Sep 30, 2022 | Ran Porat
Preacher Abu Bakr Zaoud: Legalising homosexuality is “the hands of the Sheitan [Devil] at work” (YouTube screenshot)
The popular Australian Muslim Facebook page, followed by 2.5 million people, has in the past promoted extremism, antisemitism and martyrdom. On Aug. 29, the page published a lecture by an Australian Muslim preacher, praising it with the words: “A brilliant lecture on LGBT from a tradi[ti]onilist Islamic view in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah [Islamic traditions] and not in accordance to liberalists or secularists or modernists who want to compromise and water down their beliefs.”
The preacher so warmly recommended is none other than Abu Bakr Zaoud from the extremist Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (ASWJ, “the family of those following the ways of the Prophet and his companions”). This local branch of an international fundamentalist Salafi organisation is regarded as one of the most radical Muslim groups in Australia. In 2018, and again earlier in 2022, AIJAC exposed the antisemitism, calls for jihad against Israel, and radicalism of ASWJ generally and of Zaoud personally.
The title of Zaoud’s English-language lecture this August at a Sydney mosque was “From illegal to legal and the untold dangers of homosexuality”. The video of the lecture was uploaded online accompanied by an apologetic message: “DISCLAIMER: Those who challenge the normalcy and equivalence arguments of LGBTQ advocates are predictably met with the jamming tactic of being labeled [sic.] bigots, haters, and homophobes so as to pre-empt reasonable debate. Disagreeing with LGBTQ sexual practice is neither an enticement of harassment, phobia, nor violence, but the expression of opinion firmly grounded in medical literature.”
As far as publicly known, Zaoud is not a medical professional. And examining his words in the lecture, it is hard to see how they can be understood in any other way than as not-so-disguised homophobia and hatred.
Homosexuality is “the opposite of intellect”
Zaoud opens his speech by what sounds like welcoming gay people in the audience. “I am aware that there could be among us homosexuals that are sitting or people that have these urges. And I say to these people that you are more than welcome to stay with us,” he says. But his true intentions are quickly revealed as quite different: “We want to educate you on this topic. We want to share intellectual points and proofs from the Koran and the word of [the prophet Muhammad]… this knowledge that we share gives you the ability to make correct decisions in life.”
Speaking about the different gender identities generally accepted today in the West and about same-sex marriage recently becoming legal in several countries (including Australia), Zaoud argues that today “Sexual deviation has become a widespread matter.” He later protests that “the rest of us are slowly being forced to accept all of this and to support all of this as well.”
According to Zaoud, these processes result from humanity losing its modesty. Someone in this state “is a person whose heart has died. As a result, you will find him doing whatever he pleases and whatever his desire calls him to.” After presenting several quotes from Islamic scriptures and traditions, Zaoud concludes that the Prophet was worried and concerned about “homosexuality spreading among his Ummah [Islamic Nation].”
“The first point is how did homosexuality go from being illegal and a crime punished by law,” asks Zaoud. “How did it go from that to becoming decriminalised, and became legal, and now it’s legally recognised by the majority of the world. How did this happen?”
His answer: “First and foremost, keep in mind this, any evil that goes from evil to something good, there is definitely the hands of the Sheitan [Devil] at work.” The Devil, explains Zaoud, “decorated the sin” of homosexuality by firstly “chang[ing] the name. Homosexuality is called love. Love is love with a rainbow colour, he decorates the deed, decorates the sin and people bit by bit find themselves immersed in these kinds of sins and acts.”
The next stage is to normalise the sin. “It’s continuing. This normalisation process does not stop. Everywhere you go, and in schools, it’s in your face. This is all part of the normalisation process.” Supporters of gay rights are “patient upon their falsehood. They are patient upon the evil. […] every single year there’s a pride March!” laments Zaoud.
“In Islam”, explains Zaoud, homosexuality is referred to as “the immoral shameless vulgar act and deed.” It is “THE immoral deed, meaning all the meanings of immorality are found in homosexuality. All the meanings of vulgarity are found in homosexuality.”
