Finally, a gay-friendly mosque

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2014 1:57 PM GMT
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29279879

    A Muslim academic has opened a gay-friendly mosque in South Africa, despite receiving death threats and fierce criticism from parts of the local Muslim community.

    Mr Hargey, who was born in Cape Town, said the mosque would welcome people from all genders, religions and sexual orientations.

    As well as leading prayers, women would be allowed to pray in the same room as men, he said.

    He contrasted this to the current Islamic practice which sees "women at the back of the street, back of the hall, out of sight, out of mind".

    When asked about his qualifications as a religious leader he said: "I have a PhD in Islamic studies from Oxford University, unlike my opponents who went to some donkey college in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia."

    He told the BBC that he wanted to revive "the original mosque of the Prophet Muhammad, where there were no barriers".

    "This idea of female invisibility is an innovation that came after Muhammad, unfortunately it has become entrenched," he said.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4862

    Sep 20, 2014 5:35 PM GMT
    It is not surprising that he has received death threats. In certain parts of the U.S., people who have opposed leading public school students in official prayers have also received hate mail and death threats. That response is by no means limited to Muslims.
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    Sep 20, 2014 5:51 PM GMT
    The abrahamic religions are particularly bloody and violent, and it is only through the evolution of secular principles that Christianity was brought into the 21st century.

    In the same way, the religion of Islam has yet to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century--and it's the actions of brave individuals such as Mr. Hargey, who are willing to speak against the majority of their religion's followers, and incorporate these humanist, secular principles into their own religious practices, that will ultimately ensure the evolution of religion towards this more peaceful, equitable goal.

    That's at least what the extreme, optimistic side of me believes. But we'll see how long his church stands. Hopefully, good will come of this, and it will breed a new generation of Muslims who dismiss the more horrific aspects of their religion in favor of peaceful, open and secular principles.

    (Huh, I used the word 'secular' a lot less than I thought I would, but a lot more than I wanted to).
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    Sep 20, 2014 7:30 PM GMT
    Kodiak, you act as if "secular" equates to "peaceful, equitable, and open." Surely you are not from planet earth? This past century witnessed two of the worst (perhaps the two worst) regimes of all time in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and both of those regimes were completely secular in orientation and goal, and both received their philosophic sustenance from purely secular sources. "Secular" does not equate to "peaceful" no more than "Religious" equates to "violence."

    Our own society might be peaceful and equitable, but it certainly isn't open. I recommend Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Though, it just takes researching Brandeis University and the Yale Student Muslim Association's treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali (and another school's treatment of Condoleeza Rice) to see that most kids go to college only to hear the echo of their own infallibility, and the liberal arts tradition in our country, once vibrant, and indeed something necessary for free thinking and democracy, is now dying. And dying under the weight of liberal secularism, mind you. If the mind is not open, a society can't be either. Only by failing to go through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum could someone say anything akin to what you uttered in your post.

    As an aside, I was very happy that the President of my alma mater (Yale) defended free speech, unlike the weaklings at other universities.

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    Sep 20, 2014 8:29 PM GMT
    KJSharp saidKodiak, you act as if "secular" equates to "peaceful, equitable, and open." Surely you are not from planet earth? This past century witnessed two of the worst (perhaps the two worst) regimes of all time in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and both of those regimes were completely secular in orientation and goal, and both received their philosophic sustenance from purely secular sources. "Secular" does not equate to "peaceful" no more than "Religious" equates to "violence."

    Our own society might be peaceful and equitable, but it certainly isn't open. I recommend Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. [...] If the mind is not open, a society can't be either. Only by failing to go through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum could someone say anything akin to what you uttered in your post.


    *This is way too long. I hate flooding the topic here, but I feel the need to respond, and since this is a publicly visible topic, I'd rather have the opportunity for others to view my response and critique it as they will.

    To start with, here is the definition of secular that follow whenever I use the word in my posts:
    Secular: "Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis."
    Hopefully that keeps things clear as you (and potentially folks in general) read along!

    A question: If not through secular (non-religious) methods, what alternative method should we use in creating a peaceful society emphasizing freedom and equality?

    On the topic of open mindedness: People who have adopted a singular religion, and reject anything that does not conform to their religion--are they open minded? They have the potential to be, but we already know of large groups in the US who aren't open minded at all--Jehovah's Witnesses and their rejection of potentially life-saving blood transfusions, for example. I'd call that an example of religious close-mindedness. However, by adopting a secular (non-religious) perspective, one can investigate the claims of all religious freely and without bias in favor of one religion over another.

