Michael Sinan: Obviously it wasn’t so I could parade down a runway. My objective was to show the gay community, and also Muslims, that there are modern Muslims in Denmark. The media fixates on extremist, aggressive Muslims who live according to customs more appropriate in the Middle Ages. That’s not fair. There’s a lot of us, and we’re mostly modern. I wanted to demonstrate that to be gay and Muslim is both possible and okay.
You chose to make that clear in a way that’s curious, to say the least.
Yes. In fact, I did have to prepare for [the pageant], because I was told that I wouldn’t win on my message alone. I went on a diet, I hit the gym several times a week, and I lost some weight. My objective was to win, but I didn’t feel great parading around in just those tight little shorts. I said to Allah, “Forgive me!” From a religious point of view, I definitely felt uncomfortable at some points.
Is it easy for you to be openly gay and Muslim?
It’s not a problem in Denmark. And, broadly speaking, it’s not in Turkey either, a place I visit frequently. Turkey isn’t an Islamic country--it’s secular--so homosexuality isn’t persecuted. As a matter of fact, it’s easier there. Eastern European countries are another story. Your life is more threatened...and the predominant religion there is Christianity. For example, in Serbia, they are Christian, and the don’t like Muslims or gays. In Ukraine, your life is in danger. In Russia, they don’t accept Gay Pride displays. There are Christian countries in Europe that are closer to Saudi Arabia, which just confirms that fanatics exist everywhere.
In other countries, people claim that the Koran is the source of criminalization of homosexuality.
I don’t care if other countries live according to Sharia, but obviously I can’t agree with criminalization or the death penalty [for homosexuality]. I can’t do much about that, though. I can’t make it go away, but with whatever visibility I achieve, I would like to show gays in other countries that it’s possible to be gay and Muslim.
Nonetheless, in the Koran there are passages that have been interpreted as a proscription against homosexuality, such as the warnings to the inhabitants of Lot, similar to the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible.
It all depends on the interpretation of those words, but I am very clear on the fact that I don’t have to choose between my religion and my sexuality. We Muslims are numerous today, and it’s impossible to keep living in the past. Christians can’t live according to Biblical norms, and neither can we. There are things that even extremists can’t abide by.Läs hela artikeln hos Huffington Post.