The Quran, the holy book of Islam consists of, 114 chapters, 6,236 verses, 77,943 words and 323,620 letters, and not one of every single verse that stated about homosexuality.
Unfortunately, there are some conservative, fundamentalist Muslims who even think, being gay is haram(forbidden) and that you are no longer consider a Muslim if you are gay or lesbian or trans or queer, and the evidence they get is from the story of Lot.
I read the Story of Lot time and time again. It mentions in both the holy scriptures (Quran and Bible). To me, it wasn’t making sense. Why would God or Allah destroy a whole town or city including women and children if the menfolk were homosexual? If we were to look at the issues, the mortal heterosexual men desired Angels in the guise of men and there were other issues at play too — power, gluttony, control, rape, promiscuity, incest, consent, tests of faith and loyalty to Allah or God, idolatry and worship of deities, intoxication, and amongst other issues, which had no bearings on being gay itself.
In Singapore, most lgbtqi Malay Muslims are living in closeted. Some just did not want to seek help as they think, it is not necessary to be known to the public and others decided to be out of Islam because, that is the best choice for them to be who they are as a gay person, without any religious attachment.
Through these spectrums, we can see how marginalized the Malay Muslim lgbtqi community here in Singapore. It can even lead to committing suicide or suicidal tendencies when this marginalised community is not being addressed in the more civil and social-minded ways. The trauma of how some must go through conversion therapy, the harsh punishment from their parents, being disowned by their loved ones and teens being bullied by their schoolmates and friends, due to their effeminate tendencies or behaviour. These are the reasons why most Malay Muslims lgbtqi are closeted. The fear of speaking out still exist here in Singapore, and also within their neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.
In the US, young Muslims who often feel different about homosexuality than their elders are increasingly speaking out in support of gay rights, as religious scholar, Reza Aslan and comedian Hasan Minaj did in an open letter to American Muslims after last year’s Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
Even though according to the 2014 Pew research study shows, Muslim Americans are less accepting of homosexuality than Americans as a whole: 47 percent of US Muslims said it should be discouraged while 45 percent said it should be accepted. That itself does not stop the young Muslims American to support gay rights, in fact, it gives them much freedom of expression for them to speak out to the Muslims in America.
Therefore, as a Young Malay Muslims in Singapore, they should take a stand and voice out their views about lgbtqi, as to whether they supported this lgbtqi community or they are not. It is their future to live within this diverse ethnic community in peace and harmony. With their stand and voice, at the very least, will encourage the closeted Malay Muslims lgbtqi to be more open and receptive. I truly believe the young Malay Muslims here, do have their support toward lgbtqi but with their silence, it will not let the truth prevail.
As Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs said: “Younger Muslims will be increasingly confronted with the LGBT issue, with society becoming more open.”
I believe that is an invitation for the young Malay Muslims to come out and voice out their views on lgbtqi.
A focus group discussion between the lgbtqi Malay Muslims and young Malay Muslims should be encouraged. Furthermore, the progressive values of some Muslims within this community should be addressed as well. To be tolerance without knowing why is not enough, we need to understand why there is a need of tolerance, not just for non-Muslim but also for other Muslims that has a different kind of understanding about Islam.
We need to find ways to bring our Malay Muslims community united in diversity. Additional to that, we also need to re-look and re-transliterate the story of Lot. To be able to open the minds of some conservative Muslims to understand what is the actual moral of the story, behind this story of Lot in the Quran.
I hope with this first initiative from The Healing Circle.sg, to start a one step forward to bring the Young Malay Muslims community to speak out or you will all be forgotten due to your silence.