Letter: Islam and gays

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As one who has lived and travelled extensively throughout the Islamic world and who has many gay and lesbian friends who are Muslims, I should like to comment on Shahid Amin's letter (7 August).

In claiming that "you cannot be a Muslim and gay", Mr Amin demonstrates that he is unaware of the existence of countless people who are precisely that. I am not referring only to so-called "secular Muslims" but to many people I have met, from Morocco to Malaysia, who are both fully observant and enjoy making love with persons of the same gender.

According to scholars, in most Islamic countries prior to the current Islamist movement, homosexuality was not subject to condemnation by the authorities and practising homosexuals were left in peace.

Mr Amin criticises Western Christians for their acceptance of homosexuality, yet he should know that this acceptance was primarily achieved by ordinary gay men and lesbians demanding that church leaders stop their hypocritical custom of condemning in public what they practise in private. Perhaps one day Muslims and African Christians who happen to be gay will stand up openly and demand the same honesty from their religious leaders.

J CLARKE

London SE1

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