This article examines the recent emergence of homophobia among Muslims in Singapore. While Islamic scriptures were used to justify homophobia, interpretations of these holy texts regarding non-normative sexualities have always been diverse. The anti-homosexuality exegesis of Islamic scriptures gained traction in a particular constellation of contemporary politics. When the state broached a discussion over whether a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality should be repealed, evangelical Christians were the first to vigorously support the retention of the law. Evangelical Christian homophobic discourses were soon reproduced by Muslims, whose own conservatism has been rising in recent years. Longstanding state biases against Muslims (who are mostly lower-working-class Malays), however, restricted the expression of their religious conservatism, which makes it useful for them to perform good citizenship by standing alongside evangelical Christians (mostly middle-class Chinese). This article demonstrates that Muslim homophobia has complex roots and explanations that cannot be reduced solely to Islam.
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