Prominent religious authorities in the Muslim world have lately made numerous statements against homosexuality and against what they called the Western campaigns to promote it. Senior clerics and official religious institutions, such as the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the Saudi Grand Mufti, Jordan's Iftaa Department and the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), issued announcements and fatwas on this topic, which claimed that the West is trying to force Muslim societies to accept homosexuality as legitimate. Claiming that homosexuality is in fact a perversion that contravenes human nature and the laws of Islam and of other religions, they urged the West to respect the values of other societies instead of trying to undermine them under the pretext of promoting freedom and human rights. Al-Azhar also published advice for parents "to help them protect their children" from the threat of homosexuality.
These statements seem to be a response to Western interest in the status of the LGBTQ+ community across the world and especially in Muslim countries. For example, criticism was recently voiced over Qatar's treatment of gays, as part of concern about the safety of gay fans who will visit the country for the FIFA World Cup in November 2022. Statements against gays by retired Egyptian footballer Mohamed Aboutrika, who said that homosexuality is against human nature and Islam, and is not a matter of human rights, likewise sparked critical reactions. The issue was also raised in the context of the UN's recent approval of a resolution on the promotion of democratization and elections, which "calls upon States to take measures to eliminate laws, regulations and practices that discriminate, directly or indirectly, against citizens in their right to participate in public affairs, including based on… sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity." Also in the background was the release of the Netflix movie No Dearer Friends, produced with the involvement of Egyptian, Lebanese and Emirati companies. The film is an Arabic version of the Italian film Perfect Strangers, in which one of the characters is gay.
This report reviews the statements by the religious authorities in the Muslim world against homosexuality and against the Wests' alleged attempts to force Western pro-gay attitudes on the Muslim societies.
The Sheikh Of Al-Azhar: The "New Imperialism" Seeks To Force The Muslim World To Tolerate The Sin Of Homosexuality
The Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, said in a December 6, 2021 meeting with a group of French members of the European Parliament, headed by Thierry Mariani of the right-wing Identity and Democracy party, who is a member of the subcommittee on human rights: "The West is trying to impose its culture on the East. This can be termed new imperialism. It seeks to force unacceptable ideas and behaviors upon us, for example through campaigns that praise homosexuality and other phenomena that are foreign [to Islam] and are against Allah's will. The West's insistence on forcing a single outlook [on everyone] provokes the people of the East, and is destined to fail because it contravenes God's desire for difference and diversity among people." Al-Tayyeb made similar statements in a December 19, 2021 meeting with India's ambassador to Egypt, Shri Ajit Vinayak Gupte, saying: "We are witnessing a Western cultural invasion of our Eastern societies, which has descended upon us like dark storm clouds under the pretext of [promoting] rights and freedoms. The objective is to legalize homosexuality, transgenderism and other ideas that the East cannot accept from a religious and human point of view. This is a violation of [our] right to maintain life and humanity as Allah wanted them to be… and a violation of the right of the East to adhere to religion and regard it as a basic source of authority, so as to repel this storm of deviant ideas."
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb (Source: Al-Ittihad, UAE)
Al-Azhar: West Must Respect Values And Cultures Of Other States And Societies; Parents Must Watch Their Children And Protect Them From Danger Of Homosexuality
Graphic denouncing homosexuality on Al-Azhar's Facebook page
International Union Of Muslim Scholars: Same-Sex Relations Are A Perversion, Moral Degeneracy, And An Existential Threat To Humanity
"In the recent years there has been an increase in the Western campaigns and pressures aimed at forcing all the peoples of the world, and all human beings, to accept homosexuality, welcome it, and regard it as one of the basic human rights, as though it is one of the conditions for happiness, civilized [existence] and progress. These campaigns use this right to slander and malign the majority of world peoples that still condemn homosexuality and regard it as a moral perversion. The [Western] campaigns and political and media pressure have come to the point of oppressing, punishing and persecuting anyone who voices a different opinion and criticizes homosexuality…
"In accordance with its religious duty, the IUMS rules and stresses that:
"1. Homosexual relations between two men or two women are absolutely forbidden according to the Quran, the Sunna and the consensus of religious scholars in all schools of Islam…
"2. All the divine religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and others, forbid and condemn homosexual relations.
"3. The fervent attempts to present the filthy phenomenon of homosexuality, and the farce of same-sex marriage and same-sex families, as socially and legally normal pose an existential and cultural threat to humanity…
"4. The accusations and slander directed at the peoples who reject homosexuality, especially at the Islamic peoples, and the persecution campaigns aimed at hobbling whoever criticizes and opposes [homosexuality], are a horrible violation of freedom of opinion and belief and constitute bossiness, selfishness, tyranny and patronage directed by the West and its servants at the peoples of the world…
"5. Finally, the IUMS recommends heeding the voice of reason, jurisprudence, wisdom and the common Muslim good, and refraining from being swayed by the voice of deviancy and [moral] degeneracy…"
Grand Mufti Of Oman On Twitter: Homosexuality Is A Dangerous Abomination
The Grand Mufti of Oman, Ahmad Bin Hamad Al-Khalili, who also serves as the deputy head of the IUMS, also addressed the issue, in a tweet he posted in several languages, including Arabic, English, Farsi, and Russian. The English version of the tweet said: "This is a call to everybody with upright conscience, regarding the obscenity of the so-called homosexuality. This is a matter of utmost seriousness that must not be neglected by anyone seeking goodness for himself and for all that is on the earth. Tolerating it will definitely lead to God Almighty's wrath and punishment."
