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Abd' Al-Halim

16 jun 2016

"This man (Omar Mateen) wasnt a radical Islamist. To drink or go to gay bars, or any kind of bar,
is prohibited in Islam. He seemed to be a nominal Muslim." Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
The so-called terrorist experts including local ones always state that we need to be wary of selfradicalised Muslims. As I pointed out before, this idea of a "self-radicalised" Muslim is very
problematic. It seems it is a label that is being used very arbitrarily - any individual with a Muslim
name who commit terror acts can be automatically labeled a "Self-radicalised" Muslim.. The
Orlando shooting is a case in point. Some Western terrorist experts (and this will be followed by
our local ones) are singing this tune in their so-called learned analysis.... Are you saying that a
homosexual who frequent homosexual bars living an extremely wild liberal life that is against the
teachings of Islam, suddenly becomes an ISIS-type Muslim extremist who hates homosexuals
enough to plan and execute what seems to be an impossible military-type operation to kill them
in the tens? Does this make sense to you?

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Gay Muslims; Scholars

Issue Statement
JUNE 15, 2016 BY ERIN

We, as American Muslims, follow the openhearted and inclusive Islam

of Muhammad Ali and completely reject the hatred, provincialism, and
intolerance of those who trample upon the rights of others, besmirching
and defiling the name of Islam.
On June 13, 2016, Muslim leaders across North America signed the Orlando Statement.
Signatories include,Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and Shaykh Faraz

You can read the statement, in full, at the Orlando Statement website.

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Shaykh Hamza Yusuf gave a brief interview addressing several difficult

issues. We reproduce it below with thanks toCNN.
Q: There have been many statements from Muslims condemning terrorism. Why issue
another one?

A: Muslims are constantly being accused of not condemning these types of attacks, even though
I dont have any control over what other people do, and they dont represent me or my faith.
Nobody associates all Seventh-day Adventists with David Koresh, who belonged to a splinter
sect, or all of Judaism with Meir Kahane. But when these things happen, the whole religion of
Islam is besmirched. Were trapped in this constant cycle of: events, condemnation; events,
condemnation. And then people still say, Why dont Muslims condemn these things?
Q: What do you make of Donald Trumps speech about Islam and terrorism on Monday?
A: Hes playing a dangerous game, and a lot of lives are threatened by that type of saber-rattling.
Were in an extremely volatile situation and social media has introduced an unprecedented
element that we dont fully understand.

Q: Trump and President Obama are arguing over whether to label attacks like the Orlando
shooting radical Islam.

A: When a man wrote a political screed against the IRS and flew into its building, he was deemed
mentally ill, even though it was clearly a political act. Theres a double standard, which is: If his
name is Muhammad, its automatically terrorism. This man (Omar Mateen) wasnt a radical
Islamist. To drink or go to gay bars, or any kind of bar, is prohibited in Islam. He seemed to be a
nominal Muslim. He went to mosques on occasion but I dont see a lot of devotion there.

Q: What about the gay community and gay Muslims who may feel ostracized from
mainstream Islam?

A: As we say in the Orlando statement, we are committed to Abrahamic morality, but it should
not to be imposed on others. America is about choices, including those to live certain lifestyles.
Theres a statement in the Quran: There should be absolutely no compulsion in religion.

Q: What about gay Muslims, though?

A: Look, I dont have the power to issue papal decrees. We dont have that type of structure in
our tradition. But I have studied the tradition, and the vast majority of Muslims would never

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accept the lawfulness of an active homosexual lifestyle. I dont see that happening. But there is
also no authority in the tradition for any individual to take things into his own hands and impose
their version of the religion on someone else.
Q: Why cant Muslim teachings on homosexuality change? Is it because the Quran, which
is considered the inerrant word of God, condemns it?

A: The Quran is pretty explicit in its condemnation of the act, and we have a long tradition of
jurisprudence that defines it as unlawful. But there were also fatwas permitting people who had
those attractions to relieve themselves so they wouldnt fall into active engagement. Theres an
awareness that this is a real human urge. I definitely have sympathy for people who are
struggling. Ive met with young Muslims who have told me about their struggles. But Im not sure
they want our sympathies; they want full recognition of their lifestyle, and my religion tells me that
I cant accept that. But I cant and wont impose my beliefs on others, either verbally or
otherwise. Im not going to judge people.

Q: What do you say when gay Muslims tell you about their struggles?
A: I say that Im not going to deny your experience but my recommendation is not to actively
engage in behavior outside of what is permitted in the religion. I know that people can live
celibate lives, I did it myself for many years.

Q: The punishment for homosexuality in some schools of Islamic jurisprudence can be

quite harsh.
A: Theres no specific punishment in the books of fiqh (Islamic laws) that relate to homosexuality
per se. They apply to any illicit sexual relations, including prohibited heterosexual acts like
adultery. And the punishments are strong, but they are legal fictions because they are impossible
to prove. You need four witnesses to say they witnessed (sexual) penetration. In what
circumstances are you going to find someone to testify to that?
Q: A lot of Muslims have lamented that the feelings of goodwill after Muhammad Alis
funeral quickly dissipated after the Orlando shooting. You were at Alis memorial. What
was that like?
A: Dr. Sherman Jackson said it best: Muhammad Ali put an end to the idea that you cant be an
American and a Muslim. We were all feeling that last week. The memorial was all planned by
Muhammad Ali himself, and I was impressed by how much his faith was highlighted, even by
people of other traditions. The spirit of love that embodied the city of Louisville for two days was

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overwhelming. Everyone was smiling and hugging. It felt like such a breakthrough for our
community and then, Orlando. We went from the incredible pathos of joy to the bathos of
despair. Its one step forward, two steps back.

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