What does Islam say about homosexuality?

The Qur’an doesn’t mention homosexuality at all, and when it does mention “men who are not in need of women” it doesn’t condemn them. All of this might be surprising when you consider the impression most of the media has given about Omar Mateen’s killing of nearly 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The Independent reports how the recent rise of political Islam and jihadism by extremist groups, had lead to more homophobic talk by not only Muslim extremists but also the general Muslim population. A study in the UK over the last 12 months showed that 50% of Muslims thought homosexuality should be made illegal. I wonder what the Christian population of Britain would say? Would they have a similar opinion?

Whereas homosexuality is not explicitly condemned in Islam sacred writing, in the Bible it is clear: homosexuality is a sin.

  • Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
  • Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

However we know from studying Christianity that different denominations of Christianity follow these Bible teaching to different extents. That some Christians would rather follow the Golden Rule or try to follow Jesus’ teachings of always doing the most loving thing and remembering to forgive.

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US Air Strikes in Syria have now killed 41

When trying to decide if a war is Just War students should refer to its criteria:

just or not

News that the number of civilians killed by US air strikes in Syria against ISIS has doubled to 41 could sway people’s opinions on whether it is truly a Just War. The poster below explains the reasons some people say it isn’t Just War. Can you think of arguments to say it is?

its not just war

Case Studies for Peace and Conflict

In Unit 8 Section 3 of the GCSE RS exam we need to have some case studies up our sleeves which we can use to explain Just War theory, Lesser Jihad and Holy War.

You might want to know about ISIS and what’s happening in Iraq, so you’ve also got examples of what the United Nations does to try and avoid conflict.

Or perhaps you want to learn about President Bush’s War on Terror with Iraq and Afghanistan, linking to 9/11.

Finally this is an amazing BBC website page with numerous articles and video clips to help you understand how the Afghanistan War began with 9/11’s terrorist attack in New York. Why not get 5-10 flash cards and record the main points, get someone to test you about the information, and then reduce the facts down to just one flash card. Next time you attempt a Unit 8 Section 3 question, probably a c question, you’ll have lots of knowledge to help you.

Where’s our sympathy towards Turkey?

First there was this cartoon by a French artist to show solidarity with Belgium after this week’s terrorist attack.

brusselscartoon-619-386

Then came another version of this cartoon which questioned why nobody was showing such solidarity with Turkey…

turkey too

It does seem unfair that when there is a terrorist attack right on our doorstep, Paris and now Brussels, our Prime Minister speaks out and famous landmarks get lit up in a nation’s colours to show our sympathy. But when a country that little bit further away is attacked repeatedly it goes largely unnoticed.

Probably only exciting for the teacher

Get this! During the debate today in the House of Commons about whether Britain should go and bomb ISIS in Syria, an MP pretty much quoted Just War Theory as his reasons why bombing was a good idea:

“I believe Isis/Daesh poses a real and present danger to British citizens and that its dedicated external operations unit is based not in Iraq, where the RAF is already fully engaged, but in Syria. This external operations unit is responsible for killing 30 British holidaymakers on a beach in Sousse and a British rock fan who perished along with 129 others in the Paris atrocity a few weeks ago.

Is it a just cause, is the proposed action a last resort, is it proportionate, does it have a reasonable prospect of success, does it have broad regional support, does it have a clear legal base? I think it meets all of those criteria.” Alan Johnson MP

 

Blair admits there’s some truth in the claim Iraq War mistakes led to rise of IS

Tony Blair has apologised, not for the first time, for mistakes that were made in the Iraq War which has caused the rise of Islamic State. He said he didn’t want to apologise for removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq, but that those that had removed him must bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today. The interview has Blair saying that if they’d not gone in and removed Saddam Hussain there most likely would have ended up a civil war there like you can now see in Syria.

Even at the time of the Iraq War critics were saying how would the US and UK be able to replace a toppled dictator successfully and Blair has owed up that they didn’t plan or correctly help Iraq create a democratic and fair regime once Saddam Hussain had gone.

If your knowledge of the Iraq War is shaky then here are a variety of videos about it. The first one is from National Geographic:

Then there is a short clip from the BBC News in 2003 when the war started:

We watched this in class (often twice because it’s so fast!) which talks about how the Iraq War links to the rise of IS:

Then another short clip from an ex UK ambassador to the US explaining why he thinks the Iraq War did lead to IS’s growth:

You’ll need to understand the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims and how this affects the geo-politics of the Middle East. Year 8 will learn about divisions in Islam next half-term; until then…

Or if you prefer reading then this BBC article tells you about why the divisions exist and what it means to Muslims around the world today.

ISIS in Syria Update

Year 9 students are just starting to learn about terrorism and fighting for religious beliefs. After one lesson on ISIS they might understand more than other students this weekend’s stories about ISIS.

In Palmyra (Syria) the Syrian government have been doing air strikes against ISIS fighters. Reports say that hundreds were injured and twenty six Islamic State fighters killed. The name Palmyra might ring a bell as it’s been in the news for the temple which was just recently destroyed by ISIS. The temple Baal Shamin was blown up by ISIS even though it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Baal Shamin

In other news about Syria and ISIS this weekend there have been telephone meetings between the US and Russia about the two sides involvement in financially supporting groups. Russia has been providing military weapons to the Syrian government (and President Assad) whilst the US and UK had been supporting rebel groups trying to depose (get rid of) Assad. British officials have said that Russia’s involvement complicated matters.