Saturday, May 09, 2009

News of the World Prints Gay Fantasy Tale

Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo's fling with Brazilian model Gabriela Endringer | Fitness instructor says Ronaldo lets himself be dominated in bed | News | News Of The World

FORGET 41-yard supergoals...forward Brazilian Gabriela Endringer knows the kind of free kicks that really get Man U legend Cristiano Ronaldo dribbling.

For she has revealed the lazy little winker likes to lie back and let his lovers dictate all the play during sex.

Stunning fitness instructor Gabriela 'Ronaldo lets himself be dominated in bed.'

Barack Obama's rich supporters fear his tax plans show he's a class warrior - Telegraph

Barack Obama's rich supporters fear his tax plans show he's a class warrior - Telegraph
Wealthy Wall Street financiers and other business figures provided crucial support for Mr Obama during the election, backing him over the Republican candidate John McCain as the right leader to rescue the collapsing US economy.

But it is now dawning on many among them that Mr Obama was serious about his campaign trail promises to bring root and branch reform to corporate America - and that they were more than just election rhetoric.

A top Obama fundraiser and hedge fund manager said: "I'm appalled at the anti-Wall Street rhetoric. It was OK on the campaign but now it's the real world. I'm surprised that Obama is turning out to be so left-wing. He's a real class warrior."

Let's hope so.

Is Telegraph attack on Ben Bradshaw homophobic?

Next Left: Is Telegraph attack on Bradshaw homophobic?

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, was the first government minister to enter into a civil partnership when he married long-term partner in 2006.

The thrust of the Daily Telegraph's complaint is that, after his civil partnership Bradshaw took on and claimed the full mortgage payments on their jointly owned home.

It is headlined 'Ben Bradshaw: Mortgage bill paid on home part-owned by boyfriend'

Or husband, as those of us who think civil partnerships are to all intents and purposes 'gay marriage' might put it.

So is there a double standard, motivated by homophobia, behind the story and the presentation of it?

The Minister has said what he thinks to his 1797 close friends on Facebook.

++Ben Bradshaw says if you doubt today's false smear of him by the Torygraph is homophobic, ask would they have written the same piece about the Camerons?

That seems to me a pretty good point.

Some Sympathy for MPs

MPs' expenses and the great national sneer |

Being an MP is a gruelling and demanding job: the mountain of dreary but inescapable constituency work requires you to be a social worker and legal adviser without any training or preparation for either role; working hours in the house of commons - although reformed - are still unsocial; the vast majority of the proceedings in the House and its committees are unspeakably tedious; the long separations from family and friends famously tend to lead to marital break-up, alcoholism and worse; the lack of real power over an over-mighty executive saps energy and will; dependence on the favour of the Whips for any chance of advancement to ministerial office is degrading; those who achieve it are generally unfitted for it, since ministerial success requires quite different talents from those needed to win a constituency election; many of your fellow-MPs will always be uncongenial company; you have little or no job security and your ability to hold onto your seat every three or four years depends on circumstances quite beyond your control; you are fairly poorly paid and if you make up for this by claiming all the allowances that parliamentary officials tell you you’re entitled to, you’re likely to be lampooned across the nation’s front pages and television screens as little better than a bank robber or hedge fund manager.


What is the working class dream?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | What is the working class dream?

While some people dedicate their lives to escaping their working class backgrounds others have no interest in climbing a class ladder, says Laurie Taylor in his weekly column.

Age Prejudice

I don't believe any 30 year old or younger has anything to say to me that I don't know already.

Friday, May 08, 2009

MP's Expenses - a Storm in a Teacup

I tried to explain this to a friend in America. It came out like this:

UK MPs get paid £66,000 a year (as opposed to $167,000 for US Congress members), but London is a very expensive city. So they feel underpaid.

They have a £24,000 expense account and most of the "claims" are a way to access this pot of money. Some of the claims are apparently scandalous - but mostly it seems most MPs on arrival at Westminster were told by other MPs that this was "how the system worked.".

The total amount involved is just over £15,000,000 per year for all 646 MPs -and most of the expenses were probably justified.

Overall, this is a hugely inflated story.

Obama and Israel - Good Article

Hirsh: The Increasingly Uneasy U.S.-Israel Relationship | Newsweek Voices - Michael Hirsh |

To say that Netanyahu is 'fine-tuning' his positions is a euphemistic way of saying that he doesn't like the message coming from top officials of the Obama administration, but he's not ready to commit political suicide. Already suspected by a large portion of the electorate, he can't afford to be seen to be on the outs with Obama. The Israelis, in other words, are going to do their best to avoid the perception that there is daylight between Jerusalem and Washington (that existential dread again). But the daylight is already streaming out.

Rival 2nd best none - new song by the ABBA men

A bit of Swedish camp on a day when it rained hail at my place.

Marriage Equality

Via Andrew Sullivan.

When do we start agitating for use of the word "marriage" for "civil partnerships" in the UK?

Attacking Iain Dale

Blogger: Iain Dale's Diary - Post a Comment

"By ramming the microphone up your arse?"
- one of the commentators today on Iain Dale's blog.

[Dale, for my American/World readers is the leading Conservative blogger in the UK. He is also openly gay. The title Iain Dale's Diary is an old joke based a long gone BBC Soap Opera called Mrs Dale's Dairy.]

I find the "ramming up the arse" comments offensive.

If, however, anyone wants advice on how best to achieve "Anal Pleasure and Health" I suggest they buy the book of that name from [It's written from a heterosexual point of view, but explains the pleasures involved both for those with a prostate and without].

Meanwhile, a number of straight women have told me about how much some men like that "little finger" during oral sex, but don't want to talk about it afterward.

And very many women (lesbian and straight) have a three- or two-pronged rabbits.

UPDATE: I suppose I should make it clear here what I am on about. You may agree, disagree, or variably agree with Iain Dale. What I object to is his commentators feeling it is OK to trade in homophobic bits of "wit". I commend Iain for continuing to approve such comments.

What's Really Going On? Are MP's Expenses that Important?

Iain Dale's Diary: Darling & Hoon Are the Two Most Serious Cases:

OK, I have now just ploughed through the nine pages of coverage in the Telegraph. It's a curious mix of the outrageous and the pedestrian. You get the impression with one or two of the Cabinet Ministers that a story has been manufactured out of very little. But for most of them, there are questions which need to be answered, and I am afraid that the stock answer of 'It was approved by the Fees Office' or 'It's within the rules' is simply not good enough.

Iain Dale here is voicing perhaps the "David Broder" voice in the British Press (named after the Washington Post writer who always manages to voice the "Inside the Beltway" consensus).

But, without getting into conspiracy theories, I am beginning to think this must just a huge hoot to the "business community".

The total possible expenditure on 646 MPs at £24,000 per year is just over £15 million, (much of it probably justified).

Meanwhile the Bank of England announces it's buying up another £50 billion, and no one is discussing it in the press at all (although it is being reported). Bond-dealers are taking their percentages as we all squawk. I wonder how much that will be for a £50 Billion buy?

This is not a question of "cover-up", but the way in which transient news stories sometimes miss what the real story is, and where the real money is.

From my former transatlantic position, btw, the amounts involved are piddling. Senators and congressmen routinely add provisions to US spending bills in return for "favours" from local or national business men that would make £24,000 look like pocket money.

Against the Database State

ID cards: ill-advised and illogical |

Socialism does not mean having the state in your face and it having the most personal, most intimate, the most unique and most valuable, liberating thing they own – their identity. Let's get this straight.

When the state has your DNA, you cease to be free. The citizens of Germany – both Nazi and Stalinist East – found this one out the hard way.

We still have time to throw out this mockery of socialist democracy. Socialism is supposed to be about freeing people from the tyranny of unregulated free market capitalism by making sure that collectively, all of our basic needs are met as a society. At a time when working people are being forced to pay the price for the recklessness of the bankers, we shouldn't be wasting billions on this ill-advised, illogical scheme – and put the money into more useful public services instead. Not create a Department of Social Scrutiny.

The crucial point with ID Cards, DNA databases, email/web browsing megabases etc., is that the state does not own us as individuals. Rather the state is a product of our activity as social beings.

I accept that in time of war, a state may have to act in some ways that contradict individual liberty, but the state should not be defined in such a way that it is always in some "state of war". And that includes wars on terror, wars on drugs, and even wars on crime.

There seems to not be a single argument for ID cards that could not also be applied to requiring that everybody be implanted with a micro-chip. Indeed, I suspect at some time to see some government arguing that micro-chips are better since you can't lose the card!

So I repeat this question: what argument can be made for ID cards that cannot be made for chipping everyone?

UPDATE: See an account of US concerns about these issues -
Lawmaker Joins Fight To Outlaw Human Microchip Implants


The ladder of success for a prosecutor is built from the bodies of the people’s lives they destroy.

From a commentator on over-zealous US prosecutors at The Agitator

MPs' expenses

MPs' expenses - Telegraph

The Telegraph's investigation into how politicians - from Gordon Brown and his Cabinet to backbenchers of all parties - exploit the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidise their lifestyles and multiple homes.

