A lot of the imams and scholars that signed the Muslim Joint Statement on Orlando are now being contacted by a “progressive” Muslim group with the following:
“We call upon you as a representative of Muslim communities to not only condemn violence and persecution of LGBT demographics, but also to go further and pledge to advocate for their inclusion and acceptance within your community. We thus call upon you to affirm the following in your response to this email:
“With this response, I pledge to combat and refute discrimination against any individual or community including the LGBT community. As an Imam and/or representative of Muslim communities I pledge to eradicate all homophobic teachings in my community and in the religious institutions I am affiliated with, and will affirm the dignity of LGBT individuals.”
“MPV has set the deadline to receive responses by July 12th, after which we will disseminate a press release listing those who have pledged and those who haven’t.” [End quote]
Much can be said about this. I hope that just like these Muslim leaders came together for the Joint Statement, some of them at least will come together to craft a response to this so that there is a clear and consistent message, instead of ambiguity and room for confusion.
As I explained in my Open Letter to the Muslim Community in Light of the Orlando Shooting and elsewhere, Muslims should support those with same-sex desires and even those who self-identify as LGBT. We support them by 1) treating them like human beings and 2) advising them toward goodness.
This raises the question: what is goodness? This is something these LGBT activists and progressives don’t want to talk about because they know it is an argument they can’t win. But our strategy is to keep bringing it back to this question: what is goodness?
Our deen tells us that same sex behavior is destructive on the physical and metaphysical levels. So we cannot be true to our faith and endorse and be inclusive of something we deem harmful. Those Muslims who do do this and even go so far as supporting or being indifferent to gay marriage are inherently disingenuous toward the LGBT community because they believe same sex behavior to be immoral and destructive, yet they choose to cheerleader or be neutral on that and let others destroy themselves.
A more genuine approach would be this: we support others but we do not feel any obligation to accept how others define themselves. There are many Muslims who have same sex desires and some of them even act on that desire, but they don’t call themselves “gay muslims” and demand acceptance for that. Similarly, many Muslims desire to commit zina and some of them do so, but they do not call themselves “zina muslims” and expect to have that label accepted and be invited to be a khateeb as a “zina muslim” and be the world’s first “openly zina-engaging imam,” etc.
I hope our imams and leaders will be very deliberate, strategic, and principled in responding to this. Language is important: we can’t let others define the terms for us and illegitmately shift the conversation. The reality is these groups view ALL of Islam’s guidance on sexuality as poisonous, homophobic, regressive, etc. So conceding that and pledging to “eradicate all homophobic teachings” is nothing other than abject capitulation against the very fundamentals of our faith.