Persecution without reason

Universities all over the world tend to hire people with a sound academic background as they want the best for their students. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan did the same when they hired Dr Ghazala Anwar as Deputy Dean of Usul-ud-Din (Islamic jurisprudence) at the women’s campus of International Islamic University (IIU) in Islamabad. Dr Ghazala earned her PhD in philosophy and religious studies from the Temple University (USA) in 1993, with teaching and research interests in Islamic jurisprudence, gender issues, Sufism and sexuality. She was appointed at the IIU under the Foreign Faculty Hiring Programme after her application was reviewed by a Peer Review Committee of scholars.

Dr Ghazala Anwar has been part of a movement that has been trying to fight for the just treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) Muslims. The movement does not preach to others to become homosexuals, but asks Muslims to be tolerant of these “sexual minorities” and let God be the judge of them. In one of her lectures at a workshop on LGBTIQ Muslims, she said, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Muslims are to be judged by the quality of their faith, the purity of their intentions and the goodness and selflessness of their actions as any other Muslim or human being. They have the God-given right to be treated in the manner that God commanded us to treat each other.” Was she wrong in telling Muslims to treat each other with respect and not to loathe the other just because of their personal sexual preferences? Was she wrong when she said that Allah is compassionate and merciful? Doesn’t Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim mean “In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful”?

Reportedly, there was a furore among the university students after her association with this movement was discovered and she was labelled as someone corrupting the minds of young girls. A smear campaign was initiated against her in education circles as well as in some sections of the media. An Urdu columnist wrote, “…Islami University main kaisay kaisay gul khilaaye jaa rahay hain aur qaum ki maasoom baition ko kin raahon ki taraf dhakela jaa raha hai” (Translation: “…what kind of [lewd] things have been going on in the Islamic University and the nation’s innocent daughters are being pushed towards questionable paths.”) The implied meaning being that the ‘impressionable’ girls would go astray. Such myopic views were clearly depicted in a topic in an online discussion forum. It read, “Ghazala Anwar – Let her make you a lesbian.” Would the honourable columnist and others please enlighten us how university-going girls can be led astray only because one of their teachers is telling them to treat everyone with respect? These girls are not 10-year olds; they are mature girls.

Under pressure from the narrow-minded circles of this so-called enlightened society, Dr Ghazala Anwar was terminated and the HEC stated that her services were not required as her expertise in Arabic was insufficient for the existing programmes at the institution. Was the HEC not aware of her ‘expertise’ in Arabic before hiring her? Was the Peer Review Committee of scholars ignorant of her ‘expertise’ in Arabic as well? The reason given for her termination does not fool anyone. The ‘real’ reason behind her termination was her personal beliefs; beliefs that had nothing to do with her teaching capabilities. A Pakistani blogger put the news of her termination under the title ‘Good Riddens’ (read ‘riddance’). It is interesting to note that Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens and Dr Ghazala is seen as corrupting the minds of IIU girls.

What is ironic about the whole situation is the HEC’s lack of grasp over the issue. The HEC and others who made a noise about her did not realise that Dr Ghazala Anwar was not promoting homosexuality; she was only defending the rights of homosexuals to be treated without any bias. She called for them to be treated equally, fairly and without any hatred. What was so wrong with her teachings? What happened to freedom of speech? Even though drinking alcohol is considered a major sin in Islam (kabeera gunnah), it is undeniable that a vast majority in Pakistan drinks alcoholic beverages. Do we shun our relatives or friends only because they drink? No, we do not. Yet there is an outright bias against homosexuality in all Muslim societies because the Quran has emphatically condemned homosexuality, which was prevalent during Prophet Lot’s time. Even so, the Quran has also condemned many other practices, such as backbiting. The Quran says, “Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things of which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God” (24: 15). Does this stop Muslims from gossiping? Do we abhor those who gossip the way we abhor homosexuals? This argument is not intended to promote homosexuality, but is in the context of Dr Ghazala’s dismissal from her post. Why did the HEC buckle under to the pressure and suddenly transform into a morality police force?

If we want Pakistan to develop, we must first develop our children’s brains. And that cannot be done without them being taught dissenting views. The purpose of education is to acquire knowledge and then apply it logically. But if education is left in the hands of the extremists, more Ghazalas will be fired. Many Muslim scholars claim that Islam is a progressive religion, yet our mullahs are anti-progress and anti-women (reminds one of the Taliban!). It was recently reported that members of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) staged a token protest walkout from a National Assembly session over the inclusion of chapters about Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient emperor Chandragupta Maurya in the history textbooks for classes VI to VIII after a heated discussion. “That may be your history, (but)...our history (starts) from Makkah and Madina,” was their stance. The dismissal of Dr Ghazala was due to pressure by such forces who are denying a history before the advent of Islam!

In an Islamic Republic where many sins are committed daily, yet people are allowed to keep those matters personal between them and God, why is homosexuality considered taboo? Why is a humanitarian message rejected on the basis of it being a sin? Pakistan is a signatory of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal and just treatment of every individual and freedom of expression and/or speech, yet these rights are violated every day in the country. Freedom of expression and speech are one of the most fundamental principles for the existence of democracy and respect of human dignity. Suppression of freedom results in a stagnant, backward society like the one we witnessed under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Creativity cannot prosper under the barrel of a gun. To discriminate against people due to their personal ideals is totally unjust. Dr Ghazala only asked Muslims to respect all humans; she did not commit any sin. Her termination puts a blot on our education system, a sorry system of which we cannot sing any praises.


Ardy said…
This is so screwed especially when she was just saying let God be the judge and people treat them as they would treat anyone else. Politics is messed up everywhere, no matter which country!Well, send her over to India ;-), we can definitely use a scholar like her if you guys don't want her.. and she can spread awareness about tolerance for homosexuals too.
Mehmal said…
Yeah Ardy, I know this is really screwed up, and that is exactly why I wrote this column! It really outraged me to see that such a great scholar was penalised because of idiotic pressure, and there were hardly any voices raised against this injustice in the media (only a few columnists took her side).

I really wish that Pakistani society becomes more tolerant and allows itself to grow out of the mullah-oriented mentality. Otherwise, we will always remain an ignorant lot *sigh*
Jibran said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jibran said…
So, thinking along the same lines, should we stop punishing everybody and let God be the judge?

Yes, I am homophobic, and yes I don’t want my children to be growing up in an environment where homosexuals run rampant.

Homosexuality is forbidden in
Islam, no matter which way you turn it. Pakistan's law is based on Islam and it should punish what is wrong according to shariah.

You don't always have to agree with the law for it to be implemented. Science is still out on the origin of homosexuality. Is it natural or psychological? Many agree to both, so if we could take good care that the psychological stimulus is removed, we might just nip it in the bud.

Go ahead, call me a conservative all you want but there is a certain order of things, and just because we are modernized or are trying desperately to come to par with the standards of other countries, we cannot and should not tolerate people patronizing homosexuality.
Yes, you could hate mullahs all you want and yes the issue could’ve been dealt with much more care, but the basic idea is still right. The woman was promoting something which was against the laws and culture of the land, hence she was removed from a position where she could do that.
It’s just sad that in our quest for modernism, we are ready to overthrow one of the most basic practices of our kind. If half naked women, homosexuality on TV and all around us, and promotion and protection of such ludicrous ideas is modernism, count me out.
Farhan said…
So, it seems that Mr. Jibran is fine if rapists run rampant, but no people with same sex orientations would even be assigned such a level of respect.

Do you have a lingering fear that your children might turn out to prefer other people of same sex? Do you have trouble comprehending the idea that there are people and not just psychologically, but innately inclined towards the same sex just as you feel towards the opposite sex. Does it ever occur to you that the term homosexual is not synonymous with a pedophile or a rapist or a sexual libertine? Please provide any statistics or empirical evidence to suggest the contrary?

Yes, thanks to conservatives like you, you are happy living in a stone age morality, where it is ok to marry a pre-pubescent girl, where it is acceptable to have concubines from the spoils of war, where it is ok to treat non-muslims as second or third class citizens, where it is ok to have women subjected to the tyranny or mercy of their husbands, where the addition of certain privileges to women that would elevate their status to a level about a few miles below men would cause nationwide protests by clerics, where freedom of expression and freedom of thought is not only discouraged but actively subdued and suppressed by the most violent means possible, but it is not ok to entertain the idea of morality, which has begun to consider that all humans are equal under law and deserve equal rights and protection, where women and men have a partnership in marriage and not a dictatorship of a father, where liberty is valued more than submission to archaic values and where everyone is free to act, as long as he/she does not transgress on the freedom of others.

Of course it is for people like you, that the backward mentality still prevails, who are still stuck in how to wash their hands and feet and wipe their faeces or perform ablution to become pure. It is not just about hating mullahs, it is about rejecting the morality that mullahs and people associated with such state of mind preach to others as perfect, final and infallible. You are welcome to stay in such a dark and deep abyss of ignorance, where any light that reaches you would be considered and rejected as modern or western and you may continue to stick with your age old values and continue to enjoy the fame that you and the fellow bretheren who share your values and beliefs are enjoying lately.

Good luck with being a conservative and being brainwashed to consider it good for you. Surely, your heart is sealed and you are among the truly guided with no hope of reformation. Keep trying to preach and support ignorance in backward 3rd world countries and continue to suppress the creative values of freedom that have made other nations move much forward and the difference would only increase, thanks to people who think like you.
kronstadter said…
@ jibran

>>If half naked women, homosexuality on TV and all around us, and promotion and protection of such ludicrous ideas is modernism, count me out.<<

Yes, we do have to count you out, since you appear unwilling to part with a medieval approach towards morality, sexuality and the law.

According to you,

>>Homosexuality is forbidden in
Islam, no matter which way you turn it. Pakistan's law is based on Islam and it should punish what is wrong according to shariah.<<


1.) XYZ is not allowed by your interpretation of Islam.

2.) Pakistan is supposed to be an Islamic state, according to you.

In view of the above, you are asking for a license to impose your will on fellow Pakistanis.
Anonymous said…
I appreciate the spirit in which you are writing this article i.e. to promote progressiveness in Pakistan and the likeminded backward countries but unfortunately you are not being completely honest here. You should not only despise the mullah mentality but also investigate why do they have this backward mentality.
First of all Ghazala Anwar was teaching in Islamic university as a teacher of Islamic Jurisprudence etc. She should know the law of land (which is based on shariah) as well Islamic law for something she is trying to promote. If she is promoting something against the norms she should join department of ethics, telling about gender equality and equality for every human rather than telling people something behind the backdrop of Islamic Scholar. Then she will not be fired and wouldn't be a hyporcrite. In Islam personal beliefs e.g. different religion, no religion, anything against quran and God are not allowed.
Quran doesn't encourage dissent, personal belief or progressive thinking but its on the contrary forcing its ideology to full extreme.

Quoting from Quran

9:29, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Also the Blasphemy law based on Shariah is clear example of what happens to dissenters. What is the law on apostates. So in any islamic country personal beliefs matter very much as they matter very much for their God and their Prophet.

About homosexuality in Hadith
Quoting from Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 7, Book 72, Number 774:
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

The Prophet cursed effeminate men (those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners of women) and those women who assume the manners of men, and he said, "Turn them out of your houses ." The Prophet turned out such-and-such man, and 'Umar turned out such-and-such woman.

If the Prophet doesn't have tolerance for even people who dress as opposite sex and told the followers that these people should be kicked out of the houses, why are you expecting people with lessor morality than the prophet to follow something considered moral in your eyes.

Also read this, how the caliphs treated homosexuals.....

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, "Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did." In a version . . . on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali had two people burned and that Abu Bakr had a wall thrown down on them. (vol. 1, p. 765, Prescribed Punishments; cf. Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68)

The law of land says sodomy is punishable by death and in many islamic countries it has a severe punishment of 100 lashes and by the way these are based on shariah which came from quran, hadith and fiqh based on the previous two.

On one side you are saying Allah is most merciful and on other side he has created the worst and scariest of all places called hell for the creatures Allah created and they weren't even asked for choosing to live in the first place. Then Quran is full of disasters Allah brought on many nations. Is this how the most merciful behaves. Allah has proscribed the most torturous punishements e.g. stoning to death for adultery, cutting of hands for small theft, killing for apostates and non believers. You are still convinced about the mercifulness of the most extreme.

Don't do cherry picking when you select verses like back biting. Islam doesn't have any capital punishement for it and that is why its not made into a law to forbit backbiting. For homosexuality punishments is severe and nobody wants to be associated with someone who preaches something against the law of land in strong terms(even if its for good of humanity). Secondly drinking example isn't that good. People cling with their gangster, terrorist, dacoit, burglars and rapist relatives and hide them from authorities as well. So what people generally do and don't do cannot be made into an argument of validity.

In conclusion though you want progressive behavior in the country, you should analyze the abysmal reasons of moral dearth the entire muslim nation is suffering and where have they collectively inherited their morality from and why its against humanity and progressiveness in general. When you'll find the answers your arguments will be much more sound.

Good luck
DennisTM said…
I agree with Jibran - tolerance usually is the beginning of acceptance... just like the way skirt hems kept going higher and higher till they eventually disappeared...

We all know homosexual people, accepting their 'gaeity' is understandable, since as far as I know, they cant seem to be able to make themselves be interested in the opposite sex in terms of a sexual relationship.

