Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Somali gays under attack in the UK

I admit to having some doubts about whether one should encourage homosexuality as a "normal" thing, a good choice for young people, as the Government of British Columbia has recently declared our public schools will teach. Quite aside from one's take on the controversy over whether homosexuality is rooted in biology or learned desire, or both, it seems clear to me that Western culture and most families have had reason for taking heterosexual love in youth and marriage as a standard: it promotes social order and reproduction. It also seems evident to me that male homosexuality can become widespread, especially in a hierarchical culture, in the form of pederasty, and that such a widespread practice doesn't come without limiting or shaping a society in certain ways. It is a choice, with consequences. So I'm not surprised to see the hysterical fears of homosexuality among Islamic opinion leaders (like the President of Iran who recently informed Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in his country!), given that by all reports male homosexuality, while kept hidden and denounced, is nonetheless widespread in the Islamic world. Whether Islam, with its codes of dominance and submission, can ever overcome its often nasty take on the homoerotic, and its women-bashing tendencies, is something I often doubt, though I sincerely hope.

Holding this view doesn't mean I think we shouldn't have a society free enough for people to do what they will in private, or to talk about it in public. If the conventional Western nuclear family and heterosexual romantic ideal is an integral part of a free society, as I believe they are, we should defend both this family structure and any homosexual freedom to the extent it does not begin to subvert the family and societal reproduction. Such a balancing act will only be possible in a society where free speech is positively encouraged, and people are not scorned for what are today politically-incorrect defenses of the "normal", or criticisms of the sado-masochistic, or promiscuous, in matters sexual.

This understanding of freedom, however, which I had thought was pretty firmly established in the West, no longer goes unchallenged in the United Kingdom where free speech is no longer a priority (as producers of a recent television program investigating the radical Jihadi speeches being given in British mosques discovered when the police responded to the program not by investigating the mosques, but rather the program’s producers – for incitement to "racial hatred").

As usual the great challenger today to the established Western order is Islam. At present, our attention is on a story found buried in cyberspace about a UK website set up for Somali homosexuals to communicate and come in contact with each other. For their troubles, the site's male owners, who offer a reading of the Islamic holy texts to defend homosexuality, and who believe Islam is a religion of reason, have received various death threats, even from enraged Muslim women:
afrol News , 29 November - After the website Somali Gay Community was launched earlier this month, the staff behind the site has received death threats. The news about the website, which major Somali media picked up from afrol News, caused a storm of debate that included threatening hate messages. But it also gave the new gay site very many hits and members, documenting needs in Somali society.

Muraad Kareem, one of the Somalis behind, was astonished by the row of events that followed the publishing of an article about the website by afrol News. "Major Somali news websites have picked it up the article that you .. published. People were outraged to see such article on 'Hiiraanonline' which is a major news website. People could not believe that a major Somali news website would publish such article. They have asked it to be removed and their messages were horrific and hateful," Muraad tells afrol News.

"One of the messages was saying that they will hunt us down beyond enemy lines," he continues. "I was ignoring these messages but when I started to worry when my name, address, telephone number and that of Andrew Prince was posted on"

Andrew Prince, a UK-based gay activist and web developer, stood behind the technical aspects of the Somali website. Also he was surprised by the amount of "hate writers" attacking him and Muraad on Somali blogs. He recalls: "One individual calls for us to be 'hunted down in the street and stoned like dogs' while another said, 'Allah will punish them', another, 'It's a western illness', and yet another, 'motherfocker if I ever see you on the street, am gonna chop you to pieces then feed ur crap to dogs' – this last one from a Muslim woman."

The two reveal that several individuals were going a step further than just threatening. Some investigated the whereabouts of the two and published this information on a Somali website. According to Mr Prince, "the site was threatened with being hacked so I had to take extra security steps to protect the site so that it stays online to serve the community that it was intended for." Muraad adds there were indeed attempts to hack the website.
Now we could chalk this up as just another story about the rise of intolerant Islamic supremacism in the West. But in the midst of all these stories another question is emerging: what is it going to take for Western people to stand up and make it perfectly clear that this type of hysterical and threatening behaviour is deranged, a sign of mental illness that must be faced and disciplined by healthy society?

Well, for starters, that would take a widespread recognition of what is a healthy and free society. But it also requires people knowing and loving the truth so much that they will risk their own security to defend it. Because, like it or not, it is possible that you are taking a risk with your life, or economic security, when you stand up to hysterical and threatening Muslims and their aiders and abettors among the appeasing elites of Western society.

Now it seems that the gay principals of the UK website are willing to stand and fight. They have put in enough time and love to recognize their stake in the system and to defend it for now.

