Advertisement

Contemporary Islam

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 79–97 | Cite as

‘Out to get us’: queer Muslims and the clash of sexual civilisations in Australia

  • Ibrahim Abraham
Article

Abstract

Drawing on qualitative data from interviews with twelve queer Muslims in Australia, this article analyses the ongoing struggle for queer Muslim recognition within the context of the so-called ‘Clash of Civilisations’. Analysing the rhetoric of national security and ‘Western’ civilisational identity, this article interrogates the incorporation of sexuality into the cultural and political discourse of the ‘war on terror’, from the xenophobic demonisation of Muslims as sexual predators, to liberal Islamophobia that posits Islam as an aggressive and alien Other against which liberal capitalism must be defended. Within this hostile environment, queer Muslims in Australia are articulating various strategies for finding meaning in their lives. From a Marxist perspective, this article analyses these strategies for recognition which range from complex acts of ‘closeting’ sexual, ethnic and religious identities, to subversive acts of critical hybridity that seek to negate the exclusionary nature of homophobia and Islamophobia within Australia’s multicultural society.

Keywords

Australia Homosexuality Islam Multiculturalism War on terror 

References

  1. AAP. (2005). ‘Terrorism, Gang Rapes Behind Riots’: MP. December 12.Google Scholar
  2. Abraham, I. (2006). Hijab in an age of fear: Security, secularism and human rights. Australian Religion Studies Review, 19(2), 169–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abraham, I. (2008). ‘Sodomized by religion’: Fictional representations of queer Muslims in the ‘West’. Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 19, 137–152.Google Scholar
  4. AbuKhalil, A. (1997). Gender boundaries and sexual categories in the Arab world. Feminist Issues, 15(1), 91–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Adorno, T., & Horkheimer, M. (1944). The culture industry: Enlightenment as mass deception. http://marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/1944/culture-industry.htm. Accessed 1 June 2007.
  6. Ahmad, A. (1992). In theory: Classes, nations, literatures. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  7. Ahmad, A. (1995). The politics of literary postcoloniality. Race & Class, 36(3), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Anemogiannis, C. (2005). The hidden history of homosexual Australia. (Film). SBS/Madman Entertainment.Google Scholar
  9. Arondekar, A. (2005). Border/line sex: Queer postcolonialities, or how race matters outside the United States. Interventions, 7(2), 236–250.Google Scholar
  10. Barrett, D., & Pollack, L. (2005). Whose gay community? Social class, sexual self-expression, and gay community involvement. Sociological Quarterly, 46(3), 437–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhabha, H. (2004). The location of culture. London: Routledge Classics.Google Scholar
  12. Boswell, J. (1980). Christianity, social tolerance and homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bruce, S. (2002). God is dead: Secularization in the West. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Butler, J. (1991). Imitation and gender insubordination. In D. Fuss (Ed.), Inside/out: Lesbian theories, gay theories (pp. 13–31). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Collins, J., et al. (2000). Kebabs, kids, cops and crime: Youth, ethnicity and crime. Sydney: Pluto.Google Scholar
  16. D’Emilio, J. (1998). Sexual politics, sexual communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dirlik, A. (1994). The postcolonial aura: Third World criticism in the age of global capitalism. Critical Inquiry, 20(2), 328–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Duggan, L. (2002). The New Homonormativity: The Sexual Politics of Neo-Liberalism. In R. Castronovo, & D. Nelson (Eds.), Materializing democracy: Toward a revitalized cultural politics (pp. 175–194). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Duran, K. (1993). Homosexuality and Islam. In A. Swindler (Ed.), Homosexuality and world religions (pp. 181–197). Valley Forge, PA: Trinity.Google Scholar
  20. Edelman, L. (1993). Tearooms and sympathy, or, the epistemology of the water closet. In H. Abelove, M. A. Barale, & D. M. Halperin (Eds.), The lesbian and gay studies reader (pp. 553–574). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. El Karka, I., & Kursun, H. (2002). Mijn geloof en mijn geluk. Islamistiche meiden en jongens over hun homoseksuele gevoelens. (My belief and my happiness: Muslim girls and boys on their homosexual feelings). Amsterdam: Schorer.Google Scholar
  22. El-Rouayheb, K. (2005). Before homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic world, 1500–1800. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Fekete, L. (2004). Anti-Muslim racism and the European security state. Race & Class, 46(1), 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fish, S. (1980). Is there a text in this class? The authority of interpretive communities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Fish, S. (2001). The trouble with principle. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Gleeson, K. (2004). From centenary to the Olympics, gang rape in Sydney. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 16(2), 183–201.Google Scholar
  27. Grosrichard, A. (1998). The Sultan’s court: European fantasies of the east. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  28. Hall, S. (1987). Minimal selves. In H. Bhabha (Ed.), Identity—The real me (pp. 44–6). London: Institute of Contemporary Arts.Google Scholar
  29. Halperin, D. (1990). One hundred years of homosexuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Hammoud-Beckett, S. (2007). Azima ila hiyati—An invitation in to my life. International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work, 1, 29–39.Google Scholar
  31. Haqq, I. A. (2000). Homosexuality and Islam in America. Journal of Islamic Law & Culture, 5, 87–96.Google Scholar
  32. Huntington, S. (1996). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  33. Jakobsen, J., & Pellegrini, A. (2003). Love the sin: Sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Jamal, A. (2001). The story of Lot and the Qur’an’s perception of the morality of same-sex sexuality. Journal of Homosexuality, 41, 1–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Johnson, D. K. (2004). The lavender scare: The cold war persecution of gays and lesbians in the federal government. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  36. Kalra, V. S., et al. (2005). Diaspora and hybridity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Knight, M. M. (2004). The Taqwacores. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
