe otherwise. Throughout history, religions have wrongly labeled homosexuals as evil, depraved, immoral, mentally deranged, etc. This is one of the reasons why I do not put too much stock in religion.

      I am not trying to say that i’m anti-religion, nor am I trying to dissuade anyone from their faith. Even though I am not religious, yet I do believe in the existence of a higher power and I do consider myself to be quite spiritual. There is no doubt that all religions espouse many good values and virtues and can be useful as a moral compass, but they also propagate many untruths, mainly due to flawed interpretations of religious scripture by ignorant religious clerics and scholars.

      As human beings, most of us have a fundamental need for spiritual fulfilment and a way to accept that which we do not understand and have no control over. For many, religion satisfies this need, thus many turn to religion for solace and guidance. Faith is all well and good. However, there is great danger in absolute blind faith. And the danger is that unquestioning acceptance of what is stated in religious texts and claimed by religious authorities usually results in the cessation of independent thought. People who do not think for themselves run the risk of being manipulated for the benefit of someone else. You must bear in mind that not all religious authorities/organizations have pure intentions. It has been my experience and observation that some of these so-called religious organizations and authorities have their own agenda and self-interest to protect. For example, there have been many cases throughout the world where some religious organizations are actually money-generating scams that use religion and the fear of God to manipulate their followers into emptying their wallets, in the same way that not all NGOs and charities are actually non-profit. In other cases, many religious authorities, especially state-sanctioned organizations, want to maintain the status quo just so that they can continue to exert control and authority over the masses, regardless of whether the status quo is actually right or not.

      I view religion as a tool that fulfils a need. In most cases, it is a spiritual need. Like all tools, it can prove very beneficial to the “user” if used properly and wisely. But being a tool, it is not necessarily for everyone and depends on the needs of the “user”. Therefore it is up to the “user” to decide whether or not it is suitable for him or her. And the mistake that many religious fanatics have made throughout history is to force (even enforce) religion on people just because they misguidedly think that “if it’s good for me, it should be good for everyone”. One may view their religion as the ultimate truth. This is fine, but you must let others decide if it is THEIR ultimate truth, instead of insisting that it is.

      I firmly believe that one should never stop questioning and that NOTHING is too sacred or holy that it is above questioning. Because when you stop inquiry you will surely be blinded from the truth. Therefore, faith should always be tempered and balanced with a healthy dose of skepticism.

      So let’s forget what the religions say about homosexuality and examine the reality. Many experts believe, based on scientific research, that homosexuality is caused by a combination of both biological and environmental factors. Genetics determines one’s predisposition towards homosexuality, a person’s experiences in life may trigger it. Homosexuality is most definitely NOT a conscious decision. A heterosexual person does not choose to be gay. No one can consciously determine their sexual orientation. Since this is the case, why should we condemn LGBTs for something that they have no control over? And because little can be done to reverse homosexuality, should we not accept them into our society?

      The bottom line is: Think for yourself. Observe the realities and compare them to what your religion says, then make your OWN conclusions. You may or may not make accurate judgements, but that is not the point. One only becomes an effective critical thinker with practice. God gave each of us a brain so that we can think for ourselves. Our species is made up of independent individuals with the ability to choose our own path. We are not a hive society like bees or ants with pre-defined functions or goals. Furthermore, the progress of our species relies on independent thought. Throughout history, many scientific and artistic breakthroughs have come about through independent creative thinking that was not restricted by conformity to established schools of thought.

  26. yusmar yusof says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    ‘I therefore pray that the ISA be used against the TNG team to stop them from pushing an agenda – supported by foreign elements – that will hurt Malaysia’s fragile multireligious society.’

    Thank you for your concern, but I do believe that Muslims and those of other religions are not going to convert to LGBT just because some people are [in fact homosexual]. Your responses to all the comments are intellectual, but lacking in wisdom [...] Dengan segala pengetahuan yang saudara ada, saya berpendapat cara saudara mengutarakan your perspective is vicious and unISLAMIC, and that is my personal observation. To wish anyone harm just because they are different than you is unacceptable no matter who you are.

    Shanon and TNG, keep up the good work, and thank you for letting me see the other side of the coin. Salam.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear yusmar yusof,

      TNG and Shanon are propagating an AGAMA SESAT. Shanon konon nya tolerant. Kenapa Shanon tak bawa dalil Quran dan Hadith? Saya telah lama observe TNG dan Shanon. Memang dah terang lagi bersuluh. They have an agenda that is to propagate deviant teachings and to provoke Muslim sentiments via questioning accepted Islamic teachings.

      Why do I ask the ISA to be brought against TNG? Because many people like me do NOT want TNG to influence our children with AGAMA SESAT.

      Mereka yang kental ilmu agama – memang no problem. Tapi yang tipis iman dan kurang ilmu boleh terpedaya oleh ajaran sesat Shanon.

      I have no regrets whatsoever about hammering TNG with the ISA. It needs to be done.

      Shanon – YOU better not come back. You are certainly NO LONGER WELCOME in South East Asia. You stay on in the UK. With your Western masters who will encourage you to promote “reform” of Islam.

      And spare me your so-called patience. What patience ? You are not even patient enough to accept basic Islamic teachings…

      It is in your best interest NOT to return to South East Asia. I would recommend to the minister of home affairs and Jakim to detain you – indefinitely – under the Internal Security Act.
      May you be locked up eternally under the ISA.

      • @Shanon,

        Pls do return to Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Your scholarship is essential to our understanding of a compassionate and just Islam especially in a plural society like ours and especially when Islam is so very demonised by many powerful media, governments and non-state actors for a lack of understanding about the diversity in Islam.

        If it were not for the likes of you and other Muslims who will not accept that Islam promotes injustice, exclusivity, intolerance and threats of violence and suppression, non-Muslims such as myself would still be jahiliah about what Islam is all about.

        It would be a loss to Malaysia and the region if you never came back and stopped contributing your thoughts whether on TNG or in other public spaces.

      • Hamdan Muhamad says:

        Salam Dr Alwi

        Firstly, you should not invoke the power of prayer to wish ill on any othe fellow human being. 

        Second, I can say that your paranoid idea that there is a foreign agenda behind this debate is, just that, paranoid. I challenge you to prove this claim. If you cannot, then I suggest you drop this idea that foreign powers are inflitrating this website to influence Malaysians, Muslims or otherwise. 

        Third, dear Dr, with the free, or almost free, flow of information worldwide, and into our country, Malaysia, the government cannot simply throw people in jail under ISA just because they support a certain view in regards to homosexuality. The government, I think, is very sensitive, especially so since the debacle under the previous administration, of invoking the ISA due to its political ramifications.

        Fourth, the government, I would also think, would not cause [parties] like this website or even Azwan to be jailed because of their view, beliefs or political or religious positions, because to do so would cause an uproar in the global media. Like it or not, that is the way of the world. These sort of “uproars” would cause foreign investors to shun our country. At this present moment in our economic development, we cannot afford to have that happen.

        Therefore, for you to demand the governent to arrest Shanon et al only reflects your lack of understanding of how the world works. Nothing is black and white and simplistic as you like it to be. You must also note that this website has also published your comments and replies. I wonder if you would do the same if the shoe were on the other foot.

        • Dr Syed Alwi says:

          Dear Hamdan Muhammad,

          TNG does NOT publish all my comments. The issue before me here is quite simple. TNG has been giving Shanon a platform to peddle his Islam Liberal. Islam Liberal is sesat.

          Are you now telling me that its ok to set-up a web-site and spread agama sesat among the Muslims in Malaysia ?

          Lets hear what PAS, UMNO and PKR has to say about this.

          Regards
          Dr Syed Alwi

          • Yeo Kien Kiong says:

            Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

            May I know what are PAS, UMNO and PKR? Will these organisations be paid to take action against violent and hateful inciters in the video comments?

