The Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace came to a startling conclusion this past weekend -- homosexuals and homosexuality are natural and created by God, thus permissible within Islam.
The collection of moderate Muslim scholars emphasized that the condemnation and persecution of sexual minorities stem from narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teachings. Scholar Siti Musdah Mulia, a champion for both Islamic and women’s rights, cites Koran's al-Hujurat (49:3)
"Those that lower their voices in the presence of Allah's Messenger,- their hearts has Allah tested for piety: for them is Forgiveness and a great Reward."Mulia argues that all human beings, regardless of how they differ, are inherently created equal. "There is no difference between lesbians and non-lesbians," she states, "in the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety." Mulia goes on to add that one's piety can only be judged by God.
However, not everyone in attendance at ICRP agreed with this interpretation. Two conservative Muslim groups, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Hizbut Thahir Indonesia (HTI), retorted that the act of homosexuality is still a sin. However they conceded that Muslims should not consider homosexuals as an enemy.
While most scholars of Islam are far from accepting homosexuality, the fact that this conference came to such a progressive conclusion is encouraging. Indonesia is world's largest Muslim-majority nation, yet do we see this sort of discussion played out in the Western world? Reconciling homosexuality and Islam will not happen overnight, but clerics worldwide have to start this sort of dialogue with the faith. Isn't that is the only way we all can move forward?
Islam 'recognizes homosexuality' -- The Jakarta Times