Sodomy for jihad? Venerable LGBT magazine The Advocate spreads vile Islamophobic hoax

advocate-sodomy-suicide-bombers.png

Screenshot from The Advocate article The Religious Exemption: Sodomy for Suicide Bombers that shows a photo collage with an erroneous caption.

Note: This post contains a translation of a sexually explicit and defamatory joke targeting Muslims

The Advocate, an important US-based national gay and lesbian news magazine, has published a homophobic, racist, sectarian and Islamophobic hoax as if it is actual news.

An article headlined “The Religious Exemption: Sodomy for Suicide Bombers” by Advocate.com editor Lucas Grindley published 12 July 2012 makes the following astonishing claim:

Suicide bombers were allowed to ask fellow militants for anal sex so it would be easier to hide explosives in their rectums — at least according to a researcher at a conservative think tank.

Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow at the conservative David Horowitz Freedom Center, said he’s found a 2010 Arab news video in which a Muslim cleric is caught explaining why sodomy is permissible if part of “martyrdom operations.”

“Is it permissible for me to let one of the jihadi brothers sodomize me to widen my anus if the intention is good?” someone asks cleric Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, according to Ibrahim’s account.

Although the cleric reminds everyone that sodomy is forbidden, he offers an exception.

“Jihad comes first,” he said, according to Ibrahim’s translation, “for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it.”

Origins of a Hoax

This claim reported by The Advocate is pure nonsense. It is a hoax purveyed by someone affiliated with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an extreme right-wing organization whose founder and namesake is well-known for uncivil and racist attacks on liberal, progressive and leftist political groups.

The Advocate’s source is Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow at the Horowitz Center and at the Middle East Forum, who claimed that the religious directive was contained in a “2010 Arabic news video that aired on Fadak TV” and was advice given to Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, who blew himself up in an attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Nayif in 2009. Some press reports stated that al-Asiri had carried explosives in his rectum.

In his post on the Gatestone Institute, Ibrahim elaborates:

Apparently a cleric, one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, informed al-Asiri and other jihadis of an “innovative and unprecedented way to execute martyrdom operations: place explosive capsules in your anus. However, to undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives.”

This is the video he’s writing about.

To a non-Arabic speaker, it would be reasonable to believe that the person speaking in the video is “Abu al-Dema al-Qasab” because Ibrahim does not give any context to the video. Apparently The Advocate believed this, because it posted a screenshot of the man from the video next to a photo of al-Asiri with the following caption:

Cleric Abu al-Dema al-Qasab (left) reportedly said suicide bombers like Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri (right), who hid explosives in his rectum, were allowed anal sex.

However, the person in the video is Abdallah al-Khallaf, host of “The morals of the Prophets, Peace Be Upon Them,” a show broadcast on UK-based satellite channel Fadak TV whose target audience is Shia Muslims.

In the video, al-Khallaf tells the audience that he is going to read an item from a website called “Muntadayat Usud al-Sunna” (Lions of the Sunnah forums).

Al-Khallaf reads the item from the website as if it is real. He also characterizes the alleged protagonists as “Wahhabis.” It appears his intention is to incite his audience’s disgust at the supposed thinking and behavior of Wahhabi Sunni Muslims who, he suggests, will justify anything in pursuit of their goals.

“one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab”

I found the likely source that Abdallah al-Khallaf reads in the video. The Internet Archive includes a forum post from 28 August 2009 on montdiatna.com.

The text appears to be at best an extremely vulgar joke and at worst sectarian defamation. It is written in a style commonly used for stories in which both the teller and listener know it is a joke or fiction.

The Electronic Intifada has translated this text into English. Please be warned that it contains very explicit language and imagery:

It is said that the terrorist who blew himself up in an attempt to assassinate Prince Muhammad bin Nayif inserted capsules of explosives in his anus like suppositories.

It is said – only God knows – that before he acted, the terrorist asked a sheikh, that he intends to insert explosive capsules in his rectum, seeking jihad, in order to carry out jihad operations, in desire for virgins.

