Homosexuality in the Middle East- Research Paper

Essay by botosUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2007

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Homosexuality in the Middle East

The topic of homosexuality has always been controversial, many would say it still is today. This is not only true in the Middle East, but throughout the world as well. Though today it can be said that a number of countries have grown to be more or less accepting of such alternative lifestyles, there was a time when gays were looked down in those nations as they are in Arab countries today. Michael Hattersley of The Gay & Lesbian Review writes, "gay people are given no more social space in the current Muslim world than they were in the U.S. fifty years ago, in many cases much less" (20). Why it is that while a majority of other global regions have come to accept the notion of homosexuality, the Middle East lags behind? The answer is tradition: the Middle East is renowned for placing great value on both tradition and Islam, but at the same time Islam is a religion that values tradition more greatly than any other.

The line that separates Islam from other influential factors is blurred and difficult to determine since it is "not simply a religion, but a way of life," thus affecting and influencing every aspect of Muslims' lives (Pasha and Pridmore). Research on the topic has come to show that it is in fact the laws of Islam and its principles that have to this day strongly influenced Middle East's view on homosexuality. Prior to the birth of Islam, homosexuality was heavily widespread throughout the region, and it was only after the preaching of the prophet Muhammad that it began to disintegrate from the public eye. In Unspeakable Love, author Brian Whitaker gives readers an overview of homosexuality in the region, noting that the topic "is a taboo subject...