In this state because of our clergy


All right, a nice story for a change.

Two former Birmingham students have defied death threats to make legal history by becoming the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married in a civil ceremony in the UK.

Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, from Pakistan, tied the knot at a registration office in front of their solicitors and two Pakistani friends earlier this month.

Great. Two people who want to be together are together. A happy thing. I like happy things.

According to Pakistani law, same-sex sexual acts are illegal and go against Islamic teachings.

Those who flout the law are often targeted and in the most extreme cases homosexuals have been murdered.

The country does not have civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of a person’s sexuality and same-sex marriages and civil unions in Pakistan have no legal recognition.

But the potential threat to their lives didn’t stop Ms Kausar and Ms Kamar from going ahead with their marriage at Leeds Registry Office.

Wearing a traditional white bridal dress, the couple told the Registrar that they had known each other for around three years after moving to Birmingham from Pakistan on student visas.

I’m sure in actuality they wore two dresses, one each. The two of them crowding into one dress – now that would be wicked.

Ms Kausar, a master’s degree holder in economics from Punjab University, and her new partner both came to the UK to study business and health care management.

Ms Kausar, originally from Lahore, said: “This country allows us rights and it’s a very personal decision that we have taken. It’s no one’s business as to what we do with our personal lives.

“The problem with Pakistan is that everyone believes he is in charge of other people lives and can best decide about the morals of others but that’s not the right approach and we are in this state because of our clergy, who have hijacked our society which was once a tolerant society and respected individuals freedoms.”

And that is so dreadfully sad. It’s so easy for a country to fall off a cliff, and it can happen so quickly.

I hope they get to stay and will be very happy. I hope Birmingham becomes a mecca (so to speak) for liberal Muslims.

Comments

  1. CaitieCat says

    That’s wonderful for them, I wish them both long life and great happiness for so long as they both desire to be together.

    I think we should remember, though, that again this is not just a Muslim problem: there are plenty of Christian countries with de facto capital punishment for being out and queer – Russia (indeed, much of the former Soviet Union, Muslim and Christian republics alike), Nigeria, and various Central American countries have or have had very similar official and unofficial policies, leading to a stream of gay folk making refugee claims from those countries.

    Russia’s anti-queerness laws have been getting steadily worse (affects me personally; I’m a Russian to English translator – not interpreter – who is not at all interested right now in travelling to or in Russia, despite my deep russophilia, because I don’t want to run afoul of their anti-queerness laws or just thugs in the street).

    Fracking religious types seem to always want to police everyone’s sexuality, including the people who not only don’t share their invisible friendship, but who may have no invisible friends at all. For the Russians, as with so many places, it all gets tied up with nationalism and “No True $ETHNICITY_OR_NATIONALITY Would Ever Do Teh Gaysecks”.

    I’m really glad those two women found love, and were able to celebrate it in a way that makes them happy, and yet allows them to remain safe. Thanks for telling us about it. :)

  2. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    CatieCat proves the rule: Islam cannot be held to any scrutiny for its crimes and human rights abuses without immediate deflection back to the safe target of “teh Christianity”.

    This article has nothing to do with Christianity, except perhaps the vague notion that the UK is somehow still representative of a ‘Christian nation’. Further the notion LGBT people or allies need your help to “remember” that “this is not just a Muslim problem” is a frankly absurd, and further deeply condescending, strawman.

    I realise Russia is your pet area of interest and you had no malicious intent, but FTB is plagued by far left Islam apologists desperate to shield Islam with constant deflection, absurd false equivalencies and of course charges of some ‘-ism’ or another.

    With multiple Islamic states with de jure death penalties and homosexuality being illegal in a significant majority of Islamic majority states, to compare the overall state of LGBT people under Islam to those in ‘Christian nations’ is utterly ridiculous.

    Not a single Muslim majority state is even remotely considering allowing same-sex marriage, whereas Brazil, a nation that had anti-gay death squads just a few decades back, now has made that leap. That speaks volumes.

  3. CaitieCat says

    “Utterly ridiculous”.

    Well, I’ll make sure I tell Jose and Richard who live upstairs. I’m sure Jose will be cheered to know that the Catholic right-wing paramilitaries who killed his former partner in El Salvador didn’t really exist, and that it is “utterly ridiculous” to think that Christian nations are just as likely to be lethally awful to queerfolk as the Muslims. I’m sure FTB’s Yemmi will be happy, too, to know that the people trying to pass a legal, official, death penalty for being queer in Nigeria are just “utterly ridiculous” figments of her imagination.

    I didn’t say anywhere that Muslims aren’t doing this; I’m saying that they’re a long way from alone in it, and that basically all the religions that have a shot at controlling states tend to be willing to kill off people like me. That the theocrats in the US, the talibangelicals, would be very happy to be able to send me to a camp if they could find a way to make it happen, and if I happened to die there, I’m sure it wouldn’t take up very much space in their newspapers, either.

