Islamic law and the Orlando massacre [UPDATED]

As information regarding the terrorist who murdered dozens of people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida emerged, the question arose whether the attack was “ISIS inspired.” But Andy McCarthy argues that “the inspiration for Muslims to brutalize and mass murder gay people does not come from ISIS; it is deeply rooted in Islamic law, affirmed by many of Islam’s most renowned scholars.”

Before getting to the renowned scholars, it’s worth noting, as McCarthy does (citing the Washington Post), that there are ten Muslim countries where homosexuality may be punished by death. They are Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.

Now for the scholars. McCarthy begins with an English version of the classic sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller, which, he says, has been endorsed by scholars of al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning since the tenth century; by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood think tank that is influential in Washington; and by other influential Islamic governments and commentators. Here is what the manual says about homosexuality:

Sec. p17.1: In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot’s people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery [McCarthy notes that adultery is punished brutally, including by death].

Sec. p17.2: Allah Most High says: “Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives Allah has created for you? But you are a people who transgress” (Koran 26:165-66).

Sec. p17.3: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

(1) “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”
(2) “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.”
(3) “Lesbianism by women is adultery between them.”

Next, McCarthy turns to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, possibly Sunni Islam’s most influential living sharia jurist, according to Andy. Here, as reported by the Middle East Forum, is Qaradawi’s teaching on homosexuality:

We must be aware that in regulating the sexual drive Islam has prohibited not only illicit sexual relations and all what leads to them, but also the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females. (The same applies equally to the case of lesbianism.)

The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The story of the people of Prophet Lut (Lot), peace be upon him, as narrated in the Koran should be sufficient for us. Prophet Lut’s people were addicted to this shameless depravity, abandoning natural, pure, lawful relations with women in the pursuit of this unnatural, foul, and illicit practice. That is why their Prophet Lut, peace be on him, told them, “What! Of all creatures, do you approach males and leave the spouses whom your Lord has created for you? Indeed, you are people transgressing (all limits)!” (Koran, 26: 165–166). . . .

Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.

For the Shiite point of view, McCarthy turns to Ayatollah Sistani, the influential Iraqi cleric whose cooperation the U.S. has sought and at times obtained. According to Andy, when asked, “What is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?,” Sistani replied: “Forbidden. Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.” (Emphasis added)

These bloodthirsty views aren’t the only way in which Islamic scripture is interpreted. But they are a legitimate, mainstream interpretation. It isn’t just ISIS and al Qaeda who hold adhere to it.

McCarthy concludes by considering what this should mean for U.S. immigration policy. It doesn’t mean that a categorical ban should be imposed on Muslim immigration, as Donald Trump has urged. It does mean, in McCarthy’s view, that “there absolutely should be severe restrictions on immigration from countries, regions, and communities (e.g., in Europe) in which sharia standards are de jure or de facto imposed.”

I agree. It isn’t just that a chasm exists between the values widely held in these countries, regions, and communities and the values we stand for — the right of gays to be left alone being just one example. It’s that the risk is too high that these immigrants and/or their offspring will attempt to impose sharia standards here, including through violent action such as the horrific murders at the Orlando club.

UPDATE: In a separate column, McCarthy asks: “Will CAIR-LA Join Me in Condemning the Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim Scholars Who Affirm Sharia’s Persecution of Homosexuals?”

Andy’s column demonstrates how unlikely it is that CAIR-LA (or CAIR-anywhere) will do so.

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