Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update: Devout Muslim bear to defend Spain's title at IBR

Well, this certainly has gotten a bit more interesting.

With my recent post about Morocco-born Adil Doukali getting massive online hits this week, a bit more information has become available about the context in which he stated that he hoped to be "on the good path" to meeting a woman and raising kids in the future after being elected to defend Spain's crown at the upcoming International Bear Rendezvouz.

Over at GayMenGC there is a substantial description of the interview that ran on Spain's Antena3 this Friday - which I am quoting almost in its entirety - that provides additional context to Doukali's comments:
The programme’s presentation team were openly supportive of him as the contest winner, and respectful of the bear and wider gay community: but they didn’t pull any punches in questioning him about how he felt about the public repression and ill-treatment of gay men in many countries which describe themselves as “Islamic”.

He’s 32 and Moroccan, but has been living in Spain for some time, working as a painter and decorator. There’s no doubt he publicly identifies himself as a gay man, but also says there’s a bisexual side to him, and he doesn’t rule out the possibility of marrying a woman and raising a family.

What he does rule out is the possibility of marrying a man, for religious reasons. This sits somewhat strangely alongside his new role, since he’s been elected to act as an “ambassador” for the bear community, and it’s probably a comment which the contest organisers may find uncomfortable, and many in the gay community will find unacceptable; though it’s clearly a personal view, and not one which he said others should necessarily agree with.

In some ways, it was a very uncomfortable interview, seeing someone - who is in so many ways a modern Western gay man - still wrestling with the contradictions of the religious teaching he has grown up with (something which affects those gay men here who are also devout Catholics). But it was an interesting snapshot too, which probably captures the confused loyalties of other gay men brought up under Islam.

He accepts that Islam talks about homosexuality as being a sin, but says that God should be his judge not men: he openly condemns the treatment of gay men in those muslim countries where we suffer persecution, and is calling for more HIV/AIDS education in Morocco and elsewhere.

He also acknowledges that there’s a great deal of hypocrisy in Morocco and elsewhere, and that men frequently have clandestine gay relationships, particularly before and often after getting married. But he also admitted during the interview that though he didn’t believe he would suffer any consequences should he go home to visit his family in Morocco (he says in particular that his family are very “modern”), living in Spain has given him a very different life.

As a man born in South America, I know how tough it is to turn away from religious dogma when it goes against every grain of your body and yet, as I cringe about Doukali's choice of words in describing a "good path" to marriage and children, there is part of me that is impressed by a man who says he is a devout Muslim and is willing to be chosen as Spain's representative to IBR and to openly condemn "the treatment of gay men in those muslim countries where we suffer persecution."

A curious aside: One of the men Doukali beat for the title was Javier Gónzalez (left) who came in third place. Gónzalez is better known in the States as gay porn sensation Edu Boxer who has performed for a couple of Lucas Entertainment features along with his boyfriend Manu Maltes.

Lucas Entertainment is, of course, run by pouty Zoolander-type Michael Lucas who has an opinion column in the New York Blade that often riles against all things Muslim (which my friend Faisal Alam has taken to task in the past).

I'm sure not all will agree with me but we certainly hope to see Doukali at IBR despite the recent controversies.

UPDATE: Adil Doukali in his own words (Dec. 15, 2007)

1 comment:

Chris MacDonald-Dennis said...

I agree with you. I hope to see hope Doukali is at IBR. He is adorable!