    Saying that this is only serious when Muslims do it, and that only Muslims do it lethally, is, dare I say it, utterly ridiculous, and you’d know that if you talked to some people who’ve been just as brutally repressed by their theocratic Christian rulers.

    The only major religion I know that I don’t know of it being anti-queer is Buddhism. They may well be too; I just don’t know enough about it to say. But I know “good Christians” kill trans women like me all the time, in an awful lot of countries, just as “good Muslims” do in other places.

    From the business end of the anti-queer beatdown stick? I don’t see a whole lot of value in trying to distinguish whether this lot or that lot of fundamentalist crapspackle is worse than any of the others. They’re all evil, and they’re all more or less inclined to wipe out people like me, if they could have the power to do so.

    An apologetic would have included some attempt to say that Muslims don’t. I’ve not said that. All I’ve said is, they’re not even close to being the only ones, and there’s no particular difference of philosophy, just different levels of control of the reins of power.

  4. Francisco Bacopa says

    I wish them the best, Are there any groups like KinghtSec of the Anons here in the US that did such a good in Stubenville who can defend them?

    The more religious people are, the more they become moral degenerates. They believe that right and wrong come from their gods who can kick our asses if humans disobey. They barely understand consent, it is a secondary matter. So secondary that the modern conception of rape is less than 100 years old. Rape was a property crime against a woman’s “owner”. There is a small plus side to this, most of the “rapes” where the rapist was forced to marry the “victim” were probably what we would consider consensual sexual encounters. Not bad for a bronze age culture. But some of the rapes would have been what we consider real rapes. Most likely acquaintance rapes, which I consider totally for realz. Yep, it happens.

    I wish these two women the best. I hope someone will protect them. Does Knight Sec have a UK chapter?

  5. says

    Saying that this is only serious when Muslims do it, and that only Muslims do it lethally, is, dare I say it, utterly ridiculous…

    Not when your username strongly suggests pro-Israel sentiment. Rebekah has every reason to consider it serious when Muslims do it; to do otherwise would deprive Muslims of the Other status that allows Israel to continually abuse the Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  6. Siverly says

    Horrah for the couple! I wish them the best happiness.
    Valid point Rebekah.
    The prominent word in your comment seemed to be ‘deflection’ and I couldn’t agree more. Setar and Caitie, you completely seemed to miss her point. You attribute ‘Saying that this is only serious when Muslims do it, and that only Muslims do it lethally, is, dare I say it, utterly ridiculous’ to Rebekah. She never said that. Misrepresentation.
    And there was no need to throw in the term ‘pro-Israel’ in an attempt to discredit Rebekah in your defence, now was there?

  7. says

    Yay for the happy couple!
    Now I hope that they can get permanent residence in the UK (student visa suggests they haven’t) because their lives would be at real risk if they had to move back.

  8. Krasnaya Koshka says

    Totally OT (I’m sorry, Ophelia! I just had to comment on one thing.)

    CaitieCat @1 — I’m an American lesbian who moved to Russia four years ago. There’s a huge gay community in Saint Petersburg (where I live) and in Moscow. There are many gay clubs and bars and happenings, all the time. Quite a few of the most famous talk show hosts are gay (and everyone knows it). We all go camping and traveling and it’s very organized. Much more so than in San Francisco, where I lived previously.

    I was horrified by the “homosexual propaganda” law that was passed here but my friends, who have been activists for at least twenty years, were not concerned in the least about it. “It’s a bone thrown to religious babushki. It takes the police three hours to show up for a home robbery; do you think they have time to follow us?” There’s also a very famous gay bookstore in Nevskii Prospekt here which has been operating for over ten years.

    For me, (total anecdote, I realize) it was much worse in Arizona, where I grew up. There I was actually beaten up and run off the road for being a lesbian. Once I was threatened with a rifle in a parking lot. Here it’s very much “just don’t talk about it” (same as in AZ) but here I can hold hands and kiss my gf on the street. Because that’s normal behavior for Russians. They often hold hands with and kiss same sex friends (even men!)

    IMHO, I would be more afraid to be a POC in Russia. Most people I see hassled here are from Tajikistan. And I see that every day. (Sometimes African students. I hate the normalized racism here.)

    /OT and my apologies but I didn’t want a fellow russophile to avoid the beauty of Russia because of homophobia fears. It’s no worse than America.

  9. CaitieCat says

    Спасибо большое! It’s not easy for an outsider to find that kind of information. I had originally been scheduled to take a job in Kazan’, for an English-language newspaper there, in 1992, but then the whole Yeltsin thing and the tanks and stuff, and I didn’t end up going.

    And now the place just seems to be getting more and more unpleasant under Putin, so believing the press about the situation for us getting worse just seemed so discouraging…:(

    Maybe I’ll see if I can work my way into affording tickets to the World Cup in 2018.

