A Reply to Jonolan

I recently wrote an article about Israel’s interception of a flotilla of ships that were trying to get around the blockade of Palestine. This resulted in some lively comments from an anti-Muslim blogger named Jonolan. The most interesting one is reproduced below:

There’s not a single Muslim country that doesn’t execute homosexuals and there’s not a single Muslim country where their populace seems, by and large, to have a problem with that.

The following countries have Muslim majorities and do not punish homosexuality at all:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iraq (since 2003. See, our invasion was good for something after all!)
Indonesia (legal in all but one state, and then the laws apply only to Muslims)

So by my count that’s thirteen countries that are majority Islam where homosexuality isn’t even illegal. This is a somewhat larger number than zero.

Here’s a list of majority Muslin countries where homosexuality is illegal but is not punished by the death penalty.

Burkina Faso
The Gambia
Nigeria (illegal throughout the country, punished by death only in, yes, areas controlled by Sharia law. Does that make you feel better?)
Sierra Leone
Eritrea (almost exactly half the country is Muslim and almost exactly half is Christian, so I’ll count it on both lists. Both, you say? Oh, just wait)
Tanzania (split almost exactly in thirds between Muslims, Christians and indigenous religions, so look for it on the other list as well)
Cameroon (also split between Muslims and Christians, so, yes, other list)
Turkmenistan (legal for women, illegal for men)
Uzbekistan (anal sex is illegal, but everything else seems fine)
Palestine (so, yes, illegal there, at least in places. See this article for details)
The Maldives

So that’s another 30 where it’s illegal but doesn’t carry the death penalty. So far we’re looking at a total of 43 Muslim-majority countries where homosexuality is not punished by death.

Now let’s look at those Muslim-majority countries where homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by death.

Nigeria (in parts)
Saudi Arabia (a staunch US ally, btw)
United Arab Emirates

So, that’s eight. Of the Muslim-majority countries where I could find the information, which is a total of 51, there’s eight that practice the death penalty for homosexuality, at least officially. How often it’s actually enforced in a place like the UAE could be another matter. Let’s review what Jonolan said:

There’s not a single Muslim country that doesn’t execute homosexuals and there’s not a single Muslim country where their populace seems, by and large, to have a problem with that.

Thirteen where it’s legal, thirty where it’s illegal but doesn’t carry the death penalty and eight where it’s illegal but does. It’s also worth noting that Albania is discussing the legalization of gay marriage. Several of these countries also have anti-discrimination laws.

Now for fun, let’s look at a list of majority Christian nations where homosexuality is illegal and not punished by death (and yes, I’m not going to bother listing the ones where it’s legal. A: that’s less fun, and B: there’s just too many Christian-majority nations to do):

Tanzania (see, I told you you’d see those countries listed again!)
Liberia (settled by former slaves from the USA. I guess they learned a lot from our country, where homosexuality was illegal in several states until 2004)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
São Tomé and Príncipe
Malawi (a shocker, I know)
Seychelles (illegal for men only)
Uganda (which is trying to pass laws that would include the death penalty)
Zambia (male only)
Zimbabwe (male only)
Swaziland (male only)
Belize (male only)
Antigua and Barbuda
Grenada (male only)
Jamaica (male only)
St Kitts and Nevis (male only)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Guyana (male only… again)
Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea
Kiribati (wanna guess which gender this applies to?)
Tonga (male only)
Tuvalu (male only)

(source for all the above information)

So that’s thirty-seven majority Christian nations that outlaw homosexuality. None of them punish it by death, at least not officially, but Uganda is certainly trying their best to change that, and, like I said up above, remember that it was illegal in several US states until Lawrence v Texas in 2004. Yes, it took a Supreme Court ruling to change the laws here; it wasn’t done by the people of those states just deciding to do the right thing.

The interesting thing to note here is that the problem isn’t Islam per se, it’s religion in general. The countries that make homosexuality a crime are those where religion and ignorance dominate. Heck, in my research I even found a couple majority Hindu countries that outlaw homosexuality. This is not a problem that’s exclusive to Islam.

So I think I’ve dealt with that part of the comment nicely. What’s the next part? Oh, yes.

Similarly, you’re an Atheist and a “militant” one. That’s a capital offense in most, if not all, Muslim countries as well and, again, their populace seems, by and large, don’t have a problem with that..

I’m a militant atheist? In what way? I’ve never called for religion to be illegal. I think it should be eliminated from the world’s culture, but I’d do that through eduction and learning, not through guns or laws. Now you did put that in quotes, so I know you didn’t mean it in the military sense of the word “militant”, but I’m not sure in what way you do mean it.

Also, the following Christian countries have laws against blasphemy. 😉

Ireland (this one has gotten some attention lately)
The Netherlands
New Zealand

Admittedly it’s unenforced in most of these countries, but you get the idea. Also I’m willing to bet that, if polled, most American’s would be in favor of anti-blasphemy laws here in the USA.

Ah, but you mentioned specifically Muslim countries. Yes, it’s illegal in a great many, though not punished by death in most and not illegal in all. I’m just not in the mood to type up another long list.

Let’s go to the last line of the comment:

So why side with them?

I’m not, exactly. I’m saying there’s plenty of blame to go around. I’m saying Israel has done some very evil things in the last few years aided and abetted by the USA. I’m saying that collective punishment against an entire group of people is a bad thing. I also understand that Israel has the right to defend themselves and that terrorism is bad no matter who is doing it.

And yes, I’ll stand up happily for the rights of people who would gladly have me horribly murdered for my sexual preferences and/or atheism. Why?

Because I’m a better person than they are.


