ALFIAN SAAT: THE FAMILY NOT NECESSARILY COMPRISES OF A MAN & A WOMAN

There’s a ‘wear white’ campaign which is supposed to be a protest against Pink Dot on 28 June. It is a call for Muslims to wear white for the evening prayers on the first day of Ramadan. (If some clueless people turn up wearing pink then how? But that’s the downside of having a diffuse campaign which hitches a ride on something people do in Ramadan anyway–not everyone will get the memo). There’s nothing wrong with expressing one’s beliefs and opinions in this way, but I’m concerned with the way these are articulated on their website:

1) “There are groups that are trying to destroy the sanctity of the family. The natural state of human relationships is now under sustained attack by lgbt activists. For the lgbt movement, the natural family is no longer sacred.”

This statement doesn’t actually define what is a ‘natural family’. One assumes then that it is one consisting of a man and a woman and preferably an offspring. But surely the definition of ‘family’ isn’t so clear cut–there are single-parent families, as well as couples who don’t have children. Some people don’t think that a ‘natural family’ should consist of polygamous marriages, nor of marriages between those who are below 21 years old. A glaring omission however is the number one destroyer of families: namely, divorce. The divorce rates among Muslims is the highest among all the communities in Singapore, and while the number one cause for divorce in non-Muslim marriages is ‘unreasonable behaviour’, for Muslim marriages it is ‘infidelity or extra-marital affairs’ (Singstat 2012). If one needs to address the threats to the ‘sanctity of the family’, then one should cite the real ones. That gay couple who got attached isn’t threatening your marriage; you sleeping around will.

2) “To underline their disdain for Islam and the family, lgbt activists are organising an event on the very evening of 1st Ramadan. They expect this event to be the biggest ever in their history.”

This is rather incendiary, because it accuses the Pink Dot organisers of intentionally holding the event during Ramadan, and that this reveals ‘disdain for Islam’. Pink Dot 2012 was on 30 June, 2013 on 29 June, so this seems to be a consistent tradition. Since the Muslim calendar is a lunar one, the event dates will vary on the Georgian calendar–Ramadan in 2013 was in July. Also, the 1st day of Ramadan could have fallen either on the 28 or 29 June, depending on the lunar sighting. To suggest that pernicious motives were at play when there is in all likelihood a coincidental overlap is to act in bad faith.

3) “The question for us is whether we will lie down while the sanctity of the family is being trampled upon?”

Incendiary language again. Strictly speaking, the only thing that will be trampled during Pink Dot is the poor grass at Hong Lim Park. Tempted to say homophobia trampled, but my ‘strictly speaking’ bars figurative speech.

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