Pam Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative has taken out ads on buses in San Francisco, to run later this month that include a series of quotes from Muslim leaders about the evils of homosexuality, ostensibly to gain sympathy in the notoriously pro-equality city. Here are those quotes:
“The punishment of homosexuality is the death penalty.”
- Leading Islamic cleric, Sheik Qaradawi, of the Muslim Brotherhood
“Homosexuaity is ugly…In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,”
- President Ahmadinejad of Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death
“If there are two such persons among you, that do this evil, the shameful act what do you have to do? Torture them, punish them, beat them and give them mental torture.”
- Sister Ruby Ramadan, presenter on a Muslim radio station in Britian
The local gay community in the Bay Area is not too happy about this. Geller told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The ads will increase awareness about the subjugation and oppression of gays under Shariah law,” said Geller. “The gay community should be standing with me, not against me.”
And she’s not entirely wrong here. It’s certainly true that many types of Islam (no, there isn’t a single Islam, there are many different versions) are viciously, violently anti-gay. No one could possibly dispute that, and they should be condemned and opposed often and loudly. But you’ll forgive me for doubting that Geller really gives a damn about the gay community. If she did, she’d be speaking out against her closest political allies for their own bigotry toward gay people and their concerted and endless efforts to enshrine discrimination against them.
And quite frankly, the gay community has far more to fear in this country from anti-gay Christians than anti-gay Muslims. Muslims have zero power in the United States and no plausible path to gain any. Christians, on the other hand, have plenty of power and influence, enough to get 32 states to deny equality to gay couples over the last decade. So while Muslim homophobia may be qualitatively worse, it has little effect on the lives of gay Americans. The same cannot be said of Christian homophobia.