The terrorist asked the sheikh the question in the following way: Our Sheikh, May God give you martrydom and virgins in paradise. I want to carry out a martrydom operation and so I presented myself to “Sheikh Bloody Butcher” [Sheikh Abu al-Dema al-Qasab].

He told me we devised a completely new and unprecedented way for martyrdom operations and that is to put explosives in your rectum. And in order to train you for this method of jihad you must agree to be sodomized for a period in order that your anus will be widened such that your rectum can take the explosives.

And my question, God have mercy on you: Is it permitted to offer my anus to one of the mujahidin brothers if the intention is pure and the goal is to train for jihad, and to widen my rectum?

And the sheikh offered praise to God and said: In principle sodomy is forbidden and out of the question. Except that jihad comes first, it is the pinnacle of Islam. And if the pinnacle of Islam cannot be achieved except through sodomy then there is no wrong in it.

The jurisprudential rule says: necessity overcomes what is forbidden. And if the only way to carry out a duty is with a certain thing, then that thing becomes a duty, and there is no greater duty than jihad.

After you are sodomized you must ask forgiveness from God and praise him abundantly and you must be certain my son that on Judgment Day, God rewards the mujahidin according to their intentions, and your intention, God willing is the victory of Islam.

This text, or versions with slight variations, can be found on several other websites by searching for the name “Sheikh Abu al-Dema al-Qasab” in Arabic.

Several features identify this story as a tasteless joke, especially the name “Sheikh Abu al-Dema al-Qasab.” It translates to Sheikh Bloody Butcher. This is not a real person. The post is peppered with phrases like “it is said” and “only God knows” which indicate storytelling.

The Advocate’s ongoing Islamophobic crusade

The Advocate was a cornerstone of the LGBT civil rights movement, providing serious journalism and analysis since 1967 for a community that suffered discrimination and even violence as it struggled for legitimacy and recognition.

Civil rights activists, artists and journalists such as Tony Kushner, Urvashi Vaid and Randy Shilts found a home there.

However in the past decade, The Advocate began publishing Islamophobic, anti-Palestinian and pinkwashing rants from pornographic filmmaker Michael Lucas.

Now it is relying on racist trash put out by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, whose racism targeted African Americans even before its main focus became Muslims. As Ali Abunimah wrote in 2011:

Ten years ago Horowitz notoriously ran ads in college newspapers across the country saying that black people should be grateful that their ancestors were slaves in America and in fact owed America a debt for slavery. The ads caused an outcry on campuses all over the United States.

More recently, Horowitz has defended Robert Spencer, another notorious bigot and inspiration for Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik, as “a man of great courage and decency.”

Notably the comments under Grindley’s article are replete with Islamophobia, indicating that if his goal was to incite the The Advocate’s readers against Muslims, he succeeded.

The Advocate must retract this hoax

This hoax is reminiscent of previous ones, including the fake “Muslim rape epidemic” and one in April when it was widely reported that Egypt’s newly elected Muslim Brotherhood dominated parliament had passed a law allowing husbands to have sex with their dead wives. These reports were entirely without any factual basis.

The Advocate must retract this vicious hoax and apologize to its readers before it does more damage.

With thanks to Ali Abunimah for translation.

Comments

http://www.torontosun.com/2012...

Here is my letter to them:

Dear Sun staff,

Your article referring to sodomy as a training method is pure hogwash.

First of all, the "cleric" in the video is a television host citing a cleric known as 'Abu Dema Al-Qasab.' This television host is referring to a religious decree that was supposedly posted on a web forum by an unknown person; not a reliable source whatsoever. He is not issuing a decree in the video, as your article and photo caption make it seem.

Secondly, An Internet search in Arabic for this cleric 'Abu Dema' brings up nothing except this supposed decree, which leads me to believe that this entire story is nothing more than a fabrication. I believe all the parties involved in this blunder have vile motives; the London-based satellite channel, the Gatestone Institute, and certainly your news outlet.

A credible news agency would surely have tried their utmost to verify the authenticity of a story before publishing anything. As it stands, your article does nothing except serve to stir up hatred of Islam and Muslims in this society. The fact that you posted the photo with a false caption is proof that you either have poor research skills, or are flat-out liars.

