Sunday, June 12, 2016

Shooting in Florida: Christian homophobia and Islamist homophobia in the West

There is no question that Islamism in Western societies has been influenced by the tone and themes of Christian fundamentalism, namely in the issue of homophobia.  I have noticed this back in 1993, in the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing. I had read the speeches of the "blind cleric", `Umar `Abdul-Rahman, and noticed that his rhetoric borrows from the rhetoric of Christian fundamentalist kooks in the US, especially his pernicious homophobia.  He was far more concerned with homosexuality than I read in the rhetoric of Islamists back home.  Christian and Islamist and Jewish fundamentalists in Western countries often share bigotry and misogyny and often work together on "moral" issues.  I also have written back in 1993 about Homosexuality in the history of Ararb/Islamic civilization and I note that what passes in today's world as "Islamic issues" is often importation of Western Christian victorian values.  Modern Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, for example, has element of Christian puritanism that have been alien to mainstream Islam.  You could get away with poetry in the 9th and 10th century in Baghdad or Damascus which could get you beheaded in today's Saudi Arabia.  So Islamists in the US, I argue, are influenced by the rhetoric of Christian extremists.  We should be concerned over homophobia wherever it comes from and if you surf the US channels you will find homophobia to be pervasive on Christian channels. That should have raised alarm a long time ago.    I should also remind you that Western countries when they occupied Middle East lands imposed their Christian rigid homophobia on the region by imposing the codification of criminalization and categorization of homosexuality (See Joseph Massad's Desiring Arabs on that).  Middle East media have a role to play: but not a single Arabic newspaper, OTHER THAN AL-Akhbar of Lebanon, combats homophobia and writes sensitively about gays and lesbians (which is ironic because Western media wrongly refer to Al-Akhbar as "Hizbullah paper" when Hizbullah is not in any way opposed to homophobia).  The media of the "moderate Arab governments" are complicit in creating a climate of hostility against gays and lesbians and they still routinely refer to gays as "sexual deviants" but that never bothers US embassies which raise hell if they encounter articles critical of Israel.

PS Of course, I don't know anything about his ideology but I am here accepting (too quickly?) the assumption of US media.