Islam’s approach to homosexuality has been in the spotlight since the massacre at an Orlando gay club — criminal or compassionate? Prejudiced or progressive?
While ISIS death squads enforce an extreme version of Islam that punishes gays with death, the religion’s history is far more nuanced. And like most relationships, when it comes to Islam and homosexuality — it’s complicated.
What does Islam say about being gay?
Experts say that LGBT figures have been a feature of the faith since the days of the Prophet Muhammad.
“There is sexual diversity in Islam,” said Ali A. Olomi, an Afghan-American activist and historian who teaches at the University of California in Irvine. “Of course there is homosexuality, gay people have existed and even been represented in Islam throughout history.”
Most scholars agree that musician Al Dalal, a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad, was gay. Then there’s the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi, who wrote homoerotic verses dedicated to same-sex love.