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ARTICLES

Islam and homosexuality in the light of proposed legislation (14/10/05)

Letters represent the views of their senders and may not necessarily accord with the views of 3W.

Sir,

“I’m mighty concerned about Tony Blair and Nu Labour’s proposed religious hate laws. I think it’s relevant to all European homosexuals because human rights pro-multi-cultural lawyers will try to enact similar legislation across the continent. I’m no lawyer, so perhaps someone who knows could answer the following questions:

Islam advocates execution for practicing homosexuals. Will it be illegal for me to say that, to me, Islam is a ‘hateful’ religion (that is, a religion full of hate, or that excites hatred, directed against homosexuals)? Will I be able to say that Muslims, because they follow a religion that preaches hatred of homosexuals, are themselves ‘hateful’ (that is, full of hate directed against homosexuals)?

Could a Muslim argue that the killing of homosexuals is not an act of hatred but simply the dispassionate execution of the will of Allah, maybe even an act of love? Something like the ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ line we get from fundie Christians pontificating about homosexuality. So that even if he wants to kill me, he still doesn’t hate me.

Alternatively, less ambiguously and more directly, will it be illegal for me to say that I hate Islam because it is monotheistic, and to me monotheism is a philosophical anathema, the antithesis of all that’s best in European culture? Or because of Islam’s misogyny? By implication, could I say the same thing about individual adult Muslims since religion, unlike race, is a matter of volition? So will it be illegal for me to state that I hate Muslims because they are monotheistic, or misogynistic, or because they have as adults deliberately abandoned their faculties of reasoning in order to submit to Allah?

In concurrence with Western philosophy since Plato and Aristotle, I accept that the ability to reason, along with our creative imagination, is a quality that distinguishes man from animals. To abandon reason is to make man more bestial, which to my mind is hateful.

In short, will I be able to say that I hate Islam because Islam hates me? Not just because of my homosexuality, but because I am a Euro-pagan to boot; an infidel and idolater in their rather emotive language, which gives them even more reason to want me dead. Can I say what I think of them, and why?

Finally, if Blair’s legislation is passed, would this letter be illegal? The Home Office guidance notes on the new bill contains the following. “It only applies to words, behaviour, written material, recordings or programmes that are threatening, abusive or insulting. Second, the material must be intended to, or likely to, stir up racial or religious hatred. Hatred is a strong term and the offences will not encompass material that just stirs up ridicule or prejudice or causes offence. Further, what must be stirred up is hatred of a group of persons defined by their religious beliefs and not hatred of the religion itself. Therefore, legitimate discussion, criticism, or expressions of antipathy or dislike of particular religions or their adherents will not be caught by the offence”.

Alisdair Clarke

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