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An Open Letter to the Muslim Community in Light of the Orlando Shooting




Dear Leaders, Activists, and Community Members,

Assalamu `alaykum,

The Orlando massacre has thrust the Muslim community once again into the national spotlight and this time the American people demand to know what Islam has to say about homosexuality and the “LGBT liberation” movement. We need to be open, unambiguous, and principled in answering these questions now, speaking with a Prophetic voice in times of great confusion.

Let me start by reiterating what many Muslims have been saying. I sympathize with those who have lost loved ones in this killing spree. Furthermore, gunning down people, whether they are at a school, a church, or a gay club, is a grave crime as far as Islam is concerned. I understand that some Americans will never believe such assurances, but there is little that we could say to convince such naysayers. After all, if the veritable freight train of cultural capital known as Muhammad Ali could not, in life or in death, convince the American public that Islam is not a murderous ideology of hate, what hope do the rest of us have?

Spurred by this shooting and the Muslim community’s subsequent condemnations, the public has been asking, Does Islam support LGBT rights? This has put tremendous pressure on imams and community leaders to respond in a way that is true to Islamic teachings but is also sympathetic to the recent tragedy and, even more importantly, is conversant with the wider cultural discourse on the LGBT identity and lifestyle.

Given the circumstances, the question itself is unfair. The implicit binary is that either Muslims are fully in support of the LGBT movement or they are no different from Omar Mateen, i.e., bloodthirsty bigots on the verge of gunning down the nearest gay bar. But there is a third option.

A Question of Affirmation

In my past writing on this topic, I have been clear that bullying, assaulting, or indiscriminately killing people merely because they self-identify as or are presumed to be gay is something Muslims around the world should oppose according to their religious principles and traditions. For example, if a Muslim were to come upon a person being attacked in the street for “being gay,” it would be that Muslim’s Islamic duty to intervene and help the victim.

That being said, I maintain that Muslims cannot uncritically and unconditionally endorse the LGBT rights movement without simultaneously violating basic principles of Islam.

27403401140_8d052ff471_zIt would be easy to portray this lack of endorsement as “homophobia” or a callous indifference to people for who they are. But let me emphatically dispel such a simplistic and reductive portrayal. In actuality, I do care about those who consider themselves gay, lesbian, or transgender, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. In fact, I deeply care and I believe other Muslims should care as well.

But that care does not translate into support for much of what the LGBT rights movement stands for. As Muslims, we do not have grounds to believe that the assumptions and goals of that movement benefit in the short or long term those individuals who self-identify as LGBT. Rather, this movement and the lifestyle it assumes and enables is harmful to the very people it purports to liberate — harmful in the physical and metaphysical senses. So, how could I or any other Muslim lend support?

Along these same lines, if “standing with the LGBT community” means supporting the LGBT movement  in all its implications and demands and, hence, enabling those identifications and those lifestyle choices that I, as a Muslim, believe to be incorrect, immoral, and, ultimately, harmful, then clearly I do not and cannot take such a stand. But again, that does not mean that I do not care for the well-being, happiness, and success of my fellow human beings. In fact, from my perspective, I care a great deal more than others who are eager to enable and normalize what I and my religion maintain are self-destructive behaviors.

Of course, others will vehemently disagree on the destructiveness of same-sex sexual behavior, but that is beside the point. Truth be told, all religions and life philosophies commit their adherents to a certain moral outlook when it comes to sex. Even secular humanism has its do’s and don’ts when it comes to people’s sex lives. (Simply consider the severe taboos and laws against incest, pedophilia, and so forth. Or consider the inherent normativity implicit in modern psychiatry’s extensive categorization of sexual “dysfunctions” and “paraphilias.”) Be that as it may, in present day America, one specific, idiosyncratic kind of sexual morality is the dominant view, a view that is increasingly being established in federal and state law. It just so happens that that view conflicts with Islamic sexual morality on the question of same-sex intimacy.

Sure, we can have a conversation about which of these systems is the right one, which is more compelling, more just, etc. I am more than willing to discuss that (and have written to this effect elsewhere). But, at the end of the day, Muslims’ most deeply held beliefs on this issue do not allow them in good conscience to support, let alone “celebrate,” the LGBT movement.

A Question of Reconciliation

Now, the question is, Do Muslims have a right to their beliefs, or will they be bullied and silenced into a position that is fundamentally opposed to their deepest ethical and theological commitments?