It's very odd that Tory and Lib Dem politicians are not really responding to this. I suppose that is because they know their time is coming since the Telegraph claims it has expenses for all MPs.

Moreover, although e silentio arguments are not worth much, Harriet Harman, the Milibands, and Alan Johnson seem to be in the clear - all potential heirs to Gordon Brown.

It will not exactly be "fun", but will be interesting to see this stuff come out over the next week or so.

Meanwhile, as of this morning, Harriet Harman is smelling of roses.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tolerance of Homosexuality in Islam

This was first written in 1998 for bit.listserv.gaynet

jgh wrote:

" Islamic fundamentalists tried to beat up a gay man and
threatened to kill him at a London conference on "Islamophobia",
designed to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslim values,
and attended by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.
"The conference declaration claimed that "Islam is wrongly and
unjustly portrayed as barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist,
violent and aggressive".

The rest of the post went on, basically, to claim that this
statement is wrong, noting the dreadful treatment of a gay
activist at the conference.

The issue is not quite so simple, however. Although today Islam
is presented as a Monolithic religion and culture, this has
little relation to Islam's past, and much to to do with a mutally
beneficial collaboration by Western media *and* legalistic
elements within the Islamic world.

The Islam that we hear of - both Shia and Sunni - is presented as
a form of legalistic religious totalitarianism. But this
represents only one aspect of Islam's past and present culture
[an aspect which can be seen in certain historical manifestations
of Christianity, Judaism, "Hinduism", and Buddhism]. In practice,
Islamic culture has exhibited many periods of tolerance,
including tolerance of homosexuality - indeed the poetry of
Islamic Spain is full of such references.

The history of homosexuality in Islamic culture is not reducible
to such periods of "tolerance". The form of Islam known as Sufism
- a form which emphasises love and faith [iman] over submission
[islam] [and iman is used much more frequently in the Qu'ran
than "islam"] - has always been much more open. Sufism is *not*
an obscure mystical movement, but was a dominating force in the
religious life of much of the Muslim world. Outside Saudi Arabia
[which was "cleaned" by anit-Sufi Wahabists in the 19th century],
Islam is still awash in Sufi religiosity - especially the
importance given to saint's tombs and pilgrimmages to them. In
South Asia [India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contain by far the
world's largest number of Muslims], Sufism has proved especially
important. The Sunni religious authorities do not "own" Islam,
any more than the Vatican "owns" the Catholicism of Mexican women
devoted to Our Lady of Guadaloupe.

Unfortunately the post by Outrage bought into this conflation of
legalistic Islamic authoritarianism with Islam as a whole. It
also failed to analyze why immigrant communities often end up
under the control of conservative religious authorities, and
embroiled in the practice of the most conservative elements of a
religious tradition. There has been a lot of sociological study
of this common phenomenon: it seems clear that in immigrant
subcultures, especially when the immigrant group is subject to
discrimination, the complexity of the home society is reduced to
much harsher lines. Homeland political, regional and clam
relationships come to have little role in the new land, but
religious affiliation remains clear. In these circumstances,
immigrant religious leaders acquire a new level of power.

So let's summarize what Islamic culture has actually said and
done about Homosexuality.

M U H A M M A D A N D T H E Q U' R A N

The Qu'ran actually says very little

The following Qu'ranic are often seen verses as relevant to
[texts are from the Qu'ran edition at Virginia Tech's etext

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.

-Note: if Surah 4:21 is about homosexuality, the Qu'ran is
notably less aggressive than the comparable verses in the Book of

SURA VII: 78-84 [On Lot at Sodom]
78. Then the earthquake took them, and in the morning they lay
prone in their dwellings;
79. and he turned away from them and said, 'O my people! I did
preach to you the message of my Lord, and I gave you good advice;
but ye love not sincere advisers.'
80. And Lot, when he said to his people, 'Do ye approach an
abomination which no one in all the world ever anticipated you
81. verily, ye approach men with lust rather than women- nay, ye
are a people who exceed.'
82.But his people's answer only was to say, 'Turn them out of
your village, verily, they are a people who pretend to purity.'
83. But we saved him and his people, except his wife, who was of
those who lingered;
84. and we rained down upon them a rain;- see then how was the
end of the sinners!

See also
SURA XI: 77-84 [On Lot at Sodom]
SURA XXVI: 160-174 [On Lot and Sodom]
SURA XXIX: 28-35 [On Lot and Sodom]

-Note. To western readers the Qur'an is notably repetative.
Muhammad (or, in Muslim eyes, God, the author of the "Qu'ran), in
delivering the various recitations, had some knowledge of the
Five Books of Moses. The same story gets repeated and repeated.
The Sodom story was clearly seen in homosexual terms [Sura 7:81],
but the focus of the story seems to be simply an attack on
wickedness and turning away from God in general.


Although the Qu'ran does not have verse explicitly in favor of
homosexuality, it does have verses which show awareness of male
beauty. These are promises made to Muslim men who make it to

"And there shall wait on them [the Muslim men] young boys of
their own, as fair as virgin pearls."

"They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who
will seem like scattered pearls to the beholders."


There were varing traditions about homosexuality in Islamic
tradition. What follows is from a post by Kamran Hakim
[] to soc.religion.bahai [in which he is
seeking to show tha Bahai's are unequivocal in their condemnation
of homosexuality, while Muslims were lax.

"References to effeminacy can be found in Islamic Hadith which
is, in a sense, a verification of the account of the New
Testament. Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

"The Prophet cursed the effeminate men and those women who assume
the similitude (manners) of men. He also said, "Turn them out of
your houses." He turned such-and-such person out, and 'Umar also
turned out such-and- such person. Sahih Bukhari 8.820

There doesn't appear to be too much room for effeminate men
within the Muslim community. However, effeminacy might not
exactly equate with sexual tendencies toward another man.
Furthermore, both the Qur'an and the Hadith deal with male-male
sexual relationship in particular.

"The mentioning of the story of Lot, the nephew of Abraham and
the people of Sodom in the Qur'an appear to imply that Arabs of
the time of Muhammad must have also had similar social norms
regarding sodomy. Else there was no reason for Prophet Muhammad
to repeat, by the virtue of inspiration, the Biblical account of
Sodom and Gomorah in the Qur'an.

"The Qur'an does not directly refer to "lavaat", "sodomy" or the
homosexual act. On the contrary the Qur'an treats this issue in a
peripheral manner. The following verses of that Book describe the
story of "Lot" and the people of Sodom and hint at sodomy by
implication: "For ye practice your lusts on men in preference
to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bonds."
Qur'an 7:81 Moreover;

"-Would ye really approach men in your lust rather than women?
Nay ye are a people grossly ignorant." Qur'an 27:55

-Surih Sho'ara:105 of the Qur'an reiterates further on this same

Imam Ali describes the reason behind the injunction of the Qur'an
against sodomy in a rather practical manner:

"Amir al-mu'menin, peace be upon him, said: Allah has laid
down...abstinence from sodomy for increase of progeny..."
Nahj-ul-Balagha, selection from the preachings of Ali, # 253, p.

Regardless of such admonishment and unlike the severe approach of
the Torah in punishing those guilty of sodomy, the Qur'an appear
to treat this issue in a far more lenient manner than the Torah:

"And as for the two of you [i.e. The sentence structure refers
exclusively to two men and not a man and a woman. KH] who are
guilty thereof [guilty of sexual relationship. KH], punish them
both. And if they repent and improve, then let them be. Lo! Allah
is Relenting, Merciful." Qur'an 4:16

Qur'an while speaking of "punish them both", does not prescribe
any form of punishment, as in the case of adultery, for sexual
relationship between two men and prescribes acceptance of their
repentance. However, there are some Ahadith (i.e. Traditions,
saying of Prophet Muhammad) that prescribe the severe punishment
of the Torah for those guilty of this charge. For example the
following two Ahadith are from Sunan of Abu Dawood vol 4, chapter
on the people of Lot. The Arabic text reads as follows:

"man laata beh ghulaam faqtaloo al-fa'il val-maf'ool."
Which translates to: "When a man commits sodomy with a boy: kill
the doer and the one done to."


"qala an-nabi man vajde tamooh ya'mala 'amale qawme Lot
fa-aqtaloo al-fa'il val-maf'ool."
Which translates to: "Prophet said: He who commits that which
the people of Lot committed [i.e. People of Lot committed Sodomy.
KH]: kill the doer and the one done to."