  38. Knight, M. M. (2006). Blue-eyed devil: A road odyssey through Islamic America. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
  39. Kugle, S. (2003). Sexuality, diversity and ethics in the agenda of progressive Muslims. In O. Safi (Ed.), Progressive Muslims (pp. 190–234). Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
  40. Kundnani, A. (2007). Integrationism: The politics of anti-Muslim racism. Race & Class, 48(4), 24–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Manji, I. (2004). The trouble with Islam. Sydney: Random House.Google Scholar
  42. Massad, J. (2002). Re-orienting desire: The Gay International and the Arab world. Public Culture, 14(2), 361–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Minwalla, O., et al. (2005). Identity experience amongst progressive gay Muslims in North America: A qualitative study within al-Fatiha. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 7(2), 113–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Murphy, D. (2005). Thugs ruled the streets, and the mob sang Waltzing Matilda. Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, A4–A5.Google Scholar
  45. Murray, S. O., & Roscoe, W. (Eds.) (1997). Islamic homosexualities: Culture, history, and literature. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Papastergiadis, N. (1997). Tracing hybridity in theory. In P. Werbner, & T. Modood (Eds.), Debating cultural hybridity (pp. 257–281). London: Zed.Google Scholar
  47. Papastergiadis, N. (2005). Hybridity and ambivalence: Places and flows in contemporary art and culture. Theory, Culture & Society, 22(4), 39–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pitts, M., et al. (2006). Private lives: A report on the health and wellbeing of GLBTI Australia. Melbourne: La Trobe University.Google Scholar
  49. Poynting, S. (2006). What caused the Cronulla riot. Race & Class, 48(1), 85–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Poynting, S., et al. (2004). Bin Laden in the suburbs: Criminalising the Arab other, Sydney: Sydney Institute of Criminology.Google Scholar
  51. Puar, J. K. (2005). On torture: Abu Ghraib. Radical History Review, 93, 15–38.Google Scholar
  52. Puar, J. K. (2006). Mapping U.S. homonormativities. Gender, Place & Culture, 13(1), 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Puar, J. K., & Rai, A. (2002). Monster, terrorist, fag: The war on terrorism and the production of docile patriots. Social Text, 72, 117–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ridge, D., et al. (1997). Queer connections: Community, ‘the scene’ and an epidemic. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 26(2), 146–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ridge, D., et al. (1999). ‘Asian’ men on the scene: Challenges to ‘gay communities’. In P. A. Jackson, & G. Sullivan (Eds.), Multicultural queer: Australian narratives (pp. 43–68). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
  56. Rodinson, M. (1980/2002). Europe and the mystique of Islam. London: I.B. Taurus.Google Scholar
  57. Rouhani, F. (2007). Religion, identity and activism: Queer Muslim diasporic identities. In K. Brown, et al. (Ed.), Geographies of sexualities (pp. 169–179). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  58. Sanbonmatsu, J. (2004). The postmodern prince: Critical theory, left strategy and the making of new political subjects. New York: Monthly Review.Google Scholar
  59. Schierup, C.-U., Hansen, P., & Castles, S. (2006). Migration, citizenship and the European welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schmitt, A. & Sofer, J. (Eds). (1992). Sexuality and eroticism among males in Moslem societies. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  61. Seidman, S. (2002). Beyond the closet: The transformation of gay and lesbian life. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Siraj, A. (2006). On being homosexual and Muslim: Conflicts and challenges. In L. Ouzgane (Ed.), Islamic masculinities (pp. 202–216). London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  63. Sullivan, A. (1995). Virtually normal: An argument about homosexuality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  64. Sullivan, A. (2004). “The trouble with Islam”: Reform from within. http://www.racematters.org/irshadmanji.htm. Accessed 1 June 2007.
  65. Sullivan, G., & Jackson, P. (1999). Introduction: Ethnic minorities and the lesbian and gay community. In P. Jackson, & G. Sullivan (Eds.), Multicultural queer: Australian narratives (pp. 1–28). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
  66. Valocchi, S. (1999). The class-inflected nature of gay identity. Social Problems, 46(2), 207–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Weeks, J. (1992). Introduction. In A. Schmitt, & J. Sofer (Eds.), Sexuality and eroticism among males in Moslem societies (pp. 9–11). New York: Haworth.Google Scholar
  68. Yip, A. K. T. (2003). A minority within a minority: British non-heterosexual Muslims: Report of research activities and results. 10 May. http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk. Accessed 1 June 2008.
  69. Yip, A. K. T. (2004). Negotiating space with family and kin in identity construction: The narratives of British non-heterosexual Muslims. The Sociological Review, 52(3), 336–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yip, A. K. T. (2005). Queering religious texts: An exploration of British non-heterosexual Christians’ and Muslims’ strategies of constructing sexually-affirming hermeneutics. Sociology, 39(1), 47–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Yip, A. K. T. (2008). The quest for intimate/sexual citizenship: Lived experiences of lesbian and bisexual Muslim women. Contemporary Islam, 2(2), 103–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Young, R. J. (1995). Colonial desire: Hybridity in theory, culture and race. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  73. Žižek, S. (1997). Multiculturalism, or, the cultural logic of multinational capitalism. New Left Review, 225, 28–51.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of SociologyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations