‘Un-Islamic’ to criminalise homosexuality, Muslim group with Malaysian links says

A US-based Muslim group has hit out at those seeking to criminalise homosexuality. — Reuters pic
A US-based Muslim group has hit out at those seeking to criminalise homosexuality. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — A US-based Muslim group has hit out at those seeking to criminalise homosexuality, arguing that it is “un-Islamic” to punish those of different sexual orientations.

Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), which has a Malaysian chapter, said however that it would be up to Malaysia’s people to decide if they want to legalise same-sex marriages as has been done by the US Supreme Court earlier this week.

“Yes, I do believe all forms of penalisation and outright criminalisation of homosexuality needs to be done away with as it has no basis in universal values, compassion for our fellow humankind. Homosexuality is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ as many of its adversaries would have it and scientifically proven to be born as such,” MPV’s Malaysian-born founder and President Ani Zonneveld told Malay Mail Online via email.

“As for legalising gay marriage in Malaysia: that is up to the society to decide. Personally, I would be happy if all the Muslim countries, would stop demonising, criminalising, torturing, enforcing ‘corrective rapes’, ‘corrective therapy’ and killing homosexuals.

“Prophet Muhammad didn’t and nor is there such dictate in the Quran. From an Islamic perspective, criminalisation of homosexuality is un-Islamic,” Ani said, adding that MPV has previously stated in a paper its position on sexual orientation and gender identity.

While Malaysian law does not specifically criminalise gay or lesbian sex, Section 377A of the Penal Code makes it illegal to perform sodomy or fellatio.

The particular section states that a man who puts his penis into the anus or mouth of another person is said to commit carnal intercourse against the order of nature, which is punishable with whipping and imprisonment of up to 20 years.

In a Friday statement, MPV commended the US Supreme Court’s historic ruling that legalised same-sex marriage throughout America. The US joined over 20 countries that have similarly made same-sex marriages legal.

“Our love for our LGBTQI siblings causes us to rejoice in today’s decision from the highest court of law in the United States, the US Supreme Court, recognising and uplifting the constitutional mandate of equality,” MPV had said, using the initials for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community.

“Muslims for Progressive Values recognises the worth of every human being as endowed by our creator. Seeking to enact justice through word and deed, MPV has worked to create inclusive spaces where LGBTQI Muslims could embrace both their faith and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity,” the Los Angeles-based group added in its Friday statement.

In Malaysia, Islamic authorities and conservative Muslim groups have repeatedly condemned the gay and transgender community, with news website Gay Star News reporting in 2012 assaults on transsexuals in the country.

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