  27. Idris says:

    Tthis article may not count as an academic paper but it does appear to support your argument http://www.slate.com/id/2277787/ Some of the comments are worth reading, too.

    While it could be argued that incestuous relationships can break down the family unit, the same argument could be made about same-sex relationships. I am aware of the fact that research has ‘shown’ that children of same-sex parents are supposedly no less deprived than ‘normal’ families, but as a researcher myself I reject these findings, not when same-sex marriages have been around for a mere, what, 20 years or so as compared with the ‘normal’ family unit, which has been around for literally thousands of years.

    You say: Whereas the tests for same-sex relationships are a bit different. The big test for same-sex relationships in mainstream discourse now is: (1) Are these relationships harmful to those conducting them, and to the wider society in general? (2) What do religious/ethical systems say about them?

    Despite being a Muslim I do not want to argue about the religious aspect in this message. That leaves 1 and the latter of 2, which, as I alluded to earlier, applies equally to incestuous relationships. Your arguments, in particular your self-admittedly imperfect analogy, can be dismantled. The teacher can quit his post. Siblings have no equivalent.

    “The debate of course would be complicated if there were comparable numbers of challenges to notions of incest. I.e. is there a movement of sisters claiming liberation by wanting to have sex with their own brothers/sisters?” We are talking about the principle, not the numbers.

    It seems to me that despite your lengthy reply you are trying to evade the arguments I put forth. While I do not agree with Dr Syed Alwi, I think I am starting to understand why he has such views, unfortunately. Even more unfortunate is that no one else is contribute to this line of argument, for or against. They’d rather attack Dr Syed Alwi – yeah, it’s always easier to attack those ‘religious types’.

    • JW Tan says:

      I’m sorry, do you not see that you’ve proved Shanon’s point? Teachers can quit their post, therefore a teacher-student relationship could become legitimate if it is an ex-teacher-ex-student relationship. Siblings can never become ex-siblings, so a relationship between them can never become legitimate as the balance of power can not change.

      As a new parent, my own worry is not that my son has two fathers, two mothers or a mother and a father. It is that we raise him to be a good person, provide for him till he can fend for himself and instil our own values as far as we can. Seems to me that “deprivation” as you put it, is not correlated to the sex or sexual preference of the parents.

      • Idris says:

        Sorry, I don’t. Siblings can never be ex-siblings, therefore they cannot be compared to the teacher-student relationship which Shanon Shah was trying to use as an analogy.

        It would seem to me as though you’ve proven my point. Also – what is this balance of power between siblings that you speak of? What, the younger sibling will forever be subservient to the older one, or something like that? Or something a bit less obvious… or you’re saying there is no such equivalent in homosexual relationships, not even between the sodomiser and the catamite? Sorry, until you can provide a better analogy I’d say you’ve proven nothing.

        So your worry isn’t if your child has parents of the same sex or otherwise, but whether he will be a good person. Good on you. How about if you have a daughter after the son, and as consenting adults they want to live together (yes, same question as previously). Your reply? Albert (January 17, 2011 at 9:24 am) replied:

        If that’s what they wish, I don’t think I have a problem with that.
        It’s their life. Not mine. Not ours.

        If you can’t honestly give the same answer without good reason then as far as I am concerned the only word to describe you is hypocrite (aren’t we all).

        • JW Tan says:

          Shanon’s point was that you can’t draw the analogy you are suggesting between an incestuous brother-sister relationship and a same-sex relationship. The reasons are precisely because the dynamics of the incestuous relationship are influenced by the existing balance of power between the actors (the older sibling can be said to abuse or force the younger sibling) and that this existing balance of power does not change much, as one will always be older. Knowing several gay couples, I can state with certainty that there is not necessarily such an equivalent in a same-sex relationship. There is precious little difference between a loving heterosexual couple and a loving homosexual couple.

          At the risk of being crude, I would also like to point out that just because you have a penis it does not mean that you are the more powerful actor in the relationship with your wife. You might be. But she might be too. It depends on other factors, not what genitalia you have, or what you do in bed. Same goes for your understanding of what goes on between gay couples.

          If you understand me correctly then the answer to the question you asked me becomes obvious. If my daughter and my son wanted to live together in a supposedly consenting relationship, I would question whether or not it was consenting. I don’t think that it is possible to be entirely consenting on both sides in such an example. If my son wanted to live together with another man in a consenting relationship, I would be more disposed to believe that it was. And I would have no problem with it, on principle.

        • JW Tan says:

          I would like to make one more point. You tried to argue by drawing an analogy between same-sex relationships and incestuous relationships, then using proof by contradiction, incestuous relationships contradict Shanon’s ethical strictures and therefore so do same-sex relationships. Your analogy is flawed, so your argument doesn’t work.

          Can we instead, as Shanon suggests, discuss same-sex relationships analytically rather than by analogy? Why do you think same-sex relationships are “deviant”? In your opinion what characteristics in a same sex relationship might hurt any children?

          • Idris says:

            Sorry, you have it wrong. All I was trying to do was say, if you can’t accept one you shouldn’t accept the other. I have no idea if incestuous relationships contradict Shanon’s ethical strictures.

            As per my message above, my analogy still stands. My argument doesn’t work? I don’t think you understood what I was saying in the first place.

            But I admit, I do suspect that most people would view incestuous relationships with disgust as opposed to homosexual relationships, and I think the reason for this is simply because people have not been ‘conditioned’ into accepting such relationships the way they have for homosexual relationships. I could be wrong but I don’t think you can prove this (nor can I prove that I am right, of course).

            Last, I do not know if your questions were directed at me or in general. But if you have read and understood all my posts it should be obvious to you that your last two questions do not really apply to me. Apologies for answering in such a vague manner but I am just following your example. Perhaps if you adopted a more humble tone I would be more inclined to answer properly.

          • Idris says:

            Ah well might as well make it clear now. Religion aside, I accept LGBT as I have no choice, else I would contradict my other principles. I also accept incestuous relationships, should there ever be any.

            Similarly, if you want to marry your pet dog, then by all means go ahead. I am not being trite – some day in the future, science might allow us to peek into, and understand, the minds of all living things. Infringing on animal rights? Who’s to say your pet dog doesn’t want to make love with you? Bestiality has probably been around as long as LGBTs and incest, after all.

            I have no idea if same-sex relationships might ‘hurt’ children. It might make them better people, for all I know. However, I won’t believe anybody who tells me that homosexual parents are no less than heterosexual parents, not for the next 100 years at least (or when society achieves some sort of steady state), when it comes to children and the overall impact on society.

            Last, I believe the day will come when so-called ‘liberal’ views are so widespread that those who do not share these views (e.g. anti LGBTs) will be ostracized, threatened with harm etc. In other words, the liberal will become conservative. In fact, we are already seeing it today.

    • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

      Idris, the reason I ‘attack’ Dr Syed Alwi is not because he is a ‘religious type’. It’s because he displays behaviour that is extremely hostile and even aggressive.

      I am also a ‘religious type’ and I am also conservative in my religious views. I can nonetheless respect the views of my more liberal co-religionists, even if I may have very heated arguments with them (sometimes ending in tears). So for me the issue isn’t about theological or moral issues concerning LGBT. For me the issue was about whether people in Malaysia, especially Muslims, can express religious views contrary to the mainstream without facing harassment.

      • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

        I will clarify that when I mean ‘conservative’, I am not talking about an LGBT context, although it is related. I hold a number of other conservative religious views, for example, I wear a headscarf to church.

    • Shanon Shah says:

      (1) On numbers vs principle, I never said that it was all about a question of numbers, or that numbers should obfuscate principles. I was just pointing out what’s at stake in current public debates on same-sex relationships vs. incest, which includes the visibility of certain organised groups articulating certain goals.

