At a vigil held in Toronto a few days after the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed the crowd gathered in the city’s gay village and said, “Homophobia cannot be fought with Islamophobia.” Many politicians spoke on that theme; President Obama, explaining why his administration refused to apply the phrase “radical Islam” to terrorist attacks like Orlando, said, “Since before I was President, I’ve been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism.” Lots of world leaders spoke as experts on Islam after the massacre.
I am a Kurdish Muslim and studied at an Islamic religious school or madrassa during my childhood in Turkey, but I have never seen such propaganda made on behalf of Islam before. I have been lectured by many of my Canadian-born friends about Islam. Suddenly I was the one who was wrong about Islam (I who have been a victim of Islamic intolerance for being gay), and I was toId repeatedly that Islam was the ideology of peace and Muslims were victims of hatred.
For years we have been reading reports of the murder and torture of homosexuals in Islamic countries. Just in the past couple of days a number of gay men have been killed in the Muslim world. Hassan Afshar, a 17-year-old gay Iranian teen, was one of those victims; he was hanged by the Iranian government for having gay sex with another teenaged boy. He was not the first man to be executed for being gay and sadly will not be the last; there are approximately 160 young gay Iranians awaiting death sentences in Iranian prisons. Make no mistake, the Iranian government uses Islamic law to justify their executions and their murders are approved by the highest-ranking Islamic clerics of the regime.
Just a few days before Afshar’s execution another gay teen was brutally murdered in Turkey. Wisam Sankari, a young gay Syrian refugee who managed to escape the brutal ISIS regime in his home country, was found beheaded and mutilated in Istanbul. The name “Wisam” means “badge of honour” in Arabic; he was beheaded and mutilated by Islamist extremists just like so many other gay people in Islamic countries in the name of Allah and honour.
I wish that my fellow Canadians would read about these deaths and educate themselves a little about Islam and stop sugar-coating the elements of that religion that inspire such hatred. As much as I blame the murderers, Canadians who make excuses for radical Islam share some of the responsibility. I blame Canadians who do not take action to stop this brutality. I blame Canadians for not pressuring their government to boycott those regimes that murder their own children for being gay. Last but not least I blame politicians like Prime Minister Trudeau for shaking hands with officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran and legitimizing diplomatic ties to the murderers of gay people right after marching in a gay pride parade.