The claim that secular democracy makes is that it can accommodate a diversity of beliefs, even conflicting beliefs. And if liberal secular democracy is truly tolerant of a diversity of beliefs, then my religious beliefs ought to be meaningfully allowed and protected. If liberal secular democracy is what it claims to be, especially regarding its treatment of religious plurality, then it ought not to force Muslims (or other religious groups) to accept something that is so contrary to their faith.

Yet, how can liberal secularism claim to tolerate religious belief if it requires certain groups essentially to abandon their faith? If tomorrow laws are passed that, for example, require Muslim institutions not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, require Muslim leaders to refrain from calling same-sex behavior a sin, require Muslim communities to abide by homonormative speech guidelines, require Muslim businesses to serve same-sex weddings, require Islamic schools and mosques not to discriminate on the basis of professed sexual ethical commitments in their hiring practices, etc., etc., then how can this be called tolerance when all of these things would, from our perspective, destroy the moral fabric of our communities and radically undermine our faith and autonomy?

The point is that the issue of reconciling “freedom of faith” and “gay rights” is not a problem for Muslims to solve. This is a problem for liberal secularism to solve since it is the one that claims to be able to reconcile diverse communities and divergent belief systems under one legal system and one government. If liberal secular states, like the U.S., force Muslims to accept something antithetical to their religion, then this proves that the liberal secular vision of universal tolerance, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc., are a mirage and that such states are not unlike any other authoritarian or theocratic regime that imposes beliefs on its populace by force of law.

A Question of Reciprocation

What is often brought up in these discussions is the fact that numerous LGBT groups and individuals have bravely stood with Muslims in advocating for Muslim rights, whether protesting Guantanamo Bay, or pushing back against anti-Muslim bigots who want to shut down mosques, or opposing aggressive U.S. foreign policy that has resulted in wars, occupation, and the loss of millions of innocent lives across numerous Muslim countries. If LGBT activists are willing to stand for Muslim rights, then shouldn’t Muslims return the favor and stand for LGBT rights? Isn’t it hypocritical for American Muslims to demand rights for themselves but withhold support when it comes to the rights of gays, lesbians, and transgendered people? The question is, How can Muslims insist on fair treatment in the Western context while also opposing, or at least not actively endorsing, the LGBT movement?

This question requires an in-depth response that I have provided elsewhere. Suffice it to say, however, that the same liberal dilemma applies. Why are Muslims required to compromise central parts of their faith – by accepting and normalizing same-sex intimacy, something they consider impermissible according to their faith – in order to secure their basic religious rights in the West, religious rights which one would think are guaranteed by the US Constitution in the first place? Why are Muslims placed in this lose-lose situation? Is this something unique to Muslims or are other groups challenged with analogous requirements? Is this conundrum inescapable in liberal secular societies?

A Question of Imposition

Another misconception that I would like to address is the contentious issue of Muslim democratic participation on the basis of Islamic ethics. Can I as a Muslim living in a Western democracy support public policy positions on the basis of my religious values? For example, if, prior to the Supreme Court decision, the question of gay marriage was on the ballot, should I take my religious beliefs into account in voting against it? Or would this be nothing more than illegitimately “imposing my beliefs upon others”?

Recently, a large number of American Muslim community leaders signed a joint statement condemning the Orlando shooting and also testifying to the “cherished political right” of “individuals [who] are at liberty to pursue happiness as each sees fit,” and that Muslims have no right to “impose” their views on non-Muslims since, as we read in the Quran, “There is (absolutely) no compulsion in religion.” The joint statement leaves it open to interpretation whether this “freedom from imposition” applies equally to Muslim societies overseas, the majority of which have laws against homosexuality that reflect Islamic notions of sexual morality. Also ambiguous is whether those “individuals who are at liberty to pursue happiness” in loud and proud same-sex relationships will be welcome, right here in the United States, to teach at the Islamic colleges, schools, and institutes of the signatories or to lead prayers at their mosques. Given that the entire thrust of the statement is to express condolences for the death of LGBT community members and to emphasize the importance of “inclusivity, tolerance, and respect for all,” it would not be a stretch to assume that many will interpret the statement in a “pro-LGBT” light as typically understood in contemporary American society (including full endorsement of the moral neutrality of same-sex behavior).

