Volume 93, Issue 24

Wednesday, October 13, 1999


Administration reinstates suspended engineers

Reversal of eviction averts Saugeen protest

USC VP removed from office

TV host bashed

Enrollment at top of COU agenda

Raver's death doesn't spook London scene

Crime doesn't take a holiday


Caught on Campus

TV host bashed

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

A television celebrity known for her homosexuality and Muslim faith generated much discussion and debate yesterday in University College.

Irshad Manji, host of The Q Files, on Cable Pulse 24 dropped by Western to present a lecture entitled "Queers and God."

"I am here to suggest that God and queers are not just reconcilable, but indeed compatible," she said.

Manji explained both the Koran and the Bible can be interpreted in several ways, particularly when translated or revised. She said she felt her homosexuality was a struggle, which is not unexpected of humanity. "I struggle with it everyday," she said, adding perfection would not allow any room for growth.

"My point is not to deprecate my religion and the Lord knows," she said. She added, however, her faith is not very explicit and therefore, not as perfect as some followers believe.

Manji added diversity is conscious and even deliberate in this world which is another reason she feels her sexual orientation should be celebrated.

Sarra Hasan, an elementary school teacher at the London Islamic School, said she attended the gathering to remind Manji of her religion instead of discussing homosexuality. Hasan said she disproved of Manji's sexual orientation and said if she was a true Muslim, Manji would abide by the Koran. "It's a sin no matter what faith she is," she added.

Feras Kahwaji, a first-year science student at Western, said he agreed. "I know the bible by heart," he said. "If homosexuality was right, how can we generate?" He added he disagreed with Manji's theories on both homosexuality and religion and felt Manji misused and misinterpreted the Koran in a way which was not intended. "She's being a hypocrite," he said.

Mary Fogarty, gay, lesbian and bi-sexual commissioner for the University Students' Council, said the discussion which generated argument, may have reconciled religion and sexual orientation for some. "I feel that her presentation today brought the audience awareness through the debate."

James Miller, an English professor who invited Manji to Western, said he extended the invitation because he believed she would shed a lot of light on the issue of sexuality and religion.

With respect to the criticism she received for her discussion, Miller said he felt Manji encountered a lot of fixed attitudes and unsettled them.

"I think she answered everything respectfully and it's too bad the two levels of arguments couldn't be reconciled," third-year English student Selena Horrell said.

Before ending the gathering, Manji announced she will be donating the large "Q," a set prop for her television show, to Western's Pride Library in University College.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999