      (2) I don’t understand the need to “dismantle” my analogy. It wasn’t meant for “dismantling”. I was merely suggesting another analytical way of looking at incest, rather than conflating it with same-sex relationships. If we are talking about power, then this would apply to every single relationship. But if we are being analytical, we would try to focus and re-focus the analysis until we find something that progressively explains and describes the situation better. So I never claimed to be right or accurate, I was merely suggesting what I thought was a more insightful way of looking at the issue of incest.

      So, (3), I am not trying to evade your questions. Like I said, I am actually not that well-versed with debates on incest. Technically, that’s not evasion, that’s an admission of lack of knowledge. I am personally, categorically disgusted with it, but I really do not know what to think about the state taking extremely harsh sentences on incestuous relationships if there were no violence, coercion or hierarchical power dynamics involved, despite my own categorical objections. In other words, I’m still processing it. I do believe that treating incest the way we would same-sex relationships is inaccurate and unfair, and I’ve done my best to explain why.

      But this is another part of the picture I want to point out — the debate goes on, and I think that’s what’s more valuable here, which is having the opportunity to explain to each other where we come from (and perhaps persuade each other to come to a compromise). I respect your views on same-sex relationships and incest, from both your Islamic and non-Islamic based reasoning. I am learning a lot by reading your posts because you are engaging and you argue from a very solid, principled place. In the larger debate on Islam and homosexuality, I wish we were able to do this with each other. I’m not going to dig my heels in a particular position just because that’s the fashionable thing to do. I’d rather listen and have my own views and position potentially challenged and figure out a new position and express it.

      In short, thanks for bringing this dimension to the discussion. Yours are challenging, rich, and thought-provoking questions.

  28. Idris says:

    Again, from a religious point of view. Non-Muslims, please note that this argument applies to Muslims only; if you are not a Muslim and see nothing wrong with LGBT, good on you for being educated liberals.

    In my previous argument I suggested that perhaps Islam sees nothing wrong with people born as LGBTs, only that these people should not put their desires to practice but instead refrain until the afterlife, during which God will reward them accordingly with young handsome men/women [...] In other words, it’s just another trial, as is being poor, living in a land filled with war and strife etc.

    For argument’s sake. Say a Muslim (or 100, or 1 billion) was born with a rare genetic ‘defect’ – can’t resist the taste of pork (but not eating it would not result in any complications whatsoever). Are liberal Muslims going to reinterpret the Quran to say that these Muslims may eat pork because they were born that way? That would be interesting.

    The above may sound like a trite, silly example, but in the case of Muslims and Islam I think it has relevance. We are always told to refrain, to control ourselves, to be strong in the face of the trials set upon us by God. Could being LGBT simply be another trial? Are LGBTs somehow more deserving than the rest of us that they deserve to live the way they want?

    Really, I don’t see why (Muslim) LGBTs cannot just hold it in until Kingdom come. So many people go unmarried to the grave, but LGBTs must have it differently? We have 1 billion people in poverty and they aren’t complaining as much about their rights, nor are we doing anything (much) to help them. What the heck is Heaven for, anyway?

    • JW Tan says:

      I see the furore over Azwan as equivalent to a Muslim saying he wants to leave Islam. I’ve met several Muslim Malaysians over the years around the world who were secretly attending church. The issue, as with Azwan, is not that they wanted to be Christian. It was the fear they felt at letting other Muslims know they wanted to be Christian.

      It’s not that Muslim LGBT people should not, as you say, “hold it in” till they die. If they were practising devout Muslims they would. It’s that they face violence, even death, if they don’t. THAT is what is wrong.

      • Idris says:

        Well, on this point I couldn’t agree more with you. Certainly, no one deserves to be threatened with violence or death, not for something so ‘trivial’ as admitting one is gay. Yet at the same time, I do not agree with his action unless he had, at the same time, also renounced his faith, in which case I would have wished him all the happiness he deserves. You might argue that had he done so the religious authorities would be all over him, but since he was so bold as to admit being gay I would imagine renouncing his faith wouldn’t be too difficult.

        To my religious mind, and to the minds of the not-so-liberal Muslims that I call my dear friends, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBT, none whatsoever (this thinking applies to Muslims only) – just don’t practice till later. Muslims believe in heaven (and a fair God), and that’s what heaven is for.

        Religion aside, I still have my misgivings. How would society look like in, say, 30 years’ time if LGBTs had their way? Among other things, they would set precedents that would no doubt be taken up by a lot of other groups, arguing in the name of human rights. Try to imagine: rather than living the next 30 years (the change will be gradual: you won’t feel it as much), you were instead taken 30 years into the future. Can be sure you will be able to accept what you see? Nobody can answer this, but the fact that homosexual marriage (among other things) has not been the norm (= not been accepted perhaps) for several millennia must mean something, to me.

        End.

        • Yuki Choe says:

          Idris,

          I tried my best to read all your comments, but I find it to be at best ignorant to the point that it is repetition of myths.

          Can you please state what you mean by “just don’t practise till later”? You are confusing sex with orientation. I assume you mean anal sex and oral sex [...] Does that mean if a husband and wife were to have anal sex it automatically constitutes a “homosexual act”? Think twice.

          And salvation, or heaven as you call it, is through a personal relationship with one’s God, which invalidates all our suggestions, including tacitly asking one to renounce his faith. You can advise, but then mind your own business.

          As for 30 years from now, I can tell you that nothing will happen at all. Women have achieved equality to vote and are no longer considered weaklings. That was not the norm [30 years ago]. Blacks are gaining much prominence in society and have rights just as any other citizen. That was not the norm in those days either. Interracial marriages were a big no-no back then. It happens now, and nothing has happened. Of course, in some societies that feature extremists, any of the attempted changes are met with honour killings and death. Are you advocating this? Of course not, you will say. Then what are you yet disagreeing about with “his action”?

          And mind you, homosexuality existed thousands of years before any Abrahamic religions. The only religion that existed then was Hinduism and Shamanism, both gay friendly. Perhaps you should rethink your definition of what is the “norm”.

          • Idris says:

            Choe.

            Point out the myths, then. But think twice about what you mean by ‘myths’.

            I disagree with his action only from a religious point of view, which you would have known had you read my posts a bit more carefully. Likewise, ‘just don’t practice till later’ – is only from a religious point of view. I have made clear, several times already, that religion aside I accept homosexual relationships.

            Remove sex from the picture and ‘homosexual’ relationships become a lot more agreeable to a lot of people (ok, some people if you insist). Perhaps you should look up the definition of ‘homosexuality’. Please? Then think twice about who’s really confused.

            Salvation, or Heaven as ‘I’ call it, is indeed a personal relationship with one’s God. I will admit I was not clear on this point. What I meant to say with regard to this was that he can consider himself a Muslim if he wants, and for all we know, he may be a better Muslim than many (if not most), but he shouldn’t call himself a Muslim of the ‘standard’ type. I know a lot of Muslims who want to remain Muslim but do not want to be recognized as such by the state. Oh, and I wasn’t even advising, I was merely stating an opinion.

            You cannot tell me anything at all about how things will be like 30 years from now. No one can. My disagreeing with his action has no relation with honour killings and death. Your logic, at best, is warped – I hope you, as a person, are not.

            That homosexuality existed well before any of the Abrahamic religions has nothing to do with this discussion, so perhaps you should rethink your opinion of what constitutes a good argument.

  29. 0mars says:

    Dear Dr Syed Alwi,

    Your responses to this article, though starting from the stance of an opinionated intellectual, have become a voice which has, at least in my opinion, joined in with the masses of extremes which continue to further deteriorated the image of Muslims worldwide.

    With reference to your use of the term “we Muslims”, you have a shocking amount of confidence in your capabilities to speak on behalf of a religious community of over a billion members coming from an unimaginably diverse background. I appeal to you to not silence yourself, but speak your opinion just as it is, your own, and do not drag the rest of the community around in your arrogance.

