This tale comes from today’s Sunday Express as well as Jihad Watch (which took the story from the Express), and it’s a bit confusing. Apparently a government-funded hotline in the Netherlands has said it’s basically okay for callers (or posters) to call for the death of gays if they’re Muslims; after all, that’s what the Qur’an tell them. (Calling for the death of gays is a crime if you’re not a Muslim.)
As the Express reports:
In a shocking move, the taxpayer-funded hotline said it would not pursue a criminal complaint over horrific messages from radical Islamists because the Koran says gay people can be killed.
The disgraceful stance came to light when a member of the public complained about death threats posted to an online forum which called for homosexuals to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered”.
Dutch MPs today reacted with horror to the revelations, demanding an immediate inquiry into the remarks and calling for the hotline to be stripped of public funding.
This is the disgusting part (my emphasis):
According to Dutch media advisors from the anti-discrimination bureau MiND said that, while homophobic abuse was usually a crime, it was justifiable if you were Muslim due to laws on freedom of religious expression.
They argued that the Koran says it is acceptable to kill people for being homosexual, and so death threats towards gay people from Muslims could not be discriminatory.
In a jaw-dropping email explaining why they could not take up the complaint, they wrote: “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridically takes away the insulting character.”
They concluded that the remarks were made in “the context of a public debate about how to interpret the Quran” and added that “some Muslims understand from the Quran that gays should be killed”.
And they went on: “In the context of religious expression that exists in the Netherlands there is a large degree of freedom of expression. In addition, the expressions are used in the context of the public debate (how to interpret the Koran), which also removes the offending character.”
The death threats had been made in the comments section for an article about a Dutch-Moroccan gay society, which had been posted to an online platform for Holland’s large Moroccan community.
What I’m not sure about in the above is the connection between the hotline (i.e., a telephone service) and the online platform. What is clear is that the Qur’an, as well as the hadith and surah, often characterize homosexuality as a crime (e.g., Qur’an 7:80-84, 4:16. hadith of Abi Dawud 4448, hadith of Sahih Bukhari 72:774). Further, at least in Muslim-majority countries, the majority of believers see homosexuality as immoral. In the Pew survey of Muslims in 2013, for example, in 33 of the 36 countries surveyed, more than 3/4 of Muslims saw homosexuality as immoral, and in all countries more than 2/3 of believers saw it as immoral:
One would hope these views would disappear when Muslims move to the West, but in Britain, a much higher frequency of Muslims than non-Muslims want homosexual behavior criminalized. As the Guardian reported in April:
. . . when asked to what extent [British Muslims] agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed. Almost half (47%) said they did not agree that it was acceptable for a gay person to become a teacher, compared with 14% of the general population.
. . . The polling was commissioned by Channel 4 for a documentary, What British Muslims Really Think, which is due to be broadcast on Wednesday presented by Phillips.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “On specific issues – families, sexuality, gender, attitudes towards Jews and on questions of violence and terrorism – the centre of gravity of British Muslim opinion is some distance away from the centre of gravity of everyone else’s opinion.
“One in six Muslims say they would like to live more separately, a quarter would like to live under sharia law. It means that as a society we have a group of people who basically do not want to participate in the way that other people [do].
“What we also found is that there is a correspondence between this desire to live separately and sympathy for terrorism. People who want to live separately are about twice as likely to say that they have sympathy for terrorist acts. Anybody, including most people in the Muslim community, would find that extremely worrying.”
But as people like Glenn Greenwald and C. J. W*rl*m*n tell us, this has nothing to do with the tenets of Islam: it’s all about marginalization and anti-Muslim bigotry. How that leads to demonizing gays and oppressing women, however, is beyond me.
Europe is in a bind, caught between liberal sentiments on one side and the popularity of right-wingers like Marine Le Pen (and the entire Polish government) on the other. But what is clear is that there’s a problem of a religious subgroup having regressive values substantially different from that of the non-Muslim citizens of European countries. By ignoring the issue of harmful tenets of Islam, we leave the right-wingers as the only ones to address the problem. As with Trump’s calls for Muslim bans, the right goes to unconscionable extremes, but extrememes that can appeal even to progressives. My liberal Muslim friend Asra Nomani, for instance, announced in The Washington Post that she voted for Donald Trump. (I am in deep pain from that article.)
Many of the tenets of Islam are reprehensible, but because they’re held by “people of color” (even though many Muslims are Caucasian), to criticize them is seen as racism.