Swedish writer Jonas Gardell has demanded that mosques welcome and include members of the LGBT community and examine their attitudes toward homosexuals following the Oslo gay pub shooting.
Jonas Gardell, who self-identifies as gay, stated that after two people were killed in last month’s Oslo shooting at a well-known gay pub ahead of the city’s Pride festivities, mosques should be more inclusive toward the LGBT community.
The main suspect in the Oslo attack, Iranian national Zaniar Matapour, is said to have been linked to radical Islamic extremists who were also linked to the Islamic State terrorist group.
“Of course, the vast majority of Muslims are not extremists but reject violence. But damn it, everyone has a responsibility, a responsibility for how the religion they belong to views gay and transgender people, an obligation to defend and include LGBTQ people in their congregations, to receive us in their mosques as loved by God, just as we are,” he wrote in an opinion article for newspaper Expressen.
“Excluding gay and transgender people with the argument ‘according to our religion…’ is nonsense. The correct wording, in that case, is ‘according to my interpretation of our religion…’. Religion is never static but always evolves and changes as time goes on, and it can never be used to oppress and discriminate against other people,” he added.
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Gardell also notes the problems some of his homosexual Muslim friends have faced, being forced to flee their countries as some majority-Muslim countries hand down the death penalty for those convicted of homosexuality.
“Embracing their gay brothers and sisters would be a first step on the way to taking on the responsibility that all of Scandinavia’s Muslims actually have to protect the democracy we live in and for hate crimes like the one in Oslo to never be committed again,” Gardell said.
While Muslims in Sweden remain largely conservative in their views on homosexuality, Sweden’s national church, the Church of Sweden, has largely embraced the LGBT movement, although there has been some division on same-sex marriage among members of the clergy.
Last August, the church of Sweden was split on a proposed policy to force all priests in the church to conduct same-sex unions even if the individual priests were against the practice and wished to abstain.
In one case, an openly gay Swedish priest announced that he would refuse to conduct marriage ceremonies for straight couples to protest the loophole that allowed priests to abstain from same-sex unions.
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