Thursday, April 13, 2017

Religion at Work: "Jihad" for Russian Journalist Who Uncovered Chechnya's Gay Pogrom

Elena Milashina
Elena Milashina
Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Milashina who customarily resides in Moscow has been forced into hiding by an Islamic horde in Chechny that is out for revenge. Milashina's transgression was to reveal the round-up and murder of gay men by government forces in Chechnya.

Tony Perkins should be cheering on the Islamic extremists in Chechnya. As ultra-conservative scriptural literalists they share a common vision for a theocratic society that is subservient to religion. While there are considerable differences between Perkins' flavor of Protestantism and Muslim practices in Chechnya, the public policies that they dictate have much in common. In that regard the only difference is a Constitution in the United States that establishes a secular society.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, is an Islamic thug who is no better than his counterparts at Daesh. The result is that 100 gay men were arrested and three murdered because they are gay and because of backward religious beliefs. Gays are being held at secret concentration camps where they are being tortured (sometimes to death) to reveal the names of other gay men. A spokesman for Kadyrov has claimed that the reports are untrue because there are no gay people in Chechnya.

Now we learn that 15,000 people, members of Chechnya's largest mosque, have coalesced and declared “jihad” on Milahsina and the other journalists at Novaya Gazeta. According to the Islamists those journalists have insulted both Islam and Chechnya. It all sounds like the stupidity associated with the attack on Charlie Hedbo in January of 2015. 

In this case I wonder if the mob is angry because the journalists told the truth or because they think that Milahsina has lied. If one views this objectively this is all uncivilized. The writing of the Qur'an was completed in 632 CE, the year of Mohammad's death. There is no reason to believe that the authors of the Qur'an or Christian scripture or the Jewish Tanakh knew anything about sexual orientation.

In the seventh century in what is now the Muslim world, we find the prevalence of Bacha Bazi which was (and still is) the exploitation of young boys by heterosexual men. Similar practices existed in ancient Greece and Rome. Mary Beard tells us that, in ancient Roman society, this was perfectly acceptable. Pretty slave boys were an extraordinarily valuable commodity. These practices have influenced religious law at a time when consensual homosexual conduct was not understood.

To use the Qu'ran as pretext to persecute, murder, imprison and torture gay men should be recognized as unconscionable. Unfortunately, even in this country we give undo deference to religious beliefs that are contrary to the understanding that science offers. Here the Christianists torture logic and reason in order to assert that science is wrong. In Chechnya, it seems, rationalization of what is really superstition is unnecessary.

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