    Thanks again! :)

  10. Krasnaya Koshka says

    CaitieCat – Не за что!

    Yeah, 1992 would’ve been a really crazy time. Of course. Now it’s pretty “normal” here. 😉

    I hope you do get to come! Russian people are so very interesting. And the country is gorgeous.

  11. Krasnaya Koshka says

    On topic: I agree with Giliell, as usual. I hope they both are granted permanent residency.

    Such brave women.

  12. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Best of luck to the happy couple.

    Now I hope that they can get permanent residence in the UK (student visa suggests they haven’t) because their lives would be at real risk if they had to move back.

    Seconded

  13. daniellavine says

    Siverly@7:

    Valid point Rebekah.

    I disagree. Caitie Cat was the one who made a valid point and since Rebekah’s comment basically amounted to “ssssssshhhh don’t say that!” I think Rebekah’s comment essentially amounted to trying to silence a viewpoint she didn’t like. Plus this:

    This article has nothing to do with Christianity, except perhaps the vague notion that the UK is somehow still representative of a ‘Christian nation’.

    Is just factually incorrect. There’s opposition to same-sex marriage in the UK from devout Anglicans.

    The prominent word in your comment seemed to be ‘deflection’ and I couldn’t agree more. Setar and Caitie, you completely seemed to miss her point.

    To me, it seems that when you use the word “deflection” you’re making an inference about Caitie’s intentions — which neither you nor Rebekah could possibly know unless Caitie were to explicitly make them known. It doesn’t seem to me that Setar and Caitie are missing her “point” — they’re disagreeing that Rebekah has correctly determined Caitie’s intentions. And since Caitie has a rather privileged position in terms of identifying her own intentions I would say maybe you’re the one missing the point.

    You attribute ‘Saying that this is only serious when Muslims do it, and that only Muslims do it lethally, is, dare I say it, utterly ridiculous’ to Rebekah. She never said that. Misrepresentation.

    And Rebekah presented “deflection” as Caitie’s intention — another fine misrepresentation. The golden rule applies here. If you don’t want people making uncharitable interpretations of your motives don’t do the same to others. Besides that, it seems to me entirely fair to point out that homophobia is not even remotely confined to Muslim countries and so we have to guess at Rebekah’s intentions in trying to shut down conversation about non-Muslim homophobia — just as she guessed at Caitie’s intentions in bringing the subject up.

    And there was no need to throw in the term ‘pro-Israel’ in an attempt to discredit Rebekah in your defence, now was there?

    I made the same inference. Since Rebekah did not state her intention in trying to shut down conversation about non-Muslim homophobia we are left to make inferences and trying to determine particular sources of bias is a sensible approach to this. Pro-Israel sentiments and blanket hatred of all things (and people) Muslim do seem to go hand-in-hand.

  14. CaitieCat says

    To be clear, I didn’t say anything about Israel; I’d never assume someone had any position on Israel unless/until I’d heard their opinion on the topic. The Jewish folk I’ve known have been divided pretty evenly on their Israel stances; one Israeli Jewish friend told me that a prof of hers once joked that if three Israelis go into a room, four conflicting opinions will come out, so even if I were to assume that Rebekah’s name indicated Jewishness, I’d see that as no statement on her take on Israel.

    I really only meant to make sure the narrative didn’t go from “oh those brave women” to “oh those Muslims are so especially awful for this!”, when I know more than a couple of people, from my queer rights activism here in Canada, who’ve fled potentially lethal anti-queer repression at the hands of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Maoist nationalism.

    And every November 20, when we read out the hundreds of names of my trans* siblings who’ve lost their lives to transphobic violence in the last 12 months, there’s no particular pattern to which religion’s adherents kill more of us: they all take their turns.

    My belief is explicitly that theocracy is the main problem in a big part of anti-queer behaviour in the world, not which minimally-different flavour of theocrat is in power. They’re all evil, and they all hate us, and given their druthers, damn right most of them would want us locked up. I’m not fantasizing that; it’s still happening. American evangelicals were part of the push to get the death penalty for queerness passed in Nigeria, providing funding, model legislation, and activism counselling.

  15. says

    The Jewish folk I’ve known have been divided pretty evenly on their Israel stances; one Israeli Jewish friend told me that a prof of hers once joked that if three Israelis go into a room, four conflicting opinions will come out, so even if I were to assume that Rebekah’s name indicated Jewishness, I’d see that as no statement on her take on Israel.

    no, the Jewishness was only half of it. the other half was the blatant attempts to sweep references to ‘better’ religions under the rug, and paint Muslims as specifically evil Others.

    I find it highly unlikely that someone attempting to paint Islam as more evil than any other religion whose followers engage in similar practices would have much sympathy for the residents of Gaza.

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