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Homosexuality


Homosexuality is in Contents understood as sex between two or more persons of the same sex, whether man or woman. Homosexuality here includes passive as well as active same-sex activities, bisexuality and even the pre-marital same-sex relations which in many cultures ends when a person marries.
This comparative article attempt to include all religions of the Middle East and North Africa, but for the time being, only the 3 well-researched religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism will be dealt with. It must be strongly emphasized that the 3 religions usually define homosexuality to men having sex with men. It may well be suggested that female homosexuality is exempted from the regulations, but also that it follows directly that women having sex with women are subject to the same condemnation as with male homosexuality.

Judaism
In old Judaic texts, sex between men is punishable with death (Lev. 20:13). Judaism differentiate between the homosexual act and the homosexual person; it is only the first which is condemned.
Judaism operates also with the term "sodomy," which is sometimes judged to have been a form of homosexual rape, as performed in the town of Sodom.
Homosexuality is deemed illicit by Judaism, due to it being sex without its basic function: the making of children. Also, homosexuality is illicit due to its dangers of breaking up the Jewish community, making it possible for family fathers to abandon their wive and children.
Modern Judaism, largely in its Reform variant, has accepted homosexuality and established partnership between two men or two women. Orthodox Judaism rejects this fiercly.

Christianity
For Christianity, the regulations of the Old Testament is of varying importance from theological orientation to another. Still, homosexuality is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament.
The many passages in the letters of Paul, is every bit as strict as what is found in the Old Testament. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 it is even expressed that men having sex with men will not inherit the Kingdom of God, in Romans 1:27 it is suggested that it is a punishable act.
Homosexuality is still a troublesome issue with many Christian communities. The liberation of Christian homosexualities happening in Western countries, has yet to materialize among Middle Eastern Christians.

Islam
Homosexuality is in the Koran strongly condemned. Still, homosexuality is wide-spread in many Muslim countries. In some societies, homosexuality is part of a deep-rooted pre-Islamic culture. In other societies, homosexuality is best seen in conjunction with the strict regulations of non-marital sex.
Homosexuality is mentioned in the Koran, and in a negative manner. In 4:20 sex between two men is defined as punishable, but not with death. It is moreover a forgivable act. 27:56 define male homosexuals as "ignorant", 7:79 the same as fairly moderate condemned by being "people who exceed." In 26:172, it is told the same story as in the Bible in which the town of Sodom is destroyed as a punishment of the homosexual acts there, but a better light is cast upon this in 29:28, where it explained that people are assaulted on the highway and homosexually raped.
Homosexuality mentioned in the hadiths also avoid passing definite condemnations on homosexuality. Still, the term "illegal sexual intercourse" is frequently used. This may be a generic term into which both adultery and homosexuality falls into. In such a case, the punishment is stoning to death (see Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 810).
Contrary to both Christianity and Judaism, which both today have a practice milder than the scriptural obligations, many Muslim communities practice strong punishment on homosexuality, in many cases even death penalty.




By Tore Kjeilen