‘What,” Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was asked, “is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?”
“Forbidden,” he curtly pronounced. “Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.”
So what does Barack Obama have to say about that?
Cynically mounting his high horse last week in the cozy confines of Jay Leno’s late-night TV comedy program — a venue popular with his ill-informed admirers, one where hypocrisy won’t be noticed, much less challenged — the president declaimed, “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate or are harmful to them.”
This was his purported human-rights rationale for canceling a summit meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who in June signed an anti-gay law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Obama told Leno that “making sure people are treated fairly and justly” is a “precept that’s not unique to America” and “should apply everywhere.”
Does the president truly mean what he said? Or was he just pandering to dreamy millennials and the Hollywood glitterati, who are too uninformed or in the tank to mark the chasm between his righteous finger-wagging at Putin and his kowtowing to Islamic leaders? The answers depend on whether he finally condemns sharia’s oppressive and often brutal strictures against homosexuality, which are zealously enforced in most Muslim countries.
That brings us back to Ayatollah Sistani. He is not some wild-eyed al-Qaeda jihadist. Sistani is the most influential sharia jurist in Shiite Islam. He is Iraq’s grand ayatollah, and he was considered a critical ally of the post-Saddam democracy project by the Bush administration and the State Department — which were apparently unembarrassed by his directive that Muslims avoid physical contact with non-Muslims because, as Sistani put it, it is akin to touching “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors, and the sweat of an animal that persistently eats filth.”
In calling for homosexuals to be “killed in the worst manner possible,” Sistani was not being even slightly controversial. He was reciting mainstream Islamic doctrine — again, not al-Qaeda doctrine, Islamic doctrine.
The teaching is firmly rooted in the Koran, which recounts in several passages Allah’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose people, ignoring the admonitions of Lot, rampantly practiced the “abomination.” Homosexuality is decried in Sura 7:80–81 as “lewdness such as no people in Creation [ever before] committed”; men who “practice your lusts on men in preference to women,” the scripture adds, are “transgressing beyond bounds.” (For more of the same, see also, e.g., Sura 7:82–84, 11:69–83, and 29:28–30.) Further, in an authoritative hadith (the hadith are Mohammed’s sayings and doings), Islam’s prophet orders Muslims: “If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”
We must be aware that in regulating the sexual drive Islam has prohibited not only illicit sexual relations and all that leads to them, but also the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. This perverted act is a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of man’s sexuality, and a crime against the rights of females. [The sheikh applies the same reasoning to condemn lesbian relations.--ACM]
The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The story of the people of Prophet Lot . . . as narrated in the Koran should be sufficient for us. Prophet Lot’s people were addicted to this shameless depravity, abandoning natural, pure, lawful relations with women in the pursuit of this unnatural, foul, and illicit practice. . . .
Muslim jurists have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice. Should it be the same as the punishment for fornication [In certain situations, extramarital heterosexual fornication is punished “only” by scourging.--ACM], or should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society and to keep it clean of perverted elements.
Qaradawi is echoed by the popular Saudi sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, whose Q&A-format Islamic tutorial website, islamqa.com, is translated into eleven languages. In “The Punishment for Homosexuality,” Sheikh Munajjid asserts: “The crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds, and Allah punished those who did it in a way that he did not punish other nations.”