Since the Qur'an has not clearly prescribed a punishment for
sodomy, some Schools of Thought in Islam have considered sodomy
as "mobaah" [i.e. meaning allowable in an impunible and
indifferent sense.] while others have considered it "jaa'iz"
[i.e. meaning allowable, permissible and lawful.]. For example
Maleki, the founder of the Maleki School of Thought within Sunni
Islam says:

"Having sex with a young man (without beard) is fine for a man
who is not married and who is on a trip."
cit. Hesaam Noqaba'i, Hoquq-i Zan, pp. 126-127 (section on

The Shi'ah books of law also leave the door unlocked for the
cases of "Oops, I forgot! sodomization of boys. The following
Shi'ah ruling hints at this:

"If he has had sexual intercourse with a boy according to
precautionary rule, it becomes unlawful for him forever to marry
the boy's mother, his sister, or his daughters even if they are
boys not adults. If one is married to one of such ladies before
such act, it does not affect the already existing marriage,
although it is a precautionary rule to avoid such marriage.
Extending this rule to the case wherein one doing the act is a
minor the one letting it done to him is an adult, is
objectionable, according to a clear view it does not apply. The
daughter or brothers and sisters of the one letting it done to
him do not become unlawful to one who has done the act."
Islamic Laws of Worship and Contracts, p. 614, CR #1259 Ayatullah
Al-'Uzma Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Husayni Shirazi

In the Ottoman Empire the Khalifs use to keep young boys in the
Harems for satisfying their sexual appetites [Such reference may
be found in books such as: "The Spirit of Laws" by Montesquieu
and "Chronichles of Shirly Brothers"]. Within the Iranian society
"bache-bazi" or "sexual play with young boys" has been an under
the carpet social norm for many centuries and the ambiguous
nature of the Qur'anic prescription has not been able to bring
halt to this social illness.

Will Durant refers to this issue in his book "History of
Civilization". He writes:

"Sexual indulgence was apparently more abundant and enervating in
Islam than in Christendom, though it was usually kept within the
orderly limits of polygamy. Turkish society was almost
exclusively male, and since there was no permitted association of
men with women outside the home, the Moslems found companionship
in homosexual relationships, Platonic or physical. Lesbianism
flourished in the zenana."
-Will & Ariel Durant, History of Civilization vol 7 (The Age of
Reason Begins) p. 520 Also;

"The women were 'very richly habited,'wrote Tavernier, and
'little otherwise than the men...They wear breeches like the
men.' The women lived in the privacy of the zenana, and seldom
stirring from their homes, and then rarely on foot. There were
three sexes. Much of the love poetry was addressed by men to
boys, and Thomas Herbert, and Englishman at Abbas' [i.e Shah
Abbas of the Saffavid Dynasty. Their court, saw 'Ganymede boys
in vests of gold, rich bespangled turbans, and choice sandals,
their curled hair dangling about their shoulders, with rolling
eyes and vermilion cheeks.'

Chardin noted a decrease in population in his time and ascribed
it to
First, the unhappy inclination which the Persians have, to commit
that abominable sin against nature, with both sexes [Here he is
referring to sodomy. KH].

Secondly, the immoderate luxury [sexual freedom] of the country.
The women begin there to have children betimes, and continue
fruitful but a little while; and as soon as they get on the wrong
side of thirty they are looked upon as old and superannuated, The
men likewise begin to visit women too young, and to such an
excess, that though they enjoy several, they have never the more
children for it. There are also a great many women who make
themselves abortive, and take remedies against growing pregnant,
because [when] they have been three or four months gone with the
child, their husbands take to other women, holding it ...
indecency to lie with a woman so far in her time.
Despite polygamy there were many prostitutes. Drunkenness was
widespread, though Muhammadan law forbade wine."
Will & Ariel Durant, History of Civilization vol 7 (The Age of
Reason Begins) p. 532

It is important to point out that Durant's observation is not far
from the truth. Perhaps the following quotes from the Shi'ah
compilations offers a certain measure of validity to Durant's

"The woman becomes the owner of the dowry by the contract and it
is reduced by one half by divorce before sex, also because of
death of one party, according to a more clear reason if sex is
performed by the front or back the dowry becomes an established
right and the same rule applies if he tears her virginity by his
finger and without her permission."
Islamic Laws of Worship and Contracts, p. 626, CR #1350 Ayatullah
Al-'Uzma Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Husayni Shirazi


[Most of this is from Edward Carpenter's Iolaus, in which he
hides homosexual culture under the guise of "male friendship". I
have "corrected" Carpenter on this]

The honor paid to male love in Persia, Arabia, Syria and other
Oriental lands has always been great, and the tradition of this
attachment there should be especially interesting to us, as
having arisen independently of classic or Christian ideals.

The Sufi poets of Persia, Saadi and Jalalu-ddin Rumi [100] (13th
cent.), Hafiz (14th
cent.), Jami (15th cent.), and others, drew much of their
inspiration from homosexual love and male beauty. The
extraordinary way in which, following the method of the Sufis,
and of Plato, they identify the mortal and the divine love, and
see in their male beloved an image or revelation of God himself,
makes their poems difficult of comprehension to the Western mind.
Apostrophes to Love, Wine, and Beauty often, with them, bear a
frankly twofold sense, material and spiritual. To these poets of
the mid-region of the earth, the bitter antagonism between matter
and spirit, which like an evil dream has haunted so long both the
extreme Western and the extreme Eastern mind, scarcely exists;
and even the body " which is a portion of the dustpit " has
become perfect and divine.

All the texts that follow address homosexual love:-

Jalalu-ddin Rumi

" Every form you see has its archetype in the placeless
From the moment you came into the world of being
A ladder was placed before you that you might escape (
ascend ) .
First you were mineral, later you turned to plant,
[101]Then you became an animal: how should this be a secret
to you ?
Afterwards you were made man, with knowledge, reason, faith;
Behold the body, which is a portion of the dustpit, how
perfect it has grownig
When you have travelled on from man, you will doubtless
become an angel;
After that you are done with earth: your station is in
Pass again even from angelhood: enter thatocean,
That your drop may become a sea which is a hundred seas of '
Oman.' "
From the Divani Shamsi Tabriz of Jalalu-ddin Rumi, trans.
by R. H. Nicholson.

'Twere better that the spirit which wears not true love as a
Had not been: its being is but shame.
Be drunken in love, for love is all that exists.
Dismiss cares and be utterly clear of heart,
Like the face of a mirror, without image or picture.
When it becomes clear of images, all images are contained in

Happy the moment when we are seated in the palace, thou and
With two forms and with two figures, but with one soul, thou
and I."


SOME short quotations here following are taken from Flowers
culled from Persian Gardens
(Manchester, 1872):

"Everyone, whether he be abstemious or self indulgent is
after the Friend. Every place may be the abode of love, whether
it be a mosque or a synagogue.... On thy last day, though the cup
be in thy hand, thou may'st be borne away to Paradise evenfrom
the corner of the tavern."

"I have heard a sweet word which was spoken by the old man
of Canaan (Jacob)-' No tongue can express what means the
separation of friends."

"Neither of my own free will cast I myself into the fire;
for the chain of affection was laid upon my neck. I was still at
a distance when the fire began to glow, nor is this the moment
that it was lighted up within me. Who shall impute it to me as a
fault, that I am enchanted by my friend, that I am content in
casting myself at his feet? "


"A youth there was of golden heart and nature,
Who loved a friend, his like in every feature;
[102] Once, as upon the ocean sailed the pair,
They chanced into a whirlpool unaware.
A fisherman made haste the first to save,
Ere his young life should meet a watery grave;
But crying from the raging surf, he said:
' Leave me, and seize my comrade's hand instead.'
E'en as he spoke the mortal swoon o'ertook him,
With that last utterance life and sense forsook him.

Learn not love's temper from that shallow pate
Who in the hour of fear forsakes his mate
True friends will ever act like him above
(Trust one who is experienced in love);
For Sadi knows full well the lover's part,
And Bagdad understands the Arab heart.
More than all else thy loved one shalt thou prize,
Else is the whole world hidden from thine eyes."
Lov'st thou a being formed of dust like thee
Peace and contentment from thy heart shall flee -
Waking, fair limbs and features shall torment thee;
Sleeping, thy love in dreams shall hold and haunt thee.
Under his feet thy head is bowed to earth;
Compared with him the world's a paltry crust;
If to thy loved one gold is nothing worth,
Why, then to thee is gold no more than dust
[105] Hardly a word for others canst thou find,
For no room's left for others in thy mind."

" Dear Friend, since thou hast passed the whole
Of one sweet night, till dawn, with me,
I were scarce mortal, could I spend
Another hour apart from thee.
The fear of death, for all of time
Hath left me since my soul partook
The water of true Life, that wells
In sweet abundance from thy brook."

Hahn in his Albanesische Studien, already quoted (p. 20), gives
some of the verses of Necin or Nesim Bey, a Turco-Albanian poet,
of which the following is an example:

"Whate'er, my friend, or false or true,
The world may tell thee, give no ear,
For to separate us, dear,
The world will say that one is two.
Who should seek to separate us
May he never cease to weep.
The rain at times may cease; but he
In Summer's warmth or Winter's sleep
May he never cease to weep."


