Category Archives: Religion

Fiyabo: The Story of Nigerian Gay Christian Davis Mac-Iyalla

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Fiyabo by Davis Mac-IyallaDavis Mac-Iyalla wrote his story down in a book: Fiyabo. On 7th January 2014, the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, enacted some of the most extreme anti-gay laws on the planet. For example, holding hands with someone of the same sex, or being a member of a gay support organisation can earn you up to ten years in jail. This has been done with the hearty approval of the Nigerian Anglican Church. In practice, widespread mob violence against gay people has ensued, with horrific abuses of human rights. Davis Mac-Iyalla is a Nigerian settled in UK, and an Anglican Christian, who lived and worked in Nigeria until he was forced to flee in 2006. He was one of the first Nigerian gay men to come out publically and has campaigned for the rights of LGBTI people for over twenty years. He co-founded Alliance Rights, the first gay and lesbian network in Nigeria, and in 2005 founded Changing Attitude Nigeria, the Nigerian wing of the international organisation Changing Attitude, which supports LGBTI Anglicans. He is a lay reader, a Knight of the Church of Nigeria, and in February of 2008, received the “Bishop Desmond Tutu Award for Human Rights and Social Justice” from the World Pride and Power Organisation . In 2008, following imprisonment, torture, violent attack, and a string of death threats, he was forced to flee Africa for the UK where he continues his fight for human rights. In Davis’ native language, ‘Fiyabo’ (the title of this book), means ‘Survivor’. Davis and his LGBTI brothers and sisters are survivors. They fight and continue to fight to make fellow Nigerians and fellow Africans understand that being gay is not un-African, nor un-Nigerian, nor ungodly, but simply the way some people are.

Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jan Beddeleem on Tyne Cot Cemetry in 2009

Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jan Beddeleem in 2009 on Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetry and Memorial to the dead and the missing of the First World War.

“Davis has done a magnificent job exposing the victimisation of gay people in Nigeria – a victimisation that is incited and endorsed by the Anglican Church of Nigeria.” Peter Tatchell, British human rights defender. “I hesitate to call anyone a saint – that is really God’s busness. But for me Davis displays the qualities, beginning with the great humanity, that we associate with such campaigners as William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, and Peter Tatchell.” John Henson, Baptist Minister and author of ‘Good As New’, ‘The Gay Disciple‘, ‘Make Christmas Real’ etc. “Davis’ new book will touch the hearts and minds of all who read it.'” Ifalade Ta’Shia Asanti, Award-winning journalist, Activist and Author.

Davis Mac-Iyalla 2009 drawing by by Jo Veldeman

Davis Mac-Iyalla by artist Jo Veldeman – 2009

Davis Mac-Iyalla was invited to vist Belgium by WISH vzw in 2009 and visited Belgian and European MP’s as well as different NGO’s. It was a mutual enriching experience and in chapter two, page 70 of the book he reflects on this journey to Brussels and Flanders.  Read the dutch interview Davis gave that time to the daily newspaper De Morgen here

Order the book here.

Iran’s Social Workers’ Association: homosexuals are normal.

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Iran’s Social Workers’ Association says homosexuals are normal people. “They are similar to us in every  aspect… They are  human beings like us,

 

“I must admit I am still in shook… I had to read this text three times to make sure my eyes are not playing tricks on me….”

The Head of Iran’s Social Workers’ Association says homosexuals are normal people. “They are similar to us in every  aspect… They are  human beings like us, they are quieter than others, and bother nobody…So why should we go after them? Simply because they speak effeminately we should give them a hard time? ”

In an precedented interview, Nameh News, a popular online news website inside Iran published a sympathetic article about homosexuality. The article starts with the story of a man who has MBA and speaks 3 languages but for the past 2 years has not been able to find a job because of his sexual orientation. The article refers to homosexuals as “a segment of the Iranian society whose status in our society is often neglected”.

The core of the article is an interview with Dr. Mostafa Eghlima, the head of  Iran’s Social Workers’ Association about homosexuality.
Here is the highlight of his interview:

-Homosexuals are biologically different then other people.. This doesn’t make them a sinner or a criminal… This biological difference is something similar to difference in height: you can’t  ostracized people from society because they are shorter than others….

– Those who are against homosexuals have a medieval age mentality.. We should see all men as God’s creatures and do not judge them base on their color, height, or social status…Those officials who are against homosexuals have no education in this field and cause a lot of social problems with their policies…

-No one can deny the right to life from these people… These people are not mentally challenged… It is the social and family pressure that drives these people to a corner.. Some family treat their homosexual members as if they have leprosy… If we don’t interfere in their lives, homosexuals will have no problem.. They don’t need surgery to change their body and increase their problems 10 fold…

–  Homosexuals face discrimination in the job market, eve when they are the most qualified candidates… Should we punish a man because God has given him a different speech pattern? We have no right to harm God’s creatures.. Harming homosexuals is selfish and ignorant.. similar to harming someone because they are disabled.. Islam treats all people equally…If we were to follow the letter of the law, everyone should be treated the same… Homosexuals are like other human beings..They are quieter than other people  and bother nobody…So why should we go after them? Simply because they speak effeminately we should give them a hard time? ”

– In this society from the government to the police give  homosexuals a hard time… The family members make fun of them. Parents are nasty to them… They can find no job. What are they supposed to do? We have buried these people alive.. We have taken everything away from these people… This is inhumane and unislamic.

– In the past homosexuals had their place in the society and nobody bothered them…

http://dornews.com/NewsDetails.aspx?News=2377180

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Hossein Alizadeh
Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

 

Liberia: Priest Denounces Homosexuality

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 A Catholic priest in Liberia wants the country’s president to take a definite stance by speaking out strongly enough against homosexuality and same sex rights.

Rev. Ambrose D. Kroma LiberiaThe parish priest of the St. Kizito Catholic Church in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, Reverend Father Ambrose D. Kroma, has asked the Government of Liberia to take a definite position on same sex marriage in the country.

The priest blamed the country’s president for not speaking out strongly enough against gay rights. He urged the western African nation’s leaders to take a definitive stance on same-sex marriage.

Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has not joined her peers in other African nations in forcefully denouncing same-sex marriage, and that was the Easter nightmare  of the priest.

Kroma suggested that Johnson-Sirleaf’s silence on the issue was tacit acceptance of same-sex marriage, something already illegal in Liberia.

Earlier this month, the Catholic archbishop of Monrovia, Lewis Zeigler, warned that any acceptance of same-sex marriage could hinger Liberia’s progress and undermine the fabric of society, according to AllAfrica. Speaking at the National Fast and Prayer Day hosted by the Liberia Council of Churches, Zeigler also denounced corruption and greed.

Homosexual activity is illegal in Liberia, with penalties of up to one year imprisonment. In 2012 a Liberian senator introduced legislation that would punish same-sex marriage with death. That year Liberian Senate passed a bill criminalizing same-sex marriage, but the House of Representatives has yet to vote on it. While the western African nation is about 85 percent Christian, only 6 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.

Read the story on All Africa
Read the story on Advocate.com