pulse2The fact that the statement, in places, uses the very language of the LGBT rights movement only adds to that impression. It is LGBT activists, after all, who claim that all they really want is “equality before the law” and “the liberty to pursue happiness as they see fit.” If the signatories did not intend the statement to be interpreted thus, I am afraid they have inadvertently opened the doors to accusations of hypocrisy from LGBT activists, who could easily and very publicly cite the statement in putting pressure on their Islamic schools, businesses, mosques, and other organizations in demanding space, resources, and institutional support for their movement. It is not clear that most American Muslim institutions could hold up against such pressure. Potential confusion could have been avoided entirely had the statement stuck to condolences and condemnation of wanton murder and not wandered into an acknowledgement of the irrational liberal secular paranoia regarding the “religious imposition of belief on the non-believing masses.” Well, how ought one address this paranoia?

In a liberal secular democracy, the theory is that citizens are expected to participate according to their values and beliefs. All citizens are expected to want to “impose” their political views – i.e., to see them implemented by force of law – whether those citizens are Democrats, Republicans, Trump supporters, libertarians, socialists, vegans, etc. They can register their views through the electoral process and other democratic avenues.

Now, if this theory is truly coherent, then by definition everyone is striving to make such “impositions” upon everyone else. And those “impositions” are based on one’s most cherished personal values and beliefs, whether they be formally religious or not. Some people have deep moralistic beliefs about firearms and will participate in the democratic process on that basis. Others have deep moralistic beliefs about the environment, about poverty, about corporate greed, etc., and will vote, lobby, speak, and organize accordingly. This is just what democratic participation amounts to.

Yet, all of these views are no less “moralistic,” or “deeply held,” or “personal” than any particular religious value. (In fact, some people are downright religious when it comes to their views on certain social issues.) Thus, it follows that if I believe certain sexual practices to be immoral, I have a prerogative to publicly denounce them and to politically participate in democracy on the basis of my beliefs; that is simply what political participation means. And if I am not allowed to participate politically on the basis of my moral values in this way, then in what sense can it be said that I am meaningfully participating in democracy, as a citizen, at all?

A Question of Discrimination

As it turns out, American Muslims have long been living in a society that does not share many Islamic sexual values, whether it comes to the licitness of premarital sex, adultery, casual sex, “hooking up,” and any number of other practices. Presumably, if there ever were a referendum or policy initiative against these practices, Muslims would have to vote according to their conscience. But the question of homosexuality, in comparison to these other practices, is very different politically and legally. For example, there is no question that an Islamic college or Catholic university would be within its legally-defined prerogative to deny, say, a professorship to a person who openly and unabashedly promoted adultery, or anything else that conflicted with that institution’s code of ethics. But when it comes to the promotion of another sexual behavior – namely, same-sex sexuality – then to deny a professorship could be seen as discrimination. But why?

Sure, according to the dominant sexual mores, one’s sexual orientation is conceived as constituting a person’s essential identity and, as such, it would be immoral and even illegal to discriminate on the basis of that identity. But Muslims and other religious groups do not necessarily share these beliefs. From an Islamic perspective, it could be conceded that something like sexual orientation exists and is immutable – i.e., that some people simply are attracted to the same or opposite sex. Yet conceding this does not compel one to maintain that this sexual orientation should be regarded as the core of people’s identity, i.e., defining who they are, who they see themselves as, and how others are required to treat them. There are, for example, Muslims and Christians who experience same-sex attraction, but they do not self-identify as “gay Muslims” or “gay Christians” – they simply consider themselves as Muslims and Christians who happen to have certain kinds of sexual desires.

To understand the significance of this, consider the following. Recent scientific research claims that people’s inclinations or disinclinations to commit infidelity are biologically hardwired. Given this, we could say that the tendency to be unfaithful constitutes a portion of people’s inherent, immutable sexual orientation. Based on this, would there be a need to categorize people into identity groups or communities based on that? For example, would those with a greater pull to cheat self-identify as “extrasexuals” with everyone else identifying as “intrasexuals”? Would there be “extrasexual pride parades” and an “extrasexual rights movement” that would demand that Islamic and Catholic schools make space for “alternative (read, ‘adulterous’) lifestyles” and give voice to loud and proud cheaters? Would refusal by these institutions then be stigmatized as “extraphobia”?