The 19th century translator of the 1001 Nights, Richard Burton
commented on the Qu'ranic passages:
[full text at http://pwh.base.eduburton-te.html]
[For one of the homosexual 1001 stories, see]

"These circumstantial unfacts are repeated at full length in the
other two chapters; but rather as an instance of Allah's power
than as a warning against pederasty, which Mohammed seems to have
regarded with philosophic indifference. The general opinion of
his followers is that it should be punished like fornication
unless the offenders made a public act of penitence. But here, as
in adultery, the law is somewhat too clement and will not convict
unless four credible witnesses swear to have seen rem in re. I
have noticed (vol. i. 211) the vicious opinion that the Ghilman
or Wuldan, the beautiful boys of Paradise, the counterparts of
the Houris, will be lawful catamites to the True Believers in a
future state of happiness: the idea is nowhere countenanced in
Al-Islam; and, although I have often heard debauchees refer to
it, the learned look upon the assertion as scandalous. "

Burton later addressed the issue of homosexuality, which came up
repeatedly in the 1001 Nights.

"We must not forget that the love of boys has its noble
sentimental side. The Platonists and pupils of the Academy,
followed by the Sufis or Moslem Gnostics held such affection,
pure as ardent, to be the beau idéal which united in man's soul
the creature with the Creator. Professing to regard youths as the
most cleanly and beautiful objects in this phenomenal world, they
declared that by loving and extolling the chef-d'^Üuvre, corporeal
and intellectual, of the Demiurgus, disinterestedly and without
any admixture of carnal sensuality, they are paying the most
fervent adoration to the Causa causans. They add that such
affection, passing as it does the love of women, is far less
selfish than fondness for and admiration of the other sex which,
however innocent, always suggest sexuality; and Easterns add
that the devotion of the moth to the taper is purer and more
fervent than the Bulbul's love for the Rose. "

[Burton also mentions the history of lesbianism in the Muslim
world, but does not pursue it - "The Arabic Sahhákah, the
Tractatrix of Subigitatrix, who has been noticed in vol. iv. 134.
Hence to Lesbianise (lesbizein) and tribassare (tríbesthai) the
former applied to the love of woman for woman and the latter to
its mécanique: this is either natural, as friction of the labia
and insertion of the clitoris when unusually developed; or
artificial by means of the fascinum, the artificial penis (the
Persian 'Mayájang'); the patte de chat, the banana-fruit and a
multitude of other succedanea. As this feminine perversion is
only glanced at in The Nights I need hardly enlarge upon the

Of his own period, Burton notes:

"In old Mauritania, now Morocco, the Moors proper are notable
sodomites; Moslems, even of saintly houses, are permitted openly
to keep catamites, nor do their disciples think worse of their
sanctity for such license: in one case the English wife failed to
banish from the home 'that horrid boy'."

"..when Sonnini travelled (A.D. 1717). The French officer, who is
thoroughly trustworthy, draws the darkest picture of the
widely-spread criminality especially of the bestiality and the
sodomy (chapt. xv.) which formed the 'delight of the Egyptians.'
During the Napoleonic conquest Jaubert in his letter to General
Bruix (p. 19) says, 'Les Arabes et les Mamelouks ont traité
quelques-uns de nos prisonniers comme Socrate traitait, dit-on,
Alcibiade. Il fallait périr ou y passer.' Old Anglo-Egyptians
still chuckle over the tale of Sa'id Pasha and M. de Ruyssenaer,
the highdried and highly respectable Consul-General for the
Netherlands, who was solemnly advised to make the experiment,
active and passive, before offering his opinion upon the subject.
In the present age extensive intercourse with Europeans has
produced not a reformation but a certain reticence amongst the
upper classes: they are as vicious as ever, but they do not care
for displaying their vices to the eyes of mocking strangers."

"Syria has not forgotten her old 'praxis.' At Damascus I found
some noteworthy cases amongst the religious of the great Amawi
Mosque. As for the Druses we have Burckhardt's authority (Travels
in Syria, etc., p. 202) 'unnatural propensities are very common
amongst them.'

The Sotadic Zone covers the whole of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia
now occupied by the 'unspeakable Turk,' a race of born pederasts;
and in the former region we first notice a peculiarity of the
feminine figure, the mammae inclinatae, jacentes et pannosae,
which prevails over all this part of the belt. Whilst the women
to the North and South have, with local exceptions, the mammae
stantes of the European virgin,[39] those of Turkey, Persia,
Afghanistan and Kashmir lose all the fine curves of the bosom,
sometimes even before the first child; and after it the
hemispheres take the form of bags. This cannot result from
climate only; the women of Maratha-land, inhabiting a damper and
hotter region than Kashmir, are noted for fine firm breasts even
after parturition. Le Vice of course prevails more in the cities
and towns of Asiatic Turkey than in the villages; yet even these
are infected; while the nomad Turcomans contrast badly in this
point with the Gypsies, those- Badawin of India. The Kurd
population is of Iranian origin, which` means that the evil is
deeply rooted: I have noted in The Nights that the great and
glorious Saladin was a habitual pederast. The Armenians, as their
national character is, will prostitute themselves for gain but
prefer women to boys: Georgia supplied Turkey with catamites
whilst Circassia sent concubines. In Mesopotamia the barbarous
invader has almost obliterated the ancient civilization which is
antedated only by the Nilotic: the mysteries of old Babylon
nowhere survive save in certain obscure tribes like the
Mandaeans, the Devil-worshippers and the Ali-ilahi. Entering
Persia we find the reverse of Armenia; and, despite Herodotus, I
believe that Iran borrowed her pathologic love from the peoples
of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and not from the then
insignificant Greeks. But whatever may be its origin, the
corruption is now bred in the bone. It begins in boyhood and many
Persians account for it by paternal severity. Youths arrived at
puberty find none of the facilities with which Europe supplies
fornication. Onanism [40] is to a certain extent discouraged by
circumcision, and meddling with the father's slave-girls and
concubines would be risking cruel punishment if not death. Hence
they use each other by turns, a 'puerile practice' known as
Alish-Takish, the Lat. facere vicibus or mutuum facere
Temperament, media, and atavism recommend the custom to the
general; and after marrying and begetting heirs, Paterfamilias
returns to the Ganymede. Hence all the odes of Hafiz are
addressed to youths as proved by such Arabic exclamations as
'Afaka 'llah = Allah assain thee (masculine) [4l]: the object is
often fanciful but it would be held coarse and immodest to
address an imaginary girl.[42] An illustration of the penchant is
told at Shiraz concerning a certain Mujtahid, the head of the
Shi'ah creed, corresponding with a prince-archbishop in Europe. A
friend once said to him, 'There is a question I would fain
address to your Eminence but I lack the daring to do so.' 'Ask
and fear not,' replied the Divine. 'It is this, O Mujtahid!
Figure thee in a garden of roses and hyacinths with the evening
breeze waving the cypress-heads, a fair youth of twenty sitting
by thy side and the assurance of perfect privacy. What, prithee,
would be the result?' The holy man bowed the chin of doubt upon
the collar of meditation; and, too honest to lie presently
whispered, 'Allah defend me from such temptation of Satan!' Yet
even in Persia men have not been wanting who have done their
utmost to uproot the Vice: in the same Shiraz they speak of a
father who, finding his son in flagrant delict, put him to death
like Brutus or Lynch of Galway. Such isolated cases, however, can
effect nothing.

Chardin tells us that houses of male prostitution were common in
Persia whilst those of women were unknown: the same is the case
in the present day and the boys are prepared with extreme care by
diet, baths, depilation, unguents and a host of artists in
cosmetics. [43] Le Vice is looked upon at most as a peccadillo
and its mention crops up in every jest-book. When the Isfahan man
mocked Shaykh Sa'adi, by comparing the bald pates of Shirazian
elders to the bottom of a lota, a brass cup with a wide-necked
opening used in the Hammam, the witty poet turned its aperture
upwards and thereto likened the well-abused podex of an Isfahani
youth. Another favourite piece of Shirazian
'chaff' is to declare that when an Isfahan father would set up
his son in business he provides him with a pound of rice, meaning
that he can sell the result as compost for the kitchen-garden,
and with the price buy another meal: hence the saying Khakh-i-pai
kahu = the soil at the lettuce-root. The Isfahanis retort with
the name of a station or halting-place between the two cities
where, under pretence of making travellers stow away their
riding-gear, many a Shirazi had been raped: hence 'Zin o takaltu
tu bi-bar' = carry within saddle and saddle-cloth! A favourite
Persian punishment for strangers caught in the Harem or Gynaeceum
is to strip and throw them and expose them to the embraces of the
grooms and negro slaves. I once asked a Shirazi how penetration
was possible if the patient resisted with all the force of the
sphincter muscle: he smiled and said, 'Ah, we Persians know a
trick to get over that; we apply a sharpened tent-peg to the
crupper-bone (os coccygis) and knock till he opens.' A well-known
missionary to the East during the last generation was subjected
to this gross insult by one ofthe Persian Prince-governors, whom
he had infuriated by his conversion-mania: in his memoirs he
alludes to it by mentioning his 'dishonoured person;' but English
readers cannot comprehend the full significance of the
confession. About the same time Skaykh Nasr, Governor of Bushire,
a man famed for facetious blackguardism, used to invite European
youngsters serving in the Bombay Marine and ply them with liquor
till they were insensible. Next morning the middies mostly
complained that the champagne had caused a curious irritation and
soreness in la parte-poste. The same Eastern 'Scrogin' would ask
his guests if they had ever seen a mancannon (Adami-top); and, on
their replying in the negative, a greybeard slave was dragged in
blaspheming and struggling with all his strength. He was
presently placed on all fours and firmly held by the extremities;
his bag-trousers were let down and a dozen peppercorns were
inserted ano suo: the target was a sheet of paper held at a
reasonable distance; the match was applied by a pinch of cayenne
in the nostrils; the sneeze started the grapeshot and the number
of hits on the butt decided the bets. We can hardly wonder at the
loose conduct of Persian women perpetually mortified by marital
pederasty. During the unhappy campaign of 1856-7 in which, with
the exception of a few brilliant skirmishes, we gained no glory,
Sir James Outram and the Bombay army showing how badly they could
work, there was a formal outburst of the Harems; and even women
of princely birth could not be kept out of the officers'

