No Muslim Ever Called Me Faggot and Other Nonsense

I don’t know anybody who was killed in Orlando, but they were fellow Americans, most of them were gay, and they were systematically murdered by a Muslim man professing jihad and allegiance to a terrorist organization that orders itself in a strictly Koranic fashion, which took credit for the massacre. I don’t know any of the people who were killed by Muslims in San Bernardino, either, but they were fellow human beings, and they deserve to have the cause of their deaths honestly identified without the truth-tellers suffering charges of scapegoating and bigotry. And New York City. I count as a personal friend not a single one of the nearly 3,000 persons who died because of Muslim terrorists hijacked plans and flew them into buildings on 9-11. I did not know them. But I know they had friends. Because humans do. And they had family. Children. Dreams unfulfilled.

So you have not been directly affected by a Muslim (that you are aware of). No Muslim ever called you faggot. (I know blacks who have never been called nigger.) But you can no longer be safe because you don’t live in a Muslim country where you would face the death penalty for being gay. Muslim attacks on US soil mean that you can no longer count on a vast ocean to protect you from Islam in action. It’s here now. The barbarians are inside the gates.

I had somebody ask me, “Are you this passionate about the queer people who get killed by white people every day?” White people? How did race get into the conversation? “White Christians have tried to pass over 200 anti-gay/trans laws in my country.” Homophobia is a real problem in the black Christian community, too, pushed by the black Churches. But not just black Christians. Black Muslims push homophobia, as well.  That a discussion concerning the religious oppression of and violence towards homosexuals gets turned to a discussion about race tells us that there is an ideological barrier to having honest and rational discussions about the problem of hateful and divisive ideology. Why say “white Christians”? Why not just say Christians have tried to pass anti-gay/trans laws? And you do know that the majority of Muslims in the United States are white? 

Please tell me about the time a Christian man walked into a gay bar in the United States and killed 49 people while shouting “God is great!” When did Christians for religious reasons hurl gay men from towers on a regular basis in the United States? That hasn’t happened in my life time. The notion that there is a reasonable equivalency at present is strained. I grew up in the South. In the Church of Christ. My atheism was difficult for those around me to process. That made life somewhat uncomfortable. My father and mother’s work in the civil rights struggle did not sit right with the white Christian nationalists at all (and here whiteness is relevant). So we were kicked out of the church. And out of the preacher’s house. Into a rain storm.

The horror of 9-11 is incomparable to those experiences. I would think myself far too important if I believed that my suffering – the childhood trauma of being ejected from the only home I had ever known by a gang of angry Christian men with crewcuts and ax handles – could compare to knowing that one’s escape from death was blocked by the fiery wreckage of a passenger plane flown by men who, as they made their heroic contribution to jihad, shouted, in Islam’s sacred tongue, “God is great!” Your only options to burn to death or jump to your demise. Maybe somebody would hold your hand on the way down.

Christians have bombed abortion clinics and shot doctors and others. It’s true. It’s also true that their motives came from Christian teachings about the “horrors” of abortion. But adding up all the victims of Christianism over the last two decades only gets us one-fifth of the way to the total number slain by Omar Mateen in a single night. In a single gay bar in Orlando. Does Christian homophobia excuse Islamic homophobia? I condemn laws spawned by Judeo-Christian ideology. But we are talking about Islam, an ideology that criminalizes homosexuality and prescribes the death penalty for it. Not in ancient times. Now.

If you are not prepared to identify Islam’s contribution to homophobia among its followers, how will you be able to identify the source of homophobia among Christians who kill gays? This double standard is not merely annoying. It’s deadly. Where is the sense of proportion? The awareness of world and history? Despite the large percentage of Christians in the United States, the country still managed to win gay marriage in all 50 states. I have friends and relatives and colleagues who can get married now – and many of them have! Were the United States governed by sharia, even partly influenced by it, does anybody seriously believe gay marriage could happen? Do readers know the percentage of Muslims in Islamic countries who believe homosexuality is moral? At best 1-2 percent. How about Muslims living in Britain? A scientific poll could not find a single British Muslim who believes homosexuality is moral. Religious belief is something one carries around with him. In contrast, more than half of Christians in the US believe homosexuality is morally acceptable.

Christianity has progressed on this issue. Islam hasn’t. Islam abhors homosexuality. Islamic law recommends death for gays. Islam is the source of homophobia in the Muslim world and Muslim communities across the West. Islamic belief licenses ISIS to throw gay men from towers.

I don’t know any of ISIS’s gay victims. But they’re human beings and I mourn for them. I must tell the truth about what and who murdered them.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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