PARADIGM SHIFT|Liberty, security, and the double life of Muslims

OMAR Mateen shot and killed 49 and injured 53 others at the Orlando gay nightclub. According to Omar’s friends and his ex-wife, Omar was a gay. It raises questions about what Islam’s view on homosexuality is and about the double life of Muslims.

However, most Muslims will argue that it is not possible to be gay and be a Muslim because homosexuality is against Islam. Islam is very clear about homosexuality and prohibits homosexual acts.

According to the story of the people of Lut or Lot in the Quran, which is similar to the story as shared in the Old Testament of the Bible, Allah destroyed an entire nation due to their obscene behavior, which included rampant homosexuality. According to Islam, everything has been created in pairs that complement each another. The pairing of male and female is thus part of human nature and the natural order.

This does not mean there are no homosexuals in Muslim countries. The vast majority of Muslims struggle between two forces: a religious community or household that they grow up in and the haram (forbidden) environment.

On the one hand, the individual is given a set of Islamic rules to follow and is consistently judged by the Muslim community and his or her family by those Quranic laws, and, on the other hand, the same person is attracted to the worldly life.

So when the two forces collide, it leads to many Muslims living a double life as in the case of Omar Mateen, who was fasting, praying, trying to be perfect, and living as a good person in the eyes of his parents and the Muslim community while smoking, partying, and going to a gay nightclub outside his home.

They try to be righteous to keep their loved one proud of them but live another life to satisfy their needs and to conform to the secular community. Displaying an outer face of light but having darkness in their hearts, they cannot find truth in the darkness.

In some Muslim families, the problems of youth are not discussed openly with their parents. Cultural barriers between parents and children often times create distant relationships. Living a double life is detrimental to the individual.

The life of Omar Mateen must have been emotionally and physically exhausting eventually leading to unhappiness and depression. Living a double life, a life of lies, is extremely dangerous in so many aspects and automatically generates a crisis in the Muslim community.

Muslims customize Islam to suit their likes and needs. I have so many Muslims friends and students who felt anxious throughout their relationships, had to lie to their parents, and told them that they spent all their time studying.

After the Orlando gay bar attack, reports have emerged that Omar Mateen had been seen at the nightclub many times prior to the shooing. Not only that, but the killer had also used a gay solicitation social media app. In Islam there is no distinction between the spiritual and the secular parts of life.

Islam means submission to the way of Allah, and this can be seen in the way in which the majority of Muslims are supposed to lead their daily lives– through close adherence to the Quran and the teachings of Mohammad. In this way the Quran becomes the source of law within the Muslim community rather than the laws developed by human beings.

We will reap what we sow. The West and the United States do not know how to deal with terrorism. It may not be popular to say right now, but the Constitution of the United States protects suspected terrorist as it protects all American citizens.

After 9/11, the United States government adopted some new laws under the Patriot Act to prevent future terrorist attacks, including warrantless eavesdropping on Americans’ phone calls and secret demands for records. The Bush administration argued that these new laws helped to save American lives, but cowardly liberals contended that they severely damaged their individual liberties. They hold that the balance between liberty and security is a zero sum game; more of one is less of the other. But security and liberty go hand in hand: we either get more of both or less of both.

I never have seen President Obama be so angry before as he was after Orlando; he was not angry at the terrorists, but at Donald Trump and those who criticized him for not calling terrorists “radical Islamic terrorists,” instead of “extremists,” etc. Obama wants to treat enemies as individual criminals or lone wolves.

Even though he is the Commander-in-Chief, he has no definition of the enemy that Americans are fighting against and no definition under which the military and intelligence agencies operate.

The FBI interviewed the Orlando murderer and discovered his associations with radical terrorists, but they dropped him off the radar and even allowed him to have a gun because law prohibited the FBI from detaining him since he has not killed anyone yet. Respect has to be earned, and the principle of tolerance should not be extended to those who want to destroy and kill.

However, terrorists know how to take advantage of this weakness in the law. If America is no longer safe and if the war on terror continues to be a long struggle, then the government must have laws to set the right balance between security and liberty.

Many liberals are blaming the NRA for the Orlando terror attack, but it is very easy for liberals to make the NRA the scapegoat rather than blaming the real ideology and the clear problems that Americans and their allies are facing.

So if President Obama and his followers believe that taking away guns from everyone will stop the attacks and that terrorists and criminals will obey gun laws, then the coward liberals and the President have forgotten 9/11 during which the terrorists used airplanes as assault weapons to kill 3000 people and have forgotten Boston in which radicalized brothers transformed a pressure cooker into a bomb.

We cannot defeat someone who is committed to killing by writing hash tags such as #love, #hate never wins, or #love wins or by any other empty gesture. After the Orlando attack audiences saw empty slogans all over the media such as “Love wins” or “just choose love,” but love is not enough if someone has committed to kill. It is not love we must choose but life, and we do that so that we will not be the victims– by choosing life to fight back.

Dr. Aland Mizell is President of the MCI and a regular contributor to Mindanao Times. You may email the author

Posted in Opinion