Monday, June 26, 2006

A Right-Wing Christian Attacks Gays In KSA

Yesterday, the fourth installment of "A Dialogue with a Saudi Muslim" was published on the American Thinker. James Arlandson, a frequent contributor to the site, has been engaged in a written intellectual debate with a Saudi religious authority, Soliman al-Buthe. I normally hate the American Thinker - it's full of anti-gay, anti-Islam, and blindly pro-Israel propaganda, but this article is different. Despite the tone of the article (the majority of it is Arlandson choking on the venom he's trying desperately not to spit at al-Buthe), this article gives a lot of insight the way hard-core conservative Americans perceive the Islamic World.

Furthermore, it's good to read in how it touches on homosexuality in Saudi Arabia, even though Arlandson is anti-gay and only uses references to homosexuality in Saudi Arabia to point the finger of immorality. Parts 2 and 4 touch on homosexuality in particular.

Here's what Arlandson's diatribe in Part 2 says about homosexuality (Mind you, he's only using the brutal punishments in the persecution of gays as a way to demonstrate supposed Western superiority):

Does Islam deal effectively with sexual sinners?

Next, you [al-Buthe] quote Dr. Albert Mohler, who laments a lack of church discipline and the aggressive homosexual agenda in America.

In reply, though I do not know Dr. Mohler, I have heard him on the radio. He is allowed to preach righteousness to society and influence public policy, especially church policy. But I can guarantee you that he would not advocate executing homosexuals. But the Prophet of Islam did this.

First, the Sunan Abu Dawud says that Ibn Abbas reports the following about early Islam and Muhammad’s punishment of homosexuals:

. . . “If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done” (no. 4447).

The next one below no. 4447 says that an unmarried man who commits sodomy should be stoned to death:

“Ibn Abbas said: if a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death” (no. 4448).

Third and finally, in the hadith collection Mishkhat al-Masabih, a compendium that brings together other hadith collections, your Prophet prescribes the punishments of being burned to death and having heavy objects thrown on guilty homosexuals:

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did.” In a version . . . on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali had two people burned and that Abu Bakr had a wall thrown down on them. (Trans. James Robson, Prescribed Punishments, vol. 1, p. 765)

For more information on Islam’s and Christianity’s policies on homosexuality, go to this article. I do not deny that the West has not reached moral perfection. The West indeed has its share of problems. However, you seem to believe that without the Enlightenment of any kind and with Islam’s guidance in a society, problems vanish away. However, this webpage has further links to homosexual activity in Saudi Arabia, the land of the two Holy Mosques (in Mecca and Medina).

To cite only one example from that webpage, on April 7, 2005, it was reported that Saudi Arabia sentenced more than 100 men to prison or flogging for “gay conduct.”

On or about March 26, a Jeddah court, meeting in a closed session in which defense attorneys were excluded, sentenced 31 of the men to prison for six months to one ear, and to 200 lashes each, for unreported offenses. Four other men received two years’ imprisonment and 2,000 lashes. Police released more than 70 of the men not long after their initial arrest; reports in the Saudi press suggested that personal contacts with the government had intervened on their behalf. However, on April 3, police summoned the 70 men back to a local police station and informed them that they had been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment.

Is whipping and imprisoning and executing sinners in order to force and impose external righteousness the best policy? “If only we could catch and punish more sinners, then we could teach them a lesson! Then the others will straighten up! We could eliminate the problem! In fact, let’s kill them after a judge orders their execution!” This seems to be the yearning of many Muslims whose ideas I read online or in print media. However, people need to change from the inside out. Forcing holiness on to people does not work in the long run and for everybody.

And Arlandson's diatribe in Part 4:
You report that the reason for prohibiting women from driving cars is to separate the sexes because they may commit sexual sin and be severely punished. In Part Two I have already noted that homosexuality takes place in Saudi Arabia, so how does one fix that problem? By forbidding men from driving? I am not being facetious. It seems that the reason offered by the religious scholars for prohibiting women does not work entirely. It is a sad fact that humans will commit sexual sin, no matter how much they are smothered by rules and religious police.

Bradbury reports in his book (cited above) that the separation of the sexes creates the (unintended) backlash of men seeking comfort and sexual gratification from other men, and women from other women.

So malls in Jeddah, as well as in Riyadh and Dammam, have predictably become the preferred haunts of another group: male seeking sex with other males. Unlike the boys and girls seeking to mix, they do not have to hide their intentions. Indeed, they stroll certain of the malls and supermarkets openly making passes at each other. They are dressed in variations on Western fashion that would, in America, be considered outrageously queer, but in Saudi Arabia raise eyebrows only among those who insist on “Islamic”—that is, Bedouin—dress at all times. These young men openly cruise, often exchanging comments in loud voices with their friends when a desirable object comes into view. (p. 154)

Additionally, Bradbury reports that gay websites have exploded in Saudi Arabia:

The number of gay-themed Saudi websites especially has exploded in recent years. Some of these sites are blocked by those responsible for censoring the Internet, but software to avoid the blocks is easily purchased in local markets. Most sites exist for one reason only: to facilitate meet-ups. Even gay pornography is freely available to anyone who has a satellite dish in their bedroom, which is to say all middle-class Saudi boys. (p. 155).

He goes on to report that lesbians also seek their own encounters and can easily do so because of the segregation of the sexes (pp. 162-65).
Note that a lot of Arlandson's comments have no responses by al-Buthe, thus letting the radical Christian side dominate the article. (Not that al-Buthe is that great; the "the West didn't let women vote for centuries before they reformed, so we can, too" argument is feeble and exhausted.) If anything, this article makes Wahabism look like paradise compared to close-minded right-wing American Christianity, which will say almost anything to prove its superiority. Just listening to people like Arlandson makes my mind hurt.

I also hate how radical religious people point to commentary by their comrades to show they're right. There's a reason that conservative schools in America are seen as second-rate to liberal ones: socially, they reverse the scientific method by finding evidence to fit their beliefs and throwing the rest in the bin.

Finally, there's something extremely slimy about picking on a persecuted minority for political-religious gain. Arlandson refers to gay people as "sinners", hence he is probably not on the bandwagon for gay rights. He's only pointing out their hideous oppression because it makes Saudi Arabia look bad. I don't know if that's hypocritical or just perverse.


Blogger Chad said...

I don't know if that's hypocritical or just perverse.

Especially considering that those far-right Christians who believe that active homosexuals should be jailed (if not subjected to "biblical punishments") are not as far out on the fringe as some people would like to believe.

June 27, 2006 3:20 AM  

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