Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia

Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia

In this post I will talk about Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia, and how such incidents are harming India and the idea of free-speech and secularism.

Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals - that is, lesbians and gay men - sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility. 

In modern society sexual orientation should not be a deciding factor at all. 

Yet some communities and religions are openly homophobic. This is very pronounced in certain communities and especially among the minority community of India.

In my view, Kamlesh Tiwari is a gay-rights fighter and has exposed the latent homophobia among Islamic community in India. He is like a mirror who has shown the plural Indian society how cruel and ruthless it is to people who are differently-oriented.

Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia
Who is Kamlesh Tiwari?
Kamlesh Tiwari (age 43) claimed to be working president of Hindu Mahasabha. He had called Prophet Muhammad the first homosexual in the world, (1) a day after UP Cabinet minister Azam Khan called RSS members homosexuals. (5)

He is currently lodged at Lucknow District Jail since his arrest on December 2 last year. (7) Tiwari was booked under NSA for his speech in a country which claims to be democratic and celebrates freedom of speech, and Hindu Mahasabha has already disowned him. (3)

Muslim clerics from Bijnor - Anwarul Haq and Mufti Naeem Kasmi both the clerics from Bijnore had asked to behead Kamlesh Tiwari in their fatwa. No action has been taken against both the clerics who have issued the controversial fatwa.(9)

What did Kamlesh Tiwar allegedly say?

Tiwari had, according to reports, called the Prophet the first homosexual in a press note. Tiwari’s statement followed a similar statement by Azam Khan where he called RSS members homosexuals. (2) Kamlesh Tiwari questioned the sexual orientations of the Prophet in response to Azam Khan's statement against the RSS, in which he called its cadres homosexuals. (3) On December 3, Kamlesh Tiwari, in a press note issued by him, claimed that Prophet Mohammed was the first homosexual. His statement reportedly came after Samajwadi Party minister Azam Khan had said that RSS leaders are homosexuals and this is why they don’t get married. (4)

Sequence of events
  • Kamlesh, on November 30, had issued a press statement slamming Azam for his comment on RSS being homosexuals.
  • In resposne, he also allegedly made objectionable remarks against the Prophet.
  • Two days later, he again posted inflammatory comments on Facebook while reacting to protests by Muslims on his statement.
  • On December 1, a Hindi daily, published from Lucknow, carried a report on his statement.
  • The following day, police registered a case against Kamlesh under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and arrested him.
  • The FIR said a statement issued by “ABHM working president Tiwari caused tension and led to protests by a community." (7)
Immediate Reactions
Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - Purnea Islamic Riots
  • According to a report, Samajwadi Party's media convener Javed Ansari said that the protesters had two demands (4):
    • Death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari which should exist for anyone who insults the Prophet
    •  Stricter laws against religious leaders who make hate speeches
  • Protesters under the banner of 'Ittehad-e-Millat' had carried out massive protests demanding he be beheaded for his derogatory remarks against the Prophet.(1)
  • On the 18th of December Tahafuzze Azmate Mustafa (TAM) protested at Jantar Mantar against Kamlesh Tiwari’s statement on Prophet Muhammad. The leaders of the organisation were demanding a legislation that punished people making derogatory statements against religious figures with death penalty.(2)
  • A number of Hindu Mahasabha members staged protest at GPO in Lucknow and burnt effigies of Muslim clerics from Bijnor - Anwarul Haq and Mufti Naeem Kasmi. the protesters demanded that National Security Act (NSA) should be revoked from Kamlesh Tiwari and he should be immidiately released. They said that both the clerics should be booked under the stringent act (NSA) for their controversial fatwa against the Tiwari. (9)
  • Malda district of West Bengal saw a violent reaction from Muslim groups to the hate speech by Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari. The violent mob also attacked the BDO office at Kaliachak-I, they went to Khaltipur railway station and squatted on the railway tracks in protest. Due to the ruckus, the shops were shut down and Muslim protesters also looted some nearby houses. a strong anti-Hindu sentiment in the locality was propagated by all three political parties- the ruling Trinamool Congress, Congress and CPI(M)-turned into massive violence on January 3 in which the local Muslims turned hostile towards the state administration. (5)
  • On 7th January, a section of the people protesting under the banner of the local wing of the Islamic Council of India turned violent in Baisi in Purnea district of Bihar. (2) The 'peaceful' protest march, taken out by a local minority wing of the Islamic Council of India, turned violent when the mob stormed into Baisi police station and set vehicles on fire causing substantial damages to government property.
Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - Islamic Riots

