Catching my breath after the Orlando massacre on innocent visitors at a gay club. I have been wondering if any of my American friends could have been around, especially any of my gay friends; also my cousin is gay and living in US since a few years, but none of them have been in Orlando, so I’m fine. For now.
After a while, a photo was shared by the Swedish Islam Academy, a respected institute in Southern Sweden, with a statement commenting on the massacre. I read it, curiously. Would the Islam Academy take a stance for equal rights for the LBGT community? Would they condemn attacks on homosexuals? This kind of reconciliation would be very needed in this moment.
This is what the message from the Islam Academy said (my translation):
“Another terror attack has affected innocent civilian people. This attack is unfortunately not the first one and probably not the last. While terrorist groups are being affected by military losses in the Middle East we will probably see more cowardly terrorist attacks affect different parts of the world. Regardless of whether the people who perform these attacks are lone maniacs or organised groups, these attacks are being born out of the same evil ideology. An evil and devilish ideology that has nothing to do with God or Religion.
This violence that these terrorist groups are performing are affecting Christians, Jews, and others, but they are even affecting Muslims. They easily blow up a church, a synagogue, a dance club as well as they blow up a mosque.
The lastest act was directed towards a LGBT club in Orlando, USA. For the vast majority of Muslims, there is no doubt that this act is pure evil that needs to be condemned. It is important to clarify that regardless of Islam’s or Muslims’ views on LGBT issues, this cowardly killing of civilians can not be legitimised by Islam and the traditional Muslim faith. Muslims and Muslim organisations around the world have clearly condemned this terrorist act, like they condemn other acts of violence that affect civilians and innocent people.
It is also important in the context to remind that the Syrian and Iraqi people are constantly being affected by this violence and this evil. We can never forget their suffering and exposure. We continuously need to pray and actively work for a quick and impartial end of the conflict.
Our thoughts and prayers goes out to all people around the world that are being affected by unjustified violence. We ask God to remain the security and safety in our country, Sweden, and around the world. We also ask God to strengthen and protect our Muslim brothers and sisters from potential reprisals.
Signed by the chairman of the Islam Academy.
How did I feel after reading the lengthy message? The answer can be summarised by one word: disappointed.
Why? We all know that many people around the world are being victimised again and again and again. This is not something new. In Uganda, gay people are being oppressed by the state, sometimes even lynched by mobs
. In DRC Congo, different rebel groups have been trying to outmatch each other in a race to the bottom, where massacres have been outranking one another
. In Afghanistan, the ethnic minority group Hazara people have continuously been victims of deadly attacks. In Egypt, the Christian minority have been subjects of massacres several times.
I was disappointed, and I wish I could have told the Islam Academy this:
One victimised group doesn’t oust another one. When one group have been victimised, massacred, killed; please don’t suddenly bring up another victimised group that you are fond of. You mentioned the Syrian and Iraqi people, but there are many, many more, and it doesn’t really make sense. This time, it was the already oppressed LGBT community that was being brutally massacred by a lone ranger who believed he had support in the Islamic State (and he did), and maybe he believed he had support other Islamic groups? All religious groups have had a low tolerans towards the LGBT communities historically – and being a religious community, you need to show that this is wrong. Otherwise there is a great potential for future lone rangers to believe that they have the right to perform similar massacres again.
Show the LGBT community compassion during these hard times, this community and no others, just during this difficult time. There is a time and place for everything, and this time, it’s their time. And what’s more important: show that you respect human rights for everyone. Show that you respect human rights for the international LGBT community.
Now is not the time to point at other massacres. Now is the time to show compassion to this very group that have been victimised. Show that you can see the bigger picture. If you do this, I won’t have to be disappointed with you.
Unfortunately, I’m not in touch with the Islam Academy personally. That’s why I, instead, decided to share my views here. I hope that they might read it. And if they won’t, maybe some of their sympathisers. Now is the time to stand up for the rights if the LGBT community. For all of us.