By Nahla BendefaaRabat – A young man in Fes was the victim of a ruthless attack by a mob on Monday. They attacked the man because he is supposedly gay. Upon learning that the victim was a homosexual, the offenders beat the young man savagely and treated him as “less than human.”Their beatly nature and ignorance was apparent in their call to Allah; by yelling out “Allah is Great” in Arabic, the mob revealed their poor understanding of Islam. In a video dating back to 2013, Hassan Iquioussen, a Moroccan Imam living in France, discusses the Muslim people’s behavior toward homosexuals and suggests that Muslims should deal with homosexuality away from shunning and demonization of people with different sexual orientation.Iquioussen, a member of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, is nicknamed “Le prêcheur des cites” (The preacher of suburbs). Born and raised in France, Hassan Iquioussen is of Moroccan descent.In the video, Iquioussen explains that in the Quran, homosexuality is said to be a sin in a clear and concise manner. However, over the course of twenty-seven minutes, Iquioussen struggles to explain to his audience that this does not change the fact that there are pious Muslims who happen to be attracted to the same sex.Iquioussen’s argument is that everyone is a sinner, one way or another. Therefore, it does no good to judge people who sin in a way that may be considered “abnormal.” He compares homosexuality to drinking alcohol and adultery, giving examples of some of the Prophet’s companions; his point: sin and piety are not mutually exclusive.“It is not because you are a pious Muslim that you do not commit any sins at all. In reality, you are a pious Muslim that also happens to commit sins and thus, disobey Allah,” he says.In the video, Iquioussen condemns any kind of violence against homosexuals. “Acting on one’s homosexuality may be a sin, but this does not compel me to go on a crusade looking for homosexuals to lynch,” he says.He also says that it is the duty of good Muslims to maintain the sacredness of the personal lives of Muslims. As such, if you find out someone is indeed a homosexual, the right thing to do is to keep it to oneself instead of disseminating it and subjecting homosexuals to violence.
A group of 500 Burundians has returned home from Tanzania with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is running weekly convoys for some 50,000 refugees who have signed up to be repatriated.On Thursday, a third convoy facilitated by UNHCR took home some 520 Burundians from camps in western Tanzania, as more refugees signed up for the voluntary return. More than 50,000 people living in camps along Tanzania’s western border with Burundi have registered for the partially assisted return programme, which has so far aided nearly 1,500 refugees since it began on 28 March.Meanwhile, some of the spontaneous returnees said that they made their own arrangements because they wished to return home immediately and did not want to wait for their turn on the convoys, according to a spokesman for the agency.Many of those who have registered to return wish to go to southern Burundi provinces such as Ruyigi and Makamba, spokesman Ron Redmond said, “but UNHCR is not aiding returns to these areas because of continuing security concerns.”Last week, Burundi, Tanzania and UNHCR agreed that for the time being, returns would be facilitated only to Muyinga province in the north.