We can duplicate this maneuver for any given sexual behavior or inclination and thereby dictate to and control religious institutions accordingly, all on the basis of “anti-discrimination.” In fact, in recent times, groups like the Virtuous Pedophiles have argued along these exact lines, which goes to show how contingent and subjective the appeals to recognize and accommodate LGBT identities really are.

A Question of Compassion

Finally, the notion of “hate the sin, not the sinner” is important to note. There are a lot of Muslims today around the world who struggle with same-sex desires and inclinations. They do not want to have these desires but they are there and they are struggling to abide by Islamic moral norms and refrain from prohibited sexual behavior. We need to support these brothers and sisters, not by encouraging them to cave in to their desires, but to provide a shoulder to lean on and an ear to hear their concerns, to support them in their resistance to engaging in forbidden behaviors without shaming them. This is the same support that should be provided to other Muslims struggling with opposite sex attraction who feel strong desires for premarital or extramarital sex. After all, from the Islamic perspective, sexual desires (shahawat) are treated equally, whether those desires are fixated on the same or the opposite sex.

Furthermore, mosques should always be open to these community members and faith-based counseling should be facilitated to help them manage their desires and find ethical solutions for them. Yes, I understand that such a suggestion is considered highly offensive and taboo to the dominant discourse, which considers it oppressive to discourage a person from acting out according to their sexual orientation and identity. But, again, Muslims do not share these particular assumptions.

I understand that those who consider themselves part of the LGBT community (and its allies) will adamantly disagree with and take offense at much of what I have expressed here. Ultimately, my aim was to address the most common questions and challenges that are posed to Muslims in light of the LGBT movement so that we can be prepared to provide reasonable, compelling answers that are fully concordant with Islamic principles. Even if these arguments are not convincing to others, my hope is that at least we can avoid the accusation that Muslims’ public positions on the LGBT movement are backwards, irrational, inconsistent, repressive, and unmerciful.

WaAllahu ta`ala a`lam.

Image Credit: The All-Nite Images

Daniel Haqiqatjou was born in Houston, Texas. He attended Harvard University where he majored in Physics and minored in Philosophy. He completed a Masters degree in Philosophy at Tufts University. Haqiqatjou is also a student of the traditional Islamic sciences. He writes and lectures on contemporary issues surrounding Muslims and Modernity. Email Daniel here .



  1. Avatar


    June 16, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    As Salaamu Alaikum my Brother,

    I appreciate your effort, the article is based on good research, and has been articulated very well. May Allah increase further in ilm, and eemaan.

    Wa As Salaamu Alaikum,

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    Sajdah Nubee

    June 16, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    Wow, Mashallah…this was really well-written and made honest points. I appreciate this and sums up my feelings on the issue as well. Thank you for sharing!

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    June 16, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Jazakumullah khair for covering this issue in a comprehensive manner. May Allah bless you.

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    Abdullah Oredegbe

    June 16, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Beautifully written. This is a must read for all Muslims living in the west.

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    N S

    June 16, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Salam, I would just like to enquire about your use of the phrase, “hate the sin, not the sinner”.

    An integral part of any person is the actions they do. It is very difficult, if not impossible to separate the two. Are we not allowed to hate Hitler because by that matra we can only hate the act, but not the doer?

    Admittedly you used the phrase in the context of helping people struggling with the inclination. But then in that case, they haven’t committed any sin per say, as they haven’t engaged in the action, so the phrase doesn’t really apply.

    I suppose the question i then have is what of those who engage in the act, and in particular those who are lobbying to have the act accepted as a normalised behaviour. Surely in our hearts there must be a sense of dislike, and by human nature and common sense, some of that dislike will go towards the individual doing the act, not just the action. When Muslims criticize Bush, Blair and Netanyahu for example, they don’t just just mechanically speak against their actions, but we have a deep dislike for the people as well.

    I’m not saying we have to speak to them harshly (Musa Phirown), or give up hope that one day they will be guided, but to negate all negative feelings towards the doer seems unfair, and maybe incorrect.

    Thanks for the good work that you are doing. JazakAllahu khayran for your efforts.

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      Abdullah Oredegbe

      June 16, 2016 at 2:25 PM

      N S, this is a very good point that I’d yet to consider. For sure those who lobby to have liwat accepted as normal behavior certainly hold a view which is kufr.

