Saif Rahman has an interview in the Telegraph with a man who used to be a reactionary, fundamentalist Muslim and a jihadi. That man is now an atheist and his identity is not given because he fears reprisals from his former compatriots. A lot of what he says is very revealing now that he has realized how tragically wrong he was.
Saif Rahman: In your jihadi phase, how did you feel about homosexuals?
Ex-Jihadi: I thought they were sexual deviants. People who lavished in sin and who were so perverted that they spend their sexual energy on all kinds of perverse ways (as you know for a Muslim ‘morality’ is almost completely identical sexual morality).
In my perception gays suffered from an extreme lack of manliness and were further characterized by debauchery, lack of sexual discipline, cowardice and worldliness. They were the polar opposite of what a Muslim man should be. I also regarded them as subversive and dangerous, a threat to the fabric of the Ummah. The presence of gays only spreads sin and vice in the Muslim community, and they corrupt Muslim youth by their example of being effeminate. In my mind a Muslim man had only one single purpose in life: he is a born soldier whose whole existence has no other purpose than to wage and to die in war. Gays are dangerous since they undermine national morale and give an example of cowardice. Being gay and soldier at the same time was simply unimaginable to me.
Next to that gays were a national security threat because I regarded them as people who commit excessive sins, thereby corrupting the Ummah by their presence and driving away the divine favor. In the worst case they would invite divine wrath and punishment to fall on the entire community. In jihadi circles for examples it is commonly excepted that Muslims lost Andalus because worldliness spread, homosexuality increased and men ceased being men. Therefore Allah withdrew his blessings and divine help and the Muslims of Andalus were destroyed.
Because of this we thought suppression and punishment for gays was fully justified. This only went for male gays by the way. As far as i can remember we never held similar view on female gays.
Ex-Jihadi: When I stopped hating, I realized how hate poisons you and distorts your world view.
For example, my views on women were never stable but always oscillated between extremes. Sometimes I regarded them as cunning devils that invited to sin, constantly lay traps for men and should be dealt harsh with. At other times I saw them as innocent, pure, angel-like children which were oblivious to sin and which should be locked up and protected in order to prevent them from being corrupted by the evils of the world (many extremists don’t talk about sex with women in order not to spoil their ‘purity’). At times I thought that women who were not docile enough should be raped as a way of disciplining them (the attitude that rape is a way of setting women straight, especially when they talk back is widespread among Islamists of Arab descent in my experience) , at other moments I found they should be treated more mildly then men when they sin, since they are ignorant and immature and thus less responsible for their actions (like children or the mentally ill).
I held all these conflicting beliefs at the same time, without ever coming to terms with them. Only when I shed the yoke of dogmas I could finally regard women as ordinary people (not as angels or demons) and responsible for their actions like men. The idea that women were big children soon also vanished.
Again, remarkably similar, this idea that women are simultaneously vile temptresses and innocent little children that must be protected from the corruption of worldly thoughts.