But I am strongly against is the fact that most gay people like to flaunt their sexuality. Just because you are gay doesnt mean you carry a sign on ur forehead saying "GAY!"

Farhan is right when he says that being homosexual is not synonymous with being a rapist or a paedophile... but how can u just assume that Jibran (whom I dont personally know) is fine with rapist running rampant? This sort of illogical claims make the rest of your comments lose their weight! No where in his statements does he imply anything you are accusing him of...

Society has to function under certain rules and bounds and the Shariah is the best law system for humans. And homosexuality tears the basic fabric upon with Society is built... upon the concept of family and community.

(Sometimes I feel I should just keep my mouth shut. But being a homosexual, you will have to excuse my loose tongue.)

On a lighter note... before there were homosexuals, there were bisexuals and before them, there was a naughty (frustrated/ugly) straight guy!
Farhan said…
Mr. Dennis,

It is advisable that if you abhor the sight of skirts with high hems or none at all, you look in the other direction or advise the people close to you to choose a different dress. However, the argument that if one thing is allowed, it is going to start an avalanche of lewdness is itself fallacious and is well known as a slippery slope fallacy. So, I do not have to go any further to address your concerns about the height of skirts or transparency of clothing, since first of all they are unrelated to the issue at hand, (this article is about the rights of homosexuals), and secondly the presumption that if the homosexuals are treated with kindness, we'll soon see everyone naked is quite frankly a little bit of a stretch. Now you can also blame my assumption here, but this is what you seem to fear.

First of all, not every Gay / Lesbian advertises so openly that he/she is gay. If some of them choose to do so, why do you feel so troubled. When men flaunt their masculanity, or women their feminity, I don't hear such complaints. So, why is an exception being made here. Do, I feel some prejudice?

As far as my first comment addressed to Mr. Jibran is concerned, it was not to be taken literally, but it was an obvious sarcasm. The expression of homophobia was made with such frankness, it made me wonder if homosexuals (just because of their orientation), are similar to sexual predators, including rapists and pedophiles, where Mr. Jibran wouldn't like to see his children grow up?

It is convenient for you not to refute or respond to any of my arguments just because you chose to 'misunderstand' the beginning of my comments. How about responding to the rest of the statements I made in similar fashion and showing me that I am mistaken and I have illogically concluded something?

However, you made a few claims and let me respond to them.

"Society has to function under certain rules and bounds and the Shariah is the best law system for humans."

Says who? How it has ever produced better output or improved on the human conditions when Shariah was practiced? Yes, in medieval ages it as practiced with rigor, just as Taliban, Saudis and Iranis are trying to practice it as well as Pakistan's lame attempts to introduce some of its clauses in the constitution. The result? The exploitation of human rights, freedom of thought and expression. If this is your concept of best law, then I can also choose to ignore the rest of your message and conclude that there isn't much weight in them, but let me carry on.

"And homosexuality tears the basic fabric upon with Society is built... upon the concept of family and community."

How does it tear the basic fabric? First of all only about 5-10% people are homosexuals or maybe lesser, if you go by the census reports. So, the fear that in some years time everyone will become a homosexual is quite unfounded. Secondly, this is your idea of the social fabric. Healthy society is formed on the basis of justice, equality, human rights and values, where nobody is above the law and one can practice anything according to one's liking as long as one is not restricting the freedom of others. Egalitarian society is idealistic, but that would constitute a much better fabric then these Shariah Laws, which would deprive women, homosexuals, non-muslims of their legal rights.

Your lighter note, seems to be racist, not something practiced in good societies, but coming from a person promoting Shariah Law, I am not surprised, nor am I amused.
Faisal said…
haha, this is funny. 'Liberals' trying to promote 'tolerance' by lashing out at people voicing their opinions. Kills the whole argument doesn't it? Farhans comments in response to jibrans post are very personal and judgemental. Quoting farhan:

'Yes, thanks to conservatives like you, you are happy living in a stone age morality, where it is ok to marry a pre-pubescent girl, where blah blah blah...'

'Of course it is for people like you, that the backward mentality still prevails...'

'Good luck with being a conservative and being brainwashed to consider it good for you'

Right. Quick to jump to conclusions isn't he? I am not sure if he is trying to issue the address of respecting homosexuals here or if he is just taking out his anger on muslims and islam. Anyway. First thing first, I'd like to know if quoting hadith or verses from quran (with proper tafseer of course) will be acceptable to farhan or not. Please farhan, if you could answer that, I'd proceed further with my argument. Oh and please, try to keep your cool when responding to my comment, or any comment for that matter. Thanks
Farhan said…
Dear Faisal,

Thanks for pointing out my emotional outburst. I agree that it was a passionate email and it was not of course the fault of Jibran and he shouldn't take it personally but it was meant for conservatives showing inflexibility, which includes him as he himself very proudly claims.

Now, I don't have a problem with Quran and Hadith, but if you are trying to show me that homosexuality is wrong according to that, I already know that. I know what happened to people of the Lot, when they tried to molest two angels, who came to Lot as guests. I also know that later the whole Lot's population save his family were stoned to death from heavens.

Ok, now if you are trying to defend some of the other statements I made, I am ready to listen and respond to your statements. Now as far as your comments are concerned, I do not need to lose any cool, since you haven't made any statements dripping with bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, chauvinism etc.

So, please go ahead, I wish to see what you have to show me, according to the tafsir. But please keep in mind that first of all tafsir's vary, so I have the right to criticise any apologetic stance taken by the person doing the tasfsir and concluding something, which is not directly or indirectly deducible from the verse.

Now, liberalism doesn't mean that one has to tolerate bigotry and hatred and discrimination. If you have understood liberty and liberalism in such a manner, then I am afraid, you need to update your understanding a bit. From a liberal's perspective every person has the right to do what they are doing, as long as they do not transgress or attempt to reduce the freedom of others. If someone does try to do that, a liberal would not be amused and would try to help the person being victimised. If you still find it funny, then try seeking the meaning of a liberal and what liberal values stand for.

Looking forward to your response.
Murtuza Rizvi said…
Salam Everyone!
Well i just got intrested in the topic and then the comments too:), so i decided to share my thoughts here as well..

Firstly, everyone, every community, every country, every religion.... to whatever extent they allow ppl to express there feelings and thoughts publicly BUT there is always a limit. So we should know the limits... I just saw a comment in this blog which was deleted by the author. Can u tell me why? Is this guy not allowed to express his feeling?

Just by deleting that particular comment the author has proved that nobody is allowed to say whatever he wants to say.

Now, the question is how to decide whats the limit? If you ask me , then limit will be different according to different situation and scenario. For example if i am in your house, limit will be set by you. If i start shouting at you and you ask me to leave, and i ask you that i have the right to express whatever i like and in whatever way i like.. how can you ask me to leave. You will just tell me to get out of my house and do whatever you want outside. am i right?

Similarly, in a country.. there are rules which we all have to consider. Ofcourse IF we want to live in that country :)... and the same goes to religion and all.

I am not actually discussing that whether we should be allowed to discuss the homosexuality or shall we respect homosexual or not... but things which are prohibited in Islam, we should abide to them. The point is ... Mrs Whatever(donot remember her name and cannot go back after writing this much :) ) was doing the same thing. She was asking ppl to respect those, who should be punished according to Islam and similarly country. She isnot allowed to do that and she should not be doing that.

Sure ardy... she can really do that in india coz this is allowed there.. :)

I think we all should understand whats actually tolerance and whats accepting false beliefs in the name of tolerance. And for this we should look at our religious beliefs and teachings as well, with ofcourse the changing enviroment. But the changing enviroment shouldn't overrule our religious beliefs.

Well.. i hope u all can understand my point... :)

Jibran said…
Nah dude, that was me! I deleted my own post. I'd written a sentence I didn't entirely agree with, so I deleted the post.
Murtuza said…
:).. well.. my point still remains the same...
Farhan said…
Dear Murtaza, the analogy you gave is not really applicable in this situation. It is right that if you are in someone's house then one should try to adapt as far as possible and if someone is a misfit in someone else's house or society they have the option of leaving.

However, what if you find issues in your own home? Then surely you have as much of a right to express yourself as anyone else. It may not change the laws, but there is no reason, why someone cannot show dissent with the existing system. This has happened historically. Revolution and evolution of culture, civilization and religions all have come about by criticising one's own laws in the favor of the new ones.

So, if a citizen of a certain country, wishes to communicate and show disagreement with existing laws, especially, when such laws create discrimination, they must have a right to do so, unless they are living under a tyrannical rule, where they have to fear for their life.
Murtuza said…
Dear Farhan, you are right in a way but as i already mentioned that even to show disagreement and dissent about any law of the country or religion, limit exists. I agree that healthy critisim always helps but it is not allowed that everybody is allowed to say everything and critise publicly everything. I think most will agree with that.

Now, coming to the topic or main concern of this post that whether people should allow to show respect and kindness for homosexual people as its between them and God, i will not agree at all. Reason is, Just take an example (Well it seems i like to give examples:) ) : WE know ppl who are homos.. and if we will show respect to them and be nice towards them, ask them to come to our parties and be friendly to be short... what our children will learn from it? No matter how hard you try to tell them that its a bad thing, they will not really take that. And believe me after 1 or 2 generations, homosexuality will not be considered anything bad (I hope we all believe that atleast its a bad thing and strictly condemned by our religion).

Believe me, things change like that. We cannot start supporting something just because our surroundings and our social circle supports it. We have to think, we have to know and we have to realize whats actually right and how it will affect us, our children and our society. Lets be honest to ourselves. Just because i have some friend, who is homo and he/she is very nice and polite , i start supporting and asking others to respect homosexuals. I personally will never want myself or my children in his/her company. If i think homosexuality is wrong, drinking is wrong and i want myself and my children to stay away from it, then ones social circle plays an important role in that (Depends if you think drinking is wrong as it differs from religion to religion and in different cultures).

Its not a matter of just respecting homosexuals, its respecting something which is bad. If tomorrow someone comes and start preaching that we should respect rapist as well, coz they are also human biengs and yes they have this bad habit, but overall they are a good member of society.

I personally believe that anything that can affect society should not be tolerated and given a free hand to public. Our behaviour shows our intentions and thinking. If we are supporting to respect homos, then oneday we will others will start supporting homos and discussing that it should be allowed in our country and religion. Its a step by step process.
Farhan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Farhan said…
Dear Murtaza,
Surely, there are various educated ways to show dissent and disagreement with an existing system. Now, I am assuming that we are talking about criticizing our own country and laws, since we are part of it and we have the right to desire to make it better. I mention this because, I certainly would feel ashamed at myself, if I go to another country and start reaping benefits from it and still continue to condemn it for its culture as a whole. One can still criticize an action of a group of people in the foreign land, which may not represent even their own culture and values or would seem inconsistent, but that point seems to be a bit too far beyond the scope of this discussion, so I’d leave it at that.

You stated that it is not or should not be allowed that everybody is allowed to say everything and criticize publicly everything and certain limits exist. My question is who defines those limits and how can we ascertain, if those limits are actually correct, or are they resulting in the suppression of freedom of expression? Isn’t it a trademark of all tyrants and dictators to censor information that goes against them and their policies? Don’t they fear that they’ll be exposed if people are allowed to express their dissent with them freely and openly? So, they instill fear among the citizens and try to make an example of a few daring people, who stand up against their tyranny.

I am a proponent of freedom of speech. If a person is expressing their views within the framework of reasonable etiquettes and ethics, that person should have a right to present and express the opinion without any fear of repercussion. If that person is convincing, people would pay heed to him / her, otherwise they’ll reject ideas presented by him / her. So, his/her own rational soundness of argument will help dictate the outcome and not the authoritarian policies of a tyrannical government or the hostile attitude of majority. If people disagree, they can respond and a healthy debate would ensue, where people would understand better, why they support something in the first place. If something is crushed by brute force, it would not send a proper message to the children, since they would not understand, why they are asked to follow something. They would just be brainwashed into believing that it is right, merely because someone in power told them so. I fear, such an attitude is not very healthy for the creative development of society.

Now, you’ve made an assumption and I am sure you may have some reason to justify it. You’ve assumed that homosexuality is immoral and bad. You have loosely put it in the same bin as a rape. Then you’ve argued that if we respect one thing, by the same thought process, we may end up respecting rapists. So, to answer you, if someone comes tomorrow and starts preaching that rapists should be respected, don’t crush that person’s skull, but respond that rape is an act of force committed against a person against their free will, which leaves deep psychological and perhaps physiological scars on them. Therefore, we do not agree with you on this matter. However, a rapist and a homosexual are not passengers of the same boat. Let me explain why.

Let me state before proceeding further that I do not consider homosexuality any worse or better as compared to heterosexuality. It is because, I have observed on the basis of scientific observation and evidence, that homosexuality like heterosexuality is not dependent on society. It is an inherent trait, albeit, not as common as the other, but even found in various animals and primates. But, suffice is to say that a small minority, around 5-10% exists, which is inherently predisposed to homosexuality. For such homosexuals, forcing them to adopt a heterosexual life style is similar to you adopting a homosexual life style. It neither feels natural to them nor have they any desire to pursue it. Even if in genetic parlance we may term homosexuals as an anomaly, we cannot shun them or condemn them anymore than we condemn an inherently blind, deaf, mute, lame, dwarf, giant, black, white etc. I believe, just like we consider our right to choose a partner for ourselves, it is their fundamental right to select a same-sex partner for them, if they feel more comfortable sharing their lives with him/her. However, if a society is homophobic and fear of persecution exists, a number of those people will be compelled to lead a heterosexual life and can make their subsequent off springs prone to homosexuality, whereas on the other hand the genes would reach a dead end and terminate there.

