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Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001
File 011
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Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 011. 2001-11-16. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 6, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/762.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2001-11-16). Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 011. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/762

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001 - File 011, 2001-11-16, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 6, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/781/show/762.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1099, November 16, 2001
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date November 16, 2001
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 011
Transcript 10 VOICES & ECHOES NOVEMBER 16, 2001 • HOUSTON VOICE 1:1 I'lW I I voice STAFF Executive Editor Chris Crain Editor Penny Weaver editorQhoustonvoice.com Production Graphic Designer-Scooter Workinger Contributors Rich Arenschieldt, Kay Y, Dayus, Trayce Diskin. Earl Dittman, Laura Douglas-Brown, Erik Erickson, Mike Fleming, D.L Groover, Robert B. Henderson, Matthew A. Hennie. Kathreen Lee, Erin O'Briant, Gip Plaster, Ella Tyler Webmaster: Douglas Wright Photographers Dalton DeHart, Kimberly Thompson Advertising Sales Wanda Faulkner wfaulknerQhoustonvoice com Jim Nixon jnixonQhoustonvoice com Administration S- Sales Support Carolyn A. Roberts crobertsQhoustonvoice.com National Advertising Representative Rivendell Marketing Company, Inc 212-242-6863 ^Winck)wMedi< Publisher- Window Media LLC President- William Waybourn Editorial Director- Chris Crain Financial Director- Chris Reid Sales Director- Peter Jackson Art Director- Rob Boeger Marketing Director- Eric May \w _\CuM MEMBER ihecliaiitber CHARTER MEMBER Established 1974 as the Montrose Star. 500 Lovett Blvd., 5uite 200 Houston, Texas 77006 (7)3) 529-.S490 Fax: (713) 529-9531 Contents copyright 2000 Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays To submit a letter Letters should be fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. We will withhold names upon request, but you must include your name and phone number for verification. Please send mail to Houston Voice, 500 Lovett Blvd., Suite 200, Houston. Texas 77006; fax (713) 529-9531 or e-mail to editorQhoustonvoice.com. Opinions expressed therein do not reflect those of the Houston Voice. VIEWPOINT The punishing truth about Islam byPAULVARNELL Barely two weeks before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the New York Post and Court TV both ran items about punishment meted out by Afghanistan's Taliban regime on two men convicted of homosexuality. According to those stories, the Taliban's Islamic jurists knew that homosexuality was reprehensible and the sentence should be execution, but they were genuinely puzzled by conflicting Islamic opinion on exactly how the execution should be carried out. "We have a dilemma on this," one Taliban leader explained. "One group of scholars believes you should take these people to the top of the highest building in the city, and hurl them to their deaths." The other group, he said, opted for a different approach. "They recommend you dig a pit near a wall somewhere, put these people in it, then topple the wall so that they are buried alive." No one thought to point out that these approaches are atavistic survivals of options presented during the earliest days of Islam in the mid-seventh century. The idea of stoning derived from the Koran's account of the destruction of Sodom by a "rain of stones," apparently due to Mohammed's misunderstanding of the Hebrew legend of "fire and brimstone" (sulfur), and from a supposed hadith ("saying") of Mohammed's urging stoning of both partners found engaging in homosexual sex. Mohammed's successor, his father-in- law Abu Bakr (reigned 632-34), reportedly ordered a homosexual burned at the stake. The fourth caliph, Mohammed's son-in-law AH ibn Abi Talib (reigned 656-61) ordered a sodomite thrown from the minaret of a mosque. Others he ordered to be stoned. One of the earliest and most authoritative commentators on the Koran, Ibn 'Abbas (died 687) stipulated a two-step execution in which "the sodomite should be thrown from the highest building in the town .and then stoned." Later it was decided that if no building were tall enough, the sodomite could be shoved off a cliff. Subsequent commentators on the Koran denounced homosexuality in what ethnologist Jim Wafer calls "extravagant" terms: "Whenever a male mounts another male, the throne of God trembles; the angels look on in loathing and say, 'Lord, why do you not command the earth to punish them and the heavens to rain stones on them.'" These early doctrines and practices were codified by the influential Hanbalite school of law, the most conservative school of Islamic jurisprudence, named after the theologian Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855). Ibn Hanbal argued that human reasoning was not a reliable guide to truth and that the Koran and the habitual behavior of Mohammed, literally understood, offered sufficient guidance for later practice. As a result, Hanbalites uniformly urged execution, usually by stoning. There were, to be sure, other schools of thought on the subject. The Hanafites, named for Abu Hanifa (699-767), put greater emphasis on individual reasoning and local circumstances. They taught that homosexuality was wrong but did not merit physical punishment because another supposed hadith of Mohammed said Muslim blood should be spilled only for adultery, apostasy or murder. But some ambiguity remained. For a married man, homosexuality could be interpreted as adultery, so an individual judge might choose to impose a physical penalty anyway. Other schools of jurisprudence urged public whipping, usually 100 lashes, so that the pain of the sodomite might serve as an exemplary warning to others. Reports of these punishments being carried out in early times are not abundant. Some historians think this means Islamic culture was more tolerant in practice than Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., grew up in the state-supported Wahhabi religion, a version of Islam that condones the stoning of gay men. 'Whenever a male mounts another male, the throne of God trembles/ or so argued an early Islamic commentator. The outlook hasn't gotten much better since then, especially in Afghanistan.' in principle. But more likely most court records have simply not survived, so we have no information. What may have protected some homosexuals, though, was the insistence by most Islamic jurists that conviction for homosexuality required witnesses, sometimes as many as four. That meant that homosexuality conducted discretely and in private might survive unpunished. What does all this history have to do with us? Just this. The strict Hanbalite school of Islamic jurisprudence remains powerful to this day, and is dominant in Saudi Arabia and Syria. The distinguished Islamic scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr describes the current Hanbalite school as: "The most strict in its adherence to the Koran and the Sunnah [the original practices] and does not rely as do the other schools of law upon the other principles" — such as the consensus of the learned, the welfare of the community, modern scientific knowledge, or individual human reasoning — "and, in fact, rejects them." The official Saudi Arabian state religion is a puritanical branch of Islam called "Wahhabism," named for the fundamentalist religious leader named Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1703-92), who urged an anti-modern, "restorationist" or "back to the Koran" puritanism fully consistent with the Hanbalite school. It is hardly necessary to remind anyone that Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian who grew up in the state-supported fundamentalist Wahhabi religion; or that the Saudi government and royal family have channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to fundamentalist Islamic groups worldwide including, according hundreds of millions of dollars to promote their particularly homophobic version of Islam among U.S. Muslims. Paul Varnell is a Chicago-based syndicated writer whose work can be found al the Iridependent Gay Forum (www.indegayforum.org); he can be reached at Pmrnell@aol.com. Let us know what you think! Send the editor your letters (400 words maximum) or oped submissions (800 words maximum). Include a name and phone number for verification. Houston Voice, 500 Lovett, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77006 fax:713-529-9531 e-mail: editor@houstonvoice.com
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