Gays in Muslim countries face destruction

WE continue to learn new information about Omar Mateen, the man who carried out the massacre in the Orlando nightclub, but many questions remain unanswered.

We don't know at this point, for example, if he took the teachings of Islam about homosexuals literally and acted on them or if he had some other motivation.

Nevertheless, this tragedy must bring out into the open the serious anti-gay bigotry and persecution of homosexuals found in much of the Islamic world.

British filmmakers went undercover at the London Central Mosque, considered one of the most prestigious in Britain, to see if they preached something different privately than the moderate image projected in public.

The documentary exposed imams "teaching the faithful that God orders them to kill homosexuals".

This was taught in western Europe. Imagine what Muslims learn in madrassas in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia produces textbooks used inside and outside the kingdom that teach the punishment for homosexuality is death.

President Barack Obama may call Islamic State thugs. To their mind, they are Muslims acting according to their beliefs. They are beliefs which have led them to execute at least 30 homosexuals - thrown off the top of a building in Mosul.

Under Islamic law homosexuals may be sentenced to death in 12 countries, including Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Israel is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world and Tel Aviv one of the favourite destinations for gay travellers.

This does not mean Orthodox Judaism condones homosexuality. But unlike parts of the Muslim world, Israel fully protects LGBT rights.

As for the Jewish position on homosexuality, I have long argued that the Bible consists of 613 commandments, one of which is for a man to marry and have children, and another of which is for a man to avoid sex with another man.

That leaves 611 commandments for gay men to observe.

That should keep them pretty busy. Homosexuality should be treated like lighting fire on the Sabbath or eating non-kosher foods, both biblical prohibitions.

Eating shellfish carries the same appellation of "abomination" as homosexuality and the word "abomination" appears more than 100 times in the Bible, only twice referring to homosexuality.

Moreover, the prohibition against homosexuality defines it not as a moral but as a religious sin, akin to, say, eating on Yom Kippur, as there is no injured innocent party.

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