Now let me respond to your comment about what message you’d give your children if you do invite homosexuals to your party, like other heterosexuals. If it is too hard for you to even imagine that, you can assume that I have invited them to my house and what I am going to tell my children. First of all, I do not have to tell them that there is something weird or bad about them. Secondly, if they are curious about someone’s demeanor, one can explain to them how some people are different and should not be looked down upon as scum of the earth. This would be the message of tolerance, equality of rights and humanity to my children that even if someone is different from you, as long as they are not transgressing the boundaries of your freedom, you should not transgress their boundaries. Rapists do not qualify, because they exceed those boundaries beyond any reasonable doubt.

Now as far as drinking is concerned and you do not wish your children to drink, you can advise them why should they not drink and give them the reason for it. One of the reasons can be that if they drink it in excess they can hurt themselves and others. Secondly, excess of alcohol over a long term can result in liver damage etc. However, telling them that drinking is somehow immoral or bad, just because it is written somewhere, would not provide any rational justification. Instilling healthier habits is easier if you explain to children the reasons for avoiding it, instead of just telling them, this is right and this is wrong. If anything, that just develops curiosity among people. Now, as far as I am concerned, I think that drinking in itself is not bad. The excess of drinking is. Just like excess of so many other things is bad or dangerous, such as over speeding the car, excessive addiction of nicotine, caffeine, video-games, internet chat, TV etc. But moderate drinking, where it is done for pleasure, without inducing any harmful consequences cannot be termed bad at least rationally.

So, fear not if homosexuality is not considered bad, as it is not. However, persecuting them, making life miserable for them, even though they are a minority, would go a long way in reducing to some degree their creative talent, which some of them has shown so well in the West. It would also send a message that it is ok to abhor, condemn certain people even if they are harmless. One thing you should understand that unless your children are predisposed genetically to homosexuality, they would feel a natural repugnance at its mere idea, because they are genetically attracted to the opposite gender as in the general case. Now, if something is written and you start believing in it, without understanding that if it even reasonable that such a restriction is imposed, then you are just killing your own sense of morality and overriding it with something, about which you have no clue how to justify.

So, one may ask, why if wine drinking is inherently bad, rivers of wine will flow in the Paradise? Why, if even fornication outside marriage is inherently bad, one may help oneself with a handful of virgins there? If anything it would indicate that morality is arbitrary, something promised in the next life is immoral here. How can one be enticed with such a bounty if it was so immoral? So, as you can see such restrictions are a bit arbitrary. However, if there is a criterion, by which you can ensure that everyone has a right to their life, so long as they give others the right to their lives, we can come up with a much more robust system of considering something ethical or unethical, which would not be arbitrarily ethical or unethical.

I hope that things change, and we do not keep lingering with the distant past and continue to distance ourselves from the lessons in humanity that we’ve learned in the past 1400 years, but apparently that seems unlikely with the faith based approach to enforcing and endorsing scriptures. So, I can only suggest that you try to objectively assess, why you consider something bad, is it really bad or you’ve been just told it is so. But you can only hear such an opinion if dissent is permitted without hostility. Given the status quo in Pakistan, I do not have much of a reason for such optimism.
Faisal said…
Quoting Farhan:

"Now, liberalism doesn't mean that one has to tolerate bigotry and hatred and discrimination"

Exactly. Don't tolerate it, but don't respond to it with hatred as well! As I said, you can't preach what you don't practice yourself. The point is, if you respond to people's comments with such 'passionate' remarks, noone is going to listen to you.

Now coming back to the original discussion, I am a bit confused. Are you saying that yeah, you know homosexuality is haraam according to quran and sunnah, but it is not wrong according to what 'liberalism' preaches? Ok yeah sure, we all know that, so what's the point? Are you saying that we should promote liberalism even though it may conflict with things that are stated in black n white in Islam? See, I need to first understand your point of view to know what is the exact argument here. Till now, whatever you have said is neither here nor there.
Farhan said…
I did explain my reason for the reaction and I have made a few humble attempts to get my point of view across politely after that message. I wish you had seen that too. In case you have any doubt, I would like to assure you that you've made your point, again. So, lets move on the to real issue.

First of all liberalism doesn't preach anything. It is not a dogma that is to be preached and accepted blindly based on faith. It is an ideology based on the equality of human rights across gender, color, religion, ethnicity, political association, sexual orientation to name a few. In case, you already know what liberal values stand for and understand their implication on society and how they can help every person live with peace and self-respect then it is perplexing to see you asking such a question. So, it seems quite apparent that even though you have second hand knowledge and understanding of liberal ideas, you consider it of no value, since you do not derive your values from it.

If it wasn't clear earlier from my statements, let me restate it for you. I am suggesting that what is a plain black and white violation of human rights must be modified in the favor of more humane values. As long as people keep shrugging this idea of reformation of cultural, political or religious dogmas, they'll continue to live in an intolerant, racist society, which is full of discrimination, hatred and persecution of innocents. If you, still have some confusion left, please ask me to clarify it again and I would love to enlighten you.
Murtuza said…
Hi Farhan..
i have read your comments... after reading this particular part.. i.e.

I am suggesting that what is a plain black and white violation of human rights must be modified in the favor of more humane values

If something is written in black and white in Quran.. i will certainly will look for the logic why its rejected or allowed.. but not whether it should be reject or allowed.. So according to ur comments... we will want to modify something black and white in Quran just because of violation of human rights according to you.

I wont agree on that.. and no use of commenting anymore on it..

wish you all the best..
Farhan said…
Dear Murtuza, how about sharing that logic with me as well once you find it? However, from the begining if your stance leans away from preservation of human rights and values, then it is a food for thought as well, why you wish to draw such a conclusion.

As an example, Islam legitimizes sexual interaction (some would call it rape) with female prisoners of war (non-muslims concubines or slaves). However, almost no person with slightest morality in today's time would try to accept such a behavior (or so I hope they wouldn't). So, when such violation of human rights can be rejected today, why can't we move another step in the right direction?
faisal said…
How is condemning homosexuality a 'plain black and white violation of human rights'? The liberalism that you talk about, do you see it anywhere in the world in practicality? I know that some of the laws implemented in an islamic society give an impression of rigidity and intolerance, and logic in a few of those cases fail to explain why those laws exist, but certainly, condemning homosexuality is not one of those cases. Take drinking for example. In your response to murtuza, you mentioned that telling your kids that hey, drinking is not good cuz if you do it in 'excess', you may hurt others. So obviously, your kids will say, ok papa jee, we will drink but not in 'excess'. Will you be ok with that? Who defines this limit? Excess is a relative term isn't it? Now a person like me will tell my kids that beta jee, drinking is haraam in islam, the reason being that a person just doesn't know what is excess drinking and in 9 out of 10 cases, he will end up getting drunk and harming others or whatever. So in this case, the wise thing to do is 'nip the evil in the bud', and so, Islam made drinking haraam cuz allowing it has far more negatives than positives. So my approach is to back my faith with logic, and seems like yours is to 'base' it on logic. My problem with that approach is logic cannot explain everything. A statement considered blasphemous in the philosophical world, I am aware of that. But that's how it is for us people 'blinded' by faith. Coming back to homosexuality, tell me, can you explain to me why qaum-e-lot was stoned or why homosexaulity was made haraam in the first place? and if it was haraam 1400 years ago, why should it be allowed now? Are you saying that prohibiting it today is in violation of human rights? If so, I guess banning it back then also violated basic human rights, didn't it? If your answer is yes, I don't see any point in us continuing this argument. Otherwise, I'd like to know why it was banned before and why it should be allowed now. Oh and please, no sarcasm. It sounds really childish and immature.
Anonymous said…
faisal said…
Quoting Farhan:

"Let me state before proceeding further that I do not consider homosexuality any worse or better as compared to heterosexuality. It is because, I have observed on the basis of scientific observation and evidence, that homosexuality like heterosexuality is not dependent on society. It is an inherent trait, albeit, not as common as the other, but even found in various animals and primates. But, suffice is to say that a small minority, around 5-10% exists, which is inherently predisposed to homosexuality."

A strong statement that is, but unfortunately, not true at all. Studies have shown that there is no conclusive evidence that supports this baseless claim. Here is an excerpt from wikipedia:

"Several recent studies, including pioneering work by neuroscientist Simon LeVay, demonstrate that there are notable differences between the physiology of a heterosexual male and a homosexual male. These differences are primarily noted in the brain, inner ear and olfactory sense. LeVay discovered in his double-blind experiment that the average size of the INAH-3 in the brains of homosexual men was significantly smaller than the average size in heterosexual male brains.[7] Some people have interpreted this as showing that some people are born homosexual; however, in LeVay's own words:

It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality was genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain. INAH-3 is less likely to be the sole gay nucleus of the brain than a part of a chain of nuclei engaged in men and women's sexual behavior...Since I looked at adult brains we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later.[8]

– Simon LeVay, Discover, March 1994

And from the same topic on wiki:

"In a brief put forth by the Council for Responsible Genetics, they review studies done so far and conclude that the evidence that sexual orientation is fixed at birth, is inconclusive. On the discourse over sexual orientation: "Noticeably missing from this debate is the notion, championed by Kinsey, that human sexual expression is as variable among people as many other complex traits. Yet just like intelligence, sexuality is a complex human feature that modern science is attempting to explain with genetics... Rather than determining that this results from purely biological processes, a trait evolves from developmental processes that include both biological and social elements. In addition, scientists rarely take into consideration sexual preferences that are not described by the two poles heterosexual and homosexual, 'in hopes of maximizing the chance that they will find something of interest.'"

And a rather controversial but different explanation of the homosexual behaviour development....

"Numerous studies have found that adult homosexual males tend to report having had less loving and more rejecting fathers than their heterosexual peers (Bell, Weinberg, & Parks, 1981; Bieber et al., 1962; Braatan & Darling, 1965; Brown, 1963; Evans, 1969; Jonas, 1944; Millic & Crowne, 1986; Nicolosi, 1991; Phelan, 1993; Saghir & Robins, 1973; Siegelman, 1974; Snortum, 1969; Socarides, 1978; West, 1959).

Bieber (1976) stated:

Since 1962 when our volume was published, I have interviewed about 1,000 male homosexuals and 50 pairs of parents of homosexuals. The classic pattern was present in more than 90% of cases. In my entire experience, I have never interviewed a single male homosexual who had a constructive, loving father. A son who has a loving father who respects him does not become a homosexual. I have concluded that there is a causal relationship between parental influence and sexual choice"

Interesting read.
Faisal said…
More material to prove that the whole 'born that way' excuse is nothing but conjecture.

"Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head Of The Human Genome Project
Farhan said…
Dear Faisal,

It gives me great pleasure to see two of your messages together. Even though, after reading the first message, I was a bit pessimistic about the outcome of our discussion, I am glad you have now considered defending your stance with the aid of scientific evidence.

I wish that any person trying to objectively understand the restrictions imposed on them by some dogmatic beliefs, tries to use this path, as not only would it educated the person and make him/her more knowledgeable, he/she would also understand or appreciate, if a certain restriction is really fair and not unjust.

I am going to respond to your first comment and then I would gladly jump into the scientific debate to see if we can agree on something, which does not require us to believe in something based on faith alone.

Quoting Faisal

“How is condemning homosexuality a 'plain black and white violation of human rights'? The liberalism that you talk about, do you see it anywhere in the world in practicality?”

I am surprised that you do not seem to have any knowledge about what is really happening in the world. However, for the benefit of others and you, here is a list of countries, where not only homosexuality is recognized but has laws preventing discrimination against them based on sexual orientation and a majority of them even awards marriage benefits to same sex unions or marriages. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Namibia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, certain states of U.S. including California, Massachusetts etc.

Now, homosexuals are humans who feel attracted to their own sex instead of the opposite one. According to UN’s universal declaration of human rights, signed by most countries excluding Saudi Arabia, even though its articles are not fully implemented everywhere, agree on what constitutes human rights. Here are the relevant ones.
• Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
• All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Also, EU charter on Fundamental Rights, required for membership to EU, includes
• Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.
• Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

I hope that you can now see clearly why, it is a plain black and white violation of human rights to condemn someone based on their sexual orientation.
Now, as far as I am concerned, I would be ok with my kids drinking, when they have reached an age, where they can make their own decisions and understand its implications clearly. If they still exceed the limits, then they are making their own choice. Similarly, when I’ll teach them how to drive a car, I would suggest to them not to over speed. If they do, and if they have a license for driving, they are making their own choice. I would be concerned and would try to amicably discuss the implications of a behavior that can have repercussions and then leave it to them to understand it, instead of making them act like robots, doing everything I told them to do in a certain way, as if I was pressing a remote button controlling them. No, I would not therefore, impose my will upon them if this answers your question?
Yes, various limits are arbitrary and you cannot pinpoint a limit that would work for everyone. Just like traffic speed limits are arbitrary in some sense. Accidents would happen until people stop driving the cars altogether. However, by collecting data, for every type of road and relating it with the number of accidents over the years, the limits can be increased or decreased and such limits may swing to and fro, before an optimum is achieved. Therefore, there can be no perfect solution, but one can strive for an optimal solution. However, just limiting something to zero even if until a certain limit it is virtually harmless, would be considered a breach of rights. Just like banning the celebration of whole basant because it may cause the loss of a few lives, is a no-brainer, but not the right solution. The right solution is to limit the type of threads in use and ensure that the transgressors are brought to justice to deter others. I hope you understand this point of limits now?

