Male sexual quirks among the Ottomans

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, pederasty-like relationships were common between pre-pubescent boys and bearded older men. Though today it seems homoerotic, the relationship had a deeper meaning according to the mystic Sufis and their search for God

Until the modern era, there was no word for sodomy in Arabic or Persian. Nor is there any prohibition of it in the Quran. Some make reference to the destruction of the town identified as Sodom of the Old Testament (which is supposed to be the origin of the word sodomy) in the Quran, Surah 15: 73-77 as if it were the source. But it is quite clear that the city was destroyed because its inhabitants refused to offer hospitality to strangers.

Where does the prohibition against sodomy come from? The reference is to some hadith, the sayings and acts of the Prophet Muhammad, which the Sunni interpretation of Islam uses to provide a legal basis for legal matters not covered in the Quran.

A recent article by Elyse Semerdjian that dealt with cases brought before the shariah court in Aleppo over a period of 359 years when it was under Ottoman control has turned up four, but only one concerning sodomy against a young man and his mother.

The youngster is supposed to have brought men known to be involved in sodomy to his home to the anger of the people of his neighborhood. The two were expelled from their community, a customary punishment for prostitution that had become noticeable enough to disturb the neighbors. Sodomites, on the other hand, were not punished…

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