Brooks’ assertion was delivered in a matter-of-fact tone, but polls show his claim to be factually false. Although anti-LGBT sentiment is high among many Muslim communities in other parts of the world, a sizable chunk of the U.S. Islamic population actually favors LGBT rights: an April 2015 PRRI poll found that 42 percent of American Muslims support same-sex marriage.
By comparison, the level of support was significantly lower among evangelicals and Mormons — two religious identities that Brooks, a self-described “non-denominational Christian” who attends Mormon services, claims: the same survey reported that only 28 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 27 percent of Mormons back the freedom to marry.
Brooks’ remarks also completely ignore the small but increasingly vocal number of LGBT Muslims in the United States, many of whom have spoken out in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando to make their voices heard. And the idea that Muslims desire the death of LGBT people blatantly contradicts statements published this week by Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who argued that LGBT Americans and the Muslim community share a common mission.
“For years, the LGBTQIA community stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Muslim community as we have faced hate crimes, bigotry, marginalization and discrimination,” Awad wrote. “Today, we stand firmly and resolutely to declare that this support goes both ways; that we are there for all communities who are the victims of violence and persecution in our country.”
“The liberation of the American Muslim community is inextricably linked with the liberation of all minority groups—Black, Latino, Gay, Jewish, Trans and every other community that has faced discrimination and oppression in this country. We cannot fight injustice against some groups, and not against others,” he added.
To be sure, LGBT Muslims have been quick to note that the American Islamic community still struggles with homophobia. But as several faith leaders have pointed out this week — including many Christian leaders — anti-gay sentiment is just as prevalent if not worse in other American religious circles, and many queer Muslims are decrying attempts by conservative politicians to use the Orlando massacre demonize Muslims as uniquely bigoted.