Quoting Faisal:
“So in this case, the wise thing to do is 'nip the evil in the bud'”

Drinking is an evil? Why is that evil flowing in the form of rivers, which is so delicious to the drinkers in the Paradise, please explain?

47:15 A similitude of the Garden which those who keep their duty (to Allah) are promised: Therein are rivers of water unpolluted, and rivers of milk whereof the flavour changeth not, and rivers of wine (وَأَنْهَرٌ مِنْ خَمْرٍ) delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of clear- run honey; therein for them is every kind of fruit, with pardon from their Lord…..

Your approach seems to be accepting a point already and then rationalizing it, instead of going the other way around. Unfortunately such an approach is adopted by majority, born virtually anywhere, independent of geographical, cultural, religious and political boundaries. People tend to pursue in general, what their ancestors did and rationalize it after they have already accepted something, so I hope you see the flaw in this kind of approach.

Don’t worry about philosophical blasphemy; nobody is going to lynch unlike numerous examples in religion. This is your own personal opinion that logic cannot explain everything. If by logic you loosely meant, logic and scientific reasoning, then such an approach is a one way ticket to ignorance.

Well first of all the People of the Lot were mentioned in Torah, composed around 400 B.C. So, the history of homophobia is slightly older than 1400 years. Secondly, the burden of proof is on you that condemnation and punishment of homosexuality at that time or anytime was not a violation of human rights. I consider homosexuals to be humans who deserve the same treatment and protection under law as any other person. It appears you do not. So, instead of asking me to explain to you something that I do not consider correct, how about you trying to make a justification for it? While you are at it, please also explain why such a catastrophic event on Sodom and Gomorrah was initiated because of homosexuals, when it also wiped out not just homosexual men, but women and children living in these two cities who had nothing to do with homosexuality? Do you see justice in it?

I hope you’ve not felt any sarcasm as yet and I would continue to ensure that you stay preserved from such verbal sting that makes me appear childish in your eyes.

Coming to your second comment you misread my statement, if you read carefully, I stated “But, suffice is to say that a small minority, around 5-10% exists, which is inherently predisposed to homosexuality."

I said predisposed. I did not say they started fantasizing the same sex babies the day they are born. Predisposed means, they are prone to homosexuality. That does not mean that in every case they would become homosexuals. If you have some background in genetics, you would know that there are various genes that get expressed at various times in a person’s life. Some of the genes that get expressed depend to some extent on the environmental circumstances, even if such circumstances play only a role of a switch and nothing more. However, it is also likely that such conditions never get triggered but that doesn’t mean that the person wasn’t genetically prone to it.

As an example to make it clear, consider the phenomenon of hypertension and diabetes. It is very clear and well known that a person may or may not be predisposed to these maladies. It also runs in families and not in other families. In case where people are suffering from it, it is not a single gene that governs such an outcome but a combination of various genes. However, that hardly means that one can claim that blood pressure or diabetes is purely a result of a person’s own doing and has nothing to do with genetics, as the person was not born with a high blood pressure or diabetes.

Now, let us first establish, if there is a predisposition to homosexuality among human beings or not. A reasonably reliable test that neuroscientists use to determine genetic correlation to any physical or behavioral trait is by performing correlation between identical twins (with same DNA), fraternal twins (same age siblings), siblings and adopted siblings. Let us see what such studies indicate. Here is one study below.

“Family, twin, and adoptee studies indicate that homosexuality and thus heterosexuality run in families. Sibling, twin, and adoptee concordance rates are compatible with the hypothesis that genes account for at least half of the variance in sexual orientation.”

You were gracious enough to indicate from your own research that homosexuals do differ physiologically from heterosexuals. Here are some other findings just to add to it

“This finding suggests that homosexual men possess a predominantly female-differentiated brain which may be activated to homosexual behavior by normal or approximately normal androgen levels in adulthood.”

“In clinical studies, we induced a positive estrogen feedback luteinizing hormone secretion in most intact homosexual men, in clear-cut contrast to intact heterosexual or bisexual men.”

“The secretory pattern of luteinizing hormone in the homosexuals in response to estrogen was intermediate between that of the heterosexual men and that of the women. Furthermore, testosterone was depressed for a significantly longer period in the homosexual men than in the heterosexual men.”

“In humans, hypothalamic nuclei which correspond to these nuclei in non-human primates have been shown to have a neuronal density in homosexual men that is approximately half of that seen in heterosexual men.”

In contrast to heterosexual men, and in congruence with heterosexual women, homosexual men displayed hypothalamic activation in response to AND (testosterone derivative 4,16-androstadien-3-one)

You also mentioned that someone quoted it is not clear if the differences appear in homosexuals at birth or later, so from that perspective, the only thing that one can conclude that either there is no gene present or if there is one, it may get triggered later on, to introduce the biochemical changes in homosexuals mentioned in the study. As I have indicated above and as also shown from these studies, these physiological and hormonal differences cannot result without a body functioning in a different way. Also, it has been established that there is very clear and high correlation among identical twins as compared to fraternal twins, siblings or adopted siblings. Therefore, even though there are various people who are subjected fathers who don’t love, only those who are predisposed to homosexuality end up becoming homosexuals.

From your source I have taken the liberty to get this quote.
Dr. Collins succinctly reviewed the research on homosexuality and offers the following:
"An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations [emphasis added]."

This clearly indicates that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality. Nobody is arguing about predetermination anyway. At least I am not, are you? Just like nobody is predetermined to have a high blood pressure of diabetes. The question is, can you see it or not?

Even though the studies you’ve mentioned only discuss one type of pattern, there are problems even in that. Is it the fault of a homosexual if according to those studies, the person became a homosexual because of an unloving father? Should that person be punished, who is already a victim of lack of love? Is that how justice is done? Please answer…

Also, explain if there is no genetic correlation to homosexuality, why identical twins have a significantly higher rate of correlation compared to two random people or even siblings? How can you explain the clear physiological and hormonal changes in homosexuals? Do you still think it is merely psychological and has no physiological basis? Please do respond.

I would be glad to keep discussing this issue with you, so long as you are willing to keep your mind open.

Thanks for your time.
Farhan said…
Also, as a suggestion, please try not to be lured in by christian sites, who oppose homosexuality, but rely a bit more on reputable journals and publications for the support of your arguments.
Faisal said…
Quoting Farhan:

"Quoting Faisal

“How is condemning homosexuality a 'plain black and white violation of human rights'? The liberalism that you talk about, do you see it anywhere in the world in practicality?”

I am surprised that you do not seem to have any knowledge about what is really happening in the world."

Pardon my lack of writing skills, but these two questions were not supposed to be related. Anyway, I am aware of the fact that a lot of countries now have laws in place protecting homosexuals and their rights. How is it that the UN’s universal declaration of human (UDHR) rights has no mention of anything related to homosexuality/sexual orientation? Secondly, I hope you have read about the criticism directed towards UDHR, especially by muslim countries like Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

“One of the arguments made against the concept of human rights is that it suffers from cultural imperialism. In particular, the concept of human rights is fundamentally rooted in a politically liberal outlook which, although generally accepted in Western Europe, Japan, India and North America, is not necessarily taken as standard elsewhere. An appeal is often made to the fact that influential human rights thinkers, such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, have all been Western and indeed that some were involved in the running of Empires themselves. The cultural imperialism argument achieves even greater potency when it is made on the basis of religion. Some histories of human rights emphasise the Christian influence on the agenda and then question whether this is in keeping with the tenets of other world religions. For example, in 1981, the Iranian representative to the United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, articulated the position of his country regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by saying that the UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.”

So, simply speaking, the UDHR cannot be taken as a document that is unanimously accepted globally. Secondly, as you mentioned, the document was signed by most countries but it hasn’t been fully implemented everywhere. Why not? The document was signed in 1948, so why have the signees failed to implement it fully? I am sure 50+ years is more than ample time to implement a document that so eloquently states the basic human rights, isn’t it? The fact is, the countries who signed this document did not care enough to adopt it in its entirety for a number of reasons. US itself is the biggest violator of these human rights. Anyway, that’s a political discussion and I want to stick to the topic. Signing a document and adhering to it are two different things. There is no point in making such agreements when the parties involved in such a contract don’t wish to stand by it. Secondly, the EU charter on fundamental rights is not even a legal document!

“As it stands, the Charter is not a treaty, constitutional, or legal document, and has the ambiguous value of a 'solemn proclamation' by three of the Union's most important institutions.”

An interesting thing to note is that according to EU charter:

“The European Union has long since been against the death penalty and it's Charter of Fundamental Rights included an ban on the death penalty.”

And yet death penalty law is still in effect in a lot of countries around the world, and of course, in some states in US as well. So basically, what EU charter states ‘can not and is not’ termed as a de facto set of rules governing basic human rights across the globe. So to summarize:

1 – UDHR does not have any mention of rights addressing anything about homosexuality/sexual orientation, and even if there was anything related to that, the document cannot be used a global standard since a lot of countries just don’t approve of it, and even the ones which do, most of them don’t care to implement it.

2 – Since a lot of countries in the world don’t bother to consider EU charter’s ban on capital punishment a global law, cuz obviously, it’s a ‘EU’ charter, whatever it says about sexual orientation doesn’t have to be considered a universal verdict on how homosexuals are to be treated.

So yeah, these man-made documents can be shunned cuz they are just too impractical to be fully implemented.

Now addressing the other issue, freedom of will. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, your kids start drinking (I hope not). You will ‘amicably’ try to discuss its harmful effects, and kids being kids, they will choose to ignore it. So they make a choice to ignore whatever you have to say about adverse effects of drinking. What do you do now? Are you going to sit back and let them drink as much as they can or want to? Quoting you:

“I would be concerned and would try to amicably discuss the implications of a behavior that can have repercussions and then leave it to them to understand it, instead of making them act like robots, doing everything I told them to do in a certain way, as if I was pressing a remote button controlling them.”

Yes, of course, no one wants their children to act like robots, at least I don’t. However, there are certain things and certain cases when you have to put your foot down and tell them that they simply ‘cannot’ do so and so stuff. It’s just not practical to let them do whatever they want hoping that they will someday learn the difference between right and wrong. Take speeding for example. If you see your kid driving the car at dangerously high speeds, you won’t/shouldn’t hold a mere discussion with him telling him of the dangers, that simple won’t be enough. You will not wait for them to hurt themselves while doing so. Some people don’t get a second chance. Will you be willing to let them risk their lives while you sit back and hope for them to realize the dangers of speeding? I hope not. Eventually, you will hold them responsible for such reckless behavior, ground them, or punish them some other way or something, there by, imposing a rule that they have to follow no matter what. Tell me if I am being illogical here. So to sum it up, there is a certain amount of freedom that you will allow your kids, but somewhere, you will draw a line and impose certain restrictions based upon your experiences and based upon your understanding of right and wrong. The liberalism and freedom that you talk about exists in an ideal world only. There are always limits. Limits based on cultural values, religious values, social values, politics, economics and what not. Why is incest not considered legal even in the most liberal societies of the world? Why is it considered a taboo? Surely, according to what UDHR states, a family practicing such an act shouldn’t be persecuted, right? But there are laws clearly banning this practice.

“Degrees of criminality
The laws of many U.S. states recognize two separate degrees of incest, the more serious degree covering the closest blood relationships such as father-daughter, mother-son and brother-sister, with the less-serious charge being pressed against more distantly-related individuals who engage in sexual intercourse, usually down to and including first cousins and sometimes half cousins. In New York State, close-blood-relation incest is a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison, while the less serious charge is usually only a misdemeanor. Curiously, many incest laws do not expressly proscribe sexual conduct other than vaginal intercourse — such as oral sex — or, for that matter, any sexual activity between relatives of the same gender, so long as neither party is a minor. This legal position is in stark contrast with that in Australia, where incest is punishable by a maximum of 25 years imprisonment for the more serious form of penetrating a child, even if that child is over 18, and 5 years for the less serious charge of sexual penetration of a sibling or half-sibling.”

Quoting Farhan:

“Drinking is an evil? Why is that evil flowing in the form of rivers, which is so delicious to the drinkers in the Paradise, please explain?”

I did not say drinking is an evil. What it leads to is evil. Anything that intoxicates a person’s mind and affects his/her inability to differentiate between right and wrong is evil. So to prevent the evil that drinking leads to, drinking is banned altogether in Islam, that’s what my limited knowledge and understanding tells me. Oh and in paradise, earthly laws will not hold  There will be no adverse effects of drinking up there, that’s why its called paradise! Everything will be perfect there! So yeah, no analogies in that case.

Speaking of basant, your argument that “The right solution is to limit the type of threads in use and ensure that the transgressors are brought to justice to deter others.” How is that fair to a person who can assure you that he will go to a somewhat remote location with his friends to fly the kite and so the thread he uses will not be any danger to anyone? You are limiting his right of freedom by putting a restriction on the type of thread he can use. I agree with your solution though, but my point is, the restriction has to be imposed on everyone regardless of whether the place they are using to fly the kite is safe or unsafe. So yes, you ignore the exceptions (minorities) and base your rule on something that is applicable to the majority. The very soul of religion.

