A demonstration against scapegoating after the mass killing at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday. (Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0)

“[T]he standard group of hateful polemicists who literally seem to devote their lives to exploiting every news event to attack Islam wasted no time [Sunday] — before any facts were known, while the bodies were literally still in the club — squeezing the horrific slaughter in Orlando to depict Muslims as uniquely hateful of LGBTs,” wrote Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept on Monday.

“Never mind that the suspect, Omar Mateen, showed no signs of religious fanaticism, was (according to numerous close sources) suffering from mental illness, had a history of wife-beating, worked for a major defense/mercenary contractor, had no known connection to extremist groups until his 911 call citing ISIS, and was obsessed with joining the NYPD,” Greenwald continued.

The instant exploitation of this attack is part of a more general trend of exploiting liberal social issues to glorify agendas of militarism, tribal conflicts, and aggressive foreign policies. Decorate the GCHQ headquarters or the Tel Aviv city hall with the LGBT’s rainbow flag colors and suddenly mass surveillance and decades-long military occupation seems pretty and liberal. Choose militaristic U.S. Presidents who represent social milestones of race and gender and suddenly their militarism seems to liberals to be more tolerable and even inspiring. Pretend that the war on Afghanistan is about feminism, and aggression toward Iran is about protecting LGBTs, and watch liberals melt with appreciation. Disguise anti-Muslim animus as pro-LGBT activism and one can quickly expand support for a neocon mentality and agenda into large sectors of western liberalism.

Depicting anti-LGBT hatred as the exclusive (or even predominant) province of Islam is not only defamatory toward Muslims but does a massive disservice to the millions of LGBTs who have been – and continue to be – seriously oppressed, targeted, and attacked by people have nothing to do with Islam. The struggle of LGBTs around the world is difficult enough without having them cynically used as some sort of prop to bash a group that itself is already being bashed from multiple directions.

This behavior is entwined with “a standard tactic of neo-Nazis and other various anti-Semites” involving the citation of “ugly excerpts from the Talmud — including ones purportedly endorsing Jews holding non-Jews as slaves or lying to and stealing from non-Jews — as evidence of the dishonesty and untrustworthiness of Jews generally,” Greenwald continued. “We all understand that this tactic is so vile, unscholarly and anti-intellectual precisely because modern adherents to those religions interpret and apply (or ignore) those provisions in all sorts of ways.”

Exactly the same is true of Muslims, yet an entire cottage industry of pseudo-intellectual charlatans – including ones who admit to never having even read the Quran – uses exactly this tawdry tactic to demonize Islam (watch this social experiment where people are read heinous Bible passages and falsely told they are from the Quran). There are literally millions upon millions of Muslims who hold positive views about, and engage in positive interactions with, gay people with regularity (which is why it’s almost always true that those most devoted to demonizing Islam are the ones who know the fewest number of Muslims (just as is true of LGBTs, ironically)).

Indeed, there are LGBT Muslims all over the world who – just like all other LGBTs – struggle to meld their identities and religious convictions and navigate various personal conflicts. As the Executive Director of the largest American Muslim group, CAIR, said yesterday: “For many years, members of the LGBT community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against acts of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization, and discrimination. Today, we stand with them, shoulder to shoulder.” Muslims who work to make Islam more open to LGBTs deserve support, but those most eager to demonize Islam – for all sorts of tribalistic, nationalistic and religious reasons – typically erase such people because their presence demonstrates how misleading are the absolutist pictures of Muslims they want to paint.

Continue reading.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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