    I apologise for what may perhaps be interpreted as harsh comments but it pains me to see you try and portray an image of intolerance, aggression, and violence across the whole of the ummah. Especially when you try and silence dissenting views.

    My own stances is that so long as there is no victim, it is not our role to play the judge and jury. If it is true that an action is wrong, so long as there is no victim, the punishment is not for us to decide but the Almighty.

  30. yusmar yusof says:

    Dr Syed Alwi,

    “We Muslims do NOT want TNG to be used as a platform to attack mainstream Islamic teachings and to propagate deviant teachings”..please speak for yourself and not for others. Enough said!

  31. Reza says:

    Idris wrote:

    “If Islam were as great as we Muslims have been taught it to be, then I believe non-Muslims wouldn’t care a damn if Malaysia became an Islamic State complete with Syariah law.”

    For the record, I too wouldn’t mind Malaysia being an Islamic state complete with Syariah law if our Syariah courts and religious departments weren’t the intolerant and ignorant bigots that they are. Instead, we have morons who try to ban tomboys because of the unfounded belief that they turn into lesbians, and also yoga, just because it is a practice that originated from another culture. How can we reasonably be expected to put our faith in such people if they were given a mandate to turn Malaysia into an fully-fledged Islamic state? Islam may be great, unfortunately not all Muslims are.

  32. kamal says:

    Naughty Shannon. Your quote of the Hadith appears more a desperate attempt at seeking legitimacy. Expressing love is not an expression of once sexual orientation – and I would suspect, in the narrative of earlier times, love was not narrowly defined and associated with sex.

    Today, when we talk about homosexuality, are we simply talking about loving ‘your kind’? Or are we translating that sentiment into action? There is common expressions of non-sexual love between the same sex. There is no condemnation of that. When we celebrated the soccer victory, I am sure there were spontaneous hugs and show of affection, but I would be hardpressed to interpret this as homosexual.

    No, what I understand in the contemporary Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered movement is a political expression of identity: an identity rooted in one’s sexual orientation. It is not enough to just say I love a man or woman or transgendered, but it is struggling for that love to be translated into something tangible and accorded with rights, if not similar to heterosexuals, at least closely related to such rights (marriage, to adopt children, etc.). Whether or not this is right to me depends on society.

    There is a lot that society prohibits that are not universal — a case in point being the idea of incest and child marriage. You raised this about incest; there isn’t a universal definition. For example, to the traditionally Chinese, the idea of marrying someone with the same surname is incestuous; for many Malays, it is all right to marry your first cousins. For some Indian cultures, incest is marrying the offspring of your mother’s sisters or father’s brothers. Incest is by and large a culturally defined concept. What we do accept is no marriage between blood offspring. [Then again], there are societies that encourage offspring marriages, particularly among the elites (the former Hawaiian royal family, the Egyptian Pharoahs, etc.). But almost all societies have incest taboos.

    The other example you briefly touched on was child marriage. What is a child? If I am not mistaken, in Islam the definition is based on biology and not age. A child is one who has not yet reached puberty. Once having attained puberty, one is available for marriage. This is not unique to Muslims or Malays. Many societies past and present do not deny ‘child’ marriages. The youngest parent in the UK, if I am not mistaken, was younger than 13. I am neither condoning nor vilifying child marriages. My point is, society decides what is best for itself. Just look at the diverse ways we define modesty.

    But I do agree with you that coming out in the open about one’s sexuality should not lead to the death penalty; rather knowing the political nature of the statement, I would suggest one should be ready for the repercussion.

    • Shanon Shah says:

      All challenging points, Kamal, but there are two I particularly want to respond to:

      1) My quotation of the hadith was to show the larger public that the hadith corpus is very diverse. It was important to quote this hadith because very often, to justify a homophobic position, it is the homophobic hadith that are deployed (without careful study of the social, cultural and historical contexts of those hadiths). This serves to homogenise public perceptions of the corpus of hadith. This is no different from the fact that while there are numerous hadiths that celebrate ethnic diversity and human equality, there are also recorded hadiths that were extremely racist. Fortunately, these have since been challenged, dismissed and fallen out of use within Muslim societies.

      It is unfortunate that references to hadiths now are seen as attempts to gain legitimacy — I am not suggesting that you are guilty of perpetuating this discourse, but really, it *is* very pervasive. Anti-Islam non-Muslims will quote the Quran and hadiths *precisely* to gain legitimacy to undermine Islam (as they understand it), and some Muslims will do the same *precisely* to gain legitimacy to glorify Islam (as they understand it). Would we be able instead to look at the religious texts with respect, yet by also employing analytical criticism? I.e. to refer to them and quote them without an agenda to either attack or glorify a certain version of Islam, but rather to understand the contexts in which these texts emerged and so explain historical developments and current realities?

      (2) On your final point, yes, surely one should understand the implications of making certain declarations in such a highly charged environment. But being aware of the implications of the responses still does *not* make those responses right, if they entail threats of violence and murder.

  33. Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

    I think that the way the conversation has turned out in this thread alone proves my point in the first comment I made, way at the top.

    Religious debates are heated. Unless there is a commitment by all parties involved that certain methods of ‘winning’ are morally unacceptable, such as threatening violence or in the case of some of the participants even in this thread, invoking the state, having sensible religious debate — ie. without violence, respectful of knowledge, and respectful of the opponent’s views even though there is disagreement — is a challenge.

    • Dr Syed Alwi says:

      Dear Kate Green,

      In Islam, Syariah rules are set by Quran, Hadith, Ijma’, Qiyas etc. Ijtihad comes in ONLY when the Quran and Hadith are silent on the issue under consideration.

      For your info – there are many CLEAR and UNEQUIVOCAL verses in the Quran condemning LGBT. In addition to that – there are many CLEAR and UNEQUIVOCAL Hadiths (both Shahih and otherwise) that also condemn LGBT.

      In Islam, we are told to stick to what is clear and refrain from dwelling on doubt. On that basis alone, Islam Liberal has been REJECTED by the majority of the credible and established Sunni institutions worldwide.

      The problem with Islam Liberal is that it makes arbitrary and flawed interpretationswithout reference to the Seerah, Asbabun Nuzul, Hadith Shahih etc. Islam Liberal therefore ignores scriptural evidence in favour of arbitrary and flawed interpretations. That is why it has been labelled as an Agama Sesat!

    • Shanon Shah says:

      @Kate: Actually, if you look at the more than 100 comments here, there is only *one* (repeat) commenter who is calling for state-sanctioned violence and intimidation to silence the debate. The rest of the commenters are coming from very nuanced, analytical positions, and are doing their best to articulate these difficult positions in an engaging, persuasive manner. I am so inspired by all these commenters, who come from such diverse ideological and political positions, who have taken the time and energy to debate in a civil manner. In insisting on civil and free discussion, we are all delegitimising, on the public record, calls to silence the debate via state-sanctioned violence. That’s very applause-worthy in my opinion!

      Having said that, I agree with you on your first point. I really wish the state would protect this space for free and civil debate. (I can see a lot of eyes rolling Heavenwards, hahahaha.)

      • Dr Syed Alwi says:

        Shanon – quit asking for sympathy from non-Muslims – show us verses from the Quran that support your claims. Show us Shahih Hadith that support your claims. The truth is you have none. It’s well known throughout the Sunni Muslim world that Islam Liberal is deviant. Agama sesat.

        • @Shanon, just so that a non-Muslim’s sentiments about your arguments are not mistaken for sympathy, it is RESPECT and APPRECIATION that I have for Muslim/s who are able to grapple with difficult issues within a framework of compassion, fairness and justice.

          And this has also gotten me thinking. Who really is the unbeliever? The self-proclaimed Muslim who preaches rigidity, violence against others, intolerance and harsh judgments OR the non-Muslim/atheist who believes that if God did exist, God would be compassionate, just and fair?