I am a in a hurry right now. I will continue this argument later and address the issues related to scientific research and all that on homosexual behaviour.
Farhan said…
UDHR was transcribed about 60 years ago. Slavery was abolished roughly around 200 years in Britain, 150 years ago in US, a few years later the serfdom of Russians was eradicated, and in the early 20th century and in 1948 UDHR declared it a violation of human rights. Similarly equality of female rights movement gathered momentum around 150 years ago; first obtained the right to vote and then eventually gaining equal rights under law in most of the civilized nations around 40-50 years ago. Similarly, anti-racial laws protecting the discrimination against people of African descent gathered momentum around that time and today legally no one is different based on their ethnicity (in various nations). Wherever the discrimination was recognized, movements originated to seek protection of law from them and were granted such protection. There has been a steady rising of consciousness. About a decade ago, EU also included protection based on sexual orientation in its human rights charter. Many countries across the globe are beginning to recognize it and the support for protection of homosexuals is increasing. Do, you see a trend here?

Now, if you just point out that something was not present (in words) in UDHR that was written 60 years ago, does that mean that the spirit in which it was written cannot be extended to clarify and include by words certain other clauses in the future revisions? Fortunately, not everyone just starts accepting one set of guidelines literally and excluding everything else that isn’t a part of it, but its spirit is understood and implemented, even if it takes time. Your objection is similar that you’d say that female rights were not at their present day level when slavery was abolished in various countries. No, we keep moving and trying to improve the condition of human rights and remove any discrimination.

Also the part of one of the clause was…

“such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

This leaves room for other categories that are not explicitly enumerated for people with literalist thinking.

You’ve pasted me a long passage from criticism on human rights. Are you aware of John Stuart Mill’s work? There is nothing Christian about his writings in fact quite the opposite; he was a well known skeptic. So, what if he was born in the West? He was an eminent thinker and wrote extensively on the liberty of thought, freedom of expression, extent of freedom, subjection of women and why they should be given equal rights under law.

Here is his quote

On religion in particular, the time appears to me to have come, when it is a duty of all who, being qualified in point of knowledge, have, on mature consideration, satisfied themselves that the current opinions are not only false, but hurtful, to make their dissent known.
-- John Stuart Mill, Autobiography Of John Stuart Mill, "Chapter I Childhood and Early Education" (1873)

I also pasted a few clauses of human rights charter; please explain what is Western or Judeo-Christian about them?

Quoting Faisal:
“Secondly, I hope you have read about the criticism directed towards UDHR, especially by muslim countries like Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.”

Isn’t this the reason why we are holding this discussion? Maybe you are not aware, but I am very clear about the extent to which the countries you’ve mentioned (incidentally muslims) are the champions of human rights and how much its citizens enjoy equal protection under law. That is what I have suggested all along. The violation of rights of minorities (religious, ethnic), women etc. in these countries is directly proportional to the extent to which they are trying to adhere to religious scriptures (please add Taliban in the mix too). If you wish to defend the system of laws implemented in these countries and how they are an example of human rights laws and values, please let me know and we can discuss that as well.

Yes, it cannot be implemented by trespassing the ancient religious laws, which shows very clearly, why these laws violate human rights. If all laws are not fully implemented, that does not mean there is something wrong in the UDHR. It only means that there is an internal resistance by conservatives of course, who are trying to keep their old laws and if it was up to them, it would not change. But luckily, there are people who have fought for those rights and convinced people to add such rights as part of their legislation, it is an on-going process and we as a whole world have come quite far from the 1948 UDHR. I think Pakistan also signed UDHR, is it a problem in UDHR then that it is not implemented properly in Pakistan? Or is it a failure of Pakistan’s government and state? Ironically, even Afghanistan has signed it, so has Iran. So what does it prove then? Who is failing to implement them?

These members at the time of its initiation abstained from signing (Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, South Africa, The USSR and Yugoslavia). From nationalist party’s racial laws in South Africa, to Stalin in Russia, to Kingdom in Saudi Arabia it is clear why they wouldn’t have wanted to even sign it.

You didn’t understand my child drinking argument at all. I said, I would only guide them until I feel they are not able to make conscientious decisions on their own. Depending on the nature of the issue, it could be the right to go out and play with pals at an early age, going to a scout camp or similar trip at another age, to learning how to drive and then what entails drinking and choosing their life partners. But if you think that I would continue to sit on their heads even if they turn 30, then obviously you’ve not understood me clearly. Depending on their age, their freedom would increase and they’d be allowed to make their own decisions. After any reasonable age, even if I would wish otherwise, if they want to do something according to their own wish, I’d respect their freedom as I’d consider them capable of decision making on that particular issue. I understand that in patriarchic eastern and Arab societies such sort of freedom is uncommon, but I wouldn’t be one of the dictators to the last breath.

You raised the issue of incest as was also raised by U.S. Senator Santorum who was on a slippery slope to suggest that homosexuality argument can be extended to incest, polygamy, adultery etc. First of all, at least all monotheistic religions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam cannot really call incest immoral. According to these religions, no human being would’ve come about if it wasn’t for incest. So, how do you feel to know that incest was the mechanism that generated all human beings from the children of Adam and Eve, according to these major monotheistic religions?

Secondly, one of the reasons, such laws still exist today is because of the high rate of abnormality among children born of siblings. The reason is simply genetic; any recessive gene can become a pair in case of siblings and would result in a much increased likelihood to the recessive gene pair combination resulting in various abnormalities. Therefore, such an act where procreation is possible can be termed as reckless endangerment of a life of a child. As far as incest b/w father-daughter and mother-son is concerned or father-son, mother-daughter, if you want to consider the homosexual aspect, then there is a solid argument that in such relationships when there is such a desire that exists within father or mother, they can groom the child in a manner to agree to incest. Therefore, within such relationships, it would be considered manipulation and brainwashing of human beings. Now as far as the case within siblings is concerned, where they are sterilized or commit oral sex, I cannot make any authoritative statement. So, to decide whether to make such a particular activity illegal or not can be argued both ways. As far as my own view regarding such an act is concerned, I am not going to judge these people, who do such acts. I would think that there could be a rare psychological reason for such an act, which is extremely uncommon and I do not fear either that making it legal for sterilized adult siblings would result in a tsunami of incest cases.

If you have bestiality as another example, I can argue that too, why it is against the freedom of animals and should not be permitted.

However, coming back to the issue of homosexuality, you are comparing apples and oranges. I have already discussed that homosexuality is not merely psychological but has biological, physiological and hormonal basis, even if it is triggered as a result of certain environmental circumstances. So, within such a state a person can no longer feel love for the opposite sex but feels love for the same sex, just like you and I would for the opposite. In that case, to form stable relationships, such changed individuals (no matter how they were born), they have to live with their own sex. This serves two purposes. The first and foremost is that there won’t be an unnatural tension between a homosexual trying to lead a heterosexual life and which results life of various individuals to disarray including the wife and their children. Secondly, when gays or lesbians live together as partners, there is no likelihood that they would pass on their genes that would make their children predisposed to it and hence this would result in an automatic decrease in the actual cases of homosexuality.

So, now you are agreeing that drinking in itself is not an evil, it can only become evil when it is taken to excess. Is it accurate? In that case I agree.

As far as earthly laws in paradise is concerned, you are just indicating that such acts in themselves are not immoral (rationally) and therefore you cannot defend them on any grounds but purely on the basis of your faith. So, you are saying intoxicated people would not do any evil in paradise. I agree, apart from having sex with a few dozen virgins which is also not an evil act, there is nothing of consequence that would happen there as a result of intoxication. Yes, perfect sex orgies, perfect intoxication, and perfect paradise. Pardon my sarcasm, I was being immature.

I agree, if someone can go to a jungle or a top of mountain with no one around, they can fly kites with lasers. I have no problems with it. I am only concerned when such a thread can cut someone’s throat. Same goes with excessive drinking in a jungle or in a cave on a deserted island. Are you also trying to justify the Basant Ban that was implemented last year by Punjab Government? Well please read my article on it if you are interested in knowing my point of view.

I am looking forward to the issues related to scientific research and once again I recommend that you quote from published, peer reviewed scientific articles. That would make life much easier for both of us, instead of me trying to show you why hard core Christians would try to defend them by arriving at certain conclusions, which suits them, instead of that fact getting established among the scientific community.

I confess that I am enjoying this discussion immensely and I wish that anyone reading it would be too, even if they don’t agree with me, at least they get to know a different point of view.
Murtuza said…
Hi Faisal and Farhan...

well farhan you are right.. I am really enjoying it as well :)... and really you two are working hard :)...

well.. i was not feeling well lately so didnt contribute to this discussion. But after reading comments from you two, i realized that there is something very basic missing from this discussion.

In any discussion, the two parties have to agree on some basics. A very general example would be like... If i am explaining or proving a mathmetical law to someone.. i will not be explaining the basics to him, i will be just refering to them. And its understood between us that those basics are already proved and agreed. Similarly, if a Muslim is having a discussing from a Christian, Muslim should come with some strong points refering to the Bible and similarly Christian should prove the Muslim wrong from Quran itself.

Generally speaking, in any discussion, whatever material one is refering to.. the other party must also trust or agree on it for the discussion to proceed to some result. And in the current discussion i found it lacking.

If Faisal or Me.. give some quotation or verse from Quran.. it is not acceptable for Farhan. and similarly Farhan is quoting from papers and articles which are based on changes involving a particular part of the world (UDHR) but cannot be applied as it is on a world wide basis, as result Me or Faisal donot agree with them.

So we better first found the commonality within ourself then discuss further on the basis of those.

I hope a new discussion willnot start on this :)... i will be coming soon to join u guys..
Faisal said…
Sorry for the delay, was caught up with work.

The purpose of my previous message was to prove to you that UDHR is ‘not’ a document that is implemented/accepted unanimously around the world just like EU charter is not accepted anywhere else but in EU community (at least parts of it like capital punishment etc). You will always find differences in how different countries will interpret these documents and how they will implement it. EU didn’t consider it a complete document and so it created its own charter copying most of the clauses from UDHR and adding some of its own. As I mentioned, capital punishment was banned according to EU charter and it’s not banned according to UDHR. So there is a conflict. I thought that was pretty clear. What this proves is that basing our discussion on UDHR is fruitless. There are a lot of laws in the liberal countries that violate UDHR. Ban on incest being one thing. I will later prove to you that the reasons you have given for this ban are not applicable in all the cases and so, based on that, you can’t justify why laws exist prohibiting this practice. Secondly, you should know that mentioning a vague term like ‘other status’ in any formal document will not hold any weight since everyone can interpret this term differently. Thirdly, the trend/pattern you tried to show me doesn’t/can’t prove that all such trends in the world are helping human race progress towards a better future. Pre-marital sex for example. More and more teens are engaging in sexual adventures and the percentage of young girls getting pregnant as a result of this is increasing. In Pakistan itself, the so-called liberalism has drastically increased such interactions between boys and girls. Do you call that progress? Speaking of ‘trends’, do you know that islam is the fastest growing religion in the world? Has been for a while. What would you call that? Progress or regress?

Who said that there is anything ‘Christian’ about John Stuart’s work? First part of the passage criticizes the UDHR on the basis of ‘Cultural imperialism’. Lemme re-paste that part of the passage:

“One of the arguments made against the concept of human rights is that it suffers from cultural imperialism. In particular, the concept of human rights is fundamentally rooted in a politically liberal outlook which, although generally accepted in Western Europe, Japan, India and North America, is not necessarily taken as standard elsewhere. An appeal is often made to the fact that influential human rights thinkers, such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, have all been Western and indeed that some were involved in the running of Empires themselves. The cultural imperialism argument achieves even greater potency when it is made on the basis of religion.”

There is no mention of religion in the first part.

As murtuza rightly pointed, the discussion based around UDHR will not serve any purpose because as I have already stated and proved that it not a globally accepted/implemented document. So lets just drop UDHR and focus on something both of us agree on. I think this whole discussion isn’t about homosexuality anymore. It seems to be about secularism + liberalism. If we start talking about that, this argument will never end. So let me narrow down the scope so we keep the focus on the issue that started this discussion. Agreed?

The argument about child drinking, you stated that the freedom of an individual should increase depending on his/her age. You think an 18 year old (considered an adult in most of the societies) is not old enough to decide everything on his own? I didn’t say that you will sit on your children’s heads even if they turn 30, did I? Why would you prohibit him from doing something at 18 when supposedly, he is an adult and should be allowed all the freedom in the world? Because you know better. You will stop him from doing drugs, you will stop him from doing a lot of things, and you will back those restrictions with logic and reasoning. And so will I! And so will everyone else, or should at least. That’s what I have been saying all along. Based upon your knowledge and your beliefs, you will put certain restrictions on him. If he wants to learn on his own how E (the drug) feels, you will not let him would you? Cuz you KNOW the harmful and permanent effects it can have on one’s brain (death even). Now its upto you whether you want to explain to him why you are forbidding him from doing that, or you can consider him smart enough to find the reason on his own, not by trying it, but by getting more knowledge about it. Right? If you believe that there exists a supreme power with far more knowledge than you or I can ever have, you can infer the obvious analogy. God has imposed certain restrictions on us. In some cases, he chose not to tell us the wisdom behind those restrictions. Now you and I have the ‘freedom’ to use logic or reasoning or science or whatever at hand to try and find out the wisdom behind those restrictions, and the way of doing that is not to reject that boundary and experience what’s beyond it, but by staying in the limit and getting more knowledge about it. Now if you don’t believe that there exists such a knowledgeable entity, let me know and I will try to put my argument differently.

