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Religious challenge anti-gay campaign

Opposition sparked by US-based groups seeking greater rights for homosexuals

  • ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • February 22, 2012
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A recent campaign by a Muslim youth organization seeking the expulsion of two United States-based gay advocacy groups from the country has drawn criticism from a Religious brother and the head of an NGO.

Br Khushi Lal said no one was in a position to condemn individuals for their sexuality. “We condemn sin of all sorts, but we cannot share the judgment seat of God,” he said.

Br Khushi, who has ministered to sex workers over more than two decades, and particularly transgender communities, said there is historical precedent for the Church’s acceptance of homosexuals and transsexuals.

“I am in talks with several priests for giving Church membership to transsexuals. They are not only meant to be beggars or sex toys,” he said.

His comments followed an announcement earlier this month by the Muslim Youth Front (MYF) that it condemned all homosexual communities in Pakistan.

“It’s a war against homosexuals which is spreading like an epidemic,” said Shahid Khan, head of MYF.

“All religions prohibit homosexual cultures. We support the rights of hijras (third gender) but condemn homosexual parties and meetings.”

The group has posted banners and signs in markets and intersections of major cities in Pakistan in a move to combat the work of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies and the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, both of which work for the rights of gays and lesbians through alliances with NGOs and foreign embassies, according to a report last month in the Daily Times.

Sarah Gill, president of the NGO Moorat Interactive Society, condemned the campaign against gays and lesbians.

“It’s a personal choice. The government should let people live the way they are comfortable, including the selection of spouses irrespective of their gender,” she said.

A fourth-year medical student in Karachi, Gill said she was forced to bear the expense of her education after she declared her identity as a transgender.

“My parents stopped paying my educational expenses. I had to apply for a job,” she said, adding that there approximately 3,000 transgender people in the country.
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