Rep. Keith Ellison’s Imam: Homosexuality Is ‘Not What God Intended’

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt

Rep. Keith Ellison’s Imam: Homosexuality Is ‘Not What God Intended’

BuzzFeed has decided that the world needed an expose of the religious views of the pastor of Chip and Joanna Gaines, host of the Fixer Upper series on HGTV. And because the editorial team at Buzzfeed deems those mainstream traditional Christian views controversial, they concluded that the hosts must be hounded until they publicly express their views on the topic.

So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s House Hunters and Property Brothers? Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned. Nor were emails and calls to HGTV’s PR department.

If this social-media-mob-stirring, guilt-by-association, drive-out-the-heretics philosophy is how the game is going to be played now… I’d like the folks at BuzzFeed to turn their attention to Imam Makram El-Amin, leader of Masjid Al-Nur mosque in Minneapolis.

Choudhury’s thoughts about creating safe spaces for LGBTQ members aren’t welcomed by all Muslims, especially religious leaders. Munhazim says mosques in Minnesota don’t accept openly gay people and he’s been kicked out of mosques in the past. Imams say they take issue with those promoting homosexuality.

“It’s not within our paradigm, really, to change the word of God,” said Imam Makram El-Amin, leader of Masjid Al-Nur in Minneapolis.

“Our religion is clear about this matter. It’s not a lifestyle that we accept as being part of the natural way of things for human beings. When it comes to that, that’s my position, and that’s Islam’s position. And this incident as tragic and terrible as it is that does not change that,” he said.

El-Amin was one of several local religious leaders who came out after the shooting to say they stand in solidarity with LGBTQ members. But that doesn’t mean it’s an endorsement.

“We know that there are certain things that come up to the level of human rights that supersede even the differences that we have,” he said.

Lest you think that was an off-the-cuff, one-time comment from the imam…

The Qur’an is “pretty explicit in the fact that it is saying that this is not a lifestyle, or life choice, that is recognized as legitimate for Muslims,” said Imam Makram El-Amin of Minneapolis’s Masjid An-Nur. “It is not recognized as being what God intended for humans in terms of their relationships with one another.”

You know who worships at the Masjid Al-Nur in Minneapolis, right? Congressman Keith Ellison, now considered a leading candidate to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And from news accounts, the two men are pretty close: “Imam El-Amin has counseled Ellison on religious issues and accompanied him on international trade trips.”

For what it’s worth, Congressman Ellison supports gay marriage and gays serving in the military. No word on whether he’s ever thought of homosexuality as “what God intended for humans in terms of their relationships.”

Now, from where I sit, everybody’s free to think whatever the heck they want about homosexuality, and everybody deserves equal protection under the law. There’s no point or good purpose served by haranguing Chip and Joanna Gaines about their pastor’s views, or any average Catholic about the Pope’s views, or Ellison about his imam’s views. There’s a strong argument to be made that efforts to stir up furious public outcry over someone’s views about God and His teachings comes uncomfortably close to religious bigotry and discrimination.

But if we’re going to pick out some little-known Texas pastor and turn him into public enemy number one over his traditional religious views on homosexuality, it doesn’t seem unfair to apply the same standard to other figures advising elected officials who make the country’s laws. In other words, BuzzFeed chose to take this tool out of the shed; they can’t complain when someone else starts using it.

Was it just eight years ago we were assured that the controversial and incendiary ranting and raving of Jeremiah Wright had absolutely no influence on the thinking of then-Senator Barack Obama?

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