          • J.Iscariot says:

            Dear Ms Surin,

            Shouldn’t the unbeliever be the atheist?
            And surely God would be “compassionate, just and fair” if we heed His call.
            Wouldn’t make sense otherwise.

  34. subliminal says:

    Well I just hope that there would be many mind-provoking articles like this. I guess steps to maturity will always be challenging. But we need that. Because at the rate our country is going regarding LGBT issues, more harm would be done than good.

  35. Idris says:

    [...] I don’t believe Dr Syed Alwi is promoting violence, preaching rigidity or intolerance, despite his words. I think he just fears that Islam 100 years from now may be unrecognizable to us Muslims living today, if current trends persist. To me, this is an understandable fear.

    Else, maybe he is just fed up of people saying Malaysia is not a Muslim country.

    • Hamdan Muhamad says:

      We cannot assume what he believes or does not believe. As a Muslim, he should not pray ill on someone else. One should not invoke the doa to Allah if one does not mean it.

  36. Reza says:

    There is some evidence that suggests that sexual orientation is partly biological. For the most part, incest is not. Incest is usually a result of sexual desperation. Therefore, sexual orientation is not a choice, whereas incest is. Apples and oranges.

    • Idris says:

      Yup. There is also evidence of little green men on mars, and that global warming is a farce. The list goes on.

      But it’s alright, for even if you are right, it doesn’t matter. Sane, consenting adults. No harm to others. Consistency of principles. Take it all or take none. Apologies, I am repeating myself for the umpteenth time.

      Break this argument and then tell me it’s apples and oranges. Please.

      • Kong Kek Kuat says:

        @ Idris

        Ok, in order to keep you from thinking that you are completely correct, or that no one here has an answer to your argument, I think it´s time to reply to the line of argument that you have put forth, which is basically based on nothing more than the simplistic concept of consistency of principles. But I am actually confused by your inconsistency of principles. Please read on to understand why.

        In reply to all your comments, you are absolutely correct! People who want to allow open homosexual relations should also allow open incestuous relations. Otherwise, they are inconsistent and are hypocrites. So, consistency of principle here is that if you disagree with allowing incestuous relations, then you must also disagree with allowing homosexual relations. Surely, the element of consent (and whatever points you put up in all your comments and replies) must be consistently applied, whether it is to homosexual relations or incestuous relations. I absolutely agree with that — when I have talk-c**k sessions with my tannih-buddies.

        To keep it short: So let´s say you and I are not hypocrites. So, by the very same token, shouldn´t we also not allow Muslims to touch money, since swine is expressly diharamkan oleh Allah yang mahabesar as stated in the kitab suci al-Qur’an? Why? Because the chances that the money you have (in your pocket or bank) is tainted by the fat from benda-benda haram is as high as you not washing the soles of the shoes you wear.

        So, since you are such a man of consistent principles – “take it all or take none”, as you say – or at least that´s what you are trying to imply in almost all your comments and replies here, boleh kah anda menyatakan di sini untuk semua para pembaca TNG bahawa anda pernah atau tidak pernah menyentuh duit-duit ringgit Malaysia? Jikalau anda pernah menyentuh duit-duit ringgit Malaysia, maka anda harus memeluk incestuous people in order to be consistent in your principles. Do you have an incestuous relationship with your mother? [Dear Editors: Ok, I know this last line is a bit crude, but I need it to be hard-hitting and head-smacking.]

        But I bet you do have some money in your pocket which is tainted by benda-benda yang diharamkan oleh Allah yang mahabesar. And this is why I see you as inconsistent.

        Aku? Aku peluk semua duit – yang haram, yang halal, dan yang harus. Aku juga peluk semua badan (kecuali yang berketiak busuk dan yang berrasuah) tak kiralah bangsa ataupun agama.

        Over to you, Idris.

        • Idris says:

          Sorry. I don’t quite understand what you are trying to say. I never claimed to be perfectly consistent in all matters. You seem to be making that claim for me, though.

          It’s fine if you see me as inconsistent. I see myself as inconsistent in practice, too, and would call anyone who claims to be consistent all the time a shameless liar. So there goes your hard hitting head smacking ‘argument’.

          And no, I am not stupid or arrogant enough to assume that no one (even in this forum) has an answer to my arguments. Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered anymore, since I refuse to see the ‘light’, or rather, their light.

          Back to the argument at hand. People here are Fighting for the rights of LGBTS – which is fine I suppose – but Denying the rights of other ‘unconventional’ relationships. This is not just inconsistent, it’s hypocritical – and you claim to agree with me (unless I missed sarcasm somewhere). They are denying the rights of a particular group, while allowing that of another. The result of their inconsistency is that non-physical harm, but harm nonetheless, is being done to a party other then themselves.

          If the money in my pocket is tainted by ‘impure’ objects that’s my business as long as no harm is done to anyone else (within realistic bounds of knowledge, just in case you want to be fussy).

          If I choose to have an incestuous relationship with my mother (just to play along with your ‘hard-hitting’, ‘head-smacking’ argument) or if I choose to sodomise my male pet dog (let’s just assume that we somehow know that the dog wants it), it’s my business as long as no harm comes to others. There are other ways to argue against you but I am trying to stay on topic.

          Back to you, Kek Kuat? Rest assured that I will NOT assume you have no answer even if you don’t reply.

          • Yuki Choe says:

            Idris,

            Get this into your mind, please.

            - Homosexuality and incest are exclusive of each other.

            - Homosexuality is a sexual orientation.

            - There is no such thing as “homosexual acts” in homosexuality; it does not take a blind man to see that such “acts” are done mostly by heterosexual people.

            - Incest can be both homosexual based or heterosexual based; if two brothers were to be together, we still call it homosexual. Likewise, if a brother and sister, heterosexual. It would still be incest, but sexual orientation has nothing to do with incest.

            - To argue allowance of incest based on the merits of consent in equivalence to allowance of homosexuals would be the same as allowing incest because it is a heterosexual relationship [but with larger repercussions] since heterosexual incest could still lead to marriage, procreation, “natural” intercourse, etc.

            Do you see the slippery slope you are getting at?

          • JW Tan says:

            If you choose to have an incestuous relationship with your mother, you (or more likely, your mother) would have to work very hard to convince anyone that the relationship is mutually consenting because of the familial connection. If you sodomise your pet dog, you have no way of knowing if your dog consented. Similar arguments apply to your previous example of brother-sister relationships. They don’t apply to LGBT relationships (in general).

            You can’t assume consent. That’s called rape, and is illegal.

            I really can’t explain it any plainer – your entire attempt to draw an equivalency between LBGT relationships and what you call “unconventional” relationships is spurious.

          • Kong Kek Kuat says:

            [Funny... I think I am not going to wait for my comment to be published. I will repost it.]

            @ Idris

            1. Haha… Thank you for replying. For me, of course I will have a reply for you. Besides, replying to you is easy — just like replying to almost all of those who argue based on what I call the ‘black-n-white’ theory, which is generally quite typical these days coming from the majority of Muslims.

            Let me show you what I mean (with the gist of all your hoos and haas all over your comments culminating with this): You say, “Consistency of principles. Take it all or take none. Apologies, I am repeating myself for the umpteenth time. Break this argument and then tell me it’s apples and oranges. Please.” I´ll let the readers here decide whether you were trying to say “if incestuous relations are forbidden, so should LBGT.”

            And then after finding yourself without your pants in your seat, now you say, “I never claimed to be perfectly consistent in all matters. You seem to be making that claim for me, though. It’s fine if you see me as inconsistent. I see myself as inconsistent in practice, too, and would call anyone who claims to be consistent all the time a shameless liar.” So… what? Are you trying to say that LBGT should be forbidden because incestuous relations are forbidden, BUT it´s ok for me to go to a mosque which was built with funds tainted with pork sellers´ money even thought the Qur’an explicitly forbids the consumption of babi?

