Last edited: February 14, 2005

PlanetOut Article Cites Inaccurate Verses from Quran

From: "Faisal Alam", December 16, 2000

Dear Editor:

In a recent article posted on on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - called Gay Sex Prosecuted Worldwide, by Katherine Bell - the editor of the article makes inaccurate statements about the Quran (Koran) and its stance on homosexuality.

In citing a case in Afghanistan where five men were convicted of sodomy and then sentenced to death by having a stone wall bulldozed on top of them, the editor makes a note at the end of the paragraph stating that "According to the Koran the subjects of such punishment are dug up after 30 minutes and are set free if they are still alive." This statement is inaccurate and misleading.

The Quran (Koran) which is considered to be the holy book for Muslims and also one of the sources of Sharia (Islamic law) does not state any punishment for the act(s) of homosexuality.

Orthodox Muslims believe that the Quran (Koran) prohibits same-sex acts between men and women because of a few verses that are similar to the passages relating to the nation of Lot in the Bible. However these verses at best are vague and do not specify a punishment for homosexuality or same-sex acts. The assertion that the Quran (Koran) states that subjects of such punishments are dug up after 30 minutes and then are set free if they are alive is inaccurate and misleading.

It is important to note that Shaira (Islamic law) is not universal, nor is it applied in the same way from one (predominantly) Muslim country to another. For example the way Sharia is implemented in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan is not the same way it would be implemented in Afghanistan or Iran. Religious interpretation and cultural variations from one country to another differ. Thus laws that prohibit homosexuality and even the way that people convicted of sodomy should be punished differs from one country that enforces Islamic Shariah to another.

The acts of the Taliban-contolled Afghani government must be condemned for their grave violations of human rights. But to assert that their acts have a Quranic basis is inaccurate and further perpetuates the stereotypes of Muslims as "barbarians that are backwards." Western media continues to perpetuate these notions that have no basis in Islam as a religion or Islamic culture. The few extremist groups that take it upon themselves to commit violent acts have unfortunately been portrayed in the US and other Western media outlets as representing Islam. This is true with Afghanistan and its implementation of Islamic law as well. It is interesting to note that even Iran, which is viewed in the United States as being a rogue country has voiced public concern about human rights violations against women in Afghanistan.

Muslims in the United States and across the West continue to face discrimination and ostracization due to their religious and cultural beliefs. Add to that a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identity, and life becomes even more difficult. Not only do we (as LGBT Muslims) have to defend our religion to the "West," but we must also defend our queerness to our (Muslim) communities. Reading such inaccurate statements as the one below only further complicates the issue.

In the future I hope that you will be more careful before citing a religious document; a document that Muslims (LGBT and straight) hold in reverance.

Yours sincerely,

Faisal Alam

Founder & Director - Al-Fatiha (LGBTQ Muslims & Friends)

Al-Fatiha is an international organization dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered, those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, and their friends. Al-Fatiha’s goal is to provide a safe space and a forum for LGBTQ Muslims to address issues of common concern, share individual experiences, and institutional resources. Al-Fatiha aims to support LGBTQ Muslims in reconciling their sexual orientation or gender identity with Islam. Al-Fatiha promotes the Islamic notions of social justice, peace and tolerance, to bring all closer to a world that is free from prejudice, injustice and discrimination.

Excerpt from PlanetOut article:,

When rules against homosexual sex are enforced, punishment generally consists of either a fine or imprisonment. But in several countries ruled under Sharia, or Islamic law, many sexual offenses, including same-sex acts, draw the death penalty. According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, three countries — Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia — are known to have executed men for homosexual acts in the past decade. In Afghanistan in 1998, at least five men convicted of sodomy were placed next to stone or mud walls which were then bulldozed onto them, burying them alive. [Ed. note: According to the Koran the subjects of such punishment are dug up after 30 minutes and are set free if they are still alive; several men did survive to be reprieved.]

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