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      Daniel Haqiqatjou

      June 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

      Yes, this is not a universal statement. I am using the phrase in context of those Muslims struggling to abide by Islamic edicts. We should not shame people or treat them as if they are abnormal just because they have certain desires. This is something our tradition has been very clear on, as past scholars took it for granted that some Muslims would have this attraction to the same sex. But the existence of that attraction did not mean that the prohibition of same sex intimacy was waived for these individuals, just like the prohibition against premarital sex is not waived just because of desires a person may have.

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        Sir Magpie De Crow

        June 17, 2016 at 12:55 AM

        Personally I feel your statements will go over as well as a hydrogen filled zeppelin flying over an active volcano. I am literally just sitting here patiently, waiting for the rhetorical blowback to ignite in your face.

        The tone deafness of statements like yours in wake of an atrocity like this has in my opinion been as ruinous for the muslim community in the west as the growing list of young western muslims who have become nothing more than the remnants of pointless suicide bombings in the Middle East.

        As loathsome as Donald Trump is, my feeling is the public has even less patience for mealy mouth, weak expressions of sympathy and obnoxious claims of moral superiority from the supposed pious clerics of the Islamic faith.

        In little more than 7 months, 3 people of Pakisani or Pasthun extraction have gunned downed fatally 63 fellow Americans in Florida and California, injured or traumatized thousands… purportedly in the name of ISIL.

        ISIL, an organization who’s accomplishments include being recognized by the UN for committing genocide against minority groups (using such tools as slavery and rape) and throwing bound and blind folded gay men off the roofs of tall buildings.

        Countering the optics of these Grand Guignol-style horrors requires a forceful public relations effort you are clearly unable to execute. Holding on to religious beliefs, personal morality and guiding principles is one thing. But providing rhetorical language that allows homophobia and sexual discrimination to flourish in religious communities is not a virtue and is never acceptable.

        Whether a person is using light violence, social exclusion or certain hadiths to impose their will on others, a bully is still a bully. You speak of the harmfulness of same sex relationships which is rather funny to me, because I think maybe you should consider the harmfulness of the arranged heterosexual marriages of Orlando nightclub killer Omar Mateen.

        How harmful was it for his father (and others) to try and pair up a mentally unstable, cruel failure of a man like Omar Mateen to two women with whom he would later physically and verbally abuse. Omar would go on to force these women into either submission, captivity or complicity into his evil plots.

        And you have the temerity to claim that an openly gay relationship (even if it is totally consensual and harmonious) is spiritually bankrupt?

        The only discernible distinction between your brand of fanaticism and the religious pomposity of a televangelist like Pat Robertson is you have yet to be afflicted with his form of senility.

        I would love to hear from the imams and family members who had a hand in those trainwrecks of marriages of the recently departed Omar Mateen.

        And as painfully as it is to endure the naivety and foolishness of people in this country who are unable to truly embrace the many fine people of the LGBT community, it is not nearly as painful as the suffering of their counterparts all across the muslim world.

        It is a needless suffering that is as common and predictable as the daily call to prayer.

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        June 17, 2016 at 9:15 PM

        This is directed towards Sir Magpie De Crow, whose comment, for some reason, I can’t reply to.

        I feel like your the first part of your comment was a bit of subconscious self-aggrandizing. You were waiting patiently for rhetorical blowback to strike Br Daniel via…yourself?

        That aside, I feel like your entire argument could be reversed nearly word for word towards you. Allow me to demonstrate (please forgive me for conflating points, since I’m merely following your own script):

        The tone deafness of statements like yours in wake of an atrocity like this has in my opinion been as ruinous for the Muslim community in the west as the growing list of young western Muslims who have become nothing more than the remnants of twisted secular/liberal ideology.

        As loathsome as Donald Trump is, my feeling is the public has even less patience for mealy mouth, weak expressions of sympathy and obnoxious claims of moral superiority from the supposed champions of secular thought.

        In more than 14 years since the events of 9/11 took place (now this is just my arbitrary starting point, just to make the argument seem a little “fair”, as I could go back decades more), thousands of people of American extraction have gunned downed or fatally bombed millions of fellow Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and many more countries, injured millions more, displaced some millions more, and traumatized entire nations…purportedly in the name of democracy and liberalism. The West’s recent foray into Syria has even spawned a west-funded khariji sect named ISIL, led by none other than one time West asset Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

        ISIL, an organization who’s accomplishments include being funded by the West to further destabilize the region. A group recognized by the UN for committing genocide against minority groups (using such tools as slavery and rape) and throwing bound and blind folded gay men off the roofs of tall buildings, not unlike the torture, rape, and pillaging that US soldiers committed on their way to a truly brilliant shock and awe campaign in the ME and elsewhere.