The cities of Afghanistan and Sind are thoroughly saturated with
Persian vice, and the people sing

Kadr-i-kus Aughan danad, kadr-i-kunra Kabuli:
The worth of coynte the Afghan knows: Cabul prefers the
other chose![44]

The Afghans are commercial travellers on a large scale and each
caravan is accompanied by a number of boys and lads almost in
woman's attire with kohl'd eyes and rouged cheeks, long tresses
and henna'd fingers and toes, riding luxuriously in Kajawas or
camel-panniers: they are called Kuch-i safari, or travelling
wives, and the husbands trudge patiently by their sides. In
Afghanistan also a frantic debauchery broke out amongst the women
when they found incubi who were not pederasts; and the scandal
was not the most insignificant cause of the general rising at
Cabul (Nov. 1841), and the slaughter of Macnaghten, Burnes and
other British officers.

Resuming our way Eastward we find the Sikhs and the Moslems of
the Panjab much addicted to Le Vice, although the Himalayan
tribes to the north and those lying south, the Rajputs and
Marathas, ignore it. The same may be said of the Kashmirians who
add another Kappa to the tria Kakista, Kappadocians, Kretans, and
Kilicians: the proverb says,

Agar kaht-i-mardum uftad, az in sih jins kam giri;
Eki Afghan, dowum Sindi,[45] siyyum badjins-i-Kashmiri:
Though of men there be famine yet shun these three
Afghan, Sindi and rascally Kashmiri.

M. Louis Daville describes the infamies of lajore and Lakhanu
where he found men dressed as women, with flowing locks under
crowns of flowers, imitating the feminine walk and gestures,
voice and fashion of speech, and ogling their admirers with all
the coquetry of bayadères. Victor Jacquemont's Journal de Voyage
describes the pederasty of Ranjit Singh, the 'Lion of the
Panjab,' and his pathic Gulab Singh whom the English inflicted
upon Cashmir as ruler by way of paying for his treason. Yet the
Hindus, I repeat, hold pederasty in abhorrence and are as much
scandalized by being called Gand-mara (anus-beater) or Gandu
(anuser) as Englishmen would be. During the years 1843-4 my
regiment, almost all Hindu Sepoys of the Bombay Presidency, was
stationed at a purgatory called Bandar Gharra,[46] a sandy flat
with a scatter of verdigris-green milk-bush some
forty miles north of Karachi the headquarters. The dirty heap of
mud-and-mat hovels, which represented the adjacent native
village, could not supply a single woman; yet only one case of
pederasty came to light and that after a tragical fashion some
years afterwards. A young Brahman had connection with a soldier
comrade of low caste and this had continued till, in an unhappy
hour, the Pariah patient ventured to become the agent. The
latter, in Arab Al-Fa'il = the 'doer,' is not an object of
contempt like Al-Maful = the 'done'; and the high-caste sepoy,
stung by remorse and revenge, loaded his musket and deliberately
shot his paramour. He was hanged by court martial at Hyderabad
and, when his last wishes were asked he begged in vain to be
suspended by the feet; the idea being that his soul, polluted by
exiting 'below the waist,' would be doomed to endless
transmigrations through the lowest forms of life.


As well as poets and philosophers, a number of the the great
heros of Sunni Islam saw no great problem with homosexuality.
Again adapted from Carpenter, the following quotations may afford
some glimpses of interest.

Suleyman the Magnificent was the greatest leader of the Ottoman
Empire - by far the longest lasting of all Muslim states, and for
centuries the leading Bulwark of Sunni Islam. The Story of
Suleyman's attachment to his Vezir Ibrahim is told as
follows by Stanley Lane-Poole:

"Suleyman, great as he was, shared his greatness with a
second mind, to which his reign owed much of its brilliance. The
Grand Vezir Ibrahim was the counterpart of the Grand Monarch
Suleyman. He was the son of a sailor at Parga, and had been
captured by corsairs, by whom he was sold to be the slave of a
widow at Magnesia. Here he passed into the hands of the young
prince Suleyman, then Governor of Magnesia, and soon his
extraordinary talents and address brought him promotion.... From
being Grand Falconer on the accession of Suleyman, he rose to be
first minister and almost co-Sultan in 1523.

"He was the object of the Sultan's tender regard: an emperor
knows better than most men how solitary is life without
friendship and love, and Suleyman loved this man more than a
brother. Ibrahim was not only a friend, he was an entertaining
and instructive companion. He read Persian, Greek and Italian; he
knew how to open unknown worlds to the Sultan's mind, and
Sulevman drank in his Vezir's wisdom with assiduity. They lived
together: their meals were shared in common; even their beds were
in the same room. The Sultan gave his sister in marriage to the
sailor's [107] son, and Ibrahim was at the summit of power."
Turkey, Story of Nations series, p. 174.

It was not only the emperors and religious leaders who were open
to homosexuality. T. S. BUCKINGHAM, in his "Travels in Assyria,
Media and Persia," speaking of his guide whom he had engaged at
Bagdad, and who was supposed to have left his heart behind him in
that city, says [The word "dervish" here refers to a member of a
Sufi sect]:

" Amidst all this I was at a loss to conceive how the Dervish
could find much enjoyment [in the expedition] while laboring
under the strong passion which I supposed he must then be feeling
for the object of his affections at Bagdad, whom he had quitted
with so much reluctance. What was my surprise, however, on
seeking an explanation of this seeming inconsistency, to find it
was the son, and not the daughter, of his friend Elias who held
so powerful a hold on his heart. I shrank back from the
confession as a man would recoil from a serpent on which he had
unexpectedly trodden . . . but in answer to enquiries naturally
suggested by the subject he declared he would rather suffer death
than do the slightest harm to so pure, so innocent, so heavenly a
creature as this....

" I took the greatest pains to ascertain by a severe and
minute investigation, how far it might be possible to doubt of
the purity of the passion by which this Affgan Dervish was
possessed, and whether it deserved ta be classed with that [108]
described as prevailing among the ancient Greeks; and the result
fully satisfied me that both were the same. Ismael was, however,
surprised beyond measure when I assured him that such a feeling
was not known at all among the peoples of Europe."
Travels, Etc., 2nd edition, vol. I, p 159.

" The Dervish added a striking instance of the force of
these attachments, and the sympathy which was felt in the sorrows
to which they led, by the following fact from his own history.
The place of his residence, and of his usual labor, was near the
bridge of the Tigris, at the gate of the Mosque of the Vizier.
While he sat here, about five or six years since, surrounded by
several of his friends who came often to enjoy his conversation
and beguile the tedium of his work, he observed, passing among
the crowd, a young and beautiful Turkish boy, whose eyes met his,
as if by destiny, and they remained fixedly gazing on each other
for some time. The boy, after ' blushing like the first hue of a
summer morning,' passed on, frequently turning back to look on
the person who had regarded him so ardently. The Dervish felt his
heart ' revolve within him,' for such was his expression, and a
cold sweat came across his brow. He hung his head upon his
graving-tool in dejection, and excused himself to those about him
by saying he felt suddenly ill. Shortly afterwards the boy
returned, and after walking to and fro several times, drawing
nearer and nearer, as if [109] under the influence of some
attracting charm, he came up to his observer and said, ' Is it
really true, then, that youlove me? ' ' This,' said Ismael, ' was
a dagger in my heart; I could make no reply.' The friends who
were near him, and now saw all explained, asked him if there had
been any previous acquaintance existing between them. He assured
them that they had never seen each other before. ' Then,' they
replied, ' such an event must be from God.'

" The boy continued to remain for a while with this party,
told with great frankness the name and rank of his parents, as
well as the place of his residence, and promised to repeat his
visit on the following day. He did this regularly for several
months in succession, sitting for hours by the Dervish, and
either singing to him or asking him interesting questions, to
beguile his labors, until as Ismael expressed himself, ' though
they were still two bodies they became one soul.' The youth at
length fell sick, and was confined to his bed, during which time
his lover, Ismael, discontinued entirely his usual occupations
and abandoned himself completely to the care of his beloved. He
watched the changes of his disease with more than the anxiety of
a parent, and never quitted his bedside, night or day. Death at
length separated them; but even when the stroke came the Dervish
could not be prevailed on to quit the corpse. He constantly
visited the grave that contained the remains of all he held dear
on [110] earth, and planting myrtles and flowers there after the
manner of the East, bedewed them daily with his tears. His
friends sympathized powerfully in his distress, which he said '
continued to feed his grief ' until he pined away to absolute
illness, and was near following the fate of him whom he
Ibid, p. 160.

