Islam and homosexuality: more rampant paranoia and hypocrisy

Islam and homosexuality: more rampant paranoia and hypocrisy September 13, 2009

Homosexuality is Haram and END of Discussion. U cant question the Creator. HE said its Haram … there is no such thing as homosexual Muslim.

A FEW days after reading this quote on a discussion board at the newly-launched I’m Halal Islamic search engine, I was handed  a copy of yesterday’s  Guardian’s Weekend magazine, which contained an astonishing report of a flourishing practice in Afghanistan: The taking of young boys to perform as dancers at private parties called bacha bazi (boy for play).

This photo of a young Afgan dancing boy appears in this weekend's Guardian magazine
This photo of a young Afgan dancing boy appears in this weekend's Guardian magazine
According to the report, headed Slaves to the Rhythm:

The bacha dancers are often abused children whose families have rejected them. Their ‘owners’ or ‘masters’ can be single or married men, who keep them in a form of sexual slavery, as concubines.

I could not find a link to the Guardian feature, from which the photo was reproduced, but in 2007 the Institute for War and Peace Reporting carried a piece on the bacha bazi, which kicked off with this quote from Allah Daad, a one-time mujahedin commander in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz:

Some men enjoy playing with dogs, some with women. I enjoy playing with boys.

He added:

When I was young, I had a bacha bereesh who was the best in the region. He danced like a flying pigeon … Nobody could take his place afterwards. I kept him for three years, then left him when he matured.

Allah Daad has kept many boys over the years, and says he enjoys his ‘hobby’.

I am married, but I prefer boys to women. You can’t take women with you to parties in this region, and you can’t make them dance. These boys are our [mark of] prestige.

Large halls known as ‘qush-khana’ provide the venues for bacha bazi parties where the boys’ ‘owners’ or ‘kaatah’ invite their friends to watch them dancing. Late in the night, when the dancing is over, the boys are often shared with close friends, for sexual abuse.
Allah Daad explained how the boys are enticed into the arrangement:

First we select boys in the village and later on we try to trick them into coming with us. Some of them stay with us for money; they get a monthly allowance, and in return we can have them any time we want. They don’t stay with us all the time – they can do their own jobs and then just come to parties with us.

Allah Dad’s current bacha, who is 16, refused to be interviewed. But another owner forced his 14-year-old boy to speak, although he would not give his name.

I was dancing last night. I have been doing this for the past year. I have no choice – I’m poor. My father is dead, and this is the only source of income for me and my family. I try to dance well, especially at huge parties. The men throw money at me, and then I gather it up. Sometimes they take me to the market and buy me nice clothes.

Said Baz Gul, a resident of Kunduz:

Bacha bazi has increased tremendously lately and is still on the rise. In the past, people were ashamed of it, and tried to hide it. Now nobody is shy about it, and they participate openly in these parties.

He explained that there were several reasons why the practice had become more common, one of which was the growing influence of local strongmen, who regard bacha baazi as status symbols.

It used to be that only a few people had boys. Now everyone owns one and the authorities don’t care about it at all. It’s got to the point where almost no party takes place without dancing boys. It’s seen as a disgrace if you don’t have dancing boys at your wedding. This has led to a rise in immoral behaviour among boys, and if nothing is done about it, this trend will continue.

For some, a bacha bereesh is a status symbol. Militia commanders and other men of substance buy and sell good-looking boys, using the bacha baazi parties as marketplaces.
Said Nek Mohammad, a resident of Baghlan’s Andarab district who frequently attends dance parties, although he does not own a bacha bereesh himself:

Commanders and wealthy men arrange parties in order to select a bacha bereesh. Many of the men make their boys dance at these parties, and other men choose one and pay for him. By the end of the party, the boy has acquired a new owner. Commanders often take their boys to a market and buy them beautiful clothes, as a challenge to other commanders. Sometimes they even give them cars. That gives them a very big reputation.

Islamic scholars condemn the custom, which they count as one of the most sinful acts possible. Said Mawlawi Ghulam Rabbani, a religious leader in Takhar province:

Making boys dance and sexually abusing them is strictly prohibited by Islam. Those who engage in it should be punished. They should be thrown off a mountain and stoned to death.

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