Tag Archives: Arnold Yasin Mol

Islamic Law and Homosexuality: An Interview with Theologian Arnold Yasin Mol

Since the slaughter of 49 Americans at a gay club in Orlando on June 12, there has been a lot of discussion about the motives of the killer, Omar Mateen. The 29-year-old killer had a long history of religious extremism dating back to his high school years, when he was sent home for cheering the attacks of 9/11. In 2010, he reportedly declared his desire to become a martyr and later was investigated for extremism by the FBI twice. The first investigation was in 2013 when his co-workers reported him for advocating extremist causes, and then again in 2014 for his close connections with a man at his mosque who fled the United States for Syria to become a suicide bomber for the Islamic State. He also reportedly became a fan of the Islamic State’s beheading videos, watching them online and talking about them with others.

During the massacre the killer made a number of statements to 911 operators and on social media where he explained his actions. In one case, during the attack, he told 911 operators that he carried out these acts on behalf of the Islamic State, declaring his allegiance to the group’s leader. Survivors of the massacre also said that he told 911 operators he was doing it because the U.S. was “bombing my country.” By this, he meant Afghanistan. Although the killer was an American citizen, born in the U.S. to Afghan parents, he apparently did not view the U.S. as his country. Instead, reflecting the views of his Taliban supporting father, he apparently saw Afghanistan as his true homeland.  Also among the many reported comments of the killer, one seems to explain his choice of victims. In the moments before he shot over 100 patrons of a gay bar in Florida, killing 49, he wrote on Facebook “The real muslims [sic] will never accept the filthy ways of the west…” Continue reading

Al-Azhar and the Islamic State

Al-Azhar University is considered Sunni Islam’s oldest and most distinguished institution of learning. The University was founded c. 1171 in Cairo when the Ayyubids under Salah al-Din overthrew the Shia Fatimid Empire in Egypt. The new Sunni rulers insisted that the instruction of Sunni jurisprudence should replace any Shia instruction and the new university would be centered around the Al-Azhar mosque (originally constructed c. 970-972). It was at this point, with the founding of the university c. 1171, that Al-Azhar (and Cairo) began to establish itself as one of the most authoritative Islamic institutions of the past nine-hundred years, remaining so today. Thus, the views of the scholars of Al-Azhar matter to many modern Muslims, particularly in the absence of a modern generally recognized caliphate, who often look to Al-Azhar for guidance on modern controversies. Consequently, I have found Al-Azhar’s commentary on issues related to the rise of the Islamic State (and related issues) troubling. Continue reading