CAIR Thanks Booker for Challenging Pompeo on Islam; Doesn’t Mention Exchange on Homosexuality

Patrick Goodenough | April 13, 2018 | 4:32am EDT
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CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. (Screen capture: C-SPAN)

( – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Thursday thanked Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for confronting Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo on his views on Islam, but was silent on another issue Booker brought up – his stance on homosexuality.

Under Booker’s questioning in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo stood fast on his opposition to same-sex marriage, but declined to answer directly when asked whether he believes “gay sex is a perversion.”

He did say, however, that “my respect for every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the same.”


Earlier, Booker had challenged Pompeo on his views and statements on Islam, and specifically his associations with two Americans reviled by CAIR and others for their views on Islam – Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney and ACT for America chairman Brigitte Gabriel.

CAIR, which calls itself the nation’s biggest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, has long campaigned against a group of critics, including scholars and activists, who focus on radical Islam. In recent weeks it has been lobbying hard for the Senate to reject President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state.

CAIR thanked Booker and several other Democratic senators for tackling Pompeo on the Islam issue.

“We thank all those senators who cared enough about our nation’s traditions of religious inclusion and constitutional protections to call Mr. Pompeo out on his past Islamophobic statements and associations,” said the group’s government affairs director, Robert McCaw.

“CAIR is also calling on all those who value America’s traditions of religious inclusion and respect for diversity to contact members of the U.S. Senate to oppose the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state,” the organization added in a statement.

CAIR did not, however, mention the exchange with Booker relating to Pompeo’s stance on homosexuality.

Despite its reference Tuesday to “respect for diversity,” and its frequent declarations that it works to protect the civil rights of all Americans, CAIR’s own stance on LGBT issues has been called into question in some quarters.

On Thursday, invited McCaw and communications director Ibrahim Hooper to provide CAIR’s position on two issues raised by Booker at Thursday’s nomination hearing: “Does CAIR support or oppose same-sex marriage? Does CAIR regard gay sex as a perversion?”

Queries sent to McCaw and Ibrahim Hooper brought no response by press time.

‘Repugnant, shameless sin’

A group called Americans for Peace and Tolerance has drawn attention to a lengthy 2009 essay in which the head of CAIR’s Florida chapter, Hassan Shibly, called homosexuality “a quick way to earn God’s wrath.”

"In studying all the Abrahamic faiths, it is clear without a doubt, that homosexuality like premarital sex, is considered a terrible sin. In fact, all Abrahamic faiths prohibit anal sexual intercourse even between a husband and wife,” Shibly wrote.

“The faiths also prohibit all types of homosexual activity not to mention that they clearly do not authorize marriage based upon such a sin. All Abrahamic faiths clearly and unequivocally prohibit homosexuality, premarital sex, and homosexual marriage.”

Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman in a 2016 article contrasted those 2009 comments by Shibly to his declaration, in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, of “overwhelming love and support and unity.”

Roman gave other examples, citing Muslim leaders closely associated with CAIR variously calling homosexuality an “evil inclination,” a “repugnant, shameless sin” and “a disease of this [American] society.”

He concluded the article by saying “CAIR has done nothing to stand up for the rights of LGBT Americans or promote more tolerant Muslim-American attitudes toward sexual orientation, while giving radical Islamist preachers on whom it depends for support a platform for anti-gay incitement.”

Death penalty

Like that of traditional Christianity, Islamic doctrine frowns on homosexuality. In fact, countries where the death penalty for homosexuality is applied or codified in law are all Islamic, as are a majority of the countries where same-sex sexual acts are illegal but carry lesser penalties.

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts is applied in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as in the northern states of Nigeria, parts of Somalia, and areas of Syria and Iraq controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).

In five other countries – Afghanistan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE – the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts is codified in law, but not implemented for same-sex behavior specifically, ILGA says.

A sixth country, Brunei, has yet to implement some phases of a shari’a-based legal code that includes punishments such as stoning to death.

Of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the bloc of 57 mostly Muslim-majority countries, same-sex acts are prohibited in law in 36 countries, with punishments ranging in severity but not including the death penalty.

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