Nigeria is a significant power in West Africa and what happens in the country is noted by people in other parts of the region, especially when it comes to Nigerian culture. But an area where Nigeria is similar to other parts of Africa is in its society’s anti-LGBT attitudes. Christian and Islamic conservatism in Nigeria has largely been peddled because of fundamentalists traveling to the country to reinforce existing anti-LGBT views with theological justifications. In Nigeria it is socially acceptable to persecute LGBT people and this is illustrated by the news coming out of Lagos state this week when 42 men were arrested for having homosexual sex.
In Western media there has been justifiable outrage over the reports of concentration camps being established in Chechnya. Naturally such a move should be condemned and pressure need to be put on the Russian government to either stop the persecution or permit the safe passage of those under threat out of Chechnya. However, this doesn’t require any substantive political analysis as even those who do not especially care about LGBT rights would oppose the establishment of concentration camps. The subject of this piece is concerning the discourse around this news story, particularly the view that seeks to link this new development with Chechnya’s status as a Muslim-majority area.
Malaysia has decided to adopt incredibly antiquated and oppressive views to sexual minorities by endorsing gay conversion therapy. Federal authorities claimed in a video that a person’s sexual orientation can be ‘cured’. Ironically, the video in question was an attempt by the Malaysian government to prevent people in the country’s Muslim communities to be hostile towards LGBT people. Indeed, the video says at one point: “the fact is, there are those among Muslims that have non-heterosexual orientation but remain steadfast on the path of Islam”. The video may have been intended to reduce discrimination towards the LGBT community, but the language used reveals just how far equality campaigners have yet to go.
The largest Muslim-majority country in the world is Indonesia, a country in which 87.2% of the population is Muslim and contains 12.7% of the world’s Islamic population. When people think about tackling religious fundamentalism, particularly in an Islamic context, very few people think about Indonesia but there are parts of civil society that explicitly endorse incredibly extreme views. Not only is the existence of very conservative religious views a dangerous thing in a country that officially supports religious pluralism, but the dominance of one set of religious views is having real-life consequences that can be only be described as disgusting.
Political terms, when people are unaware of what they mean, can be a topic of significant dispute. The rise of Donald Trump in the United States is a prime example of this. When the term ‘fascist’ is correctly applied, his supporters complain about liberals saying that everything they disagree with is called fascist. Unfortunately Trump supporters have a point as idiotic liberals do often describe things that aren’t fascistic with this label in order to shut people up in debates. Another such term is ‘apartheid’, an Afrikaans word which was used to describe the state-endorsed racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Rather than write a provocative piece about the West’s approach to Israel which could often be seen as anything from irrational to endorsing violations of international law, I shall seek to answer one simple question: is Israel an Apartheid state?