Muslims debate gay people on the BBC

BBC Radio 4 program Beyond Belief features heated debate on Islam and homosexuality

Muslims debate gay people on the BBC
26 February 2013

An at times heated debate between a traditional Imam, a gay Muslim and an Islamic scholar on BBC Radio 4 yesterday shed light on the religious and ethical debates about homosexuality and Islam.

Imam Ibrahim Mogra said that it was possible to be Muslim and gay but ‘our issue is with the sexual act itself’ and ‘physical intimate genital relationships between two people of the same-sex is wrong’.

Pav Akhtar, the director of UK Black Pride, said he thought the Koran ‘very obliquely references homosexuality and it doesn’t in my view assess homosexual negatively’.

The guests discussed the story in the Koran of Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah and Mogra said it ‘should really create fear in our hearts about what happens when we disobey God’.

Akhtar said that the story of Lot condemns ‘lewd behavior… widespread promiscuity… bestiality… pedophilia’ but not necessarily homosexuality. He said that during the Ottoman Empire, which decriminalized homosexuality in 1858, there was poetry written comparing the love for young men with the love for God.

‘We’ve gone through a period within the Islamic world where we were open to diversity, we were open to different view points and we’ve come to a much more closed world,’ said Akhtar.

Islamic scholar Sheikh Dr Muhammed al-Hussaini said that although he has ‘tremendous compassion’ towards LGBT Muslims, he could not find a positive reference to same-sex physical relationships in the Koran.

‘We are bound by what scripture says faithfully,’ said al-Hussaini. ‘And we can approach scripture lovingly, seeking compassion for everybody of whatever sexual disposition. But I, with truthfulness, as some who has stood firmly against homophobia, I would really like to find a verse in the Koran that positively endorses a same-sex sexual relationship and that’s where I’m stuck.’

When asked about same-sex marriage within Islam Akhtar said:

‘In the Muslim world we have a more fundamental problem, nevermind gay marriage and the luxury of gay marriage. We have a fundamental problem of accepting the right of homosexuals to exist.’

The show also featured an interview with the founder of an LGBT friendly mosque in France

Listen to the program here

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Joan Rivers jokes that Barack Obama is gay and First Lady a 'tranny'

81-year-old comic makes no effort to be politically correct
New Zealand sets new standard for LGBTI inclusion in the workplace

New Zealand sets new standard for LGBTI inclusion in the workplace

The guidance sets out criteria that all businesses should consider when tackling workplace diversity and inclusion
No thumbnail available

Boss threw trash can at lesbian worker, then fired her

Lesbian check-cashing worker claims boss made offensive comments about her sexuality – he denies wrongdoing
No thumbnail available

Teen gives heartbreaking testimony on why his two gay moms deserve equality

An 18-year-old Nevada's testimony is going viral a day after the US state voted in favor of equal marriage
No thumbnail available

LGBT leaders reflect on breakthrough gay marriage ballot wins

Focus placed on commitment of loving couples rather than legal and judicial equality
No thumbnail available

Leonardo da Vinci tops list of 500 power gays

Artist of the Mona Lisa tops the list, while Socrates, Alexander the Great, Stephen Fry and Oscar Wilde are in the top five
No thumbnail available

Virgin CEO Richard Branson explains why LGBTI diversity is good for business

Virgin founder and fourth richest man in the UK Richard Branson has written about why LGBTI acceptance is good for business and his fears that Russia’s treatment of gay people will harm its economy
Nebraska straight man attacked for protecting gay friends

Nebraska straight man attacked for protecting gay friends

A straight guy defended his friend dressed in drag from three attackers who called him 'disgusting' and a 'faggot'
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Dutch minister slams Pope for gay hate Christmas message

Netherlands foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans blasts head of the Catholic Church for gay marriage attack