Everyone is saying that Islam is not compatible with the West (America and Europe). They say it conflicts with our views on women being equal and, most recently, promotes the view that homosexuality is punishable by death.
So is any of that true?
Here are a number of quotes from Islam's holy book, believed to be the words of Allah as recorded by his servant and prophet, Mohammed.
Before you read these quotes, first written down in the year 609 (A.D.), you should remember that it was not known that homosexuality has a biological origin. In a previous story it was shown that this abnormality is caused by stress induced hormonal conditions affecting the developing fetus during the first three months of life. It is not a choice but a condition, thus far unchangeable.
Nevertheless, the base of everyday life as a Muslim is sharia, a kind if legal system that defines acceptable behavior and establishes precise punishments for infringements. This sharia law, being defined in the Quran (the word of Allah) can not be ignored by any true Muslim. So we must give a big "heads up" when reading the following texts.
Quran (7:80-84) - "...For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.... And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)" - An account that is borrowed from the Biblical story of Sodom. Muslim scholars through the centuries have interpreted the "rain of stones" on the town as meaning that homosexuals should be stoned, since no other reason is given for the people's destruction. (Inexplicably, the story is also repeated in suras 15:74, 27:58 and 29:40).
Quran (7:81) - "Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you?" This verse is part of the previous text and it establishes that homosexuality as different from (and much worse than) adultery or other sexual sin. According to the Arabic grammar, homosexuality is called the worst sin, while references elsewhere describe other forms of non-marital sex as being "among great sins."
Quran (26:165-166) - "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, "And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing..."
Quran (4:16) - "If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone" This is the Yusuf Ali translation. The original Arabic does not use the word "men" and simply says "two from among you." Yusuf Ali may have added the word "men" because the verse seems to refer to a different set than referred to in the prior verse (explicitly denoted as "your women"). In other words, since 4:15 refers to "your women", 4:16 is presumably written to and refers to men.
Hadith and Sira
Because most of us are familiar with the Chrisitian Bible, we know that some important texts were written by men who understood the words of Jesus and helped interpret their meaning to the people of those times. Islam has these same kind of texts --not written by Mohammed -- yet are considered valid interpretations of sharia law.
Abu Dawud was born in Sistan, eastern Iran (then-Persia) and died in 889 in Basra. Widely traveled among scholars of hadith, he went to Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Hijaz, Tihamah, Khurasan, Nishapur, and Marv among other places in order to collect hadith. He was primarily interested in jurisprudence, and as a result his collection focused largely on legal hadith. Out of about 500,000 hadith, he chose 4,800 for inclusion in his work. *
Abu Dawud (4462) - The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Lot, execute the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."
Abu Dawud (4448) - "If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death." (Note the implicit approval of sodomizing one's wife).*
Islamic Countries & Homosexuality Penalties
Yemen: According to the 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.
Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.
Mauritania: Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law, though none have been executed so far. Women face prison.
Nigeria: Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.
Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.
Saudi Arabia: Under the country's interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.
Afghanistan: The Afghan Penal Code does not refer to homosexual acts, but Article 130 of the Constitution allows recourse to be made to sharia law, which prohibits same-sex sexual activity in general. Afghanistan's sharia law criminalizes same-sex sexual acts with a maximum of the death penalty. No known cases of death sentences have been meted out since the end of Taliban rule in 2001. *
I could go on with more examples, but you get the picture here.
I think we need to start a discussion about the potential dangers posed by belief systems that conflict with our culture and values. A wise man once said that when you have two cultures with opposing values, there can be only one of two outcomes: assimilation or annihilation.
Or is there a THIRD option?
Perhaps Friedrich Nietzsche said it more precise: You must be either hammer or anvil.