Homosexuality – punishable by death?
Last November the Norwegian Islamic Council asked the European fatwa council what attitude it should have to homosexuals.
“It’s wrong of the Islamic Council to wait for the “verdict” from the fatwa council in such an important case. By not saying ‘no’ to death penalties for gays, it shows attitudes that conflict with both democratic and humanitarian values,” says Sara Azmeh Rasmussen. She is the only openly lesbian Muslim in Norway.
The head of the Norwegian Islamic Council, Senaid Kobilica, is not worried that the fatwa council will decide in favour of the death penalty. “I’m 100 percent certain that the fatwa council will not come out in favour something which conflicts with European law. The council wasn’t able to deal with the question of homosexuality this time, but it thinks that subject is quite relevant and wants to look at the matter more,” says Kobilica.
The Islamic Council, which represents 60,000 Muslims in Norway, is still not willing to say whether it is for or against the death penalty for homosexuals, until the fatwa council has spoken.
A fatwa in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion on Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwa is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be, depending on the status of the scholar.
What is a “Fatwa”?
The people who pronounce these rulings are supposed to be knowledgable, and base their rulings in knowledge and wisdom. They need to supply the evidence from Islamic sources for their opinions, and it is not uncommon for scholars to come to different conclusions regarding the same issue.
As Muslims, we look at the opinion, the reputation of the person giving it, the evidence given to support it, and then decide whether to follow it or not.
A fatwa issued by the European fatwa council — or by any other person or entity — may have some meaning to Muslims. However, Muslims must obey the law — the real law. In this case, they must obey the laws of Norway and those of the European Union. Europe has banned the death penalty. Muslims who want to hold on to the barbaric practice should probably move to countries where Islamic law and fatwas actually mean something.
Fatwa all you want, but if your fatwas contradict the laws of civilized nations they no meaning or use whatsoever (except, perhaps, to illustrate the dangerous nature of Islamic extremism).
What attitude should Muslims have toward homosexuality? Tolerance, at the very least. But really, in our opinion it is none of their business. If Muslims want something to be outraged about, they should take a look at the evil being committed in the name of their religion: