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As a gay middle eastern, I have to say things will not get practically better for us for at least the next coming 30 years, the prevalence of LGBT topics in western media made people here only acknowledge the fact that there are LGBT people, but it didn't soften the views in any way that's worth mentioning.
The Economist has really been going fully SJW recently, trying to blame Europeans for Islamic homophobia. The Europeans left the Middle East more than half a century ago! Nobody forced Middle Eastern countries to embrace sharia so assiduously. And codified anti-gay laws are rampant across the Islamic world, regardless of whether they were colonized.
And isn't it strange that the one Middle Eastern former colony that isn't Muslim is remarkably tolerant of homosexuality (Israel)? And that as Lebanon's population has become increasingly Muslim that its (relative) tolerance of homosexuality has been decreasing?
Agree: TE has become fully SJW since I last re-newed my 3-year subscription. After good 20 years, I am hesitating now to prolong my subscription. Back to the article: even if one would buy into the reasoning in favour of a major role of Western colonialism, this colonialism lasted barely 35 years outside of the North Africa countries. It is rather hard to believe that these 35 years would have changed deep-rooted ‘lenient’ attitudes.
Like in so many other domains, it is the toxic mix of a rigid religion and tightly knitted clan and family structures which is keeping this region mentally in the Middle Ages.
It appears this article overlooked an aspect of homosexuality in Islamic culture that is still openly practised without many repercussions in middle eastern countries, and even in Austria too apparently, to this day: pederasty.
Apparently its practitioners take the following passages from the Quran as endorsements:
52:24 - "Round about them will serve, (devoted) to them, young male servants (handsome) as Pearls well-guarded."
76:19 - "And round about them shall go youths never altering in age; when you see them you will think them to be scattered pearls"
56.17-18 - "They shall recline on jewelled couches face to face, and there shall wait on them immortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of purest wine"