To Be Gay and Muslim In a Time of Terror

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2016

Malik GillaniMalik Gillani, a Shia Ismaili Muslim in Chicago who is married to his husband, Jamil Khoury, who is Antiochian Orthodox Christian. Gillani, has a fantasy. In involves the mosques of Chicago inviting gay people to share a meal with them during the holy month of Ramadan:

Come break bread with us, the imams would say, and let us hear your stories. Tell us what it’s like to be two men who love each other. To be two lesbians raising a child. To be a young gay man rejected by his family.

In Gillani’s fantasy, the recent massacre in an Orlando, Fla., gay nightclub would turn into an opportunity for gay people and Muslims to connect with each other through their stories of struggle.

The Orlando massacre has been particularly hard for Gillani:

Gillani was asleep Sunday at home in Chicago when his husband woke him with the Orlando news.

“Oh my God” was his first thought, “Who’s killing gays?”

And then he heard the shooter’s name, Omar Mateen, and he felt too sick even to get out of bed to gather with his gay friends to mourn.

He kept thinking, “Why are we killing gays?”

He felt the “we” of being Muslim as deeply as he felt the “we” of being gay. He identified with the killer and the victims. Guilt blended with sorrow.

“Collective guilt by association,” he says.

He came out to his family, involuntarily, when his brother outed him. His family accepted him. He was lucky. Another brother began driving him to Chicago’s Boystown because he wanted Gillani to be safe. When he married, his family also welcomed his husband. He wrote about all that for the New York Daily News on Tuesday.


June 17th, 2016

People are talking about homophobia in Islam. What about homophobia in Christianity? The Catholic Church has certainly been no friend to gays. Right now there are ministers calling on the government to round up and execute all gays. There are those stating that they were sorry more people weren’t killed in Orlando. All of these people citing the Bible to back up their remarks.

What ISIS is doing to gays is horrendous. The Koran does condemn homosexuality. But all this is just a step or two away from what many Christians believe citing support from their Bible.

With a billion Muslims around the globe, Islam has its share of LGBT people. It hasn’t been that long since LGBT people in countries dominated by the Christian faith were just as afraid to be open. In many of those majority Christian faith countries, it is still the case. Think Uganda. It has taken Christianity two thousand years to get where we are now. And where we are now still leaves a lot to be desired.

The big difference between Islam and Christianity is that now we have the internet and weapons of mass murder.

Lonnie Lopez

June 17th, 2016

Brilliant comment! Your are absolutely correct and it’s about damned time that more queers speak up and speak out against Islamophobia.

I do believe, however, there is one very important difference between Islam and Christianity. Our “debates” with Christianity weren’t taking place at a time when the United States was at war or had just finished being at war with Christian nations which sit atop large deposits of oil. The United States’ military project of domination and control of the world’s oil resources and the US is propagandizing its population, including its LGBT population, in support of these wars MUST be brought into the conversation. The US government’s support for Islamophobia and its decision to allow LGB people in the military are two sides of the same coin: use these people to screw over those people.

And we need to admit that Hillary Clinton the perfect candidate for the next big war. He’s a wicked woman who has done absolutely NOTHING for LGBT people in her 40 years in the public eye and therefore we give her out uncritical and hysterical support. And she’s also been a blood-lusty warmonger, support any illegal war that earns her corporate masters some oil contracts.

Another aspect of the Orlando Pulse shooting that is missing from the conversation is the fact that the shooter is obviously a conflicted man. I don’t believe he was a terrorist at all. He was “one of us,” even if we don’t like what he did. We’re used to hearing stories of people with conflicted sexuality committing suicide. Now we see that those with internalized homophobia can direct that violence towards others. This puts a whole new question on the table for the movement: we need an LGBT liberation movement that creates a world in which people can come to terms with who and what they are in a way that doesn’t end in violence. We may need to return to some of the original ideas and politics of the Gay Liberation movement which were put back into the closet once the Democratic Party took control and turned us into the gay rights movement.

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