Home News Politics How the homophobic Muslim became a populist bogeyman | Moustafa Bayoumi

How the homophobic Muslim became a populist bogeyman | Moustafa Bayoumi

How the homophobic Muslim became a populist bogeyman | Moustafa Bayoumi

United States Muslims are now more tolerant than lots of Christian groups. If you paid attention to Trump, Le Pen and Anne Marie Waters, youd think that was difficult, composes author and scholastic Moustafa Bayoumi

H eres something you might not have actually believed likely. A bulk of American Muslims now thinks that its fine to be gay. The current Pew Research Centre study , released on 26 July, informs us that many believe homosexuality must be accepted by society. The survey even more demonstrates how drastically approval has actually increased, almost doubling from 27% to 52% because 2007 (amongst millennial Muslims, its 60%). Muslims might drag the public, for whom the matching figure on this problem is 63%, however they survey at precisely the very same portion as Protestants and far above white evangelical Christians, a simple 34% of whom think that homosexuality ought to be endured. If you have in fact invested some time with American Muslims you wont be shocked by these numbers, #peeee

. Im not. This is a diverse group of individuals, representing various and often contrasting customs and propensities. The Pew information reveals us that the total tilt of the neighborhood, even while it is itself competing with high levels of discrimination, is progressive and positive. If you listened to populist leaders, #peeee

Youd never ever understand it. Whether in the United States, the UK, or on the European continent, the concept that Muslims represent a civilisational hazard to the west since of an intrinsic ultra-conservatism, that includes a violent hatred of gay individuals, is so prevalent that it is viewed as a truism. Not just is this neat titbit of political knowledge incorrect, it likewise winds up obscuring the degree of homophobia in other parts of society, and in our politics.

Rightwing populism is particularly dedicated to this story. From Donald Trump to the Netherlands Geert Wilders, Frances Marine Le Pen and Ukips Anne Marie Waters, todays demagogues look for to persuade the general public that they are the real protectors of liberty, courting LGBT votes by hanging the caricature of a harmful, homophobic and intolerant Muslim in front of their eyes. This evident assistance for LGBT rights is frequently only skin-deep.

During the United States governmental project, Trump often argued that he was the very best prospect for LGBT citizens due to the fact that Hillary Clinton was soft on Muslim migration. At the Republican convention, Trump mentioned: As your president, I will do whatever in my power to safeguard our LGBT residents from the violence and injustice of a despiteful foreign ideology. Now Trump is proposing to restriction all transgender individuals from serving in the armed force.

During the French governmental election Marine Le Pen surrounded herself with gay consultants and declared that she alone would secure LGBT individuals from the Muslim hazard. France isn’t really burkinis on the beach. France is Brigitte Bardot, she stated, and declared throughout a televised argument that Emmanuel Macron was supported by a French Muslim organisation that sponsored speakers who disliked Jews and homosexuals. (I believe its fantastic to see you speak words in defence of jews and homosexuals, Macron skillfully reacted .) Le Pen likewise opposed gay marital relationship (and, simply in case you questioned, not from a principled point of criticism of the bourgeois roots of marital relationship), legal in France just considering that 2013. The truth is, she is not a real protector of LGBT rights, simply an opportunist.

Geert Wilders displeasure to all things Muslim is so over the top that it seems turning his hair peroxide-blond. (It has actually been reported that he dyes his hair since his initial dark curls drew racist jeers as a kid.) Day after day, for many years, we are experiencing the decay of our treasured worths, he stated in January. The equality of females and guys, liberty of viewpoint and speech, tolerance of homosexuality all this remains in retreat. Once again, its tough not to conclude that the best risk to the Dutch custom of tolerance isn’t really Islam however individuals such as Wilders. The bright side is that neither he nor Le Pen was successful in their projects.

Ukip waters at an anti-islam demonstration in london in 2015″ src =”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/5847f5a1196baf071616219eefeaf6f0abff577b/0_59_4000_2401/master/4000.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=7b8b0c2c182c53f3771988bbf7250601″/> Ukip management prospect Anne Marie Waters at an anti-Islam demonstration in London in 2015. Photo: Vickie Flores/REX/Shutterstock

But now a quote for the management of Ukip i s under method by none aside from Waters, creator of Sharia Watch UK. Her manifesto needs the celebration openly acknowledge that Islamic culture is just not suitable with our own . Shes been priced estimate as stating that sharia law has horrible aspects to it in regards to treatment of females, antisemitism and homophobia. But it was Roger Helmer, among Ukips leading lights, who as soon as asked: Why is it OKAY for a cosmetic surgeon to carry out a sex-change operation, however not OKAY for a psychiatrist to aim to turn a consenting homosexual? He is likewise stated to think there are that there are various degrees of guilt in rape cases.

Oh, the brave males and females of the. Ever all set to announce the risk of Muslim homophobia, they cynically depend upon integrating LGBT issues into their dissentious stories without in truth supplying them complete rights of addition.

Last month in Germany, for instance, legislators voted to authorize gay marital relationship (and adoption) in a historical vote. The anti-Muslim populist celebration Alternative for Germany opposed the procedure on ideological premises, while all 6 Muslim members of parliament enacted assistance of the costs. By the way, Chancellor Angela Merkel, now commonly viewed as the pre-eminent guardian of western liberal worths, voted versus the costs.

The hidden point here is not that Muslims aren’t homophobic. Some plainly are. Some certainly arent. Rather, the critical point substantiated by the Pew information is that positions can alter with time.

In the UK, Muslims are still handling fallout from a Channel 4 documentary What British Muslims Really Think that supposed to demonstrate how various they were from other Britons. It consisted of the fact that 52% of UK Muslims think homosexuality ought to be unlawful, which is stunning in seclusion. Its a various metric, however consider this: in 1985, just 9% of British Catholics thought that same-sex relationships were not incorrect. By 2016, that had actually jumped to 62%. Catholic teaching had actually not altered in the interim; mindsets had.

How such modification occurs is exactly what we ought to focus on. Last year, Omar Mateen eliminated 49 individuals in a dreadful attack on a gay bar he had actually formerly been a customer of in Florida. Genuine conversations have because started in between LGBT and Muslim neighborhoods in the United States, with areas likewise opening for LGBT Muslims themselves.

Imams and scholars released a declaration condemning the attack and, while disappointing complete approval of gay Muslims, highlighted the liberty to pursue joy as each chooses. Muslim LGBT groups, such as the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, have actually grown in prominence. Philanthropic organisations such as the Contigo Fund are backing efforts that unify LGBT, Latin and Muslim neighborhoods to fight homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia and other kinds of discrimination.

The health of any society is postulated on its capability to face its cracks directly, however that is not exactly what anti-Muslim populists are doing. By arguing that Islam and the west are permanently incompatible, they build a Muslim bogeyman while rejecting both their own homophobia in addition to the living, breathing Muslims in their middle.

Moustafa Bayoumi is an author and a teacher of English at City University, New York

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/07/homophobic-muslim-populist-bogeyman-trump-le-pen


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