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#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:18 AM

The secret gay history of Islam
In Muslim cultures, homosexuality was once considered the most normal thing in the world – so what changed?
13 October 2017
Joe Morgan
GayStarNews

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Islam once considered homosexuality to be one of the most normal things in the world. The Ottoman Empire, the seat of power in the Muslim world, didn't view lesbian or gay sex as taboo for centuries. They formally ruled gay sex wasn't a crime in 1858. But as Christians came over from the west to colonize, they infected Islam with homophobia. The truth is many Muslims alive today believe the prophet Muhammad supported and protected sexual and gender minorities. But go back to the beginning, and you'll see there is far more homosexuality in Islam than you might have ever thought before.

1 Ancient Muslim borrowed culture from the boy-loving Ancient Greeks

The Islamic empires, (Ottoman, Safavid/Qajar, Mughals), shared a common culture. And it shared a lot of similarities with the Ancient Greeks. Persianate cultures, all of them Muslim, dominated modern day India and Arab world. And it was very common for older men to have sex with younger, beardless men. These younger men were called 'amrad'. Once these men had grown his beard (or 'khatt'), he then became the pursuer of his own younger male desires. And in this time, once you had fulfilled your reproductive responsibilities as a man you could do what you like with younger men, prostitutes and other women.

Society completely accepted this, at least in elite circles. Iranian historian Afsaneh Najmabadi writes how official Safavid chroniclers would describe the sexual lives of various Shahs, the ruling class, without judgment. There was some judgment over 'mukhannas'. These were men (some researchers consider them to be transgender or third gender people) who would shave their beards as adults to show they wished to continue being the object of desire for men. But even they had their place in society. They would often be used as servants for prophets.

'It wasn't exactly how we would define homosexuality as we would today, it was about patriarchy,' Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, a gay imam who lives in Marseilles, France, told GSN. 'It was saying, "I'm a man, I'm a patriarch, I earn money so I can rape anyone including boys, other slaves and women." We shouldn't idealize antique culture.'

2 Paradise included male virgins, not just female ones

There is nowhere in the Qu'ran that states the 'virgins' in paradise are only female. The 'hur', or 'houris', are female. They have a male counterpart, the 'ghilman', who are immortal young men who wait and serve people in paradise. 'Immortal [male] youths shall surround them, waiting upon them,' it is written in the Qu'ran. 'When you see them, you would think they are scattered pearls.' Zahed says you should look at Ancient Muslim culture with the same eyes as Ancient Greek culture.

'These amrads are not having sex in a perfectly consenting way because of power relationships and pressures and so on. 'However, it's not as heteronormative as it might seem at first. There's far more sexual diversity.'

3 Sodom and Gomorrah is not an excuse for homophobia in Islam

Like the Bible, the Qu'ran tells the story of how Allah punished the ancient inhabitants of the city of Sodom. Two angels arrive at Sodom, and they meet Lot who insists they stay the night in his house. Then other men learn about the strangers, and insist on raping them. While many may use this as an excuse to hate gay people, it's not. It's about Allah punishing rape, violence and refusing hospitality.

Historians often rely on literary representations for evidence of history. And many of the poems from ancient Muslim culture celebrate reciprocal love between two men. There are also factual reports saying it was illegal to force your way onto a young man. The punishment for a rape of a young man was caning the feet of the perpetrator, or cutting off an ear, Najmabadi writes. Authorities are documented as carrying these punishments out in Qajar Iran.

(snip)

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This post has been edited by MTP Reggie: 29 November 2018 - 10:18 AM

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#2 User is offline   Kilmerfan 

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:46 AM

Interesting.
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