Our LGBT-Muslim Solidarity initiative seeks to encourage dialogue, unity and solidarity between the Muslim & LGBTI communities – to oppose all hate.
It has been prompted by requests from LGBT Muslims who have suffered abuse and harassment, often from fellow Muslims. They’ve asked us to challenge homophobic prejudice.
As well as doing that, our aim is to reach out to bring the Muslim and LGBT communities together, to oppose the intolerance, discrimination and hate crime that both communities experience.
We want to support and empower LGBT Muslims, to give them a voice and visibility – and to tackle anti-LGBT prejudice in the Muslim community and anti-Muslim prejudice in the LGBT community.
We are striving to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims, for our common good.
Ejel Khan, a gay Muslim and social activist said:
“It is imperative that our LGBT Muslim voices are heard and that we engage with the mainstream Muslim community. I’ve spoken in some mosques on LGBT issues but many mosques