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A Muslim organization is demanding actor Jeff Goldblum apologize for his anti-Muslim comments on RuPaul’s Drag Race on April 24. Goldblum, who was a guest judge on the show, caught flack for questioning contestant Jackie Cox’s America-themed hijab and caftan.
“Isn’t this an interesting wrinkle, though,” the actor said, adding, “Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid.”
Cox, who is a drag queen of Iranian heritage, explained she wore the outfit as commentary on President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. “You can be Middle Eastern, you can be Muslim, and you can still be American,” she said in a voice-over, according to Vulture.
When days passed without an apology from Goldblum, Muslim Advocates released a statement to The North Star calling on the actor recant his comments.
“We all have biases that sometimes show themselves in offhand remarks like the one Jeff Goldblum made on Friday night. He questioned whether an entire religion was anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ, even as he downplayed it as just ‘thinking out loud and maybe being stupid,’” said Scott Simpson, Muslim Advocates’ public advocacy director, “We recognize the fact that Goldblum tried to dial his comments back in the moment, but we don’t condone his lack of a public apology.”
Simpson called the actor’s remarks “a common trope and double standard used against” American Muslims.
“These comments are far from harmless. For years, a constellation of anti-Muslim hate groups have pushed these same stereotypes and conspiracy theories to dehumanize American Muslims, to deny them their rights and to split a big tent coalition of people demanding equality for all,” he continued.
Cox herself alluded to this when she defended her decision to wear the outfit. “When the Muslim ban happened, it really destroyed a lot of my faith in this country. It really hurt my family. And that’s so wrong to me,” she said. “And I had to show America that you can be LGBT and from the Middle East, and there’s gonna be complicated s—t around that, and that’s okay. But I’m here, and I deserve to be in America just as much as anyone else.”
“To not apologize for these comments is a silent endorsement of anti-Muslim bigotry,” Simpson said. “We urge Jeff Goldblum to end his silence, to apologize for his comments and to honor the dignity of American Muslims.”
Nearly a week after appearing on the episode, Goldblum has yet to issue a public apology.
Islam & the LGBTQ+ Community
People across all major religions have used their faith to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community. But progressive Muslims are working to break the misconceptions regarding queerness and Islam.
Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) is an organization that advocates for human rights, social justice and inclusion in the United States and around the world. The organization states it is committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in society and in the Muslim community.
To do that, the organization has a campaign called #NoHateInMyFaith that aims to dispel misunderstandings of the religion and homosexuality. As part of its campaign, MPV created guides that cover key questions people may have about Islam’s interpretation and teachings regarding queerness.
One guide MPV shared says that the Qur’an does in fact mention sexual diversity. “Surat al-Nur (Qur’an 24:31) specifically mentions ‘males who do not desire women’. These ‘males’ might have been homosexual or asexual, but by definition they were not heterosexual, and they are not judged or condemned anywhere in the Qur’an,” the guide states.
The guides also point out that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did acknowledge sexual and gender diversities. The guide notes that Islamic literature shows the Prophet accepted men called Mukhanath—or men who were seen “acting like women”—. These men could be considered homosexual or transgender and were acknowledged to be different from others, MPV wrote.
MPV did not respond to The North Star’s request for comment on the Goldblum situation or its campaign to breakdown misunderstandings about Islam and queerness.
How to Support
To learn more about Muslims for Progressive Values and the work they do, be sure to head over to their website here. There you will find ways to donate to the organization and other ways to join the organization.
Readers can also learn more about Muslim Advocates here.
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About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.