    I spent half a decade living over seas in Germany as it turns out. I visited graveyards, concentration camps, and other sites that conveyed the horrors of the holocaust. I went to many museums, saw many relics and documents, some of which were explained to me by historical experts, and individuals who had personal experience--my landlord's wife (I lived on economy in a small village, not on an army base), was a holocaust survivor herself, who told us the stories of her escaping as a small girl with her family, and the terrible things she witnessed, that members of her family shared proof of through photographs and journals. So even though I don't have the academic certification, I do have direct experience in investigating this matter.

    What I'm getting to, is the fact that Hitler cannot be claimed by the religious to be a symbol of "atheistic tyranny". This is a controversial topic, with evidence and claims on both sides. There is evidence written in Hitler's own hand, that clearly shows the presence of religious inspiration, certainly a deistic belief at the least (see Hitler's Speeches and writings including Mein Kampf). But at this point in time, I contend there is no way of establishing whether Hitler was 100% Catholic, or 100% Atheist, nor a way of determining for certainty that his motivations were based on religion, or anti-theism.
    I'm not going to assert Hitler was a member of any common religion we know of (again, he was demonstrably deistic at the least, and stated his belief that "the Aryan race was created by God," for example) but I am going to call you out on the fact: there is evidence on both sides--your claim of Hitler's reign being entirely secular is unjustified. He was hostile to religions other than his own, but he was by no means an atheist. He was a deist, at the least.

    I might cover Soviet Russia in PM's or something later, but not here, since this forum thread isn't even about the topic we're discussing (sorry Nivek).

    Just one last and little thing: I haven't gone through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, but I wouldn't call that failing, I'd call that lacking--in the same way that if I had never gone snowboarding before, I wouldn't say I failed snowboarding. Minor, but I think it points out the different perspectives you and I have.

    Speaking of perspectives, I'm definitely going to check out The Closing of the American Mind. I looked it up, and it does seem very interesting. Maybe I'll be able to empathize even a little bit, and see things sort of in the way you do, and come to a better understanding about these topics at hand.

    Though I do want to apologize for such a long post--and to Nivek if he feels I've taken over his topic. Sozzes.
  • KaZT

    Posts: 52

    Sep 20, 2014 9:30 PM GMT
    I read a lot here, but this is the most shocking ever...

    Gay Friendly mosque...oxymoron!
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    Sep 20, 2014 9:43 PM GMT
    Kodiak said

    A question: If not through secular (non-religious) methods, what alternative method should we use in creating a peaceful society emphasizing freedom and equality?



    I don't think there is one, secular or religious. I think freedom and equality are at odds with one another, intrinsically. It appears that man wasn't made equal, so if we are to give him freedom, we are giving him the freedom to be unequal. Meaningful freedom necessitates that there be meaningful inequality in our world; meaningful equality necessitates that there be meaningful non-freedom in our world.

    At the present time, I don't even think there is a "method" that could be used to create a free and just/good society. I think Christianity has the capability to envision one, but it has thus far chosen not to, because Paul, Aquinas, and Augustine fail to do so. Islam and Judaism cannot, because in those belief systems there is no otherness in God (and how can we, as humans, respect the freedom of the other when otherness has no precedent? This is why the Trinity is such an important belief - there is otherness in God). Secular belief systems certainly can embrace a meaningful sort of freedom, but non-religious belief systems can't have an absolute sense of justice or goodness (they are almost always either artificial constructions or are relativistic or nihilistic).

    So, we're kinda stuck, in my view. I am content to merely spectate, as if on a mountaintop far away from the action of politics. There was a time when I wanted to engage in politics, but after I recognized the above I lost most of my desire to do so. I figured I'd rather devote my life to trying to better reconciling freedom and goodness, or, I should say, studying those who I think do so successfully (von Balthasar).

    As an aside, I don't think it matters whether Hitler was Catholic or Atheist. What matters is whether Fascism and racial domination theories originate in, say, Darwinian and Enlightenment thinking, or whether they originate in, say, Aquinas.
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    Sep 20, 2014 9:52 PM GMT
    You say, "However, by adopting a secular (non-religious) perspective, one can investigate the claims of all religious freely and without bias in favor of one religion over another."

    I don't think this is correct. By adopting no perspective lens through which to engage other belief systems do we engage with them purely. It is very hard to attain "raw engagement", but the way to do it is most certainly not to peer through an intentionally non-religious lens to view religious thinkers.

    There are questions that impose themselves onto all men. Why am I free? What is the relationship between the individual and his neighbor? What is justice? What is goodness? Why do people do bad things? Why do I exist? Etc etc...there are secular and religious answers to these questions, and I think one should engage with these answers in as pure and raw a way as possible.