14 Responses to “A Reply to Jonolan”

  1. arthurthepanther Says:

    Last I checked generalizations are usually fallacious. There is almost ALWAYS an exception.

    Those who use generalizations to fuel hate will thus almost always find themselves on the incorrect side of the issue involved.

  2. Pied Says:

    Jonolan rattled the wrong cage. I’m lovin’ it.

    Perhaps he thinks you go around forcing Christians out of their churches at the point of a gun. Perhaps he thinks you block their access to their churches and shout foul atheist propaganda at them, and hand out hateful atheist literature. On the other hand, anyone who can refer to queers and vermin in the same sentence isn’t making a lot of friends for his side either.

    • Chris Says:

      Actually, I can accept the “queer” thing, much as I dislike it. It’s becoming something of a useful word to describe everyone who isn’t straight. I don’t like it, but I’ll accept it and presume that was how he meant it.

    • jonolan Says:

      Actually I “quoted” militant and did so to lessen the impact of the adjective since Badger is actively and openly atheist and doesn’t balk for a moment at attacking theists on their faith.

      Sadly, it seems the word, militant has been “extremified” since the Muslims started their jihad.

      As for “queer” – it’s a short, useful word that many in the LGBT community use to describe themselves, so I choose to use it as a descriptive. Since various queers have complained about every single descriptive I’ve used – including homosexual – I’m not going to worry too about their sensitivities.

  3. jonolan Says:

    Fair enough and well-said, Badger.

    I could dispute various points and technicalities – especially the difference between nations with high Muslim populations and those that are Muslim nations, but there’s little point in doing so.

    I still don’t understand why and how you can support the Muslims vs. America and our allies though. “I’m a better person than they are,” seems a coward’s defense from someone who is unwilling to do what is necessary because it’s personally unpleasant.

    I probably never will, just as you will probably never truly understand my point of view – though you and yours, judging from some of the comments, will think that they do and vilify me for them.

    • Chris Says:

      I’m not sure how you would define a Muslim nation, then. Perhaps you can clarify this for me.

      And it’s not, and never has been, a matter of “Muslims vs America” as far as I’m concerned. It’s “Idiot, Religiously Motivated Terrorists vs the Civilized World”. I don’t care what religion the terrorists are. Al Qaeda and the like are Muslim. The IRA and the like are Christian. Timothy McVeigh was a Christian.

      If you truly believe it’s cowardly to be against collective punishments that harm the innocent, then I don’t even know where to begin in a debate with you because your viewpoints are so detached from anything I’d recognize as morality that I’m not sure where to go. Something like that is not simply a matter of me viewing it as “personally unpleasant”, so much as it’s a matter of it being really, really wrong.

      • jonolan Says:

        The IRA – a nest of filthly vermin that I particular hate since I’m forced to admit that I’m directly related to many of their “heroes” – was more political than religious, though the Brits’ use of religion did cause the whole fiasco to devolve into sectarian violence.

        McVeigh was also political as opposed to religious in motivation – and he was an individual.

        In the modern world only Islam has such acts of violence and terrorism as a largely mainstream part of their religious expression.

      • Chris Says:

        In the modern world only Islam has such acts of violence and terrorism as a largely mainstream part of their religious expression.

        *facepalm* Ok, I’m pretty well done with this conversation now.

  4. Premier Blah Says:

    PB here. (Hi Wily!) As far as I know, the UAE still has the backwards idea against homosexuality…but they don’t do much against it. If it occurs between the locals (and believe me, it does) they often turn a blind eye to it. If it’s random visitors they often try and leave it too and sometimes just deport them. I’m thankful they don’t really kill people for this.
    I’m surprised you can put up with him though. If I were you I don’t think I would put up with it and just call him random names that make no sense before ignoring him.

  5. Premier Blah Says:

    (But I always believe in the concept of free speech, no matter how wacky the results may be. I don’t want it ever to be impugned or compromised in any way.)

    • Chris Says:

      Welcome, Blah! Good to see you here! 🙂

      Yeah, the UAE is still officially against t3h gays. But your comments square up with what I’ve heard before; that it’s illegal but not widely enforced. That’s progress of a sort, at least.

      And yeah, he’s pretty much being ignored now since I realized we may speak the same language but live in entirely different worlds.

  6. Paul Says:

    “(and yes, I’m not going to bother listing the ones where it’s legal. A: that’s less fun, and B: there’s just too many Christian-majority nations to do)”
    Translation: It wouldn’t fit my agenda, so it’s “less fun”

    • Chris Says:

      No, it’s just way to extensive. It’s a list that starts with countries like… well, pretty much all of Europe, North and South America, and Oceania. Also, yes, it would have been less fun, but the fact that I mentioned them at all should indicate that I wasn’t that worried about them not fitting my agenda.

  7. Brogan Nibley Says:

    Kudos Chris.
    It was my misfortune to run into jonolan by virtue of the picture he published of my friend Amy Winehouse shortly after her recent death. Mr. Jonolan lives in a dark world of the most vile and unfair criticism, usually of those he perceives as weak or in need of help. He targets them from behind a curtain which shields both his identity and the fact that hate is a disease which has overtaken him. He is a lonely soul hoping to attract friends and admirers but not knowing how to go about it. He spouts the most outrageous things in an effort to engage you in conversation, just to combat his isolation.
    Sometimes he picks on the wrong guy. That’s what happened here. He had no idea of your command of the facts, nor of your ability to present them so effectively. Well done, Chris. Now jonolan will go off and find his next victim. Again and again he will spout his hatred of Muslims. I only wish there was a way to send everybody here to read your reply.

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