What do you do when your leaders and your religious authorities are against you? This isn’t an issue faced only in the Middle East. Conservatives in all countries continue to speak out against homosexuality, usually through very insulting and sometimes even violent rhetoric. Often, the messages are filled with pseudo-science and a complete lack of understanding of what homosexuality is. When these are people who are considered to be pillars in the community, and people to be respected, looked up to and learned from, this creates a particularly difficult situation for LGBT people. It’s not easy being told that who you naturally are is disgraceful, wrong and, in some cases, deserves to be punished, sometimes in extreme ways and manage to feel good about yourself.
The following is an interesting video by Dr. Bilal Philips, founder of the Islamic Online University which is now based in Doha, Qatar. He was previously a lecturer and director of Da’wah and Education at the Qatar Guest Center, a place set up specifically to teach people arriving in Qatar about Qatari culture and Islam. As he jokes in this video, he has been banned from Germany for his views on homosexuality.
Now here is a man who is very well respected in his community and is seen as a religious leader and educator. What is so concerning here is not only his attitude to the issue of homosexuality, but the attitude of those in attendance of this lecture laugh along with him and seem to agree whole heartedly with his statements. What do you do if you are LGBT, are surrounded with these ideas, hemmed in by laws and traditions and see such a prominent member of the community speaking such as this and having others laugh along with him? And sadly, once again, Qatar is sponsoring this blatant homophobia.
Despite the progress being made in some parts of the world, the reality is that much of the planet is hostile towards members of the LGBT community. Unfortunately, much of the Western world, where there is support and there are organizations that help fight for rights are not paying attention to what is going on in other parts of the world except for in a few extreme places, like Uganda, Iran and Saudi Arabia. And even then, there appears to be a lack of understanding of the real issues. While organizations in the West encourage people to come out and will offer support to them, there is a lack of understanding that someone in a country like Qatar cannot just come out. There is no support. There are no organizations to help. And, worst of all, it is illegal. These organizations need know and understand that the situation being faced in much of the world is far more complicated.
Dr. Bilal is just one example of the extreme, dangerous, mainstream homophobia that can be found in a country like Qatar. And, the fact that he is running an online Islamic university means that his ideas are being spread. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the teaching of Islam, however this is one message which is very worrisome and should be seen unwelcome.
by Ramzi, GME Qatar Editor
Source – GME