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For this post, we're going to need to put aside our religious views, and behave secular. I'm posting about anti-gay material on Islam.SE...

Language likely to offend or alienate individuals or groups based on... sexual orientation... will not be tolerated. At all. (Those are just a few examples; when in doubt, just don't.) -- Be Nice

Subscriber... agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that ... is hateful, offensive... -- Legal

I think it is safe to say that, at present, we are tolerating a not-insignificant amount of content which is likely to offend people based on sexual orientation (see examples below). I think it's also safe to suspect that, at present, Islam.SE hosts the worst anti-gay content of any StackExchange site.

Question: Should we be preventing anti-gay material?


Thoughts and observations

At other sites, even minor infractions result in action. Here's an example from math.SE where action was taken against a user whose username was "anti-gay" (math.SE meta). Even this tiny act was disruptive:

I believe it constitutes hate speech. If you look at the comments on this user's answers, you will see that many others do too. -- Potato

Googling for site:stackexchange.com meta homophobic didn't yield other examples; it seems like having anti-gay material on StackExchange is abnormal.

Taking action against anti-gay material should be counter-balanced with a few points:

  1. Islam itself contains anti-gay content.

  2. In all likelihood, gay people know Islam is anti-gay.

  3. Would action amount to censorship? (See: Shog9 ♦'s post at Christianity.SE, 2011.)

Shog9 ♦ also highlights the possible point:

  1. If people are not flagging things as offensive, then it's not offensive.

But I'm unsure about this: the people who find these posts rude may not engage with the site (or just leave), and therefore not flag.

As far as I know, we don't have the flexibility to pick and choose which parts of the Be Nice policy apply to Islam.SE. Any instance of not using StackExchange appropriately may inhibit graduation. We're meant to be making the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions.

[Fun fact: StackExchange co-founder Joel Spolsky, highly upvoted for taking a stand against President Trump's executive order on immigration, has a husband.]


Examples

I cherry-picked some snippets from the religious sites concerning homosexuality. We're not the only ones (although two wrongs don't make a right). Warning: These are likely offensive, so I use spoilers below.

  • How did you do that spoiler thing lol? – Casanova Apr 10 '17 at 0:31
  • The markup is >! abcdef – Rebecca J. Stones Apr 10 '17 at 6:12
  • Alright thanks! – Casanova Apr 10 '17 at 16:05
  • "This may be a half-decent rule of thumb: If we replace "homosexuality" with "adultery", would it be offensive?" I don't think that's a good rule of thumb. Adultery seems far more universally recognized as immoral (barring situations where partners consensually engage in it) than homosexuality. I'd consider it offensive to morally compare/equate homosexuality with adultery, in the same way as I would find it offensive to morally compare/equate selling funny hats to fraud. – G. Bach Apr 11 '17 at 10:44
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An outright ban would be opening a box of worms because of this point you mentioned: "Islam itself contains anti-gay content.". Islam contains so much that will be reprehensible to most Non-Muslims (and even many people who think they are Muslims), you'd have to censor out a lot of orthodox doctrine. Take half the criminal law parts of sharia, and you'd have to censor them based on what "be nice" lists.

My take on it is this: it has to be possible to describe Islamic doctrine exactly as it is as well as the scholarly arguments that underpin it. Endorsing the offensive parts (or apologist talk about them) however should not be tolerated. To explain the difference I have in mind:

  • while it contains some unclear conclusions (e.g. whether the penetrating partner being stoned to death is a matter of "not being looked down upon") and the last quote is not from any of the source texts and should probably be removed due to that fact, this answer to "What does the Quran say about homosexuality" seems like the kind of post that has to be possible on islam.se; it contains relevant fundamental texts, information about what the fuqaha made of them, and a description of what Islamic ethics make of homosexuality.
  • this answer to "Why is homosexuality a sin if Allah made me this way?" is a mix of a tiny bit of doctrine with a lot of apologist rhetoric that's at times implicitly, at times explicitly denigrating homosexuals. I would consider attempts to justify the offensive doctrines morally (instead of describing based on what and in what way they are Islamic) as violating the ban on offending based on sexual orientation.
  • I think there's a clear difference between describing what something says about homosexuality and blatant homophobia. Saying "The Qur'an says this is wrong" and saying "This is wrong" are two completely different things (from a secular perspective, which we have to operate from here). I support this distinction being made and I think it jives perfectly well with how StackExchange works. – PointlessSpike May 12 '17 at 12:24
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Well I feel it's absolutely brilliant you've brought this up! Every human being deserves to be treated with respect and love, and any offensive material on the forum should NOT be tolerated. Keep your religious views to yourself, it's not right to insult anyone. And again, it's not fair to make a generalisation. I'm Muslim and I don't condemn homosexuality, and that's up to me, and my relationship with Allah.

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