Tolerance for Male Homosexuality in the Muslim World

Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf countries tolerate it well, and it is said to be epidemic in places like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There is also quite of bit of it in Syria, Egypt and Morocco.

It is not tolerated at all in Iran, Iraq, or Shia Lebanon, as Shia Islam is much more condemning of male homosexuality than Sunni Islam.

It is not that Sunni Islam necessarily is more tolerant of male homosexuality but that there is more variation in the Sunni world.

Palestine is not tolerant of male homosexuality at all, as gay men are frequently killed there. They are also commonly killed in Iraq and Iran. Syria used to be relatively more tolerant, but the parts of Syria taken over Islamists are very intolerant of gay men to the point where they are murdering them.

I have no data on male homosexuality in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan or Sunni Lebanon.

I also know nothing about it in the Muslim Sahel, Horn of Africa and West Africa.

I know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Europe such as Bosnia and Albania, although I assume it is more tolerated there than elsewhere.

Turkey is a mixed bag, as there is said to be a lot of male homosexuality, but it is also officially not tolerated. Sort of a don’t ask, don’t tell thing.

I know nothing of male homosexuality in the Caucasus, Muslim Russia, the Stans, India and Xinjiang.

I do not know what it was like before, but a lot of gay men are being murdered now in Bangladesh. I think there have been 30-40 such murders in the past couple of years. Gay rights advocates rather than gay men in general have been targeted.

I also know nothing about male homosexuality in Muslim Thailand, Muslim Burma, Muslim Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines. Male homosexuality is pretty well tolerated in Thailand and the Philippines, but I am not sure how ok it is in the Muslim parts of those nations.

Admittedly I am not the best person to ask about the situation for male homosexuality and gay men in the Muslim World.

Any further information would be interesting.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Tolerance for Male Homosexuality in the Muslim World

  1. Pingback: Some Little-Known Truths about Arabs | Beyond Highbrow - Robert Lindsay

  2. As far as I can tell, Homosexual discrimination in parts of Africa with Black populations are likely, but all I know for definite is with Christian populations.

    I’m unsure of the Muslim ones.

  3. Tulio

    Unfortunately any degree of tolerance for homosexuality put a nation on slippery slope trajectory to a culture that looks like San Francisco. And I do believe in tolerance for homosexuality. But realize that once there is tolerance, gay marriage and gay propaganda is inevitably going to follow. I see why some countries aren’t willing to give an inch.

    And Russia is very intolerant of gays:

  4. Ed

    “Unfortunately any degree of tolerance for homosexuality put a nation on slippery slope trajectory to a culture that looks like San Francisco. ”

    Oh that’s horrible!

    You do realize that the entire Bay Area, of which San Francisco is at the center, is a candidate for the most advanced region in the world, whether you use wealth, tech, or culture? Its within the top dozen at least.

  5. Ed

    Aren’t Arab men all supposed to be pedophiles or something?

  6. SHI

    While there is extreme intolerance for homosexuality in Islamic countries, the practice itself is not condemned.

    Based on what I observed, I wouldn’t say Arabs are into fudge-packing but certain things “between men are tolerated” which would be simply unacceptable in the West.

    Men holding hands – This is something commonly seen in India, Pakistan and the subcontinent as well. It’s just an elevated form of brotherhood and kinship and there are no taboos against it. Highly common among Egyptians, Moroccans and almost all men of the Gulf State.

    Try walking down the streets of Poland, Latvia or Russia holding another man’s hand and chances are you’ll be savagely attacked by angry, homophobic passer-bye’s. Or at least people will insult you, call you names.

    Men kissing each other on the cheek – This is a custom peculiar to the Arab world. Again, no homosexuality is intended. And you don’t kiss just about everybody. Only close friends and male relatives.

    In some European countries, it’s common for men to kiss other on the cheek but mostly that tradition is dying now.

    Men preferring the company of other men rather than spending it with women – They may be married with 4 kids but prefer spending all their time with other men.

    Me personally given a chance I like to spend most of my time with women. They just give you far more pleasure. Even if that means going out alone. Even bimbos and dull females do their part very well. But above average intelligence women are a real delight. What’s not to like about girls. God created them for our pleasure.

    I also like to be in a bar/strip club with plenty of semi-naked women. I love watching pole dancers. So the only time I enjoy male bonding is at work or when we’re planning to have some fun. But still, I don’t normally find someone like myself to accompany in a nightclub. It does happen but rarely. I have been to 27 countries so far, and traveled solo everywhere. It’s weird to have a dinner or go movies with a dude. But yes, perfectly OK enjoying alcoholic beverages with dudes.

    There’s nothing wrong with men wanting to spend most of their time with other men in other heterosexual ways. Exchanging barbs and insults. With women around, you have to play “nice” and ” decent”. Not always though.

    • Lin

      I think you miss the points:

      1)Arab/Muslims are not more innately homosexual than others.

      2)Homosexuality could be

      a) Innate (born gay).
      b) Cultural (like in ancient Greece,southern Afghanistan).
      c) Experimental.
      d) Circumstantial (It’s a 5 year mission, and Starship Enterprise has few women, so the men boldly go where no man has gone before).

      Islam traditionally discourage premarital hetero dating, so young boys or young men in the absence of their wives need (circumstantial) emergent outlet of their libido. I suspect to uphold Koranic teaching of avoiding public display of hetero intimacy or affection, even the clerics might overlook the circumstantial alternative relief.

      I read that the followings are not counted as ‘homosexuality’:

      i) One’s on top.

      ii) One does ‘love’ the ‘bottom’ during the act.

      Here’s one example and probably its no big deal to them internally:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3436988/Mother-ten-year-old-boy-raped-Austrian-swimming-pool-Iraqi-said-sexual-emergency-says-regrets-telling-children-migrants-need-help.html

  7. Tata

    Homosexuality is forbidden in the Maghreb countries, with prison sentences.

    But in practice there is many gay sex in these countries, but mostly linked to sexual tourism from europeans countries, mostly frenchs. The men who work in the hotels, camels tour, travel guides, etc. offer gay sex to the tourists, but these young men are not really gays, they are only prostitutes. They also sleep with big fat cow women of 50 years old and more.

  8. Yahya

    I doubt that Shia Islam is any more damming of homosexuality than Sunni Islam, although at the time of the Iranian revolution, homosexuality was generally seen as something introduced (or reintroduced) by Western culture. Other than that, I don’t see anything intrinsic. There is definitely more variation in the Sunni countries, but that is more due to the fact the Sunnis have larger numbers.

    As far as I have seen, outside of South Asia, homosexuals generally suffer more in secular Muslim countries. While homosexuality is not illegal or as publicly condemned in secular states as it is in theocratic ones, homosexuals seem far more likely to be assaulted or murdered in said states. So long as homosexuals keep among themselves, don’t attempt to form clubs /bathhouses, or come out of the closet, they will be safe in Iran or Saudi Arabia. In Palestine or Egypt, you might be killed just for being suspected of homosexuality.

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