            2. And why should they (whomever they are) not be allowed to “denying the rights of a particular group [e.g. incestuous relationships], while allowing that of another [e.g. LBGT]?” They (again, whomever they are) are already allowed to deny Muslims from working in places which serves alcohol, while allowing money taxed from alcoholic drinks and pork sellers to build masjid-masjid everywhere in Malaysia. I bet you go to one of these masjid-masjid, don´t you? Oh waitaminute… you never claimed to be perfectly consistent in all matters… right… as long as it is convenient for you, it´s ok to be consistent/inconsistent (within realistic bounds of knowledge, just in case you want to be fussy). Ya… within realistic bounds of knowledge… Idris has just revived the old saying “ignorance is bliss” with a whole new perspective. Yes, I understand you, Idris — you´re not the first one with this line of argument. Well hey, if Idris is allowed to go to a mosque built with money tainted with benda-benda yang explicitly diharamkan by the Qur’an while at the same time deny the rights of LBGT because incestuous relations are forbidden, why not are we then allowed to permit/accept LBGT while at the same time deny incestuous relations because muslims like Idris are allowed to go to mosques built with duit haram?

            3. Hey, by the way, it´s ok with me if you are an LBGT who has an incestuous relationship with your mother while moonlighting with your male pet dog — it´s your business as long as no harm is done to others. It´s just not happening in my (and the majority of Malaysians´) family — which is my (and our) business. The problem is when you climb the Petronas Twin Towers in public rather than in the privacy of your own home: When you slip and fall, you make a bloody mess which others will have to clean up.

            Oh, and by the way, I do always claim to be consistent all the time. I am consistent all the time in accepting different views and in trying not to impinge on others´ personal rights. So, I guess that makes me a shameless liar according to you, huh? HAHA…

            “If you want to be the master, you have to equip yourself with knowledge and efficiency. Can we become the master when other people ask us to do work which is not that of a master? If you want to develop yourself, you must reject values unsuitable to present-day development,” said Mahathir Mohamad

            I believe he was not referring to the ‘black-n-white’ theories such as the “take it all or take none” principles that you have been repeating for the umpteenth time, and which even you can´t keep up with.

            Over to you, again. I am looking forward to your other ways to argue against me.

            Now, I prefer to call LBGT and incest, apples and oranges.

      • JW Tan says:

        And how can incest be consenting?

      • Reza says:

        While scientists have not pinpointed the exact genetic anomalies that cause homosexuality, there is still enough evidence (which is still growing) to warrant a general consensus among experts that the cause of homosexuality is a combination of BOTH biological AND environmental factors. Environmental factors alone do NOT cause homosexuality, thus it is not really a choice. This makes sense if you think about it. How/why would a heterosexual male suddenly choose to be physically and sexually attracted to other males? A straight guy does not suddenly think “Gee I wonder what it would be like to have sex with another guy.” The fact is that a significant part of our sexual orientation is deeply rooted in our primal and basic instinctual programming. Consciously, we are helpless to change it.

        “Sane, consenting adults.”

        Sane? People who are otherwise mentally sound have been known to do crazy things when desperate. And as i said, incest is caused mainly by sexual desperation and inaccessibility. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is not a product of desperation.

        “No harm to others.”

        In the case of homosexuality, I agree. The best that homophobes have come up with is that it sets a bad moral example for others. But this point is moot, since, as mentioned earlier, there IS a genetic component to homosexuality, without which a person CANNOT be influenced into becoming a homosexual.

        However, there at at least two harms that i can think of for incest. Firstly, there is a high likelihood that the offspring of incestuous unions will suffer from genetic aberrations, or at the very least, genetic degradation. And unlike homosexuality, the legalization of incest does set a bad moral example to others, since incest is not biologically influenced.

      • Kate Green, Zombie Shooter says:

        “Break this argument and then tell me it’s apples and oranges. Please.”

        There is no empirical evidence that homosexual sexual activity in itself is harmful.

        There is plenty of empirical evidence pointing out that incest leads to genetic defects ie. recessive genes have a higher tendency to emerge.

        There is plenty of empirical evidence pointing out that sexual relationships with younger people, ie. children, is psychologically harmful.

        No one, not even global warming deniers, are denying that it is happening. What people are debating about is whether it should lead to significant restriction on human activity.

        There is no evidence of green men on Mars. There is evidence that Mars may contain life.

        To be honest, I didn’t respond because the kind of answer I am giving is way too common. The knowledge that incestuous relationships result in higher likelihood of genetic mutation is basic science.

  37. rainbow lover says:

    Being in a diverse country and being just one tiny citizen here, I believe that all humans regardless of their sexuality are to be respected equally. Under what circumstances are we to condone such disrespect of God’s creations? I mean it is absolutely absurd to even for one moment think that just because they are LGBT, we are to disrespect them and kill them due to religion saying they are “haram”. If they are so haram, then LGBT would not even exist, for God would not have created them.

    I respect the teachings of Islam and other religions, but nonetheless I believe all religions state that we should learn, accept, respect and co-relate with other people. If all of us are such extremists, then what’s the point of opinion? We are entitled to question religion and certain issues … asking for the opinions of Islamic scholars alone is [not enough], as any one who is curious would seek more diverse sources. [...]

  38. Idris says:

    @Reza
    [A straight guy does not suddenly think “Gee I wonder what it would be like to have sex with another guy.”]. I do have (honest) friends who have wondered. I myself have wondered (and was extremely repulsed at the thought). I am not saying this just to spite you – but your assertion has already been proven wrong.

    “Sane, consenting adults”. As I said previously, we are talking about principle, not what ifs and maybes. Might as well claim that most LGBTS are insane (of course they’re not, but I’m just following your example). Unless you can actually show that ALL incestuous couples are not sane or consenting, I believe you cannot break this argument. Even if there is only one truly sane and incestuous couple among the 7 billion of us, it is enough to back up my case. Yet again, what if this couple just happened to be your son and daughter? And, say, you just gave your blessings to your eldest son/daughter to live happily ever after with his/her gay/lesbian partner? You are going to deny your other, incestuous, children the same right? Apply a more severe test to ensure they are truly sane and consenting? To me, that is far, far greater a sin than homosexuality/incest (if these are sins in the first place).

    Broad claims like “incest is caused mainly by sexual desperation and inaccessibility” etc need to be backed up. Phrases like “science has proven…” are often misused – a lazy, cowardly method to “win” arguments. While I agree that some knowledge is common enough to not need reference, others do. Also, you are trying to state fact, as opposed to moral/philosophical argument/opinion. Anyhow, even if you do manage back your claims of “fact”, I could cite research that says otherwise (thus my exaggerated and sarcastic example of little green men). However, this forum is not the best place to argue about the validity of research – that’s why I am maintaining a philosophical/moral argument, and trying not to spew “facts”.

    “And unlike homosexuality, the legalization of incest does set a bad moral example to others, since incest is not biologically influenced.” Whose morals? Yours? Not biologically influenced? Where is the science? What constitutes “biologically influenced?” No, don’t bother searching. Even if the science says it is not biologically influenced, you have no case. People do a lot of things nowadays that are morally acceptable despite not being “biologically influenced”.

    @Reza and Kate Green (in particular Kate Green)
    Please note that I never said that homosexual activity in itself is harmful, whether to the practitioners or to the public at large. Nor was I trying to say one is harmful and the other, not (with regard to homosexuality and incest).

    I know full well that nowadays (it was not the same at the dawn of mankind), there is a higher possibility of imbreeding leading to genetic defects. However, I also know that no state prohibits heterosexual couples with severe genetic defects from marrying, and that some countries have legalized homosexual marriage, despite the fact that with current technology, it is physically impossible for such couples to have children entirely on their own. Incestuous couples, as well as infertile couples/those with severe genetic defects, can, if they so choose, have children the same way homosexual couples can. In other words, it is not about procreation, but about, and I say again, sane and consenting adults. This is Basic Stuff. In your words: “The kind of answer I am giving is way too common”.

    Incestuous couples can, at the least, make children, and unless you support eugenics (think Nazi Germany), I humbly suggest you exercise caution if you want to use this argument, for if you prohibit incest on the grounds that it risks producing “defective” children, you also have to prohibit reproduction by hemophiliacs and the carriers of a host of other “defects”. In addition, if you want to insist on this procreation requirement, then homosexual couples are unacceptable because they cannot procreate in the first place.

    It seems to me that the “liberals” posting their comments here are in fact, only as liberal as the “conservatives” they condemn. Most of the comments here are from people who just cannot overcome their repulsion of incest (including me) but have become accepting of homosexuality (not including me). This, I believe, is affecting rational judgment. Again, I believe we have no choice but to accept both.

    • JW Tan says:

      Obviously, using your arguments, no one should even enter into a heterosexual relationship, because of course by the law of averages there is at least one heterosexual couple in the world where the people in the relationship are not sane or consenting. Since you cannot prove that there is not such a thing, or that existing relationships will not evolve into such in the future, if we were to listen to you the human race would die out.

      The only principle you should be thinking about is this one – can it be reasonably inferred that this type of relationship does not result in unwanted harm to either party, and that both parties have given full consent to participate in an agreed relationship dynamic? If so, there is a basis for repealing legislation against that particular class of relationships. If not, no.

      Your personal revulsion should not enter into it (except perhaps your revulsion against injustice and the intrusion of the law into places where it has not business being – but that’s probably more me than you).

  39. [email protected] says:

    The key issue is whether [certain] Muslims can be intellectual at all?? Whenever anything encroaches on their religion, all sane reason tends to fly out the window! I really wonder is there any other religion that encourages this?

    I as a Christian was aghast when a Muslim friend &ndash someone who was educated in the US, had sexual relations with his German girlfriend, and had no qualms about serving alcohol — fervently encouraged the killing of Salman Rushdie for blasphemy. He was very shocked when I said that I wouldn’t advocate killing anyone who spoke ill of my Christian religion.

  40. orang lama says:

    There is a difference between what is required of us and what happens in reality. Recently it was revealed (on Asia Times Online, see http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MA11Df03.html) that Western soldiers in Afghanistan were accosted by gay Afghans outside their base camps. In fact, the soldiers consider this more problematic than fighting the Taliban. It turns out that the females have covered themselves from head to foot, so the men have no way to be attracted by the beauty of women. So they turn to young men and men who have no beards and moustaches. It is so common in Afghanistan and Pakistan (and elsewhere in the middle east) that the people have accepted it. So no stoning to death etc. God help you though if you can sex with a woman who is not your wife.

    Why this disparity of prosecution? It is just sheer convenience and practicality. The Afghans also grow opium for export. Is this sinful? The suicide squads targeting fellow Muslims is even more puzzling. Why kill fellow Muslims?

    So you see, if it is convenient to you it is not sinful. Otherwise, it is the greatest sin on earth punished by death. This incongruity of value systems and moral preaching is glaring. No wonder people are scared of Islam. You will never know when it will be inconvenient to behave in a certain way. When that happens, you better run away. By the way, Kandahar is the gay capital of Afgaynistan.

  41. Idris says:

    Idris,

    “Get this into your mind, please.”
    Is there any point replying to your post if you want to adopt such a tone? I am not going to reply to further posts by you if you write in this manner.

    - Homosexuality and incest are exclusive of each other.
    Ok.

    - Homosexuality is a sexual orientation.
    Ok.

    - There is no such thing as “homosexual acts” in homosexuality; it does not take a blind man to see that such “acts” are done mostly by heterosexual people.
    Ok.

    - Incest can be both homosexual based or heterosexual based; if two brothers were to be together, we still call it homosexual. Likewise, if a brother and sister, heterosexual. It would still be incest, but sexual orientation has nothing to do with incest.

    Ok. I never said otherwise, anyway.

    - To argue allowance of incest based on the merits of consent in equivalence to allowance of homosexuals would be the same as allowing incest because it is a heterosexual relationship [but with larger repercussions] since heterosexual incest could still lead to marriage, procreation, “natural” intercourse, etc.

    I don’t understand this last one. Makes absolutely no sense to me. For one thing, homosexual relationships can also lead to marriage – as is evident in a number of countries today. ‘Natural’ or ‘unnatural’ intercourse – so what? Procreation can be controlled in much the same way people protect from STDs. So what ‘larger repercussions’ are you talking about?

    “Do you see the slippery slope you are getting at?”
    No I don’t.

  42. Idris says:

    @JWTan
    This response also applies to your posts dated February 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm and February 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    What I have been trying to say over and over again is that you do not deny someone his/her right to do something if he/she is of age and is mentally sound, consents to the act, and in carrying out the act does not harm others. That is all. That being the case, obviously my arguments (they’re not even my arguments to begin with, actually) do not lead to that which you said – your reverse argument does not work as you will be denying countless people their rights.

    Sorry I disagree with you. Or perhaps I do not have a proper understanding of the word ‘principle’. I am not talking about whether harm is actually done or consent is real. I am assuming they are, and I am free to make such an assumption to invoke the principle, else it will be impossible to discuss anything (I suggest you look up the ‘trolley problem’, used by philosophers to illustrate consistency of principles while eliminating other possibilities).

    If, someday in the future, we have the means to determine with absolute certainty whether ALL incestuous (for example) couples are not consenting, if in the future the proper socioeconomic tools and definitions to determine ‘harm’ by such relationships have been developed, and it is shown that more harm comes from incestuous couples (regardless of consent) than, for example, homosexual ones, then there would be reason to set more stringent conditions and perhaps even to impose an outright ban on incestuous relationships. But not before.

    Someday I believe (silly me) that technology will allow us to peek into the minds of all living things (I said this in a previous post). As such, you might discover that your pet dog really wants to make out with you. Until that day comes, we argue based on principle. Proving consent comes later.

    Anyway, if you are so convinced that incestuous couples cannot possibly be consenting or harmless (you haven’t been able to prove this, except to provide rather snobbish statements as in January 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm and your own personal opinion), then you shouldn’t have to worry about anything – as you suggested in your second paragraph. So what on earth is the problem?

    Your last paragraph was completely uncalled for. My personal revulsion has nothing to do with this, as should be clear from my last paragraph (where I acknowledged that we have to accept homosexual relationships). And while in truth it may well be that you are more just and rational than me, I ask that you do not assume so. I am not replying to your posts anymore, no matter how well thought out, if you maintain this tone.

    • JW Tan says:

      Thank you, this is clear. In which case I don’t see how any of your arguments so far can inform a debate as to whether or not homosexuality or incest should be decriminalised, or even whether it is morally wrong, since most of the points of discussion deal with the practical aspects of ascertaining what people do and think. As I have already said, you cannot assume away problems when considering what action to take. I am familiar with the trolley problem, but fail to see how you are applying it to this situation.

      To clarify further, I cannot think of any way where I could be sure an incestuous couple have a completely consenting relationship. I have been clear about this all along, and asked you if you did know of one. Your response is to assume the issue away, so is not very useful to me.

  43. robinboy says:

    I love Lady GaGa. She rocks.

  44. Yuki Choe says:

    “I don’t understand this last one. Makes absolutely no sense to me. For one thing, homosexual relationships can also lead to marriage – as is evident in a number of countries today. ‘Natural’ or ‘unnatural’ intercourse – so what? Procreation can be controlled in much the same way people protect from STDs. So what ‘larger rpercussions’ are you talking about?”

    If you learn to read into blogs, you would realise the “larger repurcussions” is an edit by the moderator, not me. By the way, thank you for tacitly agreeing with me on the points I presented, and that homosexual marriages are in many ways similar to heterosexual marriages, and homosexuals deserve equality.

