[DEBATE] : Khomeini on Sodomy
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Sat Sep 29 10:25:20 BST 2007
Hey, I am getting a little bored with this subject.
Can we please have one entitled 'Sodomites on Khomeini'?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <critical.montages at gmail.com>
To: "debate: SA discussion list" <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 11:59 AM
Subject: Re: [DEBATE] : Khomeini on Sodomy
> On 9/28/07, Tahir Wood <twood at uwc.ac.za> wrote:
>> In the same 1947 religious manual, Khomeini also makes "a distinction
>> between 'sodomy' with a man/boy who is related to a woman one intends
>> to marry (her son, brother, or father), in which case marriage may not
>> take place" and says that "In the case of a person who marries the
>> mother, sister, or daughter of a man and after marriage has sodomite
>> relations with that man [his wife] will not become unlawful to him"
>> (Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian
>> Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, University of
>> Chicago Press, p. 159). Afary and Anderson cite Montazari and
>> Golpaygani's religious manuals as other examples containing similar
>> rules. Should these be understood the way you insist, positing
>> dichotomous ideological worlds of "sinfulness" and "uncleanliness"?
>> T: No this is a different matter. Regarding the distinction I made, it
>> is in fact quite fundamental: There is no way that someone in a normal
>> daily state of ritual impurity, i.e. having had sex with a spouse, is
>> thereby in a state of sin. But the matter you now describe above is the
>> way in which two acts, one of which is sinful, may have a bearing on
>> each other. I suspect that this might also be a matter of interpretation
>> and disputation. But in any event it is not the same thing. My point was
>> this, that you seized on something that turned out to be a misconception
>> to try to establish that homosexuality can be condoned within the law.
>> It cannot, not in any interpretation in which the notion of religious
>> law is upheld.
> There are three different questions here:
> 1 Has same-sex sex been, and is it being, condoned in _practice_,
> despite the law?
> 2 Is same-sex sex _now_ explicitly condoned by the law?
> 3 Is it possible that same-sex sex will be condoned by the law in the
> The answer to 1 is yes (as you can seen from Iran's government's
> practice of distributing condoms in prisons -- for more information,
> see Hannah Allam's article excerpted below), and the answer to 2 is
> no, and the answer to 3 is "Depends." Who would have thought in the
> early 20th century that eventually major denominations of Judaism and
> Protestantism would condone same-sex sex and people would see such
> things as gay bishops and lesbian pastors? Things change. Moreover,
> what is already happening in practice tends to eventually get
> acknowledged in laws and other spheres of ideology.
>> T: But it is more of a struggle, the more religious the country is, the
>> very point that you don't want to concede. It was relatively easy for
>> Cuba to move to a position of official toleration. In South Africa, the
>> situation is ambiguous, with official protection of gay rights, but
>> extremes of social prejudice that compromise that. But in Iran under the
>> present regime the debate is a non-starter, as your friend made clear in
>> New York. Now you can dig and dig through all the arcane documents that
>> you can find but what you need to do is to show me a government today
>> that rules in the name of Islam that is opening up a public debate
>> around the decriminalisation of homosexuality and then you will really
>> make my jaw drop. Another point: the sources that you're currently
>> looking at appear to reflect an older Islamic society, a
>> pre-fundamentalist one, precisely the kind of society that the
>> fundamentalists of every stripe regard as degraded, disgraceful and
>> shameful (you can go back a number of decades and find Iranian clergy,
>> including Khomeini, even condoning the smoking of opium, which they
>> would never do publicly today). My other point: whether fundamentalist
>> Islam today is a modernist movement, i.e. post-enlightenment. It is so,
>> but only partially. In natural sciences and technology it is thoroughly
>> modernist, but there is no notion of social progress within it other
>> than the propogation of Islam plus technological rationality. There are
>> very deep historical reasons for this, and also profound similarities
>> with the fascist project of the corporatist state. But the bottom line
>> is that there is nothing enlightened in religious law. Period. I don't
>> share your enthusiasm for nation states, any of them, and I don't
>> champion any against the others, but I recognise the necessity rather
>> from a leftwing perspective of pressuring every government to shed its
>> obscurantism and its hocus pocus forms of oppression, including the US.
>> That is only a precondition for social progress.
> If the Iranians had postponed all struggles for social progress till
> such time as they changed the Islamic state into a secular state, no
> change would have happened since the founding of the Islamic Republic.
> Wisely, they didn't think that a secular state is a "precondition"
> for any social progress.
> As for Cuba and South Africa, Iran recognized the rights of
> transsexuals decades earlier than Cuba (via Khomeini's fatwa, no
> less), and Iran's AIDS policy is more progressive than South Africa's.
> So, I'd say that what we need to look at is the content of each
> program of each government, regardless of whether the government is
> officially secular or religious or in-between.
> Published on Friday, April 14, 2006 by Knight Ridder
> Iran's AIDS-Prevention Program Among World's Most Progressive
> by Hannah Allam
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> It still doles out floggings to Iranians caught with alcohol, but it
> gives clean syringes and methadone treatment to heroin addicts. Health
> workers pass out condoms to prostitutes. Government clinics in every
> region offer free HIV testing, counseling and treatment. A
> state-backed magazine just began a monthly column that profiles
> HIV-positive Iranians, and last year the postal service unveiled a
> stamp emblazoned with a red ribbon for AIDS awareness. This year the
> government will devote an estimated $30 million to the program.
> One of Iran's most acclaimed advances comes from its notoriously
> secretive network of prisons, where hundreds of drug-addicted inmates
> sometimes share the same makeshift syringe to inject heroin smuggled
> in by guards or visiting relatives. In a startling acknowledgment of
> sex and drugs even in its most closely guarded quarters, the Tehran
> administration has made condoms and needles available in detention
> centers across the country.
> "Iran now has one of the best prison programs for HIV in not just the
> region, but in the world," said Dr. Hamid Setayesh, the coordinator
> for the U.N. AIDS office in Tehran. "They're passing out condoms and
> syringes in prisons. This is unbelievable. In the whole world, there
> aren't more than six or seven countries doing that."
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