Is Islam’s honeymoon with the political left ending? | WORLD
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Is Islam’s honeymoon with the political left ending?

The aggressive LGBTQ agenda is fracturing an unstable alliance

The Islamic Center of America mosque in Dearborn, Mich. iStock

Is Islam’s honeymoon with the political left ending?
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The fragile union between Islam and the political left in the West is collapsing in front of our eyes—and the LGBTQ agenda is the catalyst.

For decades, Muslim groups in the United States have often aligned themselves with the political left, evidenced by how the vast majority of recent Muslim elected officials are Democrats. Liberals, on the other hand, have been celebrating Islam, in world affairs, as a relevant alternative religion to the historically Judeo-Christian disposition of the West. Their version of Islam, to be sure, is a fanciful creation in liberal discourses and has little to do with the actual truth claims of Islam as found in its texts and historical precedents.

But this coalition between Islam and progressives is crumbling.

MSN and Fox News report that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the most prominent Muslim advocacy organizations in the United States, “launched a petition urging lawmakers to add religious protections to proposed amendments to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which seeks to include sexual orientation and gender identity.” The ELCRA, issued in 1976, ensures the protection of Michiganders based on religion, race, and sex; however, LGBTQ advocates have been pushing for amendments to the bill to secure their safeguard against any possible discrimination.

Not surprisingly, Muslims—as well as Catholics and some Protestants in Michigan—are reportedly worried because extending LGBTQ rights in the bill could contradict their religious commitments, especially regarding the teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman and that male-female biological differences exist. Would these religious convictions be censured?

This latest development highlights two significant observations concerning the artificial union between Muslims and the political left with its progressive social agenda.

First, the version of Islam many liberals hope to advance in the West is completely fanciful. Their “Islam” must be a “cool” inclusive religion, judging no one, embracing all, advancing progressive ideals, and, decidedly, advocating LGBTQ rights. They have invented a modern fiction.

This “Islam” doesn’t exist—it has to be invented. It can only exist in ignorance of Islam’s particularities or when knowledge of the Quran and Muhammad’s teachings is nonexistent. After all, Islam’s scripture explicitly condemns homosexuality as the abominable sin of the people of Lot.

While Muslim groups have often found a haven under the umbrella of the sociopolitical left, many have now realized that this simply won’t survive theologically.

Muhammad reportedly instructed his followers: “Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Lot, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.” This is a severe clash with the progressives’ agenda, to say the least. Not only do authoritative Muslim texts denounce homosexuality, but all classical Islamic schools of jurisprudence (Sunni and Shiite) also affirm that homosexuality is forbidden.

It turns out that the LGBTQ revolution will bring to the forefront the utter dissonance between Islam and the left.

Second, traditional Islamic teachings on marriage and sexuality largely parallel biblical Christian values. CAIR’s demands to amend the bill are simply an attempt to spare Muslims a religious suffocation from pressures of the political left. While Muslim groups have often found a haven under the umbrella of the sociopolitical left, many have now realized that this simply won’t survive theologically. The political alliance might return to bite them at the heart of their convictional commitments.

This appears clearly in CAIR’s actions concerning this bill: Not only did they issue a petition urging lawmakers to secure religious protections against the LGBTQ demands, but they were also eager to partner with the Michigan Catholic Conference—an advocacy wing of the Catholic Church that called for emphasizing religious protections in the bill. Why does CAIR seek this partnership? CAIR is not only Islamic religiously—it is theologically conservative, operating within an Islamist worldview that cannot survive under inclusive relativism or liberal socialism.

Does this suggest that CAIR and the like favor religious freedom for all? Not too fast. The question is elusive.

As a concept, religious freedom in the Islamist paradigm is mainly the liberty for Muslims to live, worship, and practice their faith as they believe and cherish it. In this paradigm, non-Muslims are “free” as long as Islamic particularities are unviolated. The “freedom” here is only within the boundaries established by Islam and its texts. To explain this dilemma, one example suffices. Think of religious conversion: A Muslim is not free to abandon Islam, because a sacred boundary is set against abandoning the faith, since Muhammad reportedly declared, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”

The developments in Michigan merit further observation. The fanciful and fragile alliance between Islam and the political left is dying. A political alliance standing on shaking theological grounds cannot survive any further. And all this is unraveling because of a radical LGBTQ agenda, continually pushed by progressives and a sociopolitical left.

A.S. Ibrahim

A.S. Ibrahim, born and raised in Egypt, holds two PhDs with an emphasis on Islam and its history. He is a professor of Islamic studies and director of the Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has taught at several schools in the United States and the Middle East, and authored A Concise Guide to the Life of Muhammad (Baker Academic, 2022), Conversion to Islam (Oxford University Press, 2021), Basics of Arabic (Zondervan 2021), A Concise Guide to the Quran (Baker Academic, 2020), and The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion (Peter Lang, 2018), among others.

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