        Countering the optics of these Grand Guignol-style horrors requires a forceful public relations effort that the Western media has executed to perfection, judging from your response. Holding on to secular beliefs, personal morality and guiding principles is one thing. But providing rhetorical language that allows Islamophobia and discrimination to flourish in western society is not a virtue and is never acceptable. This is evident in your disingenuous response, as this article clearly does not endorse “discrimination” in your sense of the word.

        Whether a person is using heavy violence, social exclusion or certain ideologies to impose their will on others, a bully is still a bully. You speak of the harmfulness of arranged heterosexual relationships which is rather funny to me, because the few studies done on arranged marriages state that they’re actually better, or at least no worse, than non-arranged marriages (disclaimer – I don’t endorse either position. I am of the opinion that it should be decided on a case by case basis). Also, I think maybe you should consider the harmfulness of not doing your homework. The claim that Omar Mateen found himself in arranged marriages is categorically false. A simple Google search shows many reputable outlets reporting that Omar Mateen met his current wife, and his ex-wife, through an online matrimonial website. Nowhere does it state that he was forced into these marriages.

        Considering that point, the rest of your argument is useless bloviation. Your argument also conflated several issues, which I am not going to bother going through now, aside from a couple. You can easily spot these issues in my response. For example, the San Bernardino massacre was different in nature to this recent one, and as such, should be discussed on its own distinction. Your other issue is treating a murderous and rapacious group like ISIS/ISIL in a vacuum. How much of an impact ISIS had on this atrocity is also highly debatable. Even if it did, the West is as complicit in creating that monster as those Imams et al that show ignorance by inciting violence against homosexuals.

        The issue is a complex one, and the discourse will also be complex, something which you’ve managed to reduce down to a black and white issue with a couple of paragraphs.

        Of course, that all doesn’t even begin to address the biggest problem with your rant – it does not counter, or debate, any of the points made in Br Daniel’s article. Somehow, an article which is in response to the Islam vs LGBT hysteria of the past week, is an example of tone deafness. If there was ever a time for an article like this, it was NOW. Letting emotions drive the discourse would throw a further wrench into gears that are already spinning out of control.

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      June 21, 2016 at 12:10 AM

      Why do you care who’s having sex with who? As long as there’s love, that’s all that matters. Hope you can awaken and become enlightened one day.

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        Ahmad B.

        June 21, 2016 at 1:47 AM

        Dear Marissa,

        Thank you for your well wishes; we all hope for enlightenment for ourselves and for others. It is not a matter of us “caring who has sex with whom,” but of ascertaining and striving to uphold the Divine Will for our lives as human beings on this earth. As Muslims, we believe that God has communicated His Will to mankind through a series of divine revelations, the last of which being the Holy Qur’an. Love — such as in the form of a deep, even intimate (yet Platonic), friendship — between two individuals is a wonderful and laudable thing, on which the Islamic tradition has much to say. However, erotic physical contact, let alone intercourse, between two members of the same sex has been expressly forbidden both in the Qur’an and the previously revealed scriptures. The presence or absence of love is irrelevant to the prohibition of such acts. As Muslims, we believe that it is by drawing closer to God through worshiping Him and obeying His commands that true enlightenment can be obtained. I hope you have the chance to learn more about Islam in order to gain a better understanding of this profound perspective.

        Best wishes,
        Ahmad B.

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      July 7, 2016 at 9:10 PM

      Please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the notion of “hate the sin, not the sinner” go against the way Allah presents himself in Islam? From what I have read in the Quran, Allah hates the sinner because of him choosing to sin and it is not until he chooses to not sin that Allah then will love him.

      The notion of “hate the sin, not the sinner” is decidedly Christian in spirit, reflecting the Bible verse “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

      It seemed nice but out of place to see Christian theology in the form of a popular Christian phrase show up in a Muslim article.

