Is the beheading of homosexuals an Islamic religious duty or an independent political act? This is a question currently being posed on Islam Online (IOL), a website popular to the English and Arabic-speaking Muslim community. Given IOL’s violent anti-homosexual history, the answer may surprise you.
Islam Online was established, in November of 1999, as a web portal for everything of concern to radical Muslims, from family matters and Islamic teachings to current events and the latest in technologies. The main individual behind its creation is Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a spiritual leader and longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is presently IOL’s Chairman.
Given IOL’s background, one can easily understand the extremism that emanates from its pages. IOL has taken stances in favor of suicide bombings, and IOL has mandated attacks against American troops. As well, the site has discussed gruesome punishments towards those that are homosexual.
IOL houses its own Shari’ah (Islamic law) Scholars, who provide religious rulings on various subjects. One of those subjects is that of homosexuals. In ‘How to Give Up Homosexuality,’ IOL Scholar Ahmad Kutty states that homosexuals “belong to the group of the wicked sinners condemned by Allah” and “have been condemned to eternal perdition by Allah.”
IOL Scholar Muzammil Siddiqi, in ‘How to Deal with Homosexuals,’ discusses how members of the Muslim community should shun the group. He states, “We should have deep repugnance to their acts and we must remind and warn them. Those who insist on this lifestyle, consider it legitimate and feel ‘gay pride,’ we should not associate with them and should not take them as friends. We should certainly avoid those people.”
IOL, then, goes further and talks about punishing those that are homosexual. In ‘Homosexuality Is a Major Sin,’ IOL Chairman Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states, “Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication, or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.”
IOL Scholar Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, in ‘Homosexuality and Lesbianism: Sexual Perversions,’ states, “Islam emphatically forbids this deed [homosexual sex] and prescribes a severe punishment for it in this world and the next. How could it be otherwise, when the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lut, kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.’ (At-Tirmidhi: 1376) That is, if it is done with consent.”
Finally, IOL publishes specific penalties for homosexuals, one of which is a morbid practice known as “death falls.” In ‘Death Fall as Punishment for Homosexuality,’ IOL Scholar ‘Abdel Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef states, “Some scholars hold the opinion that the homosexual should be thrown from a high building as a punishment for his crime, but other scholars maintain that he should be imprisoned until death. Based on [this], we can conclude that, the judge is invested with full discretion as to whether this man is to be thrown from a high place or not, as a punishment for his crime. However, if the man survives death fall, the judge has the right to sentence him to death.”
This month, IOL placed a colorful graphic on its site, including its homepage, advertising its discussion regarding the act of beheading homosexuals. It stated, “Behead Homosexuals: Shari’ah or Politics?”
IOL has dealt with beheading before. In January of 2008, the website published a grotesque poem written by convicted terror supporter Samina Malik, appropriately titled ‘How to Behead.’ The poem details the process one goes through in order to slice a human being’s head off. Part of it reads, “Hold him, tie the arms behind his back, and bandage his legs together just by the ankles. Blindfold the punk, so that he won’t hesitate as much, for on seeing the sharp pointy knife, he’ll begin to shake and continuously scream... [A]s soon as the warm sharp knife touches his naked flesh, he’ll come to know what’ll happen... [C]ontinue to slice back and forth... Continue with all your might.”
The discussion on IOL about the beheading of homosexuals was in response to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who in May, reportedly said that he would “cut off the head” of any homosexual caught in his country. The question, as posed by IOL, dealt with whether or not Jammeh was acting in accordance with the religion of Islam or in accord with his own political whims?
Of this, IOL Shari’ah Scholar Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti stated the following: “I agree with president Jammeh that homosexuality is a grievous sin that a Muslim must find repugnant, and that its perpetrators do not deserve to be respected or accepted in the Muslim society.”
However, resisting the violent trend of IOL, El-Shinqiti disagreed with the means of Jammeh’s punishment. He stated that, while there are some scholars who have determined that homosexuals are to be put to death, and while “president Jammeh deserves respect for his enthusiasm for Islam and virtue in his society,” the beheading of homosexuals has “no foundation” in the Quran or Hadith (Muhammad’s sayings).
As surprising as it is that IOL would counter the brutal terms of its compatriot, little consolation can be had from an organization that debates about how to end human beings’ lives, choosing one deadly punishment in place of another.
Islam Online professes to speak for an entire religion and all of its followers, yet what kind of individuals could approve of such murderous and offensive matter as what rests within IOL’s web pages regarding homosexuals and others? Over time, many religions have purged themselves of this type of violence against innocents. It is high time that Islam purges itself of Islam Online.