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Mehrdad Alipour on Same-Sex Desires and Acts in Islam

Research News

The work of theologist and philosopher Mehrdad Alipour, currently at NIAS as Scholar-at-Risk Fellow, is featured in the journal New Research Voices; the first issue is dedicated to researchers in exile. 

The first volume of New Research Voices includes contributions from academics from Syria, Iran, Ethiopia, Thailand and the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the political and daily realities of these countries vary greatly, as do the topics covered in the research, the common thread that binds the volume is that the contributors have all faced persecution for their work and have sought sanctuary at universities overseas where they continue, despite the many obstacles they have faced, to strive for a better world through their academic endeavors. Each research article is presented along with an interview with the academic which sheds more light on their struggles, their work and their hopes for the future. An excerpt of the interview with Mehrdad Alipour, on his article “Same Sex Desires and Acts in Islam – a Theological and Methodological Reflection on Kugle’s and Naraghi’s Approaches”:

NRV: Can you introduce the article by telling us a quick summary of it and what the main findings are.
Dr. Alipour: For the last two decades’ revisionist scholars have offered new interpretations of Islam urge for increasing tolerance. Among these scholars who study in this field Naraghi and Kugle are, in my opinion, the most important. In my article I have tried to discuss these two modern approaches on the permissibility of same sex desires and acts in both Sunni and Shia Islam. […]
NRV: As with all important research articles we are left with more questions after reading it than we had beforehand. For you what are the main questions that Islamic scholars need to start addressing in respects to homosexuality and Islam?
Dr. Alipour: That is really a controversial issue. From what I have observed most of the new approaches on same-sex desires and acts have used words that are unfamiliar to the majority of Muslims communities. This is because they use a language and methodology that is unfamiliar for traditional scholars, preachers and grassroots Muslims. Most of these researchers did not completely use the requirements of Islamic theological and ethical methodology, therefore these new approaches have not been trusted by Muslim followers. In my mind the main issue at the moment is to make Muslim revisionists aware of these problems and encourage them to find more common language and methods for their interpretation of Islam and this subject.

About Mehrad Alipour

Mehrdad Alipour holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Qom, Iran. As a Scholars-at-Risk Fellow, a fellowship co-sponsored with the UAF Foundation, he works on a philosophical- hermeneutical analysis of Islamic sources and Muslim Queer theology: Negotiating Same-Sex Desire and Act in Islam.

About New Research Voices

New Research Voices is a community platform and journal from the academic frontline. It is an online community space which aims to empower researchers to support each other, share their work and contribute to a better understanding of the world we live in. This platform aims to connect researchers, publish research articles and interviews with researchers and academics to promote norm-challenging, sensitive and innovative research. NRV is a free and open resource created by researchers.


New Research Voices
Read the full Journal volume online (pdf)
Scholar-at-Risk Mehrdad Alipour interviewed on Homosexuality in Islam
“Alipour publishes article on LGBTQ Muslims”