Write On: Letters to Green Left Weeklyhttp://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2002/520/520p8.htm
Islam and homosexuality
As a supporter of GLW, I am very disappointed that Leon Harrison (GLW #519) is attacking us like a right-wing columnist. It would have been very easy for him to contact myself through GLW, which has my email address and my phone number. Had he bothered to do so, he would have been able to get the facts on these baseless and malicious allegations.
Firstly, Sheik Shady did not call for the introduction of an Islamic court. What he did was to outline the scriptural penalty for homosexuality and then he was very careful to make sure that everyone in attendance knew that such a penalty could not be implemented by anyone other than an Islamic court and an Islamic court cannot be established unless through a Caliph. As there was no such person, such a penalty cannot be applied.
He stressed that those who disagree with the gay lifestyle can only resort to counselling, he preached respect and peaceful means to resolve disagreement. He never called for the stoning of any person for any crime, sin or activity.
As for me, I never called for or endorsed vilification or discrimination of homosexuals. In answer to a question about counselling, I told the person that counselling must be based on principles and on what the person believes to be correct. If you believe that a person is engaging in self harm, counsel them with advice that would help them to break away from that self harm. If this advice is against workplace policy, then you have to determine whether the interest of the person and your principles are greater or the workplace policy.
As for Hanan, she is also misquoted. She never said that she denied any person the right to attend the lecture, it was an open forum. It is ludicrous to suggest that the person mentioned could not attend when a number of senior gay activists were welcome and were allowed to pose any question they wished. The allegations are self-negating by their very nature.
What Hanan said was that she would not allow another person on the panel, this was her prerogative as it is the prerogative of any organiser to choose whom they wish to be presenting their argument. The other person could organise their own forum and speak anytime they wish, the other person was also welcome to attend along with those who attended. I am extremely disappointed that GLW did not give me the courtesy of addressing these allegations before they were published.
All credit goes to the Gay and Lesbian community papers for refusing to publish such baseless accusations.
From Green Left Weekly, December 11, 2002.
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