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    June 16, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    If you think that you think that Muslims can “support the LGBT” community during this difficult time because of the tragedy in Orlando and NOT, at the same time, have to also support every single thing the LGBT community stands for (accepting homosexual behavior and marriage), you are definitely mistaken.

    Watch the two clips above. CNN, one of the largest mainstream media outlets in this country, has Anderson Cooper interviewing an attorney general from Florida who was trying to mourn and do whatever she could logistically to help those injured and the family members of those killed. Anderson Cooper made it very, very clear that the gay community was not going to accept her condolences until she agreed with everything about their lifestyle. So if you are against gay marriage, there is no way possible that you can ever feel sympathy for the mass murder of homosexuals.

    Now watch the other clip, which is of the “The Young Turks”, which is an alternative media program that goes after the mainstream media for its hypocrisy. Many young Muslims probably share their clips over the internet all the time. They are also supporting Anderson Coopers refusal to let this woman help and defend the people being attacked, unless she accepted that Gay Marriage was okay.

    I heard a recent speech by Chris Hedges, who I respected a lot in regards to his anti-war stance and work to stop the corruption of the government, mentioned that Muslims need to deal with and get rid of “homophobia” within their communities in America.

    It’s not just the mainstream media that will attack Muslims on their stance against homosexual behavior. Alternative media outlets will too and so will anti-government corruption activists working in this country.

    People who claim to be “liberal” are not really tolerant. They just use the word “tolerance” to excuse themselves for acting out every desire that comes to their mind or to not deal with the deviance of other people around them. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle and choices, they will come after you big time. They are not liberal, they are just secular, therefore, they can morally do whatever they want, as long as they can get away with it.

    The same holds true for current perrenialist propagation within the western Muslim community. It is no longer acceptable in our society to say “I am a Muslim, and believe my faith is correct and your faith is wrong, however, there is no compulsion in religion, and I will never force you to become Muslim, although I will still to my best to convey the message of Truth, i.e. Islam, and hope and pray that you do.” Now, the only thing that is acceptable is, “I am a Muslim, and believe in my faith, but it is only one path to God, and I believe there are many paths to salvation, and because other people around me are nice, their faith must also be correct, and I would never imagine myself trying to change anyone’s mind because we live in a free society and love everyone, so whatever you are doing is correct also.” <<< that is where we are headed as a community

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      Abdullah Oredegbe

      June 16, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      You’ve raised some interesting points here. The similarity between the discourse of lgbt and perennialism is indeed quite interesting. In late 2015/early 2016 during the TSQ controversy, I remember stating that going forward it’s going to become increasing difficult for Muslims to maintain the authentic Islamic position of salvational exclusivity in our age. The same is even more true for the lgbt issue.

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    June 17, 2016 at 6:00 PM

    “require Muslim businesses to serve same-sex weddings, ” so far, that has only been enforced on Christian businesses; Muslim businesses have gotten off for explicitly refusing to serve at same sex weddings. It’s an injustice that stems from Muslim Privilege in the U.S.. Muslims are arguably the most privileged group in America.

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    June 18, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    This is unbelievably bullshit. No, it is not possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. And of all the stupid ideas, the idea that secular liberalism has to tolerate everything under the sun or it is a lie is ridiculous, it has always been obvious that there was the caveate of within reason. Do we tolerate human sacrifice? No. Murder? No. Rape? More than we should, but still mostly no. Why? Because society could not function if we did. Descent people also do not tolerate white supremacy, sexism, islamophobia, or homophobia. Because if we were to tolerate these things society would not be able to function. White supremacy and those who believe in it are as much to blame for the actions of Dylan Roof as he is. And this author and those who agree with him instead of loudly condemning such views, no matter what their religion, have blood on their hands as much as this shooter does. There are 50 dead gay people today (and yes, I am including the shooter in that statistic, he is a victim too) who are victims of your bigotry. This is what hate the sin, love the sinner looks like. This is the result. It is no longer good enough. I will continue to oppose american imperialism in the middle east and elsewhere, I will continue to loudly object to portrayals of Muslims as all terrorists or terrorist sympathizer, but if this really is the majority view in islam, I am done thinking of you as good people. You think you are a victim because you wish to create a stigma towards me but do not wish to be stigmatized in return? That does not make you a victim, that makes you a hypocrite. We LGBT’s have stood with you on a number of issues. If you can’t reciprocate, that makes you a two faced fair weather friend and a betrayer. You do not wish to be on the receiving end of bigotry but you are happy to spew it towards others. You are the worst sort of hypocrite. There is blood on your hands. There is blood on your quoran. Wash it off or don’t. The majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but the majority of Muslims are two faced whinning hypocritical bigots. I will be sure to remember that

