How has Angola changed after the ban on Islam

LGBTI * "Islam is being abused to establish cultural dogmas"

AMNESTY: Why is it so difficult for many LGBTI * who grow up in the Islamic world or in Muslim families to stand by themselves and live openly?

Elias: From my point of view, this is less a religious problem than a cultural one. It occurred to me early on that Islam was historically quite open to homosexuality - because I was interested in why that has changed, I wrote my bachelor thesis about it. Homosexual behavior was widespread in the early Islamic period and was not much problematized, as many cultural works testify to. The situation changed for two reasons: in the 19th century, homosexuality changed from behavior to identity, and the European colonists brought this categorization with them into the Islamic world - along with their negative attitudes and sometimes harsh prohibitions, which were at least partially adopted. In the Koran, on the other hand, no specific statements about homosexuality can be found; individual passages can only be interpreted in this direction. Today's rulers in Islamic countries argue almost everywhere the same: They claim that homosexuality is a Western import, something that does not exist in their cultures. Which of course is nonsense. But in the aftermath of the colonial era there is a great need to distance oneself from Europe - and sexual freedom is seen as a western value.

Do you also see it this way: The problem is not religion, but culture?

Christian: Absolutely. Islam is abused to establish cultural dogmas and prohibitions and to marginalize minorities. Homosexuality is also often seen as a scapegoat for all kinds of evils. So there is enormous pressure on LGBTI * people in these countries.

Kerem: One of the main problems is the widespread ignorance among Muslims. They do not know that homosexuality was not a problem in the early days of Islam, they do not deal with it intensely enough to realize that what is being told to them by imams and those in power is simply wrong. Clarification in these areas is urgently needed. But many mosques and religious institutions do not do this because they fear they will lose power and influence.

Mazin: All well and good, but aren't there also religious reasons? From my point of view there are passages in the Koran, for example in the story of Lot and Sodom, from which a rejection of homosexuality can be clearly read.

Christian: This is ultimately a matter of interpretation, the story itself is very vague on this point. There is no clear rejection of homosexuality in the entire Koran.

And yet it becomes difficult when everyone interprets the text according to their own interests ...