Moreover, in the Koran, continues Zaoud, there is a reference suggesting “a link between this deed and the intellect of a person.” Quoting Islamic traditions, Zaoud describes homosexuals as people “immersed deeply into a drunken state of confusion. They are blinded by their drunkenness, with drunkenness affects what? It affects the intelligence of a person.” It is “the complete absence of the intellect, when the mind is not thinking rationally. And this happens when a person allows his desire to overcome his intellect. A person has a desire and has an intellect, and when the desire overrides and it overcomes the intellect. Now a person is in a state of drunkenness.”
“And this is the case of the homosexuals. The mind is not thinking rationally. They would commit the immoral … based on their Shahowa [lust] and not based on the intellect.” Since male and female private parts are designed for reproduction, “anyone who uses his organ for other than the purpose [for which] it was created, you’re not using your intellect,” concludes Zaoud. When homosexuals are using these and other organs (talks about the anus) not for their biological purposes, “there is confusion. There is misguidance. There is deviance.”
Zaoud reviews the history of recent changes in legal and social norms that led to homosexuality being normalised, being consistently critical of gay rights advocates. For example, describing the 1969 Stonewall Riots by pro-gay activists in the US, Zaoud says that “the one who’s upon falsehood doesn’t have an intellectual argument. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s going to get it with violence.”
Protesting what he describes as acceptance and advertisement of homosexuality among Muslims, Zaoud warns that “in Islam, the deed is Haram [forbidden] and supporting the deed is just as bad.”
Homosexuals are dangerous because they are sexually insatiable and know no borders, says Zaoud. “He doesn’t have a limit, a person who commits homosexual sexuality. Just one doesn’t satisfy him. You find two, three, four, or five, perhaps on the same night, this is what Haram does. And you will never be satisfied and you’ll never be fulfilled no matter what a person says.”
Zaoud complains bitterly that respect for single-gender families is taught and promoted at schools, sports events etc. “I’m not a lawyer. I’m not here to advocate your cause and I’m not here to defend for your rights. I don’t support this. I don’t believe in this.”
“As a Muslim, how do we feel about homosexuality? Very simple”, explains Zaoud quoting from Islamic traditions: “I have passion, an extreme hate for your sin” (he does later sanctimoniously say that hating does not justify violence).
Next on Zaoud’s agenda: “the untold dangers of homosexuality […] There are major sexual and psychological health risks that a person needs to be aware of if he was to engage with the action of homosexuality.”
“Did you know that anal penetration is the most riskiest (sic) form of sexual behaviour that a person can conduct? It is the most riskiest [sic] form of sexual practice.” Zaoud lists at this point diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, HPV, STD, anal cancer and even monkeypox that he argues are mostly related to homosexuality.
To warn people of the dangers of homosexuality, Zaoud ‘jokes’, “I believe that on every rainbow flag [the LGBTQI+ flag], there should be a picture up the top… of a person with anal cancer,” and the crowd bursts out laughing. “This is serious”, smiles Zaoud. “This is a warning… there should be a picture just to warn the people as to what will happen, what you are going down in. This is a path of no return. There is no cure. There is no treatment for these matters.”
In addition, cautions Zaoud, there is “the punishment of Allah, the curse of Allah, the punishment that a person exposes himself to in the grave, in the afterlife before Allah… These people distorted the natural disposition of the human being.”
In the conclusion of his speech, Zaoud ridicules divisions and disagreements within the LGBTQI+ community as proof that this group is being weakened. “This won’t last. It will not last so long as we have believers upon the truth.”
ASWJ’s Abu Bakr Zaoud is spreading hatred of the other and fear against members of Australian society. His messages are clearly not acceptable or in line with Australian values of respect for the other and social cohesion, and he needs to be clearly marginalised for his extremism.
Dr. Ran Porat is an AIJAC Research Associate. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University and a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Reichman University in Herzliya.