Opinions
  • Hardline Islamic fundamentalist group Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi late on Wednesday night called Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari "wald-ul-haraam" (illegitimate child) in a reaction to the latter's controversial comments on Prophet Muhammad. He sought to buttress his point by quoting the scriptures and also by using arguments of scholars of Islam on the issue. (8)
  • Author and columnist Tarek Fatah came out in support of Kamlesh Tiwari who was arrested for his remarks on Prophet Muhammad - In India's ongoing debate about freedom of speech, both #KanhaiyaKumar and #KamleshTiwari must be out of prison & free to speak their minds. (1)
  • As per Whatmeworry, "Mohamed had sexual intercourse with 9 year old Ayesha. That's what the Hadiths say. Therefore Mohamed is a child rapist a pedophile." (1)
  • Not everybody is convinced that Kamlesh Towari alone is to blame, and think that Azam Khan is equally guilty.Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad has demanded capital punishment against Azam Khan for his statements. The Indian Express quoted him as saying: “All this happened due to conspiracy of Hindu Mahasabha and the minister (Azam) so that Muslims and Hindus continue fighting and votes are divided... This Muslim minister is tarnishing the image of the government. After his controversial statement, Tiwari gathered courage to issue derogatory statement against Prophet Muhammad."(4)
  • The silence of the media over Islamic extremism, and blowing things out of proportion in the case Hindutva fundamentalism, is condemnable and dangerous for a democratic and multicultural society like India. The media went ballistic over beef bans and the Shiv Sena's "ink attack" on an intellectual, but remained suspiciously circumspect over incidents like Malda and the death fatwas against Tiwari. (3)
Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - Openly Gay Imam
Daayiee Abdullah: The First Openly Gay Imam in America
What the Scriptures Say
As per Brian Eggleston, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Prophet Mohammed (may Allah exalt him and grant him peace) was homosexual. However John Griswald says otherwise. (11)

Bukhari :: Book 4 :: Volume 52 :: Hadith 143
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet said to Abu Talha, "Choose one of your boy servants to serve me in my expedition to Khaibar." So, Abu Talha took me letting me ride behind him while I was a boy nearing the age of puberty. I used to serve Allah's Apostle when he stopped to rest. I heard him saying repeatedly, "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from distress and sorrow, from helplessness and laziness, from miserliness and cowardice, from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men." (10)

As per Shoebat (14), Islam is a homosexual cult, that wants to bring the world into a homosexual pagan empire. The followers of Muhammad consisted of mukhannathun, or cross dressers. It is the same word as mukhannatah, which in Arabic means homosexual. Daayiee Abdullah, an openly gay imam, describes the mukhannathun as "sort of a male-female, cross-dressing types. They existed. And they also lived or worked in the household of the Prophet. Aisha, one of the Prophet’s wives, indicated that there were men who worked in the household. They were mukhannathun. That generally meant that they were not necessarily castrated, but not having an interest in women."

The Qu'ran and Homosexuality as per Fordham University
As per Fordham University (12), Richard Burton suggests the following Qu'ranic verses as relevant to homosexuality:
SURA IV: 19-21
19. But whoso rebels against God and His Apostle, and transgresses His bounds, He will make him enter into fire, and dwell therein for aye; and for him is shameful woe.
20. Against those of your women who commit adultery, call witnesses four in number from among yourselves; and if these bear witness, then keep the women in houses until death release them, or God shall make for them a way.
21. And if two (men) of you commit it, then hurt them both; but if they turn again and amend, leave them alone, verily, God is easily turned, compassionate.
SURA LII:24
"And there shall wait on them [the Muslim men] young boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls."
SURA LXXVI:19
"They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who will seem like scattered pearls to the beholders."

