Deoband clerics slam move on gay law

Deoband clerics slam move on gay law

As the debate over the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality, gathered controversy, the Ulema appealed to the RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena and Christian organisations to forge a common front against the reported move of the Centre to do away with the law.

In Delhi, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested a wider debate in Parliament involving all political parties before any decision is taken to abolish the law.

“There has to be consensus on the issue which has both positive and negative connotation and Parliament is the best place for a debate,” Azad said, well aware of the implications if the government went ahead with plans, if any, to scrap the law on homsexuality.

The controversial section, a part of the IPC since colonial days, criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The maximum punishment can range between 10 years of imprisonment with fine and life imprisonment.

But, dealing a body blow to the Centre’s attempt to evolve a consensus over legalising homosexuality, Muslim clerics decried the move saying that homosexuality is not only against Islamic tenets but is also opposed to the ethos of Indian culture.

Clerics associated with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)and the Darul Uloom  seminary in Deoband maintained that gay sex was against the “ethos of Indian culture” and it must not be legalised.

Attributing the rise in AIDS cases to homosexuality, the clerics said: “Islam does not permit homosexuality as it is against the is considered a crime in Islam,” senior AIMPLB member and noted Muslim cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali told Deccan Herald. “There is no reason to repeal the law...such an action will give rise to immorality in society. It is against the teachings of all religions,”he added.

Deoband cleric Maulana Sufiyan Kasmi also slammed the move and said that in Islam homosexuality is considered “haram” and a “sin” which could not be pardoned.

Since 2006, the Delhi High Court is hearing a petition on excluding adult consensual gay sex from the ambit of Article 377, which was drafted 150 years ago.  The High Court has not yet delivered its judgement.

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