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Misrepresenting Islam

Liberals try to push Muslims to accept an LGBTQ agenda that is fundamentally at odds with their religion

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks to reporters at the White House, on Feb. 23, 2021. Associated Press/Photo by Evan Vucci

Misrepresenting Islam
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Recently two liberal female public figures spoke about Islam and LGBTQ issues. One of the two is ignorant and the other is dishonest.

On her Sunday show, MSNBC host and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that right wingers are trying to recruit Muslim Americans “against another tiny marginalized group of Americans, transgender people.” She said the Republican Party constantly attempts to distance Muslims from transgender people, and she told U.S. Muslims that the GOP is a danger to their community. Psaki was responding to news of Muslim activists who—as a matter of religious freedom, not a political motivation—opposed the LGBTQ agenda.

Then, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a self-identified Muslim, urged Muslims in America to “show solidarity” with the LGBTQ community: “Solidary for us [Muslims] has been lifesaving, and that solidary needs to exist for others whose lives need to be protected.” Omar was responding to an action of an all-Muslim city council in Hamtramck, Mich., and its Muslim mayor, which opted to remove a Pride flag from public grounds last month. These Muslims are honest about their Islamic commitment and refuse to fly a Pride flag since it opposes their deep Islamic convictions. However, Omar urged her fellow Muslims to reconsider their decision, as she called upon them to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

Psaki is likely ignorant about the basics of Islam, and Omar is clearly dishonest about what she knows about Islam’s basic teachings on LGBTQ matters. While both claim to care for the Muslim community, they seem to use—or actually misuse—it for their liberal political agenda—all at the expense of what honest Muslims believe about their faith.

The two politicians ignore numerous Muslim thinkers and their voices. The Muslims who don’t buy into the LGBTQ agenda are labeled right-wingers by Psaki and accused of lacking solidarity by Omar. Yet, for peculiar reasons, neither Psaki nor Omar would be accused by the media of the most common buzzword of the day: Islamophobia! The word is fully reserved for conservatives and used whenever it is needed for scoring sociopolitical points.

While liberals in the West have been celebrating Islam as an alternative religion to the historically Judeo-Christian disposition, it turns out they don’t really know Islam.

While Psaki is a politician, she presumed to act as a religious educator and sought to enlighten Muslims about their faith. As if Muslims don’t know enough about their faith, she stood at her podium and tried to invent an Islam that fits into her left-leaning agenda. For her, an “Islam” that doesn’t support LGBTQ people must be a far-right Republican version, and clearly wrong. In Psaki’s Islam, not only gays, lesbians, and bisexuals should be approved and supported, but particularly transgender people must be integrated, welcomed, and actually celebrated.

While Psaki doesn’t seem to know much of the basics of Islam, Omar should know better, as she identifies as Muslim. She doesn’t adhere to her presumed religious loyalty nor does she want to reveal to the public what she probably knows about Islam’s views on LGBTQ matters. To score political points, Omar urges her fellow Muslims to go against their religious commitments on LGBTQ matters.

But the Quran explicitly condemns homosexuality as the abominable sin of the people of Lot. All classical Islamic schools of jurisprudence (Sunni and Shiite) also affirm that homosexuality is forbidden. Muhammad’s example is no different: He 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.”

While liberals in the West have been celebrating Islam as an alternative religion to the historically Judeo-Christian disposition, it turns out they don’t really know Islam or that they want to create a new version of a 14-century-old religious tradition.

Psaki and Omar are a testimony of how liberals have a fanciful and patently false conception of Islam. They are an example of how left-wing politicians seek to manipulate Islam and misuse it. With ignorance and hypocrisy, politicians pretend to be religious educators to the U.S. Muslim community. They claim to be pro-Islam, but they either don’t know much about Islam or they invent their own version of Islam.

Either way, Muslims are not likely to buy what they are selling.

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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