PlanetOut Article Cites Inaccurate Verses from Quran
From: "Faisal Alam" email@example.com,
December 16, 2000
In a recent article posted on PlanetOut.com 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
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
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.
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-Fatihas 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.]