    I am here to address your continuous comparisons of LGBTs with marrying pet dogs, bestiality, and especially incest, and many other statements of condemnation which you conveniently track back everytime you are called upon by removing yourself from your own arguments. Least, you are intelligent enought to know the difference.

    Let us observe the slopes you would fail to negotiate, by reflections of your own statements:

    “If one can abstain from sex, would there be need to make a public declaration that one is MUSLIM or whatever? Would it even matter what one’s RELIGION is? Some people live their entire lives without ever having married or even having sex, so are MUSLIMS so special that they deserve better?”

    “But I admit, I do suspect that most people would view incestuous relationships with disgust as opposed to INTERRACIAL relationships, and I think the reason for this is simply because people have not been ‘conditioned’ into accepting such relationships the way they have for INTERRACIAL relationships. I could be wrong but I don’t think you can prove this (nor can I prove that I am right, of course).”

    “From a non-religious point of view, I believe that if we accept INTER-RELIGIOUS relationships – which is not the same as accepting the existence of MUSLIMS/CHRISTIANS – we will eventually have to accept INTER-RELIGIOUS marriages, all in the name of “consenting adults, no harm done to others, I have a right to personal happiness” and variations thereof.

    By the same token, shouldn’t we also accept other “deviant” practices such as incestuous marriages?”

    “Similarly, if you want to marry FOUR WIVES, then by all means go ahead. I am not being trite – some day in the future, science might allow us to peek into, and understand, the minds of all living things. Infringing on HUMAN rights? Who’s to say your FOUR WIVES doesn’t want to make love with you? Bestiality has probably been around as long as POLYGAMOUS RELATIONSHIPS and incest, after all.

    “… People here are Fighting for the rights of CHINESE – which is fine I suppose – but Denying the rights of other ‘SPECIAL’ RACES. This is not just inconsistent, it’s hypocritical – and you claim to agree with me (unless I missed sarcasm somewhere). They are denying the rights of a particular group, while allowing that of another. The result of their inconsistency is that non-physical harm, but harm nonetheless, is being done to [UMNO] party other then themselves.”

    - Moderators, Readers, thank you for bearing with this rant so far -

    Okay, more slopes below:

    * Since you accept heterosexuality, you would have no reason to deny people of incest, bestiality, paedophillia, zoophillia, or anyting. Which you already admit you would not mind as it is their problem.

    * Since you seem to be championing for incest (please refer back to your own sentences), then you should have no problems permitting homosexual people to champion, fight and gain their rights here.

    * Based on your first line on Jan 22 – if you can’t accept one you shouldn’t accept the other – if you can’t accept homosexuality than you shouldn’t accept heterosexuality either, or bisexuality, or asexuality. The latter do not even like sex. But, do not accept them.

  45. Norasyikin Stephens says:

    The hadith at the end of the original article is quite lame, silly and at worst an attempt to subterfuge the argument. It is one thing to love someone of your own gender, but another thing to have sexual relationships with the person outside the bounds of marriage. Since you can’t nikah someone of your own gender, then you can’t have illicit sex with him/her.

    When it comes to transsexuals, you reach another discussion: what IS the gender of the person? Since he/she claims to NOT be the gender of his/her biology but a gender of his/her spirit/roh, then it merits a bit more thought.

    The people of Lot NEVER protested that they were NOT men/women, and their “acts never before committed by any creation” were condemned.

    So stick to love if you must. Just don’t act upon it.

  46. Yuki Choe says:

    I am unable to reply at the other comment thread, so I shall do so here.

    “Point out the myths, then. But think twice about what you mean by ‘myths’.”

    That allowance of homosexuality is compatible with allowance for incest, then you throw in bestiality and even pet dog stories for good measure. Again, by that argument, heterosexuality is of equivalence as well. Your sentences imply some homosexual “action” that can be done and practised? Dear, please read back your comments.

    “Remove sex from the picture and ‘homosexual’ relationships become a lot more agreeable to a lot of people (ok, some people if you insist). Perhaps you should look up the definition of ‘homosexuality’. Please? Then think twice about who’s really confused.”

    Of course I am confused by you. As far as I am concerned, homosexuality is same sex attraction. But observe the words you use, disgreeing with his “action”? Can you please define that action? “don’t practise till later?” Again, how do you practise it? Hold a girl’s hand or kiss her? Like practising golf and piano?

    And again you are including the “religion says so” to distance yourself from responsibility to your comments. However, if you have no qualms about homosexuality except for what religion says so, you would not need to be going into tired rants that invole incest again.

    At the least, thank you for realizing that faith is personal. Just please, respect other Muslim’s beliefs, and if they do not subscribe to your opinion do not box them as “not the standard type”.

    “You cannot tell me anything at all about how things will be like 30 years from now. No one can. My disagreeing with his action has no relation with honour killings and death. Your logic, at best, is warped – I hope you, as a person, are not.”

    Yes we do know. You can form a pretty good projection from countries that have supported equality for homosexuals for decades, and even some US states who have given that equality for the past few years.

    There is no warped logic. I am merely asking you whether you wish to go down that road, and I did mention you will indeed say no. Please read my comment properly. Anyway, it is to point out the rhetoric against homosexuality is still the same on what happened in history, and what is happening now. Only difference is you do not want blood.

    “That homosexuality existed well before any of the Abrahamic religions has nothing to do with this discussion, so perhaps you should rethink your opinion of what constitutes a good argument.”

    Of course it has. Please read back my comments. ‘Perhaps you should rethink your definition of what is the “norm”.’ Because that has been another myth you have been parroting, that homosexuality is not the “norm” and you tacitly imply opening doors for homosexuals to live in equality should lead to more “deviant” and “unconventional” relationships, then you request for allowance for incest? So perhaps you should rethink your opinion of what constitutes a good argument?

  47. Mattster says:

    I find Muslim societies today to be completely rudderless. It is almost as if with each new generation, Muslims with the new focus on “political islam” are slowly marching back in time.

    Why in does anyone with half a brain need to refer to a hadith to know that it is wrong to threaten someone with extreme violence based on personal lifestyle choice?

    Almost every Muslim country today is racked with neverending debates about which hadiths are true, valid, etc. Talk about a confused flock!!

    While the rest of the world moves forward onto the next century, Muslims ironically are busy arguing the basic minutiae of fundamental human rights, elementary civil rights, and the most basic aspects of personal and religious freedom.

    • Idris says:

      Well said, I couldn’t agree more (if this contradicts my previous posts call me an imbecilic hypocrite if you wish).

      As said many times over – sane, consenting adults should be allowed to do as they please as long as they do no harm, or cause trouble, to others.

      Religion aside, that is… However, it should be clear from my many convoluted posts that I support the non-religious view more, and perhaps so do some other Muslims, too.

  48. idris says:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2013/01/dear_prudence_my_brother_and_i_kiss_and_cuddle.html

    If there is any truth to the above article, it would seem to suggest that incestuous relationships need not be characterised by an imbalance of power, as many commentators above claimed.

    But LGBT supporters needn’t despair. Here we have a case of an incestuous AND gay couple. Also no obvious signs of power imbalance/coercion etc.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/11/dear_prudence_follow_up_letters_from_the_twincest_writer_and_the_minister.html

    Or maybe both cases were made up. If (a big IF) they weren’t – then you can bet there are more such cases. No, actually they needn’t be more cases. Just one or two is enough.

    Let the over-analysis of these letters (to show they were made up) begin.

  49. Jude Seah says:

    Thanks for all the comments.
    It was an interesting hour reading through all of them.
    Mind changed as i read, showing the strength of each and every argument.

  50. zamorin says:

    I think anybody who thinks that their religion gives them morality and that the LGBT community is immoral should have their morals examined.


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