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.

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.

What British Muslims really think

A TV programme on Wednesday evening on Channel 4 might be worthwhile watching for our GCSE RS students. Channel 4 commissioned face-to-face, at-home interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the UK between 25 April and 31 May 2015 so they would be able to report on what British Muslims really think. Obviously a thousand is no where near the actual number of Muslims living in Britain (2, 706, 066), but as  a survey it is found to be enough to be representative. The Guardian has reported in quite some depth about the TV programme’s findings but I still think watching it would be worthwhile.

A few interesting facts were unearthed by the survey:

  • The research suggests that 86% of British Muslims feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain, which is higher than the national average of 83%.
  • A large majority (91%) of the British Muslims who took part in the survey said they felt a strong sense of belonging in their local area, which is higher than the national average of 76%.
  • However, when asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed.
  • 39% of the Muslims surveyed agreed that “wives should always obey their husbands”, compared with 5% of the country as a whole.

Antony Walker’s murderer has one year taken off his sentence

Anthony-Walker

Remember who Antony Walker was? We learn about him in Year 11 in a Forgiveness lesson: an innocent black teenager who was attacked on the street simply because of his skin colour. Well now one of his killers, Joey Barton’s brother, has had one year taken off his prison sentence for community service in prison.

The Daily Mail reports how Michael Barton had been given an eighteen year sentence in 2005 after being found guilty of the racist murder but that he’s going to be let out one year early. Antony’s mum Gee Walker says: ‘We put our trust in the judges, in the law, and then they go and do this. It’s just wrong. I will have to live with it, but what about the people who have not got a faith like me? Where does it leave them?”

mum and sister Dominique

You will remember Gee and her daughter Dominique from the video we watch in class where they say they forgive Anthony’s killers as they don’t want to carry the baggage of hatred around them and that in the Bible it says 77 times we must forgive.

About the reduction in the killer’s sentence thought Gee continues, “This sends completely the wrong message to criminals. It tells them that if the pretend to be good they will win. I don’t believe what he has done in prison is anything more than pretence.” Dr Walker, a college lecturer who tragically saw the murder weapon sticking out of her son’s head as she sat beside him on his deathbed, added: “I believe [Barton] is playing a game and he sees that he is winning by doing that.”

To remind yourself of Anthony’s story and how a mother forgives the murderers of her son you can read about it or watch the short video we watch in class.

Israel carries out air raids on Gaza, Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities

46188929_isr_w_bank_gaza_416map

The West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip make up Palestine at the moment. Borders and statehood are not fixed but regularly being questioned and changed.

As students discover when studying about the Israeli- Palestine conflict in Year 8 RE, some conflicts are complicated and bubble on, killing and injuring people, year after year after year. In recent weeks there have been kidnappings and murders from both sides, and now we have rocket attacks taking place.

The latest BBC report shows how the tit for tat killings has escalated: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28222245

Smoke and flames are seen following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in Gaza Strip

This picture was taken 19 hours ago, showing the rocket attacks on the Gaza Strip.