    Obviously there are tons of people who are closed-minded. Most people are, I think, in part because we are hard-wired to dwell in community. To a large degree, it is good that we become fixed in our ways. We are individual beings with individuated "being" and unique personalities. To some extent we have to remain the same in order to be ourselves. Otherwise we'd wake up every morning without the constancy of our friends, lovers, and family, and a strong sense of self. With that said, when a belief system doesn't value freedom, then the society over which it dominates tends to not be open-minded. I think had I opined on the question, "Do religious belief systems lead to more closed-mindedness than non-religious belief systems" in the year 1300, I would have answered yes. Now, I would answer no. Non-religious belief systems, lacking absolute metaphysical grounding, seem to lack confidence in themselves, and hence act like rabid wounded animals when they encounter ideas foreign to their own. They also tend to be aspiring to something so grand and utopian that they lose sight of the value of individual freedom. I think a society that will be as "openly-minded" as possible will be that society that can provide a robust metaphysical grounding for freedom. At present, that society doesn't exist.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2014 10:00 PM GMT
    Muslim + South Africa + Gay ? Trust me this one wont last long. I do not know exactly how people in the southpart of our continent behave but trust me in most countries of west africa disclose your sexual orientation as LGBT, you put yourself at risk seriously ...
  • Matras

    Posts: 69

    Sep 20, 2014 10:51 PM GMT
    Gargantua1989 saidMuslim + South Africa + Gay ? Trust me this one wont last long. I do not know exactly how people in the southpart of our continent behave but trust me in most countries of west africa disclose your sexual orientation as LGBT, you put yourself at risk seriously ...


    South africa is country, the richest and the most tolerant in Africa, and there is very big gay scene.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 20, 2014 11:18 PM GMT
    There's a gay friendly mosque quite a few places, Toronto, San Fran, so this isn't the first and only one.
    Perspective people.
  • waccamatt

    Posts: 1918

    Sep 21, 2014 11:56 PM GMT
    At Pride yesterday we passed a Syrian Restaurant and there was a woman in a burqa waving from a balcony at us in the parade as we rode/walked by. You can't ever paint any group with a broad brush as people are individuals.
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    Sep 22, 2014 3:23 AM GMT
    This is good news. icon_biggrin.gif
  • jaroslav123

    Posts: 600

    Sep 22, 2014 10:42 AM GMT
    KJSharp saidKodiak, you act as if "secular" equates to "peaceful, equitable, and open." Surely you are not from planet earth? This past century witnessed two of the worst (perhaps the two worst) regimes of all time in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and both of those regimes were completely secular in orientation and goal, and both received their philosophic sustenance from purely secular sources. "Secular" does not equate to "peaceful" no more than "Religious" equates to "violence."

    Our own society might be peaceful and equitable, but it certainly isn't open. I recommend Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. Though, it just takes researching Brandeis University and the Yale Student Muslim Association's treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali (and another school's treatment of Condoleeza Rice) to see that most kids go to college only to hear the echo of their own infallibility, and the liberal arts tradition in our country, once vibrant, and indeed something necessary for free thinking and democracy, is now dying. And dying under the weight of liberal secularism, mind you. If the mind is not open, a society can't be either. Only by failing to go through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum could someone say anything akin to what you uttered in your post.

    As an aside, I was very happy that the President of my alma mater (Yale) defended free speech, unlike the weaklings at other universities.




    Soviet Russia isn't secular. You're confusing secular with state-atheism. Secular means separation of church and state: state can't interfere with church, church can't interfere with state. The USSR interfered and essentially made illegal, religious belief - so it ISN'T secular.

    Also, Nazi Germany wasn't an atheist state. The religious views of Nazism made them murder jews.

    Atheism and Secularism aren't synonymous. State-imposed atheism is awful; state-imposed secularism is wonderful.
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    Sep 23, 2014 11:45 AM GMT
    jaroslav123 said

    Soviet Russia isn't secular. You're confusing secular with state-atheism. Secular means separation of church and state: state can't interfere with church, church can't interfere with state. The USSR interfered and essentially made illegal, religious belief - so it ISN'T secular.

    Also, Nazi Germany wasn't an atheist state. The religious views of Nazism made them murder jews.

    Atheism and Secularism aren't synonymous. State-imposed atheism is awful; state-imposed secularism is wonderful.
    You are really missing the point that the Nazis were great supporters of science, believed in science, and believed quite profoundly that their theories on racial superiority/inferiority were founded in the best science. The modern communist movements of the early 20th century also believed their political and economic theories were an abandonment of religion in favour of a scientific approach to building societies. Whereas in the past nations may have killed and oppressed in the name of God, the Nazis and certain communist nations did so in the name of science. Marxism (in which Communism is based) is rooted in the belief that dialectical materialism and the natural and predictable progression of class struggle is a scientific and verifiable phenomena. In Nazi and Soviet Europe, as well as in China, tens of millions perished for such secular beliefs.

    Most people I know are secular in their personal beliefs. I do not find them to be more ethical, intelligent, or in-the-know than the people I have known who are devout Christians.