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    June 18, 2016 at 11:05 PM

    I don’t feel bad about what happened. They chose to be gay and they chose to be in a nightclub to drink, strip and have sex. It’s just worse because it’s women and women doing this and men with men doing it. The most filthy disgusting thing i can imagine. They all had it coming

    • Avatar

      Farhan Ali Khan

      June 19, 2016 at 3:09 AM

      In reply to KB, so if you are gay and go out clubbing, you deserve to be killed? This is the most ignorant and hateful statement I’ve heard in some time

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      June 19, 2016 at 10:24 AM

      Everyone has the potential to change. Keep in mind the state of being of many of the sahaba before they accepted Islam. Many were drunkards, womanizers, buried daughters alive, etc, and yet they became the best Muslims after the messengers. You do no service to Islam and humanity in general making comments like this. Try to live with perspective and see the greater picture of what happened here.

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        June 21, 2016 at 3:38 PM

        What would be the case of someone who kills millions (like pol pot). If they accepted islam after committing the act would they be considered as a righteous person?

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      June 19, 2016 at 12:12 PM

      Is this the example the Propget (saw) gave us?

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      June 21, 2016 at 12:13 AM

      I feel so sorry for the way you were raised and the human you became. At the end of the day, the energy you put out is the energy you get back, so live well my friend.

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    June 19, 2016 at 12:12 AM

    “This is precisely why it won’t suffice to condemn the murder of LGBT people while maintaining the belief that they are sinners and deviants involved in something fundamentally evil. At least, if an American Muslim wants to claim this belief as reasonable, then he should consider it equally reasonable for non-Muslims to condemn the murder of Muslims while maintaining the belief that Islam is an essentially evil religion.” Omar Sarwar

    Read the article again and as an educational exercise substitute the word gay with the word Muslim and establish how you would feel as a demographic if a belief system was teaching that; muslims were sinful, muslims lead to moral and physical harm in a society, muslim activist claim all they really want is equality before the law. When you do that you will understand the emotions writing like this develops in people and you will understand why Islam/Muslims are currently perceived the way they are in the west.

    I raise a glass of orange juice to your learning and taking something on board from this exercise.

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      Ibn Azhar

      June 20, 2016 at 3:17 AM

      “…establish how you would feel as a demographic if a belief system was teaching that; muslims were sinful, muslims lead to moral and physical harm in a society…”. What is one to make of this, really? Christians believe that anyone who does not believe in being redeemed by the Christ’s blood shall not be redeemed (in other words, shall rot in hell). The same would hold true for most religions. Atheists believe all religions to be nonsensical fantasies. So the answer is simple: A Muslim has no problem with another considering him as sinful. That is to be expected from a follower of another religion.
      And by the way, these mutual beliefs of sinfulness does *not* result in hatred and killings. Believing members of all religions can be, and are, friends.
      A glass of orange juice (after iftaar, of course) to your wonderful suggestion.

  12. Avatar

    Zain Zubair

    June 21, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    Amazing Article. .Beautifully Explained!! An important message for all the Muslims living abroad. Truly Impress with your research. May Allah Bless You!

  13. Pingback: » Can Islam Accommodate Homosexual Acts? Quranic Revisionism and the Case of Scott Kugle

  14. Pingback: » From a Same-Sex Attracted Muslim: Between Denial of Reality and Distortion of Religion

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    The Real Muslim Skeptic

    March 20, 2017 at 8:41 PM

    I don’t eat pork, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be in favor of passing a law that bans pork for everyone regardless of their beliefs, or if I were in a society where eating pigs was unusual/illegal, I would not be against a new law that would allow people to eat bacon. Daniel’s drivel is too easy to counter. If we applied his philosophy of being sarcastic and laughing at what he considers nonsense (though this time he seems to be sad some gay people actually died which is the punishment in Sahih hadith) I’d have to laugh every time he writes a post but I’m usually left in disbelief. He and the phrase “muslim skeptic” is an oxymoron as much as “Catholic imam.”

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What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh



The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi



In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan



Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


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