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Austin Cline

Gay & Atheist in the Islamic World

By July 6, 2005

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Neither gays nor atheists are accorded much respect in the Muslim world. The same used to be the same in the Christian world, but the Christian West has progressed to the point where there are at least pockets of acceptance and tolerance; in Islam, though, such tolerance is hard to come by. Far more common are hatred, vilification, and even violence.

Heidi Dietrich writes:

Gay Muslims, unable to turn to religious leaders, look for alternative support networks. Messages posted on Al-fatija, a support group and web site for gay Muslims, reveal the complexities of being gay and Muslim. ... Muslims feel obligated to marry and produce children. The traditional family structure emphasizes extended family, and Islam advocates populating the world with more Muslims. “The pressure builds because you’re supposed to extend this family,” said Ghalib Dhalla, a gay Muslim and author. “There’s a lot of cherished hopes that I can’t consummate.”

Some gays remain skeptical that Islam will ever accept homosexuality. Oakland resident A. Khan believes that gay Muslims are a bunch of hypocrites. Khan is gay, and while he was raised as a Muslim, he has denounced his faith. “Where in the Quoran does it say that it’s okay to suck dick but wrong to eat pork?” Khan said. “It’s just the usual bullshit you get from people trying to reconcile their homosexuality with spirituality.”

Khan grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States at age 22. He says that in Pakistan, sex among men is common, but they don’t label themselves as gay. As long as the men marry and have children -- fulfilling their duties -- they can sleep around on the side. ... Khan hasn’t told his parents that he’s gay or that he’s an atheist. He has no immediate plans to do so. When he confessed his sexual orientation to two educated friends in Pakistan, they were horrified.

Both gays and atheists in the Muslim world must remain in the closet except to all but a few close friends, if they are lucky. Not even close family members can be entirely trusted to remain loving and respectful. Few people think that it’s worth the risk and hassle to “come out” to others about their sexuality or their thoughts on religion.

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I am an atheist in Saudi Arabia and I have no plans to come out !
It is simply not a smart move , as I will disappoint my Parents who are Deeply Religious. I may suffer a horrifying consequences of Social and cultural discrimination !

Me myself I will go with my Parents to perform AL Hajj ! in Mekka the Holy land ! I knew that may outrage Muslims because I am an Atheist and I am going the Holy Land where only Muslims suppose to enter! But I am delt with as a Muslim by my family
They expect me to Pray 5 times a day and fast the month of Ramadan, and Perform Al Hajj. Although I don’t do any of the first except when they are around!

I don’t believe that Islam is the best way for me to live my life & I believe that it is my right to look for my way.
And also I don’t like to depend on superstition to explain things for me !

Also, I try to build up the tolerance toward other religions and cultures that is missed especially in Saudi Arabia Muslims.
e.g. There are more than 1 million Christians in Saudi Arabia with no single church for them !

October 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Come on over! We won’t make you pray or prevent you from praying. Just stay north of the Mason-Dixon line and you should be fine.

November 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Todd, using colloquialisms and geographic/political references that someone won’t understand isn’t terribly helpful, even though the Saudi Atheist’s English is quite good.

November 3, 2009 at 4:57 pm
Tom Edgar(4)

Hey Go further south. Australia and New Zealand don’t even have a Mason Dixon line.

You can even become a Prime Minister we’ve had at least one atheist. At present we have quite a few in government along with a couple of “Gay” ministers. To my everlasting disappointment the present P M is a practicing Christian. I take heart, if he practices long enough he may succeed and become enlightened.

November 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm

I am an atheist in Saudi Arabia and I have no plans to come out ! — SaudiAtheist on October 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Based on a month I once spent living in a predominantly-Muslim country in West Africa, I would say you are doing the smart thing.

November 3, 2009 at 11:50 pm

It is possible to escape oppression. Your situation may be dangerous.

November 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

good one!!

August 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm
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