Sexual Repression in Islam

The title of this essay may seem a bit unusual, and a reader may wonder how I could know much about this subject. Therefore, let me describe an event that occurred around twenty years ago, at the time of the first Gulf War.

My son, Vernon, was a military policeman in the U.S. Army, and he was stationed in Saudi Arabia even before the military action began. When it did, his unit’s job was to move prisoners of war from the front battle lines to the rear. One of the processes was to take away from each prisoner, and they were all Muslims, what they had on their person, and that included their wallets. To their shock and surprise, these MPs found the photographs of these men’s boyfriends—their lovers—within the wallets. Vern even mailed to me one of these photo envelopes, which had about six or seven photos of young Muslim men.

After contemplating what this all meant, it occurred to me that, due to the social circumstances in Muslim-dominated countries like Saudi Arabia, young men had little or no access to Muslim women. The older Muslim men, those with authority, wealth, and power, had multiple wives. Therefore, many of the young men had only one another. My opinion was, and is, that these guys were not truly homosexuals, as one might suppose.

It was about this time that I began to reach out to Muslims. I even, and on only a few rare occasions, was I able to ask Muslim men what this was all about. I would tell the story about my son Vern and the wallet contents. Every time, these guys flatly stated that they were ashamed about it but did admit that it was often so. They made sure that such was not the case here in America. And I believed them, to a point.

I then began to think about Muslim women in Muslim-dominated countries. In the process of writing my two books on Islam, If Allah Wills and Islamic Studies, and in talking with Muslim people following the Friday Jummah prayers, I saw, not so much heard, that relations between the males and females were carefully monitored and directed. And this is the case here in the good old USA. What then about Muslim-dominated countries?

What was revealed by means of conversations, was the extent of the troubled sexual relations that the young women also experienced. They were trapped by the men and separated from the outside world, and even if they did appear in public, they would have only their faces showing, often with a kind of net over their faces. For a period of two years, I conducted a kind of class situation at the church I pastor in Mill Valley and frequently invited guest speakers. Some of these were local Muslim leaders from both Sunni and Shiite mosques, in addition to former Muslims now believers in Jesus as Savior. And as best I could, I would ask these representatives to speak about how things were between Muslim men and women. There were some red faces and quite a bit of taqiyya(h), which means “permission to deceive.” And this lying is even emulated, as made plain by one of Allah’s 99 names, which is “The Greatest Deceiver.”

A Muslim man can have four wives, and one can only surmise what might be taking place, as these wives are secluded and watched carefully. I have personal knowledge of a Muslim man, now elevated to the position of mufti, meaning one who can issue fatwas, who has four wives, but only one here in America. He travels year-round visiting three other wives and families who live in three different Muslim-majority countries.

Sexual repression gives birth to sexual perversion, for men and for women. It is all undercover, and again, it is an embarrassment to most Muslim people. Normal human beings have a sexual drive, a need for sex. It is common to us all, and when this God given gift is denied or prevented from being expressed, irregular sexual activity should be expected.

During my thirty-five years at San Quentin Prison, which is about six miles away from where I am right now, I have encountered numbers of young men who have engaged in homosexual relationships either willingly or unwillingly. It is just a reality. For three years, I led a Bible study in the Protestant Chapel, and for fourteen years I visited inmates in their cells, either in West or North block. Then came eighteen years coaching the baseball team.[1] This experience helped me understand the plight of some Muslim men and women.

The reason for the inclusion of this essay is to expose the reality of sexual repression for far too many young Muslim men and women.

[1] We have recently published the first of three books I wrote about baseball in San Quentin: Strike Three, You’re Out!: Baseball at San Quentin: The 2010 Season.

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