Ryerson professor asks: is a gay rights movement possible in the Arab World?

Kamal-with-Intoerable22WEBRyerson’s associate professor of journalism Kamal Al-Solaylee

The unveiling of the gay rights movement in the Arab world was welcomed at Ryerson by a crowd of varying ages and faces, yearning to know more.

Hosted by the International Issues Discussion series, the talk on Oct.1 titled, “Is a Gay Rights Movement Possible in the Arab World?” was led by Ryerson’s associate professor of journalism Kamal Al-Solaylee. As an openly gay Arab from a conservative Muslim background, he discussed how far back in the closet the gay Arab world may be and why.

In a largely Muslim region, the intolerance of same sex acts is often tracked back to religion – mainly, Islam.

“I am not an apologist for Islam,” said Al-Solaylee. “But I am not convinced that it is the root of intolerance [of homosexuality].”

Al-Solaylee said that the Islamic holy book makes few direct references to homosexuality. When questioned about the validity of this statement in the Quran, he responded that according to his research, there are a number of misinterpretations for the stories. Throughout the religion’s history, it was often difficult for its followers to decipher gospel from narratives…