It seems that no week or month goes by without further news about disturbing attempts to normalise liberal sexual values in society, and in young children specifically. In addition to Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) being taught to children as young as four years old, the UK government designates February as “LGBT History Month”. This means that schools and other institutions are using the alleged sexual practices of historical figures to convince children that same sex relationships are normal, natural and should be celebrated.
While many parents are horrified at these persistent attempts to warp the values of their children, liberals argue that such steps will lead towards more positive attitudes towards sex and relationships. They argue that embracing this liberal approach leads to an open, healthy and ‘progressive’ society.
As a result there is a concerted effort from government and the media to promote very liberal attitudes towards sex, particularly among the young. While the fashion, pornography and advertising industries – and others – profit from this hypersexualised society, who are the real victims of such chaos?
Women are victims – the phrase #MeToo is used to illustrate how widespread sexual violence has become (official figures from 2017 indicate around 510,000 women – and 138,000 men – are attacked per year), with alarmingly high rates even on university campuses.
Children are victims – with no innocence being left in childhood. Same-sex relationships and transgender identities in schools are taught as normal, healthy and sometimes even encouraged – regardless of the obvious contradictions, fallacies and disturbing confusion that these attitudes generate for vulnerable young minds. Some will be psychologically scarred from the confused messages and sexual pressures.
The social and economic damage to the whole of society is significant. There is a burden on social services and a burden on the NHS with an increased demand for abortion (more than 190 000 abortions in 2017) and sexual health clinics (420 000 cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017).
Personal relationships have never been weaker – with families in dysfunction, more people living isolated lives and elderly people in need of care.
When sexual relationships are disconnected from marriage and family life, as has happened in Britain over many decades, it inevitably undermines the family structure – which is the bedrock upon which society is built.
So unstable families have a huge social and economic impact. When people complain about rising youth crime, the first question people ask is ‘Where are the families of these young people?’
Children are being taught to be ‘free’ sexual beings – but told not to harm themselves or others. It is like giving a child a gun and saying ‘don’t harm anyone’, ‘control yourself’, ‘be responsible’ – and then ignoring the consequences! Encouraging hypersexualised relationships and attitudes to others, experimentation and divergence from biological norms – reinforces unhealthy attitudes towards others, creating a mess of contradictions and dysfunctional attitudes in society.
It is a good thing that parents are becoming more aware of how secular liberal values are being pushed in society via RSE in schools. But only a minority of parents have used the option to withdraw children from these classes – and even fewer offer some constructive alternative sex education.
However simply withdrawing children from a class does not counter the effect of values in society – values that encourage more fahisha and munkar and have harmful effects across society.
Muslim community organisations, leaders, activists – and parents – have a duty to counter these corrupt ideas through:
- Debunking the false arguments that are used to justify liberal sexual behaviour. This will encourage children to think more critically about the material they are force-fed in schools.
- Illustrating some of the many societal harms that stem from these values – such as those cited above.
- Upholding, explaining and offering Islam’s approach to family, intimate relationships and society’s values, such that all people can see there is a better alternative – which requires educating our community on how the Islamic social system functions at both the government and personal level.
Those who believe in secular liberal values claim that being free to do as you like, provided you don’t directly harm another person, is best for all people – they ignore the huge harms that these values create for all people in society.
An-Nu’man ibn Bashir (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said,
مَثَلُ الْقَائِمِ عَلَى حُدُودِ اللَّهِ وَالْوَاقِعِ فِيهَا كَمَثَلِ قَوْمٍ اسْتَهَمُوا عَلَى سَفِينَةٍ فَأَصَابَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَعْلَاهَا وَبَعْضُهُمْ أَسْفَلَهَا فَكَانَ الَّذِينَ فِي أَسْفَلِهَا إِذَا اسْتَقَوْا مِنْ الْمَاءِ مَرُّوا عَلَى مَنْ فَوْقَهُمْ فَقَالُوا لَوْ أَنَّا خَرَقْنَا فِي نَصِيبِنَا خَرْقًا وَلَمْ نُؤْذِ مَنْ فَوْقَنَا فَإِنْ يَتْرُكُوهُمْ وَمَا أَرَادُوا هَلَكُوا جَمِيعًا وَإِنْ أَخَذُوا عَلَى أَيْدِيهِمْ نَجَوْا وَنَجَوْا جَمِيعًا
“The parable of those who respect the limits of Allah and those who violate them is that of people who board a ship after casting lots, some of them residing in its upper deck and others in its lower deck. When those in the lower deck want water, they pass by the upper deck and say: If we tear a hole in the bottom of the ship, we will not harm those above us. If those in the upper deck let them do what they want, then they will all be destroyed together. If they restrain them, then they will all be saved together.” [Sahih Bukhari]
This hadith beautifully illustrates that some ‘personal’ actions can harm all of society – in this life and in the akhirah.
When we understand this, we can also see how some of the guidance from Islam – such as lowering the gaze, the Islamic dress code, prohibition of khalwa (seclusion with the opposite sex), zina and liwat, promotion of a healthy sexual relationship within marriage, duties between spouses, children and parents, keeping wider family ties, and confident positive male and female identities – protect not just the individual in the dunya and akhira, but make for a better and more wholesome society.