On CNN and Fox News, one politician after another professed to be “shocked” by the massacre in Orlando. “Who would have expected such a thing?” people kept asking. Actually, I’ve been expecting just such a thing for years. The only shock was that it took this long for some jihadist to go after a gay establishment.
Islamic law, after all, is crystal clear on homosexuality, though the various schools of sharia prescribe a range of penalties: one calls for death by stoning; another demands that the transgressor be thrown from a high place; a third says to drop a building on him. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, as well as in parts of Nigeria, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, homosexuality is indeed punishable by death.
Nor do Muslims magically change their views on the subject when they move to the West. As long ago as 2005, the head of the Netherlands’ leading gay rights group said that, owing to the growth of Islam in Amsterdam, tolerance of gay people was “slipping away like sand through the fingers”; over the last 10 or 15 years, Dutch gays have fled the cities in droves to escape Muslim gay-bashing. In Norway, several high-profile Muslims have refused publicly to oppose executing gays, and when challenged on their views have gone on the offensive, demanding respect for orthodox Muslim beliefs. This past April, a poll established that 52 percent of British Muslims want homosexuality banned.
Many on the left (and some on the right, too) refuse to face these facts. In 2004, when gay activist Peter Tatchell urged London’s then-mayor Ken Livingstone to rescind an invitation to Koranic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi—who supports the death penalty for gays—Livingstone issued a report calling Qaradawi a liberal and Tatchell a racist.
Yes, there are self-identified Muslims who harbor no antigay prejudice; I suspect that more than a few of them are actually apostates who—aware that Islam considers apostasy, too, a capital crime—choose to keep quiet about their infidel status. Some gays who were born into Islam claim that they’ve worked out for themselves a version of their faith not inconsistent with their homosexuality; good luck to them, but they’re in a tiny minority. Whenever a Muslim commits some atrocity, we’re reminded that the world contains some 1.5 billion Muslims, the great majority of them tolerant, peace-loving, etc.; the fact is that the great majority of those 1.5 billion Muslims also belong to varieties of Islam that preach contempt for, and severe punishment of, homosexuals.
Incredibly, many gays still don’t get this—or refuse to get it. They cling—mindlessly, one wants to say—to leftist ideology, which tells them that Muslims, like gays, are an official victim group, and thus their natural allies. They see Christians as their enemies—though even the most aggressively antigay Christians in America, namely the “God hates fags” crowd at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, don’t go around killing anybody. Perversely, some gays support the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement, which demonizes the only gay-friendly country in the Middle East. Some even buy into the concept of “pinkwashing”—the inane assertion, promoted by radical lesbian playwright Sarah Schulman, that Israel advertises its own gay-positive values as a means of covering up its supposed oppression of Palestinians. On this day of horror, let’s hope that the jihadist massacre of 50 people in a gay club in Orlando finally awakens gay Americans to the brutal reality of Islam’s hatred for them.
Bruce Bawer is the author of The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind.