Back in January, the U.K.’s Gay Times ran a morbidly fascinating piece. Following the latest attacks in Paris and ISIS’s throwing of gays off buildings, the magazine asked, “Is Islam itself really a threat to the gay community?” Readers may be unsurprised to hear that the next sentence read, “The answer is simple. ‘No.’”
According to the piece (written by one Thomas Ling), there is nothing in Islam that need worry gays. But what, I hear you ask, about the Islamic traditions? What about the Koran? Fortunately, Gay Times had this covered, insisting that the Koran says “nothing at all” about being gay. Phew! So everyone can flip over to the articles on diets and work-out routines?
Well, not quite. The reason given was that “the word ‘homosexual’ simply didn’t exist when it [the Koran] was written.” Okay, but what about the founder of Islam, Mohammad, and his injunction to kill people who are gay? Our intrepid reporter avoided that hadith but did note another “prophetic narration,” which says, “When a man lies with another man, the throne of heaven shakes.” (The author fails to make the obvious frippery that if you’re really lucky the earth will also move.)
Anyway, having got near the rub, Gay Times author promptly slipped into the more comfortable issue of Biblical injunctions on homosexuality. He insisted that “the ruthless and reckless applications of Sharia law by IS are not inevitable consequences of Islam.” To give the reader a boost, we are reminded of a Muslim MP who voted for same-sex marriage and told how great the work of an “anti-Islamophobia” group was before closing with some bashing of tabloids for their publishing “negative” news stories about Muslims. The whole exercise in casuistry concluded thus:
Maybe it’s time to accept that Islamic State has very little to do with the teachings of Islam. Maybe we should start comparing their fighters to terrorists like Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, motivated by skewed personal beliefs, instead of to an entire diverse religion. It’s maybe then that society can accept Islam and promote a tolerance that can be proudly looked back on by future generations of gay Muslims.
That’s a lot of “maybes.” So let me add a couple of my own. “Maybe” Gay Times and Mr. Ling are wrong. Maybe they are in fact only symptomatic of the slow learning of gay communities in the West when it comes to Islam. And maybe, just maybe, after Orlando, a few more people will realize that the patchwork-quilt paradise of societal atomization we call “diversity” is a hell of our own creation.
It isn’t surprising that most gay spokespeople and publications lean left. For historic reasons — principally the political Right’s opposition to gay rights — most gay spokespeople continue to think that the political Right is the sole locale from which anti-gay sentiment can come. For many years Pat Robertson was their worst nightmare. But Pat Robertson just wanted to stop gays from marrying. He didn’t call for people to throw us off high buildings.
Despite the growing awareness that this was precisely what the Islamists wanted, gay “spokespeople,” publications, and groups went through the 2000s sharing the old leftish delusions. These included the idea that, as a “minority,” gays only had things in common with other “minorities.” So gay people were meant to be the natural political and social bedfellows not just of other gays but of people with disabilities, racial and religious minorities, and even, perhaps, women. Of course it was ridiculous. Gay men don’t have much in common with lesbians. Why — even if they had a unanimous view and voice — would they inevitably share the concerns of “all” people with one leg? Or Sikhs? Or Muslims? For this worldview to make any sense at all, you have to believe that there is a dominant, “patriarchal” voice in society, that this is the only bloc capable of bigotry, and that all these mini-communities ought to unite against this fantasy mainstream. Of course this not only fails in its reductive analysis of mainstream politics. It fails to take any interest in the crucial details of “minority” politics. Such as whether your interests are remotely aligned. Who could have known that one minority, Muslims, might not be hot for another minority? Such as gays.
#share#The most cursory look around the Muslim world would have been useful. But not many people paid attention. The organized “gay media” and “gay community” took their eyes off their left flank, even while that was exactly the door through which the real bigots came. Because when rampant homophobia returned to Western societies, it came not from the “patriarchy” but from another “minority” group. The same story is replaying itself across the Western world. A poll released in Britain in April found that 52 percent of British Muslims want homosexuality to be made illegal in Britain. That’s not just “not on board with gay marriage” or “not entirely hot with civil partnerships.” It’s wanting gays to be locked up. In Britain. In 2016. When it comes to real, as opposed to cake-based, homophobia, we aren’t looking at a Muslim-minority problem. We’re looking at a Muslim-majority problem.
Of course a few gay “dissidents” have walked against this trend and sounded early-warning sirens. The Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and the American-born author Bruce Bawer are notable exemplars. But for their troubles, these dissidents found themselves attacked not just by Muslims but by the professional gays who wanted to prove their total devotion to the “diversity” cause. Among the most commodious ways to show such loyalty was to round up the alleged “bigots” from their own community. They did this right up to (and sometimes past) the point where people assumed assassination was the only solution.
How to even point out Islamic homophobia without being labeled an “Islamophobe”?
Yet the larger problem remained. What could one do? How to even point out Islamic homophobia without being labeled an “Islamophobe”? After all, what is more “Islamophobic” than criticizing the foundational texts of Islam, the teachings of the religion’s founder, and the behavior of all Islamic societies in the world today? It is akin to the problem with Islamic anti-Semitism. How does a Jew criticize Islamic anti-Semitism without being an “Islamophobe”? The simple answer is that it’s not possible. So the only options are to lie about what Islam teaches and what Muslims think (Gay Times) or pretend that universal bigotry will be defeated only when you have defeated any “bigotry” in your own heart. Which would suit the Islamist clock just fine.
For the time being, most American gay groups and publications continue, with very few exceptions, to be in denial about this problem. The prevalence on social media of “Don’t let’s give in to Islamophobia” motifs certainly suggests this. A colleague who was in a gay cafe in Washington, D.C., immediately after the Orlando shooting related that the whole atmosphere remained one of “Nothing must make us hate.” And while it’s perfectly right not to hate an entire community because of one gunman, it is a perfectly stupid idea never even to inquire whether your unadulterated love is returned in kind.
#related#To go back to those “maybes.” Maybe it will all work out. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe Muslims will find the traditions and certainties of Islam more attractive than the muddling-along liberalism of the modern West. Maybe the more Muslims there are, the more homophobia there will be. In the same way that the more Muslims there are, the more anti-Semitism there is. Maybe the number of Muslims who hate gays and want them thrown in prison or off a tall building will keep going up rather than down as Western Muslim communities grow. And maybe the children of immigrants will not be more Westernized than their parents but more Muslim. Maybe over time the strong and certain ideology of fundamentalist Islam beats a relativistic Western ideology consumed by self-doubt and multicultural confusion. It’s certainly possible. The only thing that is certain is that the frayings in the patchwork quilt of diversity are going to fray more in the years ahead. Not by our pointing them out, but by the inevitable assertion of realities such as those suffered by Orlando this past weekend.