The Practice of Homosexuality in Islam


When the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage in 2015, Saudi Arabia swiftly signalled its disagreement. A school in the Saudi capital Riyadh with a pre-existing rainbow symbol painted on its building was fined $26,000 and one of its administrators jailed. The crime? Displaying “the emblem of the homosexuals”. In nearby Syria, ISIS was infamous for throwing those accused of homosexuality off tall buildings to their deaths, claiming that this followed the example of their prophet Muhammad. However an Afghanithe joke is that birds fly over the city of Kandahar with one wing held under their tail – as a precaution against the supposed homosexuality of its inhabitants. It is an open secret that, besides a now-repainted school, Riyadh also boasts several underground gay clubs.

On this issue, all Muslims reside somewhere between the poles of the death penalty, openly-stated displeasure, denial of its existence, and the ‘dirty deeds’ themselves. This lecture will look at the practice of homosexuality in the Muslim community throughout the ages as well as today. It will examine historical approaches to this issue up to the recent call to establish the first gay-friendly mosque in Australia. Some possible Christian responses to this issue will be discussed.


Dr. Bernie Power
Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations Lecturer
Melbourne School of Theology

Bernie’s area of expertise is in the comparative study of Islam and Christianity. He lectures on the life of Muhammad, the Qur’an, the Hadith, Apologetics, and Christian Ministry in Islamic contexts. Bernie grew up in Sydney. He has lived and taught in Australia and the UK and various countries in Asia and the Middle East. In his spare time Bernie enjoys reading, bike riding and bushwalking.