Ivy League Muslim prayer service filled with homophobic invective
The notably anti-gay sermon accompanying a Muslim Friday prayer on Feb. 15 on the campus of Cornell University didn’t go over so well.
The Cornell Sun first reported the story.
“Not all homosexuals are pedophiles, but all pedophiles are homosexuals,” the person who delivered the sermon said, according to junior Ihsan Kabir, president of the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture.
“Homosexuals are freaks and queers who want a pink earth,” was another lesson preached, Kabir said, according to The Sun.
But wait! There’s more!
The person who gave the Friday Sermon then proceeded to bellow that President Barack Obama is “too liberal” in his tolerance of homosexuality, Kabir recounted.
He also condemned Muslim women who remove their head scarf after praying, The Sun reports.
“Women are dressing like men, but are naked at the same time,” the unidentified sermon-giver reportedly said.
The Sun, Cornell University’s student newspaper, noted that the person who gave the sermon to the congregation assembled in Anabel Taylor Hall is a former employee of school. Also, some students claim that the same individual has orated with similar invective in the past.
The student rag did not otherwise identify the speaker.
“A man who had been invited to speak as a religious leader made the comments,” Renee Alexander, director of diversity alumni programs and an adviser for one of the Muslim groups on campus, told The Daily Caller. “His comments were full of bigotry and hate.”
Joe Schwartz, a public information officer at Cornell, told TheDC that the Ivy League school has a “blanket policy” against commenting on former employees.
Traditionally, a different member of a Muslim community can be chosen to deliver the sermon — or khutba — each week. The khutba giver must be a male who has attained the age of puberty and has attained a state of physical purity by washing himself properly.
Cornell junior Sanya Hashmi told The Sun that listening to the sermon was an uncomfortable experience. “No one quite knew what to do,” she said.
“I hope that this isolated incident, grave though it is, does not reflect poorly on the Muslim community here at Cornell,” Hashmi added.
Junior Adam Abboud penned an open letter conveying his revulsion at the diatribe. That letter has been signed by almost 50 students so far.
“As a Muslim and a firm believer in the teachings of Islam and its premise of justice and social equity, I am absolutely disgusted by such behavior,” Abboud wrote, according to The Sun. He also hoped that the incident wouldn’t make people think of Islam “as a hateful, misogynistic [or] homophobic faith.
Cornell’s dean of students, Kent Hubbell, told The Sun that the administration plans to release a “Cornell Responds” statement concerning the incident. Hubbell asserted that the delayed response is a result of the “principles of freedom of expression” involved, “especially in a religious context.”
“We wanted to be very thoughtful about how we responded to it,” Hubbell told The Sun.
Last Monday, a meeting of various (apparently Muslim) students and community members occurred. It was decided at that meeting that the person who gave the offending sermon won’t be giving any future sermons. Also, an official apology was planned for the next Friday prayer.