I hope that someone upright in your office receives this message and takes some action to rectify this mistake of an article.

I doubt this is evidence of any deep-seated islamophobia on the part of the Advocate. Many people don't realise how often online news sites dump stuff like this up on their sites without doing any real fact-checking.

well then they should do more fact checking. We live in the age of the internet, there is no excuse for not doing a Google Search on something before you plop it on your webpage. In the old days it was sometimes hard to trace a piece of information back to it's original source so once one credible paper accidentally published something it would just go around until someone found the error. However, nowadays we usually can track information back to it's source with a simple Google Search and there is no excuse for not doing so. Journalists go to College you know, and they are trained for just exactly this kind of thing. So either this is a conspiracy or the indication of a very broken system in which the things students learn in school aren't being applied when they are at their jobs, not a simple mistake.

We're talking about theadvocate.com, not the New York Times. Fact-checking in online news is almost non-existent, precisely because stories can be updated if they turn out to be wrong. And most online journalists aren't trained.

I'm not saying it's OK but we're talking about free news here. The profits are razor-thin, the wages are low, the standards are accordingly also low.

I completely agree with the first person who commented here.
And Im sure this article is the result of a large conspiracy by liars and Islamophobes, since all that is written in it is COMPLETELY against the nature of Islam.

Thanks for writing this piece. Brilliant and thorough investigative journalism.

are we doomed subjects to hegemonic design of organized religion that instigates hatred and suspicion against the other

The Advocate seems to have updated the article with the critiques given here. They definitely should have checked their facts before publishing, but they at least on some level admitting they were wrong.

The article is not only terribly Islamophobic but also homophobic, for it rehearses the old canard that fascism (which the article incorrectly associates with Islam) and homosexuality (which the article incorrectly associates with a singular physical act) work hand-in-hand. In fact it is David Horowitz's Freedom Center, not Islam or homosexuality, which is the real purveyor of fascism and of perversity. In light of all the evidence available about the rich and varied history of (homo)sexuality in the Arab and Muslim world--much of it brought to light by GLBTs and their allies--and all the critical proof that fascism and homosexuality do not correlate, it is sad but not surprising that The Advocate is willing to propagate such harmful misinformation. The Advocate betrayed the GLBT liberation struggle decades ago by going almost entirely commercial and continuing to neglect the racial and ethnic diversity of GLBT communities internationally. For that reason The Advocate lost a great deal of respect and credibility among GLBTs. This recent stunt lowers the magazine yet another rung on the scale of journalistic integrity.

Not only the Toronto Scum but Fox News North -- er, SunTV -- put the story on the air, adding that 'Islamicists' have "penetrated" [no kidding!] the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security! Even the White House, after 60 years!!

It's hard to tell who is more deranged, the interviewer or the interviewee.

RE: "Sodomy for jihad? Venerable LGBT magazine The Advocate spreads vile Islamophobic hoax" ~ Benjamin Doherty

FROM WIKIPEDIA [Raymond Ibrahim]: (excerpts) Raymond Ibrahim (born in 1973) is an American research librarian, translator, author and columnist. . .
. . . An article Ibrahim wrote on taqiyya that was commissioned and published by Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst on September 26, 2008,[5][6] was later characterized by another author in Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst as being "well-researched, factual in places but ... ultimately misleading".[7]

• Footnote #7 - "Interpreting Taqiyya: Special Report", Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst, IHS, Jane's Information Group, November 12, 2008. - http://articles.janes.com/arti...

WIKIPEDIA SOURCE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

Homosexuality is a human emotion accepted by some detested by most especially when manifested in the physical dimension, which is being exploited in this instance to slander an opponent and as you have observed does not speak much about the slanderer. Fascism and sodomy has been part of the folk lore of all cultures across the board, finger pointing would thus only result in accusing oneself, however, today society has opened up to resisting excesses against domestic violence and sexual abuse showing a strong promise to undo fascistic sodomy as well.