Were Moses, Jesus and the Apostle Paul Gay?
Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - Christain Homosexuality and Lesbian
Now people have started debating whether Moses, Jesus, Paul etc were also gay. A proverbial can of worms has now been opened because of controversial statement of Azam Khan.

Some believe that Moses the founder of Judaism was homosexual.

Noted human Rights and Democracy activist Peter Tatchell, believes that Jesus was queer (15). According to the US Biblical scholar, Morton Smith, of Columbia University, a fragment of manuscript he found at the Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem in 1958, showed that the full text of St. Mark chapter 10 (between verses 34 and 35 in the standard version of the Bible) includes the passage: "And the youth, looking upon him (Jesus), loved him and beseeched that he might remain with him. And going out of the tomb, they went into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days, Jesus instructed him and, at evening, the youth came to him wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God".

Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - Church St Peter Christainity Roman Catholic
Representative Image
Many experts believe that Apostle St Paul, the second most imporatnt figure in Christianity after Jesus was gay. Reasons stated are:(13)
- St Paul never married
- St Paul Struggled With an Unnamed Infirmity
- St Paul Struggled With Sin
- St Paul distinguishes between homosexual lust and homosexual acts
- If Paul struggled with his own homosexuality, it may have been the key contributor to his theology of justification through faith.
- Paul had a strained relationship with the other apostles.

Conclusion
Whether Kamlesh Tiwari was correct or not, whether Azam Khan was correct or not is not the bigger issue. What is more important are human values and the issue of homophobia. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". It does not say "some human beings" - everyone, without exception, must enjoy their effective protection and realization. And yet, UN reports, including the most recent one that we presented to the Human Rights Council earlier this year, highlight pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and intersex persons in all regions of the world. They tell of the sadistic murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, horrific rapes of lesbian and bisexual women, violent mob attacks, and the abuse of LGBT persons by police and prison officials. They tell of LGBT and intersex persons fleeing death threats in their countries of origin only to be discriminated against in the asylum process. (16)

Let us advocate for laws and policies that will protect everyone’s dignity. Let us work for a world where all people can enjoy their rights fully.

Kamlesh Tiwari and Homophobia - LGBT Logo

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Images
References
  1. http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/jnu-debate-both-kanhaiya-kumar-kamlesh-tiwari-must-be-out-of-jail-to-speak-their-minds_1857573.html
  2. http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2016/01/protests-against-kamlesh-tiwari/
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/abhinav-pandya/malda-riots-and-the-shock_b_9004020.html
  4. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-here-s-why-1-lakh-muslims-are-demanding-death-penalty-for-kamlesh-tiwari-2154898
  5. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-malda-riots/1/563613.html
  6. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/prophet-remark-bihars-purnea-tense-after-mob-attack/1/566271.html
  7. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/anti-prophet-remark-up-govt-invokes-nsa-against-kamlesh-tiwari-family-to-move-allahabad-high-court/
  8. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Owaisi-calls-Hindu-Mahasabha-leader-Kamlesh-Tiwari-illegitimate-child/articleshow/50311361.cms
  9. http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/book-muslim-clerics-for-fatwa-against-kamlesh-tiwari-hindu-mahasabha_1835909.html
  10. http://www.quranexplorer.com/Hadith/English/Hadith/bukhari/004.052.143.html
  11. http://www.debate.org/debates/The-Prophet-Mohammed-peace-be-upon-him-was-gay/1/
  12. http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/quran-homo.asp
  13. http://www.andybreeden.com/2012/07/was-apostle-paul-gay.html
  14. http://shoebat.com/2015/03/03/islam-is-a-homosexual-cult-that-wants-to-bring-the-world-into-a-homosexual-pagan-empire/
  15. http://www.petertatchell.net/religion/jesus.htm
  16. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16798&LangID=E

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