Now let’s talk about incest and why such laws exist. Your argument that the reason is simply genetic will hold true for those cases where incest results in childbirth. The assumption that incest between mother-son and father/daughter results only when a mother or a father brainwashes the child is simply not true. It is a possibility, but certainly not a fact that will be true in all such cases. Now what to do? Will you change the rule and allow incest, but only if it doesn’t result in childbirth or only if the younger person involved in such a relationship isn’t a minor (Cuz brainwashed or whatever, an adult of age 18+ is ‘free’ to decide everything on his own according to what you have been saying all along). Now bestiality for example, can you say for sure that an animal involved in such an act was made to do so against it’s free will? I have seen some bestiality movies (I have to confess this cuz it supports my argument). In some cases, the animal involved (dog) was not made to do anything! ALL the lady had to do was get naked, assume a position that was very convenient for that kuttay da puttar, and that’s it. The dog did its thing without any external involvement. The dog was free to choose, the woman was free to choose, so I say it should be allowed!

Regarding the statement about monotheistic religions believing in how human race started as a result of incest, it is very obvious that the marriage of siblings in that case was due to these reasons:

1 – Obviously, there was no choice.
2 – The concept of sister and brother and their sacred relationship was not established back then.
3 – Just because it happened once, doesn’t mean it should be made an acceptable practice. That is like saying that since cain killed abel, lets go and kill my brother lest he kills me first.

There could be more reasons, but this is what I thought to be obvious answers.

Ok, coming back to homosexuality, quoting you from your earlier response:

“Coming to your second comment you misread my statement, if you read carefully, I stated “But, suffice is to say that a small minority, around 5-10% exists, which is inherently predisposed to homosexuality."

I know what you said. I also know that the statement just before this one, you said:

"Let me state before proceeding further that I do not consider homosexuality any worse or better as compared to heterosexuality. It is because, I have observed on the basis of scientific observation and evidence, that [b]homosexuality like heterosexuality is not dependent on society. It is an inherent trait[/b], albeit, not as common as the other, but even found in various animals and primates.”

Maybe I was wrong in understanding that but doesn’t that clearly show that according to you, homosexuality is ‘NOT depdendent on society’? And then you follow it with a statement calling it an inherent trait. What you should have said is that in some cases, it is an inherent trait, and in some cases, it depends on the society or the environment or something not biological, and in some cases, both. Prisons for example. People in prison ‘usually’ end up being homosexuals not because of some messed up gene, but due to the lack of choice. I hope there is no difference of opinion there. Now let’s talk about cases where homosexual behavior is triggered as a result of biological or physiological reasons. I will take a very common human trait. Anger. I hope you will agree with me that studies have shown that anger can be inherited as well, just like homosexuality. So I will not spend any time on proving that to you. Now that means that people inheriting the anger gene as they call it, are more likely to get angry and display hostile behavior than people who don’t inherit this angry gene, just like homosexuality. Now, if a person who inherited this angry-gene, causes serious harm to someone out of anger, why should he be held responsible for it? He was ‘born that way’. His gene triggered the hostile behavior, didn’t it? If prosecuted in a court, would it be acceptable for him to justify his behavior by blaming it on the gene? Of course not. No court will ever listen to that. So are you telling me that such a person will never manage to control his anger? He can! He may probably have to work harder on it than people who don’t inherit this gene, but he still can! Just like homosexuality. A person who is predisposed to homosexuality due to his genetic makeup can or cannot end up being a homosexual, it’s a choice that he makes and although he is more likely to have homosexual tendencies, he should base his decision on what’s considered right or wrong, and not on what he thinks he was born with. Therefore, it is not wrong to conclude that presence (or absence) of a certain gene should not be used to justify a person’s behavior. Now the only question that remains, is why he should or should not be a homosexual if he wants to? Now lets see, according to what you said, accepting homosexuality as a normal behavior will serve two purposes.

“The first and foremost is that there won’t be an unnatural tension between a homosexual trying to lead a heterosexual life and which results life of various individuals to disarray including the wife and their children. Secondly, when gays or lesbians live together as partners, there is no likelihood that they would pass on their genes that would make their children predisposed to it and [b]hence this would result in an automatic decrease in the actual cases of homosexuality.[/b]”

So one of the ‘purposes’ of letting homosexuality prevail is to decrease the actual cases of homosexuality? :) Isn’t that a contradicting statement? Why would you want to decrease the number of homosexual cases if it’s an acceptable behavior? Just so children born of homosexuals aren’t predisposed to homosexuality? Normally, you would want to avoid inheriting genes that are harmful to people, hence the discouragement of marriages b/w cousins and all that to avoid inheriting harmful genes that are predisposed to things like diabetes, blood pressure etc. You make inheriting genes that make a person predisposed to homosexual behavior sound like a bad thing :) I will ask you a question. Do you think that a society with equal number of homosexuals as heterosexuals is as stable as a society with let’s say, 98% heterosexuals and 2% homosexuals? Or does that ratio have no bearing whatsoever on the stability of a society?

Regarding your question in the earlier response:

“Even though the studies you’ve mentioned only discuss one type of pattern, there are problems even in that. Is it the fault of a homosexual if according to those studies, the person became a homosexual because of an unloving father? Should that person be punished, who is already a victim of lack of love? Is that how justice is done? Please answer…”

So is it the fault of a serial-killer, if the way he is is cuz of a messed up childhood? To tell you the truth, that question has confused me a lot as well. The fact is, the way a person was brought up or whatever he faced during his childhood does have a lot of effect on his actions, but never will you hear any court giving much weight to such incidents. The person there is judged by the mental state he was in at the time of the crime, and whether he was that way cuz of his horrible past is not taken into consideration, why..? because 99.99% of the times, a legally sane person can tell the difference b/w right and wrong. So a homosexual person shouldn’t justify his actions cuz he had an unloving father. I was stating the possible cause when I mentioned that article, the cause being a bad childhood, the ill-effect being his homosexual tendencies.

Oh and it’s totally ok if you had to be sarcastic about my beliefs regarding paradise and things being perfect there. I just hope you realize that the reason why most of the arguments end up being futile is because the parties involved switch to mockery and sarcasm instead of showing respect for each other’s opinions.

So you agree that a person who has gone to a jungle or a mountain can fly kites with any sorta thread? Really? Are you saying there is absolutely no possibility that he can hurt someone else there? I know, the chances are less but there IS a possibility right? Now let’s say he does end up hurting someone cuz of the thread he used. Now the law that you have implemented there states that you are not allowed to use the thread he was using. He will say that hey, you yourself agreed in mehmal’s blog that I can go to a jungle or a top of a mountain with no one around, and fly the kite with lasers or whatever, so why is it my fault if the person who got hurt was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Secondly, lemme retract my statement that said that I agree with this solution. The truth is, no matter what thread you use, the kinda accidents that happen, the chances of injuring a person will always be high. A thread that gets entangled around a person’s neck while he is on a motorbike will always cause serious damage to him, either by cutting his throat or by dismounting him off the bike etc etc. The other accidents during basant festival are related to people falling off the roof and that has nothing to do with the thread they are using. Oh and I read your article long time ago. Twice. My limited vocabulary wasn’t enough to understand it fully in the first go. So had to do it again.

And yes, I am enjoying this discussion as well. I just hope we don’t start running in circles. However, I do feel that we should limit the scope of this discussion cuz it just takes too much time to come back with a response and I don’t want to end this discussion due to unavailability of time it takes to respond to each other’s comments.
Farhan said…
Dear Murtuza,

I am glad to see you back. The reason we are having this discussion is to try to reform some of the laws that have been mentioned in plain black and white, which I believe curtail the freedom of humans and violate human rights. As far as UDHR or EU Charter of Rights is concerned, I do not take it as a divine source, but just as a set of guidelines and if someone does not agree with them, I personally do not have a problem with it. But at least I would appreciate that someone explains me the reason, why they do not agree with it and with which clause they have trouble on a rational basis. When, I try to defend or justify a clause of UDHR, I do not bring up a set of axioms or scriptures to say, since it is written there it has to be right. I invite everyone to put themselves in the shoes of those who may be in minority and fear oppression or hate crime due to their race, color, gender, religion, language, sexual orientation etc. and tell me, would they like to be treated in such a manner?

So, I am not just quoting something from UDHR and asking you to accept it as correct, but I am also appealing to humanity, to equal treatment for all so long as they do not transgress over other people’s boundaries. I can find commonality with you, because I am sure, both of you are nice people at heart, and the only reason you have to reject or accept something right now is based on scriptures and not really what your conscience tells you.

Thanks for your comments and I look forward to more insights from you.
Jibran said…
This argument is a stalemate.

The fact is that our problems with homosexuality and the other issues raised come from the idea that Quran in itself is a complete way of life and that everything written in Quran is right and NOT subject to revision or change of ANY sort.

Farhan has a different view point than we do. Farhan is of the opinion that just because Quran or Islam teaches something, doesn't mean it is right. And that, whatever is present in the text can be and should be revised and altered to suit the needs of the modern world, so it can better cater to the rights of individuals.

These are two points of view that are worlds apart but should be respected for what they are.

Both sides can provide endless examples of what they think is right and at the end of the day, chances are; not a single side would sway the other way.

So instead of calling a particular stand ignorant or buried in the dungeons of ignorance and immorality, let’s just move on and decide that everyone has a right to voicing their opinions. And that everyone can fight their own little wars in their own respective ways and choose to live their life whatever way they may want to. And that when they decide to do it all their own way, they shouldn’t expect the world to understand and they shouldn’t expect the world to abandon the teachings of their religions and the customs of their land to embrace them.
Come Election day, come referendum day, come any day in life, we'll pull our way and they can pull theirs, and we all just have to accept the consequences.
Farhan said…
Dear Faisal,

That was a very comprehensive reply, however, sine you’ve raised so many points, it is not possible for me to restrict the scope in here, until I categorically address every objection that you have raised. You can subsequently choose to narrow down the issues you raise next time you respond.

There is another clause, if you had objection with the ‘other status’. This is the article 7.

• All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

It is very clear that this clause would only hold for those, who are the victims i.e. when someone else violates this declaration. I am not sure, what you understand by All, but All means all for me. I would also appreciate, if instead of trying to reject UDHR completely, if you can tell me, if you also believe that it suffers from ‘cultural imperialism’, or any Judeo-Christian motive.

As far as the death penalty is concerned in the UDHR, it states in article 5,

• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Since death penalty is known to be one of the most painful psychological punishments, not to mention the pain suffered by hanging, by stoning, by electric shocks etc. it is implicit here that any premeditated killing should be avoided, (killing only for self defense is permitted under certain circumstances). So, even if someone is being killed by the lethal injection the painful punishment still conflicts with the article 5.

I have already pointed out in my previous comment that gradually if there is recognition of discrimination and also a desire to reduce cruel and barbaric medieval practices of punishment and or discrimination based on any criterion, which breaches the fundamental rights of every human being, any subsequent charter or declaration can refine the previous one. Therefore, I see EU’s charter of fundamental rights as a step forward in that direction.

The debate on capital punishment and awareness related to its inhumane impact has been duly recognized and that is one of the reasons EU has explicitly added it along with sexual orientation.

Now you mentioned Pre-marital sex. This is also one of your prejudices based on scripture. There is nothing morally wrong in consensual when a couple is married. Marriage is just a contract between two people, who want to reinforce their ties, get recognized by the state and in return get some benefits from the State. The State gives married people benefits (tax relief, inheritance etc.), because it recognizes the legality of the relationship. If two consenting adults, without cheating a third person are involved in pre-marital sex, or they never ever get married for that matter, there should not be any problem. Many states recognize domestic partners now as well as far as tax benefits are concerned. Domestic partners virtually live with each other like a married couple, albeit without a legal contract between them. So they live happily and with their own choice, while it lasts, without wanting to take the additional responsibility that comes along with marriage. Their kids are recognized just like any other and not like illegitimate children as was the view earlier and as is the view even now in many countries.

It is good that the interaction between males and females has increased, so that they understand each other better instead of being totally oblivious about the nature of their partners when suddenly bonded in marriage.

Now you mentioned Islam as a fastest growing religion. If you mean by that the fastest procreating religion then sure, I agree with that. Muslim population is among the least concerned about family planning so there is no wonder that there is a population explosion there. Now as far as the fastest growing religion in other terms is concerned, that is a myth. Read this.

Just one of the points include…

“In 2006, countries with a Muslim majority had an average population growth rate of 1.8% per year (when weighted by percentage Muslim and population size).[9] This compares with a world population growth rate of 1.12% per year”.

Also check this out, which indicates the difficulty of Muslims who are Muslims by name alone.

So, that claim apart from the fact that Muslims are most active in procreating, hardly proves anything else. But that is besides the discussion. I don’t think that numbers mean much. That is argumentum ad numerum. Neither Chinese, nor Christians and by the same virtue, nor Muslims can claim any superiority of what they are following based on the number alone. A few billion flies sit on feces every day, so what does that prove anyway? We are not trying to ascertain, what is considered correct by a collective mediocrity, but what we essentially deem to be correct on the basis of humanity, humane treatment for every person and prevention of human rights violations.

