Wednesday, January 09, 2008

No lesbians in Egypt

An Egyptian movie featuring a Lesbian kiss seems to have provoked the usual ire from the religious Brownshirts.

Here is the report:

"Elwi Amin, Professor of Islamic Law at Al Azhar [Egypt's premier Islamic university, and one of the most influential in the Muslim world--JW], cogently pointed out, "there is no lesbianism in Egypt" and never will be. "Many people in Egypt do not even know what the word 'lesbianism' means."

Therefore, this must be "the influence of immoral Western culture which controls the media."

And we know who controls the western media, right?"

And more explicitly,

"Preacher and Islamic Studies professor at Cairo University, Dr. Abdel-Sabour Shahin... claimed the movie is part of "a Zionist and American conspiracy" which uses this sort of movie to destroy the moral fabric of society. [....]"

If you recall, Ahmadinejad, in his famous appearance at Columbia, advanced the hypothesis that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

These are hardly the rants of ignorant fanatics. Their theories are supported by bona-fide research work, as Columbia U Professor Joseph Massad's recent publications put forth the suggestion that:

"... there are no homosexuals in the entire Arab world, except for a few who have been brainwashed into believing they have a homosexual identity by an aggressive Western homosexual missionizing movement he calls "Gay International." ...The article is called, "Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World," and it appears in Volume 14, issue 2 of the journal Public Culture, and was elaborated upon in a book, Desiring Arabs, published by University of Chicago Press... According to the author, "It is the very discourse of the Gay International which produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist"

Gays Without Borders explains further:

Though Massad’s views might appear idiosyncratic, there is a commonly held notion among Islamists and Arab nationalists that Western political machinations in the Middle East have parallels in the social and cultural sphere — not only in relation to homosexuality but toward sexual rights more generally.

In 2007, for example, when Jordan finally ratified the international Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women - 15 years after originally signing it - the Islamic Action Front denounced the move as an “American and Zionist” attempt to strip the nation of its “identity and values,” to steer people away from religion, and to destroy “the Muslim family.”

While that might be dismissed as crude, populist rhetoric, Massad’s book - ostensibly a serious study published by the University of Chicago Press and with several academic endorsements — reflects essentially the same idea, even if it is couched in more sophisticated language"

After Ahmadinejad's proclamation at Columbia the popular joke was that of course there are no homosexuals in Iran, since they are all executed. I never found much mirth in this joke, as the praxis is pretty much evident and horrific:

“According to the daily Quds, two youths will be thrown into a precipice in the vicinity of the city of Shiraz. The sentencing of the two youths was confirmed on January 2 by the Supreme Court and the Regional Justice is preparing the execution.

Tayab and Yazdan will be enclosed in a bag before being thrown into the ravine at the top of a cliff. This unimaginable penalty is reserved for homosexuals according to the laws “full of love and light” of the Shariah. According to the Shariah, if both men survive this fall, they will be hanged…”

It comes as no surprise that Columbia University seems to provide a hub, a "safe house" for all these theories and practices. Certain people may well regard Columbia as an academic pioneer for rapprochement between East and West, by integrating these theories into the curricula and pointing the way for future harmony by grovelling to Islamist megalomaniacs.

________

This blogpost from Dreams Into Lightning describes the life of Muslim gays in Europe. Read it.

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