Tag Archives: Islam

Gay Activism and Iran: Do Western Activists Do More Harm Than Good? (Link to article by Scott Long)

Scott Long, LGBTQ human rights activist and visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, just posted an article on Western LGBTQ activists and the purported “gay executions” in recent years in Iran, which I would recommend. While the LGBTQ and even mainstream Western press has reported several high-profile cases in recent years, Long believes that the situations may have been misrepresented, in some cases making things worse, and in some cases obfuscating matters. Long writes that

No one who launched the story has bothered to follow up the facts.

Among the observations that Mr. Long makes:

It’s certainly possible that the four men in Charam are “gay” or hamjensgara, and have been framed. It’s certainly also possible that they raped an “effeminate” victim, and that he is the one who suffered for sexual dissidence. Quite possibly, in fact, that’s the pattern underlying these stories of rape. In other words, conceivably [Western activists] have spent all these years speechifying and pontificating in support not of “gays,” but of their persecutors. The point is: We don’t know.

Agree or disagree, it’s worth reading and considering. What happens when we step in to “help” without having the full story? Does queer activism sometimes do more harm than good?


Waterbury, CT: Mosque Under Construction

Just drove by an interesting construction project in Waterbury, CT: a mosque (the walls are blanketed in a particularly loud shade of green plastic sheets), partially obscured by pizza and furniture billboards.


Sex to die for…Iran hangs three men for sodomy.

AFP/File, Behrouz Mehri

“Six men were executed by hanging in a prison just outside the city of Ahvaz early Sunday morning. Two were convicted rapists, one a drug trafficker, and the last three were found guilty of committing ‘forbidden acts against religion.’ Under Articles 108 and 110 of the Iranian Islamic Penal Code, the punishment for ‘Hadd’ or as the west calls it, sodomy, is death.”

via Queer Landia. For a list of the six countries which punish male homosexuality with the death penalty, click here. For the rest of the Queer Landia article, here.

Not your Daddy’s Islam: the Sexy Muslim Punks of Taqwacore rock the Casbah

Nav Mann and Dominic Rains star in "The Taqwacores." (photo: Josh Rosenfield / Strand Releasing)

When The Clash sang “Sharia don’t like it” thirty-some years ago, they could never have anticipated Taqwacore, the emerging hybrid of Islam and punk. In another instance of life following fiction, the term came from a novel. American convert Michael Muhammad Knight left his Philadelphia home at 17 to travel to Pakistan, where he studied at a madrassa. Years later, disillusioned, he wrote The Taqwacores, which centers on a fictive “Muslim punk house in Buffalo, New York, inhabited by burqa-wearing riot girls, mohawked Sufis, straightedge Sunnis, Shi’a skinheads, Indonesian skaters, Sudanese rude boys, gay Muslims, drunk Muslims, and feminists.” Taqwa means “piety” or “god-consciousness” and “core” is a suffix that refers to punk genres. Queercore and Homocore are other examples. Unknown to Knight when he self-published, a subculture of punk-influenced young Muslims was already simmering. Small groups, formerly largely unknown to one another, now had a term to refer to their movement.

The Kominas

The meme succeeded. Current Taqwacore bands include The Kominas, The Secret Trial Five, Al-Thawra, and Sarmust. Two Taqwacore films are currently screening, The Taqwacores, based on the novel, and the documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam. As for Knight, he is now a graduate student in Islamic Studies at Harvard University.