Yet a question that is often asked in the blogs of conservatives - and those liberals transformed by 9/11 into taking what are today labeled “conservative” stances, i.e. the defense of classical, liberal values - is why aren't the "feminists" doing more to stand up for the women atrociously abused by Islam, like the many rape victims beaten and imprisoned for the "crime" of letting themselves be raped. Where are the widespread denunciations of orthodox Islam in the supposed equality-defending universities? We also hear the question, why aren't the leaders of the Western gay institutions standing up more for those homosexuals who, from time to time, are violently punished - sometimes executed - as the scapegoats for an Islamic culture that can't come openly to terms with its own culture of pederasty? Are gays in the UK going to get out in public and defend their local Somali gay website? Or are they going to make excuses for Islam, all the while dreaming of a vacation in, say, Egypt where you can service all kinds of desires as long as you know how to be discrete?

Islam, it seems to me, is acting as a great unveiler of what we in the West really believe. It's always easy to talk, and to think holy thoughts, but what you really believe is revealed by what you are willing to do and to defend when under direct personal pressure.

People cannot act if at heart they are nihilists, which is to say, according to my friend Adam Katz, if they don’t really know which among several contradicting imperatives to stand for and fight, and if they can’t link their discovery of a personal imperative to a true vision of a free and expanding culture where one is in a compact with other free persons to guarantee each other's freedom to speak and think and fight for what each believes is right, even when you disagree with each other on fundamental questions. If people's model of standing for something is simply to demand recognition for a historical victim status – e.g. for recognition and compensation for the fact that Western society, until recently, privileged the status of heterosexual males in public positions of all kinds – then people seem to be unable to deny other peoples' similar claims on such victim status, i.e. the claims of Muslims demanding respect and entitlements in the “post-colonial” West, even as the Muslim leaders do little to criticize let alone fight their many co-religionists saying or doing violently objectionable things. The problem that gays and feminists may face in overcoming their apparent paralysis on the Muslim question is that in criticizing the straight male, they have often come to assume it is ok to deny straight men the right to publicly criticize homosexuality or certain feminist doctrines. And this entails, in other words, that people no longer have a firm sense of the covenant we all must share to guarantee each other’s freedom to speak without being shunned, or worse.

If gays and feminists want to be protected in a free society they are probably going to have to take a lead in defending it, precisely because at present they may have more moral authority in the left-liberal circles of elite public opinion makers than do cranky straight males like me who might wish to criticize something about “the other”.

Gays are going to have to learn why it is imperative to defend homosexuality as a necessary freedom in face of those who would go on fits of gay bashing. But wait a minute, surely this is not any great intellectual dilemma, is it? Well, as Charles has reported, the best the Mayor of Amsterdam can come up with in response to a number of Muslim gay bashings is to “study the problem”. And what he means is that he is going to commission some report to show to the Muslims and say “look! this is what all good liberal people think”.

The problem with that is that what good left-liberal people think is that no one should any longer do or think anything that isn’t in line with what all good left-liberal people think. It’s paralyzing, waiting for the great consensus to turn your way. In other words, the left-liberals have spent so much effort in circumscribing all manner of non-“liberal” thought and social authority that they themselves no longer really know how to act on their own initiative, uncertain as to what might result from it, what new imbalance or crime of victimization they may inadvertently commit, especially against immigrant minorities doing objectionable things. They are too full of the idea that good liberal people simply embrace multiculturalism – the left defines itself as a coalition of “minority” groups - and not criticize other cultures, choosing instead to promote integration through mutual self-esteem. And they don’t have a plan B if that fails. And they will only learn again how to act on questions of life or death when they truly learn to love their freedom as something other than an entitlement, or a sign of what all good left-liberal people think, when they learn again what is an almost God-given imperative for oneself to defend, as if it were most sacred. The faith that will propel positive action cannot come from vague ideas of what all good liberal people believe. I think European gays will have to renew a commitment to both a more imperative and indefinite, open-ended, faith, in exchange with other lovers of freedom.

1 comment:

Rob Misek said...

Standing up against unfair laws is both courageous and noble.

History will remember what was at stake.

In the case of homosexuals they stand up for their choice to end their genetic lineage.

They also stand up to oppose the social family value of children resulting from the marriage of one man and one woman.

They stand up as proponents who value promiscuity.

They stand up for their value to do what they please.

Societies are defined by and cannot exist without shared social values.

As such, societies must discriminate between various social diversities and make laws to prevent social decay.

I agree with the muslim opposition to homosexuality, but diagree with the severity of their laws to enforce it.

I believe most Christians agree.