Sunday, 8 March 2009

Syria: Anti-LGBT Campaign Sparks Heated Debate

by Yazan Badran

This weekend the Syrian blogosphere warmed up for a new confrontation. A group of bloggers launched a campaign against the spread of blogs advancing LGBT rights, and the response came quick. LGBT is controversial everywhere, but within a society that is conservative in its majority, the topic gets much more sensitive and hotly-debated.

The campaign has not officially begun yet, and all the responses were to the mere declaration of such campaign. It was first published on Mohammed's blog with the following objectives:

  • توضيح أن المثليين هو شذوذ جنسي يخالف الفطرة التي فطرنا الله عليها و بانه مرض ينبغي استئصاله.
  • الرد على الأفكار التي يتم تداولها بين أوساط المثليين من المدونين العرب بأن انتقاد هؤلاء أو الحديث عنهم كمرضى هو أمر منافي لحقوق الإنسان و عنصري في حين أن الرد عليه هو واجب على كل إنسان خُلق على الفطرة و تربى على الأخلاق.
  • مجابهتهم فكرياً و الرد على أفكارهم بأفكارنا.
  • توضيح رأي الدين في المثليين جنسياً.
  • توضيح الأمراض الجسدية و النفسية الناتجة عن ممارسة الشذوذ الجنسي.
  • Make clear the fact that homosexuality is a sexual abnormality that is contrary to the instinct God has given us and is a disease that must be eradicated.
  • Respond to the ideas that are circulating among LGBT Arab bloggers that criticizing them or referring to them as ill people is somewhat racist and contrary to human rights, while such a response is the duty of every human who is raised morally.
  • Debate them intellectually and respond to their ideals with ours.
  • To clarify the religious view on homosexuality.
  • To clarify the physical and mental diseases resulting from the practices of homosexuality.

While a number of bloggers have stated their support for the campaign and their intention to share their ideas about the issue when the campaign starts next week, the initiative has also prompted a series of harsh responses from other bloggers.

Abu Fares responded quickly to what he called the “latest bigoted outcry” by saying “Live and Let Live“:

What are they to do with all these non-conformists? Leave it to these religious tartuffes and they are likely to replace us with a bunch of brainwashed zealots, ardent celibates, devout cretins, faithful crusaders, pious robots and godly agitators who will teach those who are left of us how to live. What to do and what not to say. How to look down and how not to laugh. Why we die and why we should lead austere lives all the way to the grave.

Thanks but no thanks. The fanatics, the fomenters, the hypocrites, the bigots, the knaves gave me no choice but to defend a Syria of multiplicity and to protect my own freedom of choice.

Mr. Blonde in his blog also criticized the language of the statement and the declared objectives of the campaign:

سحق المثليين، هل هذا الذي فهمته من الدعوة ؟ أقول : هذا ما كانت تحمله الكلمات بين السطور، وربما كان هذا هو الهدف المبطن من الدعوة .. بداية دعوني أوضح بأني ليست هنا في معرض الدفاع عن المثليين ولا حتى الدفاع عمن هم ضد المثليين، فليدافع كل منهم عن نفسه وعن أفكاره كما يحلو له .. ولكن لا أستطيع أن أتقبل هذه الطريقة الإلغائية القمعية في موضوع يحتاج إلى كل الإتزان والحكمة في معالجته والنقاش حوله ..

To crush the homosexuals, is that what I understand from this call? I say: this is what I read between the lines, and perhaps this was the covert objective of this invitation.. First, let me make it clear that I am not here to defend gays or to defend anti-gays, let each one of them defend himself and his ideals as they please.. But I can not accept this abolitionist, repressive method in a subject that needs all the balance and wisdom in order for us to effectively have a debate over.

On the other side, Jabs from Arabian Camel gives his own views on why this is a “necessary debate”:

Religion regulates our lives, it reminds us of what is right and what is wrong and what is healthy in a society and what will corrupt society therefore religion maintains the integrity of a society. In most religions, especially in Islam, the society as a whole is always more important than the individual but that does not take away the rights of the individual. When an individual is seen to be practicing something that will lead to a corruption of society they are punished, and the punishment varies today from one Islamic country to another, from being fined to capital punishment as is the case in Iran. However in Islam and the Islamic law, the Sharia’ah, a person accusing someone of homosexuality (or any other crime punishable under Sharia’ah) is not something easy to go on about. In order for a person to be accused of homosexuality there needs to be four witnesses that can bear witness that the person accused has committed sodomy, in the case that one fails to be a legitimate witness all four witnesses are punished.

And finally, Dubai Jazz, mentions a study about a pair of “gay” penguins, and provides us with his own analysis, in a rather witty way:

Roy and Silo are gay bastards. They are having a same-sex affair without our consent. We should probably seek to either destroy them or straighten up their behaviour. I am not sure how do we do that though? as homo-sapiens we are capable of inflicting our desires on our fellow humans. But it's ironic, isn't it? I mean the leaders of Moral Legions would always cite animals as the ultimate proof of the deviatory essence of homosexuality, they'd say “if it's natural, then why animals don't do it?”. I am not sure how would they react to findings of such study as above, they'd probably write it off as a Zionist/Crusaders conspiracy, or they'd call it a test from the higher powers to see whose faith would wither at the sight of fornicating birds, and whose faith will hold. Or maybe they'd brand it as optical illusion.


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