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August 22, 2003

Queer & in the Koran?

Shanti Magala has some pretty insightful thoughts on this article about Queer Muslims.

Here is the website for the American Queer Muslim organization. Check out their personals section. Halal sodomy?

BTW, I just had a phone conversation with someone who lives in NYC, and apparently he had a big falling out with a friend who is a lawyer at the SEC. My friend noted that we should be concerned about the hostility toward the West that pervades the world-view of a substantial portion of the Ummah, and, their predeliction to resort to violent means. This elicited an angry outburst that "one should not generalize" aboout people in such a manner, and that my friend "needs to get educated." There is a rot in the mental foundations of the West-perhaps all good things must come to an end?

Posted by razib at 03:50 PM

I recently had an encounter with one of those self-righteous people who are quick to order others to get educated.
It was after a showing of a documentary on voodoo at a local film festival and we were a small group speaking to the film director.
This movie had juxtaposed some lunatic statements both by christian evangelicals and haitian voodouisants, but while the crowd always burst in laughter whenever one of the christian loonies was speaking, there was always respectful silence whenever the voodoo priest talked about evil spirits and curses, etc .

I told the filmmaker that i found it a bit strange that people were so ready to mock christianity but not willing to point out the utter idiocy of some voodoo priest claiming that haitians don't need doctors, just more priests.
At that moment, an outraged film student type, a white girl , said something like "you shouldn't talk about what you don't know like that, and when people say things like that it's because they're afraid of what they don't know!" .
I was almost floored by such a shameless display of cliché thought ! She thought she could shut me up when she said something like "If you're not haitian then you can't talk about this". Unfortunately for her, that's precisely my cultural background (my parent's anyways).
Anyways i wasn't budging. I told her that if she could point out good reasons for me to respect voodoo then she should do that and that there was no way that i was going to change my point of view just because it offends someone. At that point she grumbled something about "I don't know you and I have nothing to discuss with you" and moved away.
I must admit that i was a bit surprised by the nastyness in her tone of voice. I 'd have thought that such a person would have been scared of appearing patronizing or racist :) She certainly wasnt . A very poor debater she was though . She must have belonged to some maoist sect !

ps = my nickname is somewhat voodoo related (the god ogun) but I only care about it from a cultural heritage point of view. It's not part of my worldview though.

Posted by: ogunsiron at August 22, 2003 08:04 PM

haiti recognizes voodoo as an official religion. benin has recognized vodun as well. i believe iceland has added asatru (norse neo-paganism) as a religion recognized by the gov.

paganism is in principle no more silly or strange than one of the Abrahamic religions-but the main problem in implementation is that modern day paganism is a lot more magic-soaked than christianity. faith healing, prayer healing and exorcism are examples of christian magic-but they tend to play a less important role in modern christianity (at least in the majority of practioners) than magic does among pagans in my experience.

Posted by: razib at August 22, 2003 08:47 PM

don't you know, only the white man is "burdened" with the "curse" of reason, and that non-white cultures are entitled to their ignorance :)
But at least it sounds like the director was on your side, maybe you were the only one to get his point?

Posted by: scott at August 22, 2003 09:11 PM

What I find interesting is that the self-styled "pagans" in the U.S. tend to be left-wing crunchy types. who make up stories about some non-existant premodern "goddess worship" - while paganism in Europe is mostly right-wing, reacting against what they see as the feminizing influence of Christianity on the badass european barbarians...

Wouldn't you love to get these people together?

Posted by: jimbo at August 23, 2003 05:42 AM

Isn't it a source of shame or embarrassment to the Americans on this board that groups like the "American Queer Muslim organization" are based in the US? There's a very good reason many Muslims hate the Great Satan, and here it is. I really can't bring myself to blame them.

Posted by: Rhodie at August 23, 2003 07:02 AM

[Actually, of course a group calling itself "American..." is going to be based in the US; what I should have said is, a "queer Muslim organization".]

Posted by: Rhodie at August 23, 2003 07:07 AM

I see we have fundamental disagreements. I actually sympathize (to an extent) with the traditional Islamic view of the modern West, and I can well understand the appeal of bin Laden's sort.

I was interested to read your "sick death cult" comment concerning militant Muslims. Because, of course, that's exactly how they view us. With good reason. When you consider the modern West, with its mass violence, neuroses/psychoses, consumerism, feminism, decadence, abortion, cultural suicide, multiculturalism, and rapidly declining birth rates, why would anyone in his right mind want to impose these on another society unless he wanted to destroy that society?

I think the real "sick death cult" is the culture of MTV, McDonalds, abortion, Madonna, rap music, and all the rest of it, that Western elites are trying relentlessly to export to Muslim countries.

I do think the problem is the preeminence of American culture. It can be alluring, I concede. But we can see at firsthand the cultural, social, and demographic disaster it has caused in the West.

Posted by: Rhodie at August 23, 2003 01:49 PM

"I want to flood the zone with universally appealing Americana, and get their youth on our side. I want them to read Harry Potter rather than the Koran, watch MTV rather than Al-Jazeera, and so on."

I'd like that too, but I think that Muslim culture has developed a critique of Western "cultural imperialism". An analysis of such a phenomena that is understood by the general population creates a capacity to resist its effects. I don't think we're dealing with a population whose ideology can be subtly undermined by pop culture anymore.

Posted by: Chris W at August 23, 2003 07:36 PM