Navigating Differences: Imams and Religious Educators Across North America Issue Statement on Sexual and Gender Ethics in IslamWritten by Making Headlines
On May 23, 2023, imams and religious educators in Canada and the United States issued a statement about sexual and gender ethics in Islam.
The statement begins as follows:
"Public discourse on sexuality over the past few decades has presented challenges to faith communities. Today, Islamic sexual and gender ethics are at odds with certain recently popular societal views, causing tension for Muslims between their religious beliefs and societal expectations. At the same time, public disapproval of LGBTQ practices, beliefs, and advocacy is increasingly met with charges of intolerance and unwarranted accusations of bigotry. More troubling still, there is an increasing push to promote LGBTQ-centric values among children through legislation and regulations, disregarding parental consent and denying both parents and children the opportunity to express conscientious objection. Such policies subvert the agency of Muslim parents to teach their children their religiously grounded sexual ethics, violate their constitutional right to freely practice their religion, and contribute to an atmosphere of intolerance toward faith communities.
We are Muslim scholars and preachers representing a diverse range of theological schools. Below is our collective, non-partisan articulation of Islam’s position on sexual and gender ethics. As a religious minority that frequently experiences bigotry and exclusion, we reject the notion that moral disagreement amounts to intolerance or incitement of violence. We affirm our right to express our beliefs while simultaneously recognizing our constitutional obligation to exist peacefully with those whose beliefs differ from ours."
When sharing the link to the statement on their social media, The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) stated: "The Muslim Association of Canada fully supports the statement titled 'Navigating Differences,' endorsed by religious scholars and Imams across North America, which provides a clear explanation of Islam's position on aspects of sexual and gender ethics in Islam. We urge all community leaders, government institutions, and elected officials to use this statement to educate themselves on the Islamic perspective on this topic. All Canadians have the right to respectfully uphold their religious beliefs without fear of legal reprisal or systematic marginalization, while recognizing the moral imperative to live amicably and peacefully with others in our society whose beliefs, worldviews or choices differ from our own."
Religious educators continue to sign on showing their support for the statement.