Al-Khalili's English tweet
Saudi Grand Mufti: Human Rights Stem First Of All From Divine Law
Following the UN's approval of the resolution that included a call to eliminate discrimination against citizens based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and after Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN, 'Abdallah Al-Mou'allimi, criticized this resolution, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz Bin 'Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, who also heads the kingdom's Council of Senior Clerics, also criticized the resolution, saying that homosexuality "is one of the gravest crimes according to Allah, and whoever commits it is abhorrent in Allah's eyes and is said to incur disgrace in this world and the next." He added: "The entire world is harmed today by shameless insolence, false claims, corrupt slogans and abhorrent perversions that aim to deprive people of their humanity and of the most noble traits that Allah bestowed upon them, which distinguish them from all other creatures." He concluded by saying: "Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of its King and Crown Prince, underscores its firm position vis-a-vis these false claims and shameful slogans, [namely] that human rights in general, and all their good, compassionate, decent and justified meanings, [stem] first of all from divine law and not from the perverted atmosphere that sows corruption upon the earth."
Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz Bin 'Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh (Source: Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Bahrain's High Council For Islamic Affairs: Homosexuality Contravenes Human Nature
Bahrain's High Council for Islamic Affairs issued a statement that said: "Religion should impose a complete ban on homosexuality, and the glorious Islamic shari'a, as well as the laws of all the divine religions, [indeed ban it]. In fact, Islam regards it as one of the gravest sins; it is an abomination that normal human nature rejects and which is despised by the religious values that have never been contested throughout the history of any religion. [Homosexuality] leads to great corruption that destroys human society and the natural social system of family values, distorts the identity of the [family] members, undermines the security and stability of societies, brings human dignity to the level of the basest depravity, violates human rights and exposes people to the gravest punishments, in this world and the next…
"These depraved attempts [to spread homosexuality] do not respect the values of societies, their conscience and their religions, and clearly reveal that [the goal] of these Westernization and cultural invasion campaigns is to stage a focused attack on the values and identity of the Islamic societies and bluntly violate [these values]. [The West] does not recognize the principles of proper [inter-]cultural dialogue
Jordan's Iftaa Department: We Refuse To Sanction Homosexuality
Jordan's Iftaa Department (Source: ammonnews.net)
* B. Chernitsky is a research fellow at MEMRI.
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1613 - Despite Qatar's Promise To Respect Gay Community In World Cup, Incitement Against It In Qatari Media Continues – December 15, 2021.
 Al-ain.com, December 1, 2021. Aboutrika said this on November 27, 2021 on the beIN sports channel, where he is a commentator. He was responding to the English Premier League's "Rainbow Laces" initiative championing LGBTQ+ inclusion, as part of which rainbow-themed branding, armbands, laces and badges were displayed at matches.
 The UN General Assembly adopted this resolution without a vote. See un.org, December 16, 2021.
 Rassd.com, December 7, 2021.
 Facebook.com/OfficialAzharEg, December 19, 2021.
 Facebook.com/fatwacenter, December 4, 2021.
 Facebook.com/fatwacenter, January 26, 2022.
 Facebook.com/OfficialAzharEg, January 28, 2022.
 The IUMS, comprising Islamic clerics and jurisprudents from around the Muslim world, was founded in 2004 by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi as an alternative religious source of authority for Muslims instead of the institutions affiliated with various regimes. Ahmad Al-Raissouni, who replaced Al-Qaradhawi as IUMS head in November 2018, told Al-Jazeera in an interview that Qatar has supported the organization since its inception and that Turkey now funds it as well. See aljazeera.net, November 18, 2018.
 Iumsonline.org, December 5, 2021.
 Twitter.com/AhmedHAlKhalili, December 12, 2021.
 Al-Mou'allimi said: "The attempts of several countries in our civilized world to take undemocratic measures, impose controversial values and approve decisions regarding 'sexual orientation and gender identity' are unacceptable and contravene the most basic standards of international law and of the UN Charter, which emphasize the importance of respecting states' sovereignty and laws. This also contravenes the basic democratic principle of respecting the opinions of the other and refraining from imposing values and principles on societies that do not accept them… Allah created natural pairs of male and female, and anything else contravenes nature…Saudi Arabia is against terms pertaining to gender identity and sexual orientation that contravene its Arab and Islamic identity and also contravene the laws of other states. See elpah.com, December 18, 2021.
 Spa.gov.sa, December 22, 2021.
 Al-Ayyam (Bahrain), December 4, 2021.
 Ammonnews.net, December 30, 2021.