Now that you pasted the whole paragraph again, indicating that these people that u named are involved in somehow promoting cultural imperialism. First of all imperialism is not even in the favor of human rights, in fact it goes against its own agenda to promulgate human rights. If however, some nation in fact has a culture either modified or updated to reflect human rights, then I don’t see any harm in promoting only those values, that aren’t really reflecting any particular cultural but promoting humanity and equality for every human being alike without any discrimination.

Also, UDHR was just a template to indicate what is considered a right of a human being. Maybe they were a bit presumptuous when they called it Universal, because there are some clauses, to which people from some other faith system would not agree. But that obviously does not mean that UDHR itself has flaws. I’d leave it at that. Let us agree at least on the criterion that we both want to wish the best for all humanity? We want to maximize happiness for everyone, remove discrimination of any kind; everyone would be protected by laws of the land without any difference. We would only consider someone bad, who tries to breed hatred, increase torment and pain, and deprives others of their rights? If we do not agree even on this, then it is quite possible that we have different preferences. I have given mine here. If you have disagreement with them, please indicate do you agree in principle over these or not?

As far as drinking is concerned, 18 is old for certain things, 21 is older for another. Even that criterion is arbitrary in some sense, since some 18’s are more mature than 21’s or 25’s for that matter. But generally speaking, yes a person at 18 is reasonably developed as an individual. At that time, he/she has been instilled with basic values, guidelines and principles, which a parent thinks would help them make informed decisions about the choices they make. Now as far as drugs are concerned, they are illegal because they have harmful effects on health and especially those merchants of death, who sell such drugs, need to be persecuted so as to not make a person slave of such chemicals. There are laws regarding that and any sane person, I am hoping including my children, would not want to play with the law given that I have imparted sufficient common sense in them by that time. If I have been unsuccessful, then I cannot stop them anyway even if I would like to make a different decision. They can always do it behind my back, so I cannot make a captive in my home as far as drugs, or any other crimes for that matter are concerned. I can only restrict them until a certain age, after that I cannot legally stop them from anything, nor would I blackmail them. I can discuss it with them, just like I am discussing things with you. That is the best I can do.

So, after a particular time, and I am saying it to you for the third time, that they would have freedom to choose and do various activities depending on a certain age. After that time, I can neither restrict their movement by putting them in the cage, nor would I want to. I would discuss as much as I can and then that’s all. Just to be clear, I would not forbid anything to them after a certain age, because I would only have a moral authority over them and not a physical one. They can become more rebellious by oppression and can be more adventurous than necessary just to prove a point. So, even though you think that use of force can serve your interests even when your kids grow up, I think differently.

Now lets move on to the God and restriction argument. First of all as you claim there is some wisdom in such restrictions, then please point them out. If you want to believe blindly that there is some wisdom in restricting the freedom of certain individuals, who aren’t themselves responsible for their condition, then you are welcome to do so, I cannot be a part of it. It hardly matters, what I believe and what I do not. We are trying to have a rational discussion here and you cannot convince me using argumentum ad Verecandiam i.e. appeal to authority. Show me the wisdom and I’ll accept your argument, if you cannot, then say so. The difference between you and me is that I test a certain assertion before accepting it and you accept a certain assertion before testing and then rationalize it anyway, because as a last resort you’d reach a point where you’d say there must be some wisdom in it. I am sorry, but I have more confidence in my common sense than blindly believing anything that has been around me. Nevertheless, I am always open to change my viewpoint, if I can see the wisdom in it.

Well, in father-daughter and mother-son cases, it is possible really that it may not be true. But the likelihood in virtually every case is that a father and mother being in a position of authority would mould their children’s mind to fulfill their own wishes. If you have any examples to the contrary, please bring me those and we can discuss such cases. However, these laws for father-daughter and mother-son are there to reduce the occurrence of pedophilic tendencies in certain individuals, which can breach the freedom of the victims.

First of all, I did not come up with an 18+ figure, you made it up. Secondly, I believe it is an arbitrary figure more for convenience than to reflect any threshold, which suddenly transforms a child to an adult. Having said that, I do think that a person around that age can make most of their decisions freely, given they’ve been brought up in a regular way. If they’ve been abducted by terrorists (as done in Africa by rival clans) at an early and brought up and trained and brainwashed to kill their own families, even though I would detest their ultimate actions, I would still consider them victims, who are making choices based on what has been preached to them over the years ad nauseam. So, in such a case, do I still think it is ok for them to commit such acts as nobody would’ve done if present in any and I mean any regular home environment? Obviously in most cases not. Should we allow the pedophilic mothers and fathers to bring up their daughters and sons for this purpose when we do know that they are bringing them up to serve their own purposes? So, what if they reach the age of 18+ in that case? It is clear that no such case exists where a parent without in need of psychological assistance would desire such an outcome. So, it is perfectly valid to restrict and deter such parents from acting in that manner. As far as siblings are concerned, I have already stated my point of view.

The dog was trained to do it. How do you know if he wasn’t given food or punished until he began to commit such an act? I do not know of any dog that lusts and craves human beings in such a manner while simultaneously their human owner reciprocates to their lust. It is very clear, that such a dog was trained to commit an act, which could be made into a movie. If dogs were attracted to human beings in that way, your statement may have had merit, which fortunately it lacks.

Your argument about Cain and Abel is not valid, since the act of incest involved consent, where as killing involved breach of one’s rights, so they are not the same. Also, incest happened because God wanted it to happen that way, otherwise there could’ve been two pairs. My point is, in such a situation the incest itself cannot be called moral and immoral from a monotheistic standpoint, but only an arbitrary criterion made by God, just like wine and sex orgies in paradise.

So you are saying that the children of Adam and Eve, weren’t brothers and sisters? Then perhaps Adam and Eve weren’t even father and mother of such children right? Because the concepts of father, mother, brother and sister are developed after the first language? First revelation? On the contrary, the relationship between people is by virtue of who is born of whom and is independent of when it happened. If you disagree with this statement, we can argue about it, otherwise your obvious answers are not satisfactory but more apologetic.

When I said inherent trait, I meant it is something that is passed on genetically, like blood pressure and diabetes and I clarified my position when I said predisposed. I don’t see much of a conflict in my statements, but I apologize of lack of any clarity that made you assume things differently. When I said not dependent on Society, I meant that the traits themselves aren’t dependent on the society; they are independent of it, passed on from parents to children. The only role society may play is a trigger.

As far as prisons are concerned, I would like to see how many of the people commit it with consent and how many are raped and forced into doing such acts? Raping a person of the opposite group within a prison is a common way to humiliate others and all such acts cannot be described completely without the consideration of the motive behind it. Also, as a reaction people then end up perpetrating sexual abuse towards others. So, that has totally different dynamics. As an example, an article from Human Rights Watch says

In the aftermath of rape, prisoners often harbor intense feelings of anger--anger directed first at the perpetrators of abuse, but also at prison authorities who failed to react appropriately to protect them, and even at society as a whole. Some prisoners have confessed to taking violent revenge on their abusers, inspired both by anger and by a desire to escape further abuse. The best and sometimes the only way to avoid the repetition of sexual abuse, many prisoners assert, is to strike back violently. Simply put, to prove that one is not a victim, one must take on the characteristics of a perpetrator. Since violence, in the prison setting, is almost a synonym for strength and virility, a readiness to use violence confirms one's "manhood. "

Read this for more details about that phenomenon…

Let me make my position clear. I have no problem of decreasing or increasing cases of homosexuality, so I was just giving you comfort that if you force them into heterosexuality, they’d increase and not decrease in number. As far as I am concerned, they have a free choice to do it. If you weren’t comforted by that idea, I apologize. But the point is when homosexuals would not want to lead a hetero lifestyle why do you want them to pass on their genes?

As far as 50% scenario is concerned, that is a hypothetical one. Since the homosexuals cannot reproduce, their gene pool would not increase at all, but decrease with time, with respect to the rest of the population, so I am sorry to say, that intellectual exercise is not at all practical. However, if in a certain country people gather to form such a society, I don’t see any instability happening, their population growth maybe below average, but otherwise, homosexuals are as capable of doing any work as heterosexuals.

The fault is not of the serial killer, if he is deranged, but he cannot be allowed to breach the freedom of others. I keep on stressing this point, but you keep on coming with these examples without even understanding my point of view. I want freedom for all, not just for a group. I am not arguing that if something is genetically wrong the person is justified in doing everything. All am I arguing is if a person has some genetic trait that is triggered by society due to various reasons, as long as he/she is not breaching the freedom of others, there shouldn’t be any problem in it. You spent a few extra lines over that serial killer argument for no reason.

Why are you putting homosexual just by the virtue of his/her orientation in the court and asking questions? I am asking what crime that person has committed, whose freedom that person has breached? Please give me one example and then we can discuss that.

There might be a possibility that someone in a jungle or a mountain top might hurt someone, just as someone might be hurt by the strike of lightning, but people won’t stop going outside when it is raining.

If someone is falling off the roof top while flying kite, it is not the fault of other responsible citizens, who are doing this activity for entertainment and peacefully. Your argument is analogous to people driving cars, and someone can end up in an accident. So? Should we stop people from driving cars, or should we make people more responsible in driving cars?

The threat entangling neck phenomenon is pretty recent as far as I know and started happening with new twine technology in threads. It wasn’t an issue a few years ago. So if the threads can be controlled and regulated, I don’t see any problem with people enjoying what they do, instead of banning them without using one’s brain to come up with a more reasonable scheme to avoid future accidents and also letting people enjoy peacefully.

I am glad that you are enjoying it. That means I haven’t been that caustic that you would feel that I do not deserve a response :). But I would stress that for the future please only come up with the examples, where a disorder in a person does not result in the breach of freedom of other people and still is bad.

I do not know of any anger gene that exists, but I do not claim to be the ultimate authority in genetics. If you do, I would like to know about it. Anger is present in everyone, varying only in degrees. I have no problem in accepting the idea that some people would become angry much quicker than others and there maybe the genes playing some role in it. However, as long as their anger does not breach anyone’s freedom, they can continue to stay angry. I have no problem.

Thanks for your replies and do not worry about the delay. Take as much time as you think is needed. I would rather like to have an informed discussion instead of something where some of the issues I raise are not even addressed due to some rush.
Farhan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Farhan said…
I agree Jibran, everyone has the right to raise their opinion. But that is not applicable in most islamic states, where even a thought of revising something in Islam may result in protests and blasphemy law invocation.

At the end of the day, I would only want more freedom for everyone, where no one has to suffer for someone else's views. That is all. In case Islam is personal, it is fine. But when it becomes political and makes other people suppress their opinion, actions that in no way harm the others, then a person, especially from that society cannot just simply choose to sit down and accept what is happening as right.

Because, it would mean that the private lives of others are encroached without their express wish and one's own freedom comes at stake with this attitude.
Anonymous said…
The modern society have indoctrinated and encouraged youngsters to become homosexuals and lesbians. This is further supported by the fact that many Government Constitutions of the worlds sanction same gender marriages Homosexuality is Haraam simply because Allah declares it to be Haraam.

An innate inclination towards homosexuality does not render it natural and ultimately acceptable. Their research is purely research and theory.

Even if a person is inclined to the same sex, he is required to curb his desires just as in the case where a person is inclined to a woman who is Haraam for him. He is required to control his desires and abstain.

HOMOSEXUALITY In this materialistic age when everything is being sacrificed at the altar of 'freedom', the world from east to west, is witnessing a total collapse of morality and decency. Virtue is portrayed as evil while sins of every type are being glamourized so as to seem acceptable to society. Honesty, fidelity, generosity, piety, chastity, the fear of Allah, etc. are rarely looked upon as praiseworthy qualities while adultery, gambling, fraud, usury, cheating, abortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, etc. are fast becoming the order of the day. In many of the so-called democracies, there is no longer any stigma in even committing sins openly because of the many corrupt laws that support such sins. In fact today, in some of the world's biggest "democracies" the more a leader publicizes his immoral and adulterous exploits, the more his popularity seems to increase and the greater become his chances of being re-elected by the people But the saddest part of this is that while the Muslims were supposed to lead the world out of this turmoil and offer it Islam as the only solution to its problems, they have begun to embrace the bankrupt ways of those who are themselves groping in the darkness of ignorance. Unfortunately many of the abominable practices found in the west and other kuffaar societies are creeping into Muslim societies. May Allah protect us! It is time for the Muslim ummah to awaken from its slumber and realize that it is the duty of every Muslim to remind the whole of mankind that success lies only in fulfilling the orders of Allah in the way shown by our Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

When a person is extremely hungry and hasn’t eaten for days, he will not even glance at the most beautiful and prettiest woman, yet he is a male and has an instinct of attraction to the opposite gender. Now his instinct is suppressed or clouded with another urge. Similarly, many married people lose the attraction to wards their wives or their attention or heart is gripped by another woman. In both situations, the hunger must be removed and the focus towards same sex must also be remedied.

By a Learned Scholar
Farhan said…
“The modern society have indoctrinated and encouraged youngsters to become homosexuals and lesbians.”

How has it indoctrinated youngsters to become homosexuals and lesbians? Please elaborate? If you had taken some trouble to read the conversation above you would’ve learned that homosexuality is genetic predisposition, which gets triggered by certain circumstances including bad childhood among many of the reasons (not by modern society). If you doubt this statement, state so and we can discuss it.

