Three Arrested in San Francisco for Anti-Gay BB Gun Attack
Three young men have been arrested in connection with a drive-by BB gun attack against a gay man in San Francisco.
The men, all 24 years old and all cousins, videotaped the attack, which was carried out at about 10:00 p.m. on Feb. 26. The victim was shot in the face as a car passed him, reported The San Francisco Chronicle in a March 4 article. Police stopped a car matching the description provided by the victim, and placed Mohammad Habibzada, Shafiq Hashemi and Sayed Bassam under arrest. A search of the vehicle yielded evidence, including the video camera used to record the shooting. Authorities said they believed the men targeted the victim because of his sexuality, making the attack a hate crime.
The three each posted $50,000 in bond money and are not in custody at this time. According to a March 5 posting at conservative chat site Free Republic.com, where gay news stories are frequently discussed, the three attackers are Muslim. Chat participants made this claim the crux of their commentary. Wrote one, "One politically protected group attacks another politically protected group? What to do?! My liberal head is going to explode!" Another quipped, "Religion of piece!," a pun on Islam being touted as a "religion of peace." Commented a third, "I can’t wait till the dirty Moslems start attacking gays in the west village."
A tenet of the Muslim religion as interpreted by some Islamic scholars is that active homosexuals should be put to death. This interpretation of Islamic scripture has been called into question by openly gay Canadian scholar Junaid Junaid Bin Jahangir, a 31-year-old Dubai-born émigré who says that the Qu’ran condemns sexual assault--but not loving relationships.
Openly gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has also contested the idea that gays are condemned. His film, A Jihad for Love, argues that the true "holy war" is the one waged within oneself as part of a search for truth.
But others see the Islamic religion as intractably anti-gay. U.K.-based Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, whose past sermons have included warning Muslims to "protect" their families from Christmas or face "hellfire," told the media last year that the religion prescribes death by stoning not only for sexually active gays, but also for heterosexual adulterers. Choudary indicated that being gay was not in itself sinful, saying, "If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfill your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow." However, the cleric said, "You don’t stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure." Choudhury then compared gay intimacy to bestiality, saying, "There are some people who are attracted to donkeys, but that does not mean it is right."
A professor of Islamic studies at Vanderbilt did not question the meaning of Islamic scripture regarding gays when he was asked by a student whether he supported the penalty of death for gays. "I don’t have a choice as a Muslim to accept or reject teachings" of the faith, the professor, Awadh A. Binhazim, responded. "Now, is Islam unique in that regard where [what is termed] ’alternative lifestyles’ is [not] acceptable?" he said. "No. It is not unique this is also in the Judeo-Christian understanding as well." However, added the professor, "There is no country in the world, to the best of my understanding, that follows Islamic law one hundred percent."
The image of anti-gay faith-based intolerance has become the stereotype of Islam in the wake of 9/11 and in light of reports that gays are being hunted and killed by religiously motivated militias in Iraq.
A March 4 entry at Mcnorman’s Weblog noted that the San Francisco Chronicle’s article said nothing about the religion of the suspects, calling the article "politically correct." Added the blog posting, "I suppose that if you can’t hang [gays] according to Sharia Law in this country, the next best option is to go for it with a BB gun." Added the posting, "As we all know, moderate Islam does not exist."