Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gay Pride in Pakistan

Dear Friends

On the 26th June 2011 the American Embassy in Islamabad hosted Pakistan’s inaugural Gay Pride event. However it was a muted affair and the Press Release only went global a couple of days ago.  As expected the back lash has begun and Islamist parties have been at the forefront of violent opposition.

Personally I am amazed at the American cultural insensitivity and timing of the event since Pakistan is plagued with a myriad of socio-economic problems such as poverty and this incident will only fuel anti-western feelings and embolden the conspiracy theorists. Also LGBT people are not exactly free in the West since there has been vehement opposition and legal challenge to Gay marriage for example recently in New York.

Western notions of sexual identity are highly political and developed in the West but do not apply to the Muslim world. Instead Muslim culture has developed its own mechanisms to  absorb LGBT people into the mainstream of society for over 1000 years.  A useful and insightful introduction on the subject is the seminal work by the progressive Canadian Muslim intellectual Tarek Fatah entitled, Chasing a Mirage – The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State.

I remember the following real life story:

A Sufi once met a Gay man and they shared a meal. The Gay man remarked boldly that he was proud to be gay. The Sufi replied that he could not judge as he was not gay and that he was interested in their commonality. ‘What commonality is that Sufi sahib?’, remarked the Gay man.  The Sufi replied, ‘My scripture teaches that God is closer than the jugular vein – therefore, let’s focus on HIM’....They talked for hours and finally the Sufi remarked ‘You are a good and decent man why do you deny the gift of life and opportunity to have children?’. The Gay man was silent for a while then replied ‘That is my choice and I know the consequences of my choices’. The Sufi replied ‘Ah yes thank you for reminding me that my scripture teaches that LET THERE BE NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION. AND THAT GODS MERCY IS SUPERIOR TO HIS WRATH...’

Ultimately what goes on in the bedroom should remain private and between consenting adults...




  1. Thank you Faisal for that post. Personally, I think that there is nothing incompatible about being gay and being a Sufi. Only God is fit to judge the deeds of men, and what goes on between two consenting adults in private is nobody's business. We have no right to judge another human being or to condemn them for their lifestyle choices or the person that they choose to enter a relationship with. Let God be the judge, not men.

  2. God has been the judge! Any muslim knows the story of Loot (AS) in the Qur'an and the decimation Allah heaped on the entire community that stopped their Sodomite activities.
    If the private matters become open knowledge, you have to stop them. Remember the saying of our beloved Prophet (SAW), the crux of which was that we have to stop evil with our hands if possible, with our toungues if that isn't possible and if even that isn't possible, then know the evil to be evil in our hearts; and thats the lowest form of Iman...at least lets not loose that!