Dear Yasir Qadhi, Hamza Yusuf, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and fellow homophobic Muslim religious leaders of America.
Evidence #1: Prop 2008, Marriage Equality act in CA. I remember the Shura Council, an umbrella organization of 26+ mosques in Southern California, posted their opposition on Prop 8, urging members of their congregation to vote against it. It was only with backroom diplomacy with progressive churches and synagogues who argued that discriminating against LGBT people is unacceptable given that they have been in partnership with the very same mosques for Muslim rights in America, that official stance was taken off the website.
Evidence #2: As a faith-based human rights organization, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) collaborated with many like-minded faith organizations to have ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) include the prohibition of discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of one's sexual orientation and gender identity. Where were ISNA on this? They, along with other religious right organizations worked against the inclusion of LGBTQI folks and would only sign on only if religious institutions were exempted!
Evidence #3: Sumayyah Dawud, a niqab-wearing Muslim woman was harassed by the Arizonian police after a #BlackLivesMatter rally. The American Muslim civil rights organization CAIR took on her case, but quickly dropped it upon learning of her dispute with the Tempe Mosque; a dispute on Sumayyah'ssexual identity,which dictates where Sumayyah stands for prayers, the men's or the women's section.
When the Quran speaks of hypocrites, those who pretend to speak of truth, I never thought I would live to see the best of them all. Even Da'esh has more integrity than you. As twisted as Da'esh's belief system is, they, unlike you, are transparent, honest in representing their true beliefs.
As co-signers of the Orlando Declaration, you claim that as Americans we can only hold two positions: you are either anti-Islam or for Islam. There is a third category sandwiched in between and it is the homophobic category. As a Muslim I will not address the homophobes of other faiths, and will only address those of my co-religionists.
The murderer of 49 party goers at Pulse in Orlando should be attached to your "Islam." An "Islam" that raised him to believe that homosexuals will burn in hell, that you cannot be Muslim and be gay; and that killing homosexuals is killing out of kindness.
Yes, this is your twisted version of Islam and it is not that much different than Da'esh's ideology. It is your "Islam" that has traumatized so many gay Muslims, that has alienated, ostracized and demonized them to the point of self-hatred. Self-hatred leads to mental health and suicidal tendencies, not an un-common by-product of your hate-filled theology toward homosexuals, a by-product exhibited in the killing at Pulse.
You don't get to wash the blood off your hands on this one.
Your Orlando Declaration is clever. You have borrowed from the Israelis who claim any criticism of Israeli policies, even constructive ones, are anti-Semitic. You have learned the art of deflection of responsibility from the best.
You claim to hold Prophet Muhammad's teaching in high regard. How about living up to it for once?
Spare us the robe, the beard, and the superficial religiosity.
Did Prophet Muhammad ever punish anyone for being gay? The answer is an absolute "no."
Is there punishment for being a homosexual in the Qur'an? To quote Hamza Yusuf himself , the answer is "no", although many of you will manipulate the story of Lot out of context to reinforce your homophobic stance. Quoting Qur'an Surah 2:256 -- "There is no compulsion in religion" to distance yourself as a homophobe is yet more evidence of your ignorance. Being gay is not a religious choice.
Being gay is also not a lifestyle choice. It has been proven scientifically that one's sexual identity is predetermined in the womb. Most intuitive parents can spot their homosexual child from a young age. To call it a lifestyle choice is proof you are speaking from heterosexual privilege.
Why would anyone choose homosexuality as a lifestyle given the widespread prejudices against being one? Would you?
You cannot claim to support the American values of equality under the law if your version of Islam instead works to undermine the basis of one's individual rights and to nurture hate for another.
Can't you see the fact that only a dismal number of American Muslims see your organizations as representative of their values, it is a clear indication of how out of touch you are of our spiritual needs, and our American (and incidentally Islamic) values of egalitarianism, equality and justice? That we cannot stand the homophobic and misogynistic teachings, the over-emphasis of a culture and tribal-based Islam rather than that of values and principles?
42% of American Muslims agree and strongly agree with the Supreme Court's decision on Marriage Equality, but yet not a single American Muslim religious leader of your conservative stripe have stepped forward to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the LGBTQI American Muslims.
MPV will not allow your extremist homophobic teaching to define Islam and we will not allow the 49 lives to die in vain.
Our challenge to Zaytuna Institute, religious schools and imams of every mosques in America -- for once and for all: End the teaching of demonizing homosexuality in the name of Islam in your curriculums and your sermons. Teach compassion, mercy, justice and peace. At its core, that is the message of the Qur'an and all its Prophets.
We are watching you.