Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Inayat Bunglawala: "Gay Muslims need support"

Inayat Bunglawala, Guardian, 'Comment is Free', Gay Muslims need support, 5 Oct 09 "In Muslim communities the issue of homosexuality is very rarely discussed in a candid manner and is all too often wished away as if it is an affliction that involves other groups, not them. Not far from the surface, however, are reports of gay Muslim men being pressurised into rushed marriages by parents desperate to avoid any social stigma. The woman's family is never told the truth about her husband's sexuality, of course, with the result that another soul has to endure unhappiness due to the initial failure to face up to the issue. It is a highly dishonest and unethical approach.

"Islamic scholars and imams should ideally be performing a much-needed pastoral role by helping in these situations and providing guidance. At the very least they should insist that any intimidation or discrimination against gay Muslims is unacceptable.""

This is a significant article, which will clearly receive a great deal of comment from all sides. There are many comments on the Guardian's own pages, including responses from Bunglawala.

There's some lively discussion on this at Harry's Place: "Here at the Spittoon we have tended to give Inayat Bunglawala a bit of a hard time. But we also give credit where credit is due. In that spirit, he certainly deserves credit that, on the back of a panel discussion about religious freedom and sexuality in Dublin (in which he participated with Peter Tatchell), he has just written a spirited defence of gay rights."

It will be interesting to track responses elsewhere to Bunglawala's line of thought.