“Government Constitutions of the worlds sanction same gender marriages”. The reason for various governments doing this is to reduce discrimination, which has been prevalent in the past against homosexuals, just like against women, blacks, slaves etc.

“Homosexuality is Haraam simply because Allah declares it to be Haraam.”

So, don’t do it. However, do not try to impose your will on others or blame them for their innate tendencies, which they cannot control and which do not harm any third person.

“An innate inclination towards homosexuality does not render it natural and ultimately acceptable. Their research is purely research and theory.”

Innate by definition exists inborn and anything in born in a person cannot be unnatural even if its occurrence is rare. It is like saying cancer is unnatural, high blood pressure is unnatural, diabetes is unnatural.

What do you mean by purely research and theory? Do you even understand what the word theory means in scientific terms? Maybe you are confusing it with conspiracy theory, which is usually a part-time hobby of some people, but scientific theories are quite different. In science, an idea becomes a theory when it has repeatedly withstood the test of time under various conditions by independent observers and is scrutinized by a majority of scientists and still becomes acceptable as a general principle or a body of principles that offers a plausible explanation to a phenomenon. That does not mean that the theory has become a word of God. It may have imperfections still. However, those imperfections might be certain exceptions that fail to explain a very small number of cases related the domain of the theory. But still that theory continues to explain most of the cases, on the basis of which, it was accepted. That is the beauty of science that in the light of new evidence the theory gets refined, tries to explain more cases as they come and becomes more general in nature.

One of the examples that come to my mind is Newton’s Theory of Planetary and other Body Motion. They explained most of the ordinary day mechanical interaction between various bodies very accurately. Much of the mechanical equipment and physical simulations are based on Newtonian or classical physics. However, later Einstein found out that Newton’s theory failed when objects approached speed of light. That doesn’t mean Newton’s theory was wrong. It had its limitations and worked perfectly well within it. Similarly Einstein’s theory explained large scale phenomenon very well but it also had limitations when it tried to explain masses of extremely high density such as those found in black holes. Then emerged theory quantum mechanics, which explained the micro level phenomenon with much higher precision. That does not mean that Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity are entirely obsolete. I hope you get my point what is meant by research and theory?

Now, if by theory you just meant someone sitting in his armchair came up with idea then I suggest that before making such bold statements try to see if there is an empirical evidence to support it or not in this particular case. Also, how abundant is that evidence and in how many different and independent places such evidence has been gathered. If you feel there is none, you have a point arguing that there is no physical or rational basis for this theory. However, in this particular case you are clearly on the wrong. Please see the references from the medical journals that I’ve pasted in my posts above.

“Virtue is portrayed as evil while sins of every type are being glamourized so as to seem acceptable to society. Honesty, fidelity, generosity, piety, chastity, the fear of Allah, etc. are rarely looked upon as praiseworthy qualities”

Please name a single society where honesty, fidelity, generosity are not universally accepted as virtues. As far as rest of your virtues is concerned chastity is relative, piety and fear of God is relative. In one place, people feel comfortable wearing a half-sleeve or sleeveless t-shirt and jeans or shorts and don’t feel they are being immodest, and in some other places, people would feel immodest until they wrap themselves around in layers of clothing, even cover their face. This clearly suggests that the sense of chastity or modesty even though recognized is not something universally viewed as same. If you are more comfortable under wraps, feel free in doing so, please let others, especially if they are not grossing you out with their genitals in the open, dress in what they consider as a modest or suitable dressing for that occasion.

As far as piety is concerned, that is also a phenomenon based on one’s own set of beliefs. If you feel pious acting a certain way feel free to do so, don’t force others to follow in your foot steps, since what you consider as a virtue may not be a virtue in their eyes. For example, if a Christian priest, a Hindu Pundit, a Buddhist Monk or a Jewish Rabbi is being pious, by observing their own set of instructions you do not show much concern to their mode of thinking. So, let’s get away with this presumed aura of infallibility that makes people impose their will on others and breach their rights and let them live and you can live the way you like. Same line of reasoning can be applied to fear of Allah, Yahweh, Raam, or any other deity.

“while adultery, gambling, fraud, usury, cheating, abortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, etc. are fast becoming the order of the day.”

How convenient it is to name a few traits and include a few others in it to make them appear the same. But unfortunate that isn’t so. No society as far as I know condones adultery (unless the spouse is equally involved in that part or gives a freehand to their corresponding husbands or wives without any pressure).

Gambling is done at various levels where the output isn’t certain. At some places, the uncertainty is a calculable probability, whereas in other cases it is decision-making under uncertainty and under speculation e.g. stock market, currency exchange trading, buying commodities that are speculated to be rare etc. By a simple act of gamble one cannot conclude that it is either immoral or illegal to gamble. It can be contemplated that it is unwise to gamble with a high percentage of your assets in something which is very uncertain. But it is also true that in general the higher the risk, the higher the reward. Now, if some person of a reasonable age is willing to raise their stakes and bet on something be it career, commodity, stock, currency, lottery number or a card game, let them be the judge of their decision making. How about not acting as a moral police to dictate others, what you consider to be right or wrong?

Also, please tell me where “fraud” is condoned since you put it in the list?

Usury is defined as “an unconscionable or exorbitant rate or amount of interest; specifically: interest in excess of a legal rate charged to a borrower for the use of money”.

I also consider such a practice as abominable, where exceedingly high interest is charged by the lender to the borrower and then almost making that person so much under debt that they cannot repay it back and literally he and his generations suffer as a consequence. So, there is no conflict as far as usury is concerned. However, if you are calling any interest above zero to be considered as usury then you are entitled to your opinion, but I must stress, this would be strictly your opinion. There are consequences of long term zero interest rate monitory policies, where if an economy of a country is booming, it causes inflation due to abundance of money (as it can be loaned without any extra cost) and produces extra stress on supply by increasing demand, which drives the prices higher. Thus, any country with proper economic institution understands this and continues to vary its interest rates up and down in a cyclic fashion to a reasonable extent to either kick start an economy in recession or put brakes on inflation by increasing interest rates and this cycle continues.

Also, please tell me where “cheating” is condoned since you put it in the list?

“abortion, homosexuality, lesbianism”

You view them as lacking virtue but since I am already discussing the last two I won’t talk about it here. As far as abortion is concerned, abortion by itself cannot be considered immoral. One of the reasons is, it can be accidental (rape) and life threatening to the mother. This can happen at any stage of pregnancy, so what would you choose. More developed the baby, harder the choice, yet there is no clear answer. Similarly, there are parents who cannot afford a child and did not plan pregnancy and cannot support a child if it is born. So, they get it aborted in the first two to three weeks of pregnancy or pretty early on, when even the brain hasn’t started developing properly and sense of pain or suffering is virtually non-existent. In any case, imagine a scenario where parents couldn’t afford a child or couldn’t care for one and still the woman gets pregnant and has no choice but to deliver the child, thanks to the anti-abortionists. What is going to happen to that child? In several cases bad childhood may result in making such children criminals (for which they can’t really be blamed) and as my friend Faisal suggested above by showing one study may result in making some of the predisposed to homosexuality as homosexuals. I am not speaking hypothetically here. Look at this study.

Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors That Explain the Decline and Six That Do Not." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2004, 18(1), pp. 163-90

There is some criticism to the initial hypothesis presented by Levitt and Donohue in 2001, when they found a causal link between decreased crime rate and homicide and they’ve updated their study here. However, the point is that it is not just crime; it can be several factors, where a child is likely to suffer a bad childhood since his/her parents aren’t ready to properly nurture him/her. If such a child, especially when it is aborted at a very early stage is good or bad is a matter of discussion. There can be arguments on either side; however, in such dire situations forcing parents to go through the pregnancy and bring up a child is also a matter of another debate. My point here is that there is no clear indication that such an act is definitely bad or immoral.

“In many of the so-called democracies, there is no longer any stigma in even committing sins openly because of the many corrupt laws that support such sins.”

What you are calling a sin, is a sin in your opinion. If you don’t wish to indulge in it, that is fine. Don’t try to take away other people’s liberty by doing what they are doing on their own without asking you to adopt their way of life. If you have trouble living in such a society, move to a society, which lives like you want to live. Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia seems like a most suitable place right now.

“In fact today, in some of the world's biggest "democracies" the more a leader publicizes his immoral and adulterous exploits, the more his popularity seems to increase and the greater become his chances of being re-elected by the people”

I know what you are pointing to. I am also not going to defend his actions since it was an act of infidelity. However, the reason he was re-elected was that he was considered a great statesman for the country, and did much to improve the economy of the people. When he was impeached he did acknowledge his false statements that he gave earlier. So people disregarded what he did in his bedroom or office in personal capacity to what he did for them as a politician and statesman in his oval office, his policies home and abroad and how he affected the economy. As far as trying to suggest that when he committed the act, he was praised as a national hero or just became popular because he did it and that rose his popularity only shows how much you’ve understood the underlying dynamics that led to his rise in popularity.

“But the saddest part of this is that while the Muslims were supposed to lead the world out of this turmoil and offer it Islam as the only solution to its problems, they have begun to embrace the bankrupt ways of those who are themselves groping in the darkness of ignorance.”

The leadership ideology is still driving various fanatics to give infamy to all Muslims. Offering Islam as a solution is one thing and forcing everyone to adopt it and making things illegal and legal based on it is quite another.

“It is time for the Muslim ummah to awaken from its slumber and realize that it is the duty of every Muslim to remind the whole of mankind”

It has woken a bit more lately and we’ve seen quite damaging consequences. If I personally have a choice, I’d rather let them sleep so that they don’t try to interfere and judge others based on their own concepts of virtue and sin (wishful thinking on my part).

“When a person is extremely hungry and hasn’t eaten for days, he will not even glance at the most beautiful and prettiest woman, yet he is a male and has an instinct of attraction to the opposite gender.”

If he has any energy to glance only then he will. But of course, his hormones won’t be running as high, but is that a solution?

“Similarly, many married people lose the attraction towards their wives or their attention or heart is gripped by another woman. In both situations, the hunger must be removed”

In this case, it would be breach of trust if a person actually commits an act with another woman. As far as attraction goes, that can be suppressed, but like hunger, the natural desire would be there no matter what. The solution out of this problem is not to put chains in the person’s feet but to make them aware of the consequences of their actions on their spouse. If they are actually committing adultery in stealth, then they are cheating on their wives. Since, generally wives do not gives express permissions to their husbands, this would be considered wrong ethically, since there is an infringement of trust.

“same sex must also be remedied.”

This is a different case, since two adults (same or opposite sex) can do whatever they want as long as no trust is breached, no one’s freedom or right is injured, no involved party is hurt.

“it is the duty of every Muslim to remind the whole of mankind that success lies only in fulfilling the orders of Allah in the way shown by our Nabi Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).”

This is what has been attempted by various hardcore orthodox right regimes and we’ve seen some of the consequences.

“By a Learned Scholar”

Sure, if you claim so.
mie said… many posts,didn't have the time to go through all of the posts but yes regarding the issue at hand,what i want to say is that ghazala should be allowed to teach in any other field if she so desires,she has got the degrees so it isn't about her qualifications!!suppose a physics teacher starts saying that the earth is flat,without mentioning that at the back of his mind he is taking it for granted that the earth is round but at a particular place it seems flat.since he is a science teacher the students will take it to be a scientific fact!!although if he were an islamiyat teacher people would say how's that possible n he could then explain what he actually meant!!

similarly she is a teacher of islamic studies ,if by rights of homosexuals you mean a right to education,to job then yes they should be guaranteed all those rights,but they can't expect to openly admit that they are homosexuals n still be given the same respect...that doesnot happen!!!just as if somebody comes upto you and says i backbite a lot,would you think nicely of the person??if somebody says i have sex with different people everyday,would you think of him as the person who you would like to keep company with???you might not say anything since to punish or reward is in the hands of God!!but asking people to put aside their personal prefrences and choose to be in the company of people whose habits they despise is way too much to ask!!
like in my case if a friend is a lesbian,as long as i don't know she is i'll be fine with her but when she claims that she is a lesbian and is actually proud of it,i won't be able to tolerate her another minute,but yes if she says she needs my help to overcome this temptation of hers i'll be there for her more than ever before!!!you can't actually lie and be proud of it,you can't backbite and be proud of it,you can't kill people and be proud of it,you can't be adulterous and be proud of it and similarly you can't be a homosexual and be proud of it!!!!if you do something as long as you accept that what you are doing is wrong then you are always acceptable....but being a teacher of islamic studies and teaching that being homosexual is ok even if you don't preach that you should be one is WRONG islamically!!jthat's teh same as saying that fornication is ok!!you can ofcourse do that if you teach someother subject such as social studies etc since then it would only be a personal opinion and not a fact of the subject!!so i do not think that this decision of the HEC is wrong,ghazala should keep her personal opinions to herself!!

as far as showing humanity is concerned as in feeding and taking care of such people...then i think even rapists,murderers etc are also treated with kindness when they are in need(like suffering from some disease or accident etc anything)so yea the same concern should be shown to homosexuals and fornicators also but saying that what they did was right is "wrong"!period.
M.Usman ghani said…
"You are the best of the nations raised up for
(the benefit of)men: you enjoin what is right and
forbid the wrong and believe in Allah." (3:llO)

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