After Deoband, other Muslim leaders condemn homosexuality
1 Jul 2009,PTI
NEW DELHI: Amid government moves for a re-look at criminalising homosexuality, several Muslim leaders have said any attempt to legally permit unnatural sex is an attack on religious and moral values.
“Legalisation of homosexuality is an attack on Indian religious and moral values,” over a dozen prominent Muslim religious leaders said in a statement.
The statement has been endorsed by Maulana Jalaluddin Omari, President of the Jamaat-e Islami Hind, Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasimi, Rector of Darul Uloom Waqf, Deoband, Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmad, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Fatehpuri, among others.
“We are shocked to see reports in the media that the Union government is considering the repeal of Section 377 of the IPC, which means making homosexuality legal,” the statement said on Tuesday.
It said that homosexuality is a sin and a social evil which will only lead to societal disintegration and break-up of the family.
Appealing to the government not to be influenced by the “decadent trends of the Western culture” and not to give in to the demands of a minuscule minority, the statement said the government should not test the patience of the silent vast majority of the country which abhors such behaviour.
A prominent body of Muslim community Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind had earlier hit out at the government’s proposed move, saying the repeal of the section would create “sexual anarchy” in the society.
“The section should stay as its repealing would result in sexual anarchy in the society. Those opposing the section are influenced by Western culture. Those who argue for independence do not realise that independence should have its limits,” Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind spokesperson Abdul Hameed Noamani said.
Leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband had earlier also opposed the Centre’s move to repeal a controversial section, saying unnatural sex is against the tenets of Islam.
“Homosexuality is offence under Shariat Law and haram (prohibited) in Islam,” Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Darul Uloom Deoband Maulana Abdul Khalik Madrasi has said.
The reaction came after reports that Centre was likely to convene a meeting soon to evolve a consensus on repealing a controversial section of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality.
Gay sex against tenets of Islam: Deoband
29 Jun 2009, 1353 hrs IST, PTI
MUZAFFARNAGAR, UP: A leading Islamic seminary on Monday opposed Centre’s move to repeal a controversial section of the penal law which criminalises homosexuality saying unnatural sex is against the tenets of Islam.
“Homosexuality is an offence under Shariat Law and haram (prohibited) in Islam,” deputy vice chancellor of the Darul Uloom Deoband Maulana Abdul Khalik Madrasi said.
Madrasi also asked the government not to repeal section 377 of IPC which criminalises homosexuality.
His objection came a day after law minister Veerappa Moily said a decision on repealing the section would be taken only after considering concerns of all sections of the society, including religious groups like the church.
Terming gay activities as crime, Maulana Salim Kasmi, vice-president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said homosexuality is punishable under Islamic law and section 377 of IPC should not be tampered.
Maulana Mohd Sufiyan Kasmi, an AIMPLB member, and Mufti Zulfikar, president of Uttar Pradesh Imam Organisation have also expressed similar views on the issue.
Kasmi said it would be harmful for the society to legalise gay sex.
Buoyed by the news that the Centre is considering repealing the controversial section of the IPC, members of the gay community on Sunday held parades in several cities.
Ancient India didn’t think homosexuality was against nature
27 Jun 2009, 0018 hrs IST, Manoj Mitta, TNN
NEW DELHI: Was Indian society tolerant of homosexuality before the colonial administration proscribed it in 1860? The government has taken
conflicting positions on this within the country and outside.
On a petition pending before the Delhi high court seeking to decriminalize homosexuality, the government said in its counter affidavit that that there were “no convincing reports to indicate that homosexuality or other offences against the order of nature mentioned in Section 377 IPC were acceptable in the Indian society prior to colonial rule.”
But when it was being reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council last year for the first time ever, India distanced itself from that provision when Sweden, arguably the most gay-friendly country in the world, questioned its record in ensuring equality irrespective of a person’s sexual orientation.
This is how Goolam Vahanvati, who was then solicitor-general and is now attorney-general, tried to save India’s face before the council as part of its official delegation. “Around the early 19th Century, you probably know that in England they frowned on homosexuality, and therefore there are historical reports that various people came to India to take advantage of its more liberal atmosphere with regard to different kinds of sexual conduct.
“As a result, in 1860 when we got the Indian Penal Code, which was drafted by Lord Macaulay, they inserted Section 377 which brought in the concept of ‘sexual offences against the order of nature’.
Now in India we didn’t have this concept of something being ‘against the order of nature’. It was essentially a Western concept, which has remained over the years. Now homosexuality as such is not defined in the IPC, and it will be a matter of great argument whether it is ‘against the order of nature’.”
Vahanvati’s admission on the international forum that the ban on homosexuality was a western import and its relevance was debatable flies in the face of the government’s unabashed efforts before the Delhi high court to retain Section 377, complete with its colonial baggage and archaic notion of unnatural offences.
Whatever the politics behind this glaring contradiction, there is ample evidence placed before the high court by petitioner Naz Foundation substantiating in effect Vahanvati’s view that in the centuries prior to the enactment of section 377, India was rather accommodating of homosexuals.
While the penalty imposed by Section 377 goes up to life sentence, there is nothing close to it in Manusmriti, the most popular Hindu law book of medieval and ancient India. “If a man has shed his semen in non-human females, in a man, in a menstruating woman, in something other than a vagina, or in water, he should carry out the ‘painful heating’ vow.” Thus, this peculiar vow, involving application of cow’s urine and dung, was meant not only for homosexuals but also errant heterosexuals.
The penalty is even milder if the homosexual belongs to an upper caste. As Manusmriti puts it, “If a twice-born man unites sexually with a man or a woman in a cart pulled by a cow, or in water, or by day, he should bathe with his clothes on.’’
Since Manusmriti was written at a time when bath generally meant taking a dip in a river or a lake with other members of the same gender, the penalty of making a homosexual bathe without taking off his clothes was probably designed to avoid the embarrassment of his being sexually aroused in public.
In another indicator of the liberal Hindu heritage, Kama Sutra, a classic written in the first millennium by Sage Vatsyayana, devotes a whole chapter to homosexual sex saying “it is to be engaged in and enjoyed for its own sake as one of the arts.” Besides providing a detailed description of oral sex between men, Kama Sutra categorizes men who desire other men as “third nature” and refers to long-term unions between men.