"From all this, added to many other examples of a similar
kind, related as happening between persons who had often been
pointed out to me in Arabia and Persia, I could no longer doubt
the existence in the East of an affection for male youths, of as
pure and honorable a kind as that which is felt in Europe for
those of the other sex . . . and it would be as unjust to suppose
that this necessarily implied impurity of desire as to contend
that no one could admire a lovely countenance and a beautiful
form in the other sex, and still be inspired with sentiments of
the most Dure and honorable nature towards the object of his
Ibid, p. 163.

"One powerful reason why this passion may exist in the East,
while it is quite unknown in the West, is probably the seclusion
of women in the former, and the freedom of access to them in the
latter.... Had they [the Asiatics] the unrestrained intercourse
which we enjoy with such superior beings as the virtuous and
accomplished females of our own country they would find nothing
in nature so deserving of their love as these."
Ibid, p. 165.


Some modern Muslim leaders may be very anti-gay, but there is
particular no more reason to agree with these leaders that *they*
are the owners of Islam. Indeed, when one reads attacks on
homosexuality by some modern Mulisms [eg see] what is most
striking is how *little* they can rely on their own tradition,
and how much they have to rely on general anti-homosexual

Paul Halsall

A starting-point for research into Arabic traditions of
male-male erotic/sensual/sexual relationships.

Version 1, May 1995.
@nticopyright - please freely distribute this text

This is just a compilation of information I've had lying
around. I put some of it together in a letter for a fellow scholar,
then thought it should be worked up into a short resource

It reflects my interests in literature and poetry. I'm not
an Arabist, so this isn't comprehensive, and is just meant as a
'launch-pad' for those unfamiliar with the subject and who
can't read arabic...


**The work of NORMAN ROTH is well worth following...

Roth, Norman. Deal Gently With The Young Man - love of boys in Medieval
Hebrew Poetry of Spain.
SPECULUM, 57, 1982. pp.20-51

Roth, Norman. "My Beloved is Like a Gazelle" - imagery of the beloved boy
in Hebrew Religious Poetry.
HEBREW ANNUAL REVIEW, 8, 1984. pp.143-165

Roth, Norman. "The Care and Feeding of Gazelles" - medieval
Hebrew and Arabic Love Poetry. IN: Lazar, M. and Lacy, N.
(Eds) Poetics of Love in the Middle Ages, Fairfax, VA, 1989.

Roth, Norman. Fawn of My Delights - boy-love in Hebrew and Arabic Verse.
IN: Sex in the Middle Ages, New York, 1991. pp.157-172.

Roth, Norman. Boy-love in Medieval Arabic Verse
PAIDIKA, Vol 3, No.3, Winter 1994.

Sikand, Yoginder.
A Martyr for Love - Hazrat Sayed Sarmad, a Sufi gay mystic.
PERVERSIONS, Spring 1995, Issue 4, pp. 149-157

More material on sacred pederasty in the Sufi tradition can
be found in:

Wilson, Peter Lamborn. Scandal : essays in Islamic
heresy. Brooklyn, New York, Autonomedia, c1988. 224 p. Biblio.

**Hakim Bey translated a selection of the poetry of Abu

Bey, Hakim (Ed and Trans.) Nuwas, Abu. O Tribe The Loves Boys - adaptations by Hakim Bey. Gay Men's Press,London, 1993. (Also published in USA I think.)

**An ABU NUWAS SOCIETY has existed since 1990, to cover all
aspects of sexual culture in the Middle East (inc. the Maghreb), and
concentrates on homosexuality.

Abu Nuwas Society - for the study of sexual culture in
the Middle-East. (The Advisory Board looks pretty

Abu Nuwas Society
PO Box 85394
3508 AK Utrecht
The Netherlands

**Some anthologies...

Christman, Henry. M. (Ed.) Gay Tales and Verses from the
Arabian Nights. Edward-William Publishing Company/Banned
Books, USA 1989. 104pp 0-934411-27-1 Trade Paper $7.95

Lacey, E. A. (Translator) The Delight of Hearts: Or,
What You Will Not Find in Any Book. Gay Sunshine Press,
1988. 240pp, illus. ISBN/Price: 0-940567-08-3 Library Binding
$25.00 0-940567-09-1 Trade Paper $14.95

[Al-Tifashi, Ahmad (Compiled by, Preface by); Lacey, E.
A.(Introduction by, ); Khawam, Rene R. (Introduction by).

Reid, Anthony. (Ed.) The Eternal Flame - a world anthology of homosexual verse,
2000 B.C.- 2000 A.D. Volume 1 - Greece,
Italy, Islam, France. New York, Dyanthus Press, 1992.

A couple of examples of Arabic poetry...

Anon (9th Century Arabic)

SURPRISE, SURPRISE (Trans. Derek Parker)

Nizam the pederast, whose delight in boys
Was known throughout Bagdad, one afternoon
In a secluded place saw in a clearing
The flash of limbs behind a nearby bush,
And looking closer came upon a youth
Who seemed more lovely than his dreams had promised,
Lying asleep in shade, his head pressed deep
Into crossed arms, his long slim body
Quite naked, the firm buttocks firmly offered.
Quick as a jackal pouncing, Nizam jumped
Upon the lad, his robe about his waist,
The startled boy pierced by his lusty cock
Before you could say knife. Not until later,
When boy lay panting on the flattened grass,
Did Nizam, pausing to embrace his love,
Discover him a her, surprised but pleased
At having been given such pleasure at a source
No previous lover seemed to know about.

Nizam converted ? Never. But the girl
Now gives her lovers strange instruction.

Abu Nuwas


I said as the narcissus-boy came ambling by,
a peach twirled in his hand:
'What a pity to wait until we offer cash!
Give love its proper due!'
'More pitiful still,' he replied, and chuckled,
'is a penniless flop at the door.'


Make many deletions, Jinan, when you write,
and delete the word, when you do, with your tongue
and, passing deletingly over a word,
draw it close to your beautiful lips;
for I hold, when running over the lines,
the cancelled somethings for a lick:
That - is a kiss from you from afar
which I steal while keeping here to my room.


A boy at blush of dawn
silver in the absolute
in whom the eye beholds
beauty in infinite
poised perfection, eclipsed
in re-creation launching -
so beauty moves in orbits
reborn and unregenerate.

Do British Muslims Know Their Own History?

Following on from the post below on 100% of British Muslims "voting" against tolerance for gay people, I need to point out that such people do not know their own history.

For a long discussion of homosexuality in the Muslim world see Sir Richard Francis Burton: "Terminal Essay", from his translation of The Arabian Nights, 1885.

Edward Carpenter (1884-1929)published Iolaus: An Anthology of Friendship [with chapter on Arabia and Persia], with extracts from Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi (the illustration above is of Saadi), which shows Arab and Persian Islamic poetry is not understandable without the former huge acceptance of homosexuality..

I have some discussion on Islamic Gay History at PWH.

Further Reading

Daniel, Mark, , "Arab Civilization and Male Love", trans Winston Leyland, in Reclaiming Sodom, ed. Jonathan Goldberg,. (London, New York: Routledge, 1994), 59-65

Lacey, E. A. (translator), The Delight of Hearts: Or, What You Will Not Find in Any Book, (?: Gay Sunshine Press, 1988)
Ahmad Al-Tifashi, compile, An anthology of Arabic gay literature - is a translation of a translation of a translation.

Schmitt, Arno and Jehoeda Sofer, eds., Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies, (New York : Haworth Press, 1991)

The Qura'n and 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 VII: 78-84 [On Lot at Sodom]

78. Then the earthquake took them, and in the morning they lay prone in their dwellings;
79. and he turned away from them and said, 'O my people! I did preach to you the message of my Lord, and I gave you good advice; but ye love not sincere advisers.'
80. And Lot, when he said to his people, 'Do ye approach an abomination which no one in all the world ever anticipated you in?
81. verily, ye approach men with lust rather than women- nay, ye are a people who exceed.'
82.But his people's answer only was to say, 'Turn them out of your village, verily, they are a people who pretend to purity.'
83. But we saved him and his people, except his wife, who was of those who lingered;
84. and we rained down upon them a rain;- see then how was the end of the sinners!

SURA XI: 77-84 [On Lot at Sodom]

77. And when our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved for them; but his arm was straitened for them, and he said, 'This is a troublesome day!'
78. And his people came to him, rushing at him, for before that they used to work evil. He 'Said, 'O my people! here are my daughters, they are purer for you; then, fear God, and do not disgrace me through my guests;- is there not among you one right-thinking man?'
79. They said, 'Thou knowest that we have no claim on thy daughters; verily, thou knowest what we want!'
80. He said, 'Had I but power over you; or could I but resort to some strong column....!'
81. (The angels) said, 'O Lot! verily, we are the messengers of thy Lord, they shall certainly not reach thee; then travel with thy people in the darkness of the night, and let none of you look round except thy wife: verily, there shall befall her what befalls them. Verily, their appointment is for the morning! and is not the morning nigh?'
82. And when our bidding came, we made their high parts their low parts. And we rained down upon them stones and baked clay one after another,
83. marked, from thy Lord, and these are not so far from the unjust!
84. And unto Midian (we sent) their brother Sho'haib. He said, 'O my people! serve God; ye have no god but Him, and give not short measure and weight. Verily, 'I see you well off; but, verily, I fear for you the torments of an encompassing day.

SURA XXVI: 160-174 [On Lot and Sodom]

160. The people of Lot called the apostles liars;
161 when their brother Lot said to them, 'Do ye not fear?
162. verily, I am to you a faithful apostle;
163. then fear God and obey me.
164 I do not ask you for it any hire; my hire is only with the Lord of the worlds.
165 Do ye approach males of all the world
166 and leave what God your Lord has created for you of your wives? nay, but ye are people who transgress!'
167 They said, 'Surely, if thou dost not desist, O Lot! thou shalt be of those who are expelled!'
168 Said he, 'Verily, I am of those who hate your deed;
169 my Lord! save me and my people from what they do.'
170 And we saved him and his people all together,
171 except an old woman amongst those who lingered.
172 Then we destroyed the others;
173 and we rained down upon them a rain; and evil was the rain of those who were warned.
174 Verily, in that is a sign; but most of them will never be believers.
175 And, verily, thy Lord He is mighty, merciful, compassionate.

SURA XXIX: 28-35 [On Lot and Sodom]

28. And (remember) Lot when he said to his people, 'Verily, ye approach an abomination which no one in all the world ever anticipated you in!
29. What! do ye approach men? (or Do you commit sexual acts with men?) and stop folks on the highway? And approach in your assembly sin?' but the answer of his people was only to say, 'Bring us God's torment, if thou art of those who speak the truth!'
30. Said he, 'My Lord! help me against a people who do evil!'
31. And when our messengers came to Abraham with the glad tidings, they said, 'We are about to destroy the people of this city. Verily, the people thereof are wrong-doers.'
32. Said he, 'Verily, in it is Lot; they said, 'We know best who is therein; we shall of a surety save him and his people, except his wife, who is of those who linger.'
33. And when our messengers came to Lot, he was vexed for them, and his arm was straitened for them; and they said, 'Fear not, neither grieve; we are about to save thee and thy people, except thy wife, who is of those who linger.
34. Verily, we are about to send down upon the people of this city a horror from heaven, for that they have sinned;
35. and we have left therefrom a manifest sign unto a people who have sense.'


Although the Qu'ran does not have verse explicitly in favor of homosexuality, it does have verses which show awareness of male beauty. These are promises made to Muslim men who make it to Heaven.


"And there shall wait on them [the Muslim men] young boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls."


"They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who will seem like scattered pearls to the beholders."

And see Sir Richard Francis Burton: "Terminal Essay", from his translation of The Arabian Nights, 1885

Section D: Pederasty

Homophobia Among Muslims in Britain

Muslims in Britain have zero tolerance of homosexuality, says poll | UK news |

Muslims in Britain have zero tolerance towards homosexual acts compared to their counterparts in France and Germany, according to a survey published today.

The Gallup poll features the results of telephone and face-to-face interviews with Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK, France and Germany and is designed to measure global attitudes towards people from different faith traditions.

It shows that British Muslims hold more conservative opinions towards homosexual acts, abortion, viewing pornography, suicide and sex outside marriage than European Muslims, polling markedly lower when asked if they believed these things were morally acceptable.

The most dramatic contrast was found in attitudes towards homosexuality. None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable. 1,001 non-Muslim Britons were interviewed.

By comparison, 35% of French Muslims found homosexual acts to be acceptable. A question on pornography also elicited different reactions, with French and German Muslims more likely than British Muslims to believe that watching or reading pornography was morally acceptable.

These are relatively large sample sizes given a +/- 5% sampling error.

I have to say that as a gay man I am stunned by a 100% anti-gay "vote" by 1001 Muslims.


The Social Market Economy vs. Greed

This epochal crisis requires us to resolve the paradox of capitalism | Timothy Garton Ash | Comment is free | The Guardian

Capitalism will not end in 2009 as communism ended in 1989. It is too deep-rooted, too diverse and too adaptable to suffer such a sudden death. There are far more varieties of capitalism in the world today than there ever were of communism, and that diversity is one of its strengths. The rainbow reaches from wild west to wild east, and extends to major national variants of a market economy, such as China, that purists would say are not capitalism at all. So some versions of capitalism will weather the storm; others will be left in ruins or at least very substantially transformed.

An extreme 'neoliberal' version of the free-market economy, characterised not just by far-reaching deregulation and privatisation but also by a Gordon Gekko greed-is-good ethos – and fully realised in practice only in some areas of Anglo-Saxon and post-communist economies – seems likely to find itself in the latter category. But how about a modernised, reformed version of what postwar German thinkers called the 'social market economy'?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Equality in Argentina

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Is this a Boring Blog?

I think one of Iain Dale's commentators commented that this is a boring blog.

The thing is, I have varied if somewhat odd, interests. I try to cover these in the blog (as per the heading). I.e. politics, History, Religion, Poetry, Camp, and Sexuality.

I realise these are not everyone's interests, but they can read something else.

I do seem to get a fair number of hits.

I would be interested in your responses.

Old Opera Recordings

On Christmas Eve 1907 a group of men gathered beneath the Paris Opera and carefully wrapped two lead and iron containers containing 24 recorded discs. Each were sealed and locked in a small storage room with a note that read “This will teach men 100 years from now about the state of our talking machines and the voices of the principal singers of our times” In 1912 two more urns were added to the archive plus a hand-cranked gramophone and instructions on how to use it. The project was the idea of Alfred Clark who was the founder and president of EMI’s ancestor, the International Gramophone Company. In 1989, during the installation of air-conditioning it was discovered that the archive had been broken open and one of the 1912 urns was empty and the gramophone was missing. The remainder of the archive was immediately transferred to the National Library of France in Parris. At the end of 2007 the archive was opened. Apart from those missing, the discs were undamaged. It was decided that the records should remain un-played to avoid physical contact with the discs. Since precise details of which discs were in the archive were documented, copies of the same discs available from other archives were used to be digitized.

I just wanted to add that the fact that they didn’t play the actual records and used existing copies, in my opinion kind of takes the romance out of the whole thing.

Interesting Fact: Some were not impressed with the old masters. François Le Roux, a Paris Opera baritone and teacher, said that the old techniques grated on modern professional ears. He also said most of them would not get past the quarter-finals in a contest nowadays. [JFrater: In contrast to Le Roux’s opinion, when I was studying opera I was very interested in the great voices of the past and frequently listened to the singers. Their technique was very different to now and often not as polished, but they were masters of emotional performance which is the most important aspect of performance singing in my opinion. Considering that some of these great recordings are of people who performed in the premieres of works by Puccini etc, we have much to gain by studying them.] The recordings of the Paris Opera Vaults were release earlier this year. You can judge for yourself and listen to several of the recordings.

Top Ten Incredible Times Capsules

Recordings available the the Bibliotheque Nationale.

Mormon Church investigates baptism of Obama's mother

Ben Smith's Blog: Mormon Church investigates baptism of Obama's mother -

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is investigating the posthumous 'baptism' of President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as a 'serious breach' of religious code, a spokeswoman said.

Church records published by a liberal blog, Americablog, show that Dunham, who died in 1995, was baptised last June 4 in Provo, Utah, and received endowment, another sacrament, a week later.

'The offering of baptism to our deceased ancestors is a sacred practice to us and it is counter to Church policy for a Church member to submit names for baptism for persons to whom they are not related,' said spokeswoman Kim Farah in an emailed statement. 'The Church is looking into the circumstances of how this happened and does not yet have all the facts. However, this is a serious matter and we are treating it as such.'

I know Mormons get a lot of criticism about there "retrospective baptism" practices, but I have to say I don't see the harm in it.

The activity, although condemned by almost all other Christian groups, does have New Testament basis. [See 1 Cor. 15:29]

More than that, considering all the religions in the world that want to exclude people from heaven, the Mormons are remarkably inclusive.

I can't see how this is worse than Catholics claiming all the saved don't have to be Christians but "are saved through Christ," Buddhists claiming everyone has a "buddha-nature", Muslims claiming everyone is "born Muslim" (so converts are called "reverts"), or even Jews believing the Noachide covenant applies to all.

What to Do about I.D. Cards?

I wrote to my MP (Ivan Lewis) today.

Mr. Lewis,

Just to let you know, I will vote Labour in the local elections and
the general elections\.But I am going to vote Lib Dem in the European
elections *on the issue of ID* cards alone .Chris Huhne is quite
right: the state is a collective enterprise to which we subscribe - it
is not an entity that owns us. Do Labour members not read J.S.Mill
On Liberty?

Secular Right : The Search for Transcendence, or Whatever

Secular Right � The Search for Transcendence, or Whatever

Belief in a deity (or deities), and the desire to worship it or them, is an almost universal aspect of human nature. This not something that can be wished or indoctrinated away, and it’s pointless and maybe even destructive to try. It’s far better, surely, to channel that impulse by giving children some sort of gentle religious grounding, preferably in a well-established, undemanding, culturally useful (understanding all that art and so on) and mildly (small c) conservative denomination that doesn’t dwell too much on the supernatural and keeps both ritual and philosophical speculation in their proper place. Better the vicar than Wicca, say I.
I’m just looking for a nice life.

I really don't understand how dogmatic theists grasp poetry.

Speed camera boss banned for... speeding

Speed camera boss banned for... speeding - Home News, UK - The Independent

A senior executive at a speed camera firm was banned from driving for six months today after admitting speeding at more than 100 mph on a 70 mph limit dual carriageway.

Tom Riall, a divisional chief executive at Serco, was recorded driving at 103 mph in his blue Volvo on the A14 in Newmarket, Suffolk, just before 1pm on 4 January.

Riall was sentenced at a hearing at Sudbury Magistrates' Court, the Press Association reported.

Riall is head of Serco's Home Affairs division, which has installed Gatso speed cameras at around 4,500 sites around Britain since 1992.


Dali and Lorca

Kisses between Dali and Lorca. From the upcoming film Little Ashes.

Britain will be missed on the world stage

Irwin Stelzer: Britain will be missed on the world stage - Telegraph

The more important decision concerns Britain's place in the world. After the Second World War, the depleted state of the nation's finances required the famous retreat from empire. Now, a combination of a decision to abandon Trident and to continue the pull-back from the war on terrorism would signal a further retreat down the league table of nations with a credible military capability. As a conversation with leading Pentagon figures makes clear, that credibility is already damaged, which means that America no longer counts on Britain as it once did, and is in the market for other allies who can and will assist it in the post-Bush age, when trouble strikes.

At the moment though both major parties are considering dumping Trident because of the costs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Andrew Sullivan Takes A Shot at Obama on Gay Issues and HIV

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Peter Staley wonders why some very basic moves that would have established the president's bona fides early on in HIV policy have simply languished undone. Like, ahem, removing the HIV travel ban. It was backed by Bush, overwhelmingly passed by the last Congress, passed last summer ... and yet the Obama administration has barely moved on it. Yes, there has been a very welcome boost to HIV research funding and one leading gay appointee, John Berry. But the rest is an awkward, inactive silence.

Their apparent resistance to anything pro-gay - delaying repeal of DADT indefinitely, freezing with fear on anything to do with civil unions or marriage - is beginning to make the Clintonites in the primaries seem prescient; and those of us in the gay movement who backed Obama seem like fools. Someone needs to get things moving in the right direction. Soon.

Quite right too. Obama need to use that Bully Pulpit.

Internet Star @ Least 473 Years Old

Internet Star @ Least 473 Years Old - The Lede Blog -

Because it is used in every e-mail address and many tweets, you might be forgiven for thinking that the remarkably common symbol @, which English-speakers know as the “at sign,” but Italians call a “snail,” and south Slavs know as a “monkey,” is a fairly recent invention. In fact, as Wired magazine’s Tony Long points out, a Florentine merchant named Francesco Lapi used the symbol @ in a letter written 473 years ago today, on May 4, 1536.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported in 2000 that Giorgio Stabile, who was then a professor of the history of science @ La Sapienza University in Rome, had come across the symbol in the merchant’s letter, where it was used to indicate an ancient measure of weight or volume, an amphora.

Do Labour Governments Cause Rises in Extreme Right Wing Voting

In a post today Iain Dale cites Ken Livingstone saying this:

Ken Livingstone: Do you expose them for what they are or ignore them? I’ve always been in favour of exposing them and taking them on. The far right do well when a Labour government is failing. It’s basically working class voters who would be inclined to be our supporters become disillusioned. They don’t want to vote Tory. If Brown gets a fourth term it will grow as a problem, unless Brown’s policies become more popular with the working class. There is a lot of anger out there. If Cameron wins, it will be just like when Thatcher got in. The BNP will rapidly fade away. It’s a problem for incumbent Labour governments. It’s never going to be a problem for a Tory one. But the BNP are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. We’ve got to do everything possible to stop them, but it was like this in the Callaghan government when the National Front rose to prominence. The BNP will continue eating into the Labour vote until the government realizes it needs to do something for working class people.

I'm not sure Livingstone is entirely right here. I realise local election figures differ, but here are the figures from the past 40 years.

*In 1970 Feb, the National Front fielded 10 candidates, and got an overall vote 11,449

*In 1974 Feb, the National Front fielded 54 candidates, and got an overall vote 76,865

*In 1974 October, the National Front fielded 90 candidates, and got an overall vote 113,843

In 1979 the National Front fielded 303 candidates, and got an overall vote of 191,719

*In 1983 the National Front fielded 40 candidates, and got an overall vote of 27,065
+The BNP fielded 54 candidates, and got an overall vote of 14,621

*In 1987 the BNP fielded 2 candidates, and got an overall vote of 553.

*In 1992 the National Front fielded 14 candidates, and got an overall vote of 4,816
+The BNP fielded 13 candidates, and got an overall vote of 7,361

*In 1997 the National Front fielded 2 candidates, and got an overall vote of 2,716
+The BNP fielded 57 candidates, and got an overall vote of 35,832

*In 2001 the National Front fielded 5 candidates, and got an overall vote of 2,484
+The BNP fielded 43 candidates, and got an overall vote of 47,129

*In 2005 the BNP fielded 119 candidates, and got an overall vote of 192,746
rule has always seen an upswing of Far Right votes. Heath's period of government for example was followed by a higher number of NF voters than Wilson's first term.

It's also true that the prime correspondent to NF/BNP votes is the number of seats contested.

That being said, there have been slight (total figures) increases of BNP/NF voters *per seat* contested under Labour, but in General Elections at least, such parties remain very marginal (i.e. less than 1% of the overall vote), and where any casual analysis of the statistics is mitigated by massive problems with standard deviations.

Monday, May 04, 2009

More on Knishes

It has been suggested that I could open a Knish shop in the UK as a professional venture, and get me out of my current, umm, stable situation.

The start up costs of a Knish shop would be enormous. First, you have to find a Puerto Rican who has been doing the work in the Knish shop on Houston St, then get him/her a visa, then pay London rents.

OTOH, London rents have come down, and there are no native British Knish cooks.

On the other other hand, I am opposed to capitalism.

What England needs is Knish Collective! Hey we could make money. I will do the taste tests.

[I realise few of my blog readers could not care less. But a lot tune in each day, and I don't really know why. I do try to be eclectic, and this post counts.]


You know what I miss most about America - real knishes. A Brit would not know a knish if it entered one end and left the other.

And what could be more healthy than a kasha knish?

Why did I think about this today? I have no idea.

Oy. Vey.

Giuliani is a Skunk

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was a last-minute no-show at the wedding of his former roommates -- a gay couple -- yesterday.

It was a disappointment for Queens car dealer Howard Koeppel and his longtime lover, Mark Hsiao, who tied the knot in a double-ring ceremony before 10 guests in Westport, Conn.

The couple famously let the ex-mayor crash at their luxury $2.37 million three-bedroom Manhattan apartment while he was going through a nasty divorce with Donna Hanover in 2001. Later, Giuliani married the 'other woman,' Judith Nathan.

'Rudy and Judith were both invited with a beautiful written invitation by mail,' said Koeppel. 'His secretary called Thursday and said he was not able to come to the wedding and wished us all the best.'

Koeppel once quipped that Giuliani was a perfect roommate who 'always made his bed' and 'called me mother.'

At the time, Giuliani ducked the question about whether living with a gay couple had changed his longstanding opposition to gay marriage.

"I don't relate to people as white, black, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, gay, lesbian, heterosexual," the then-mayor told reporters at Gracie Mansion.

Giuliani has stated he has no problem with civil unions but told The Post he'd speak out against gay marriage if he runs for governor. Connecticut in November allowed gays to marry.


Web providers must limit internet's carbon footprint, say experts | Environment |

The internet's increasing appetite for electricity poses a major threat to companies such as Google, according to scientists and industry executives.

Leading figures have told the Guardian that many internet companies are struggling to manage the costs of delivering billions of web pages, videos and files online – in a 'perfect storm' that could even threaten the future of the internet itself.

'In an energy-constrained world, we cannot continue to grow the footprint of the internet … we need to rein in the energy consumption,' said Subodh Bapat, vice-president at Sun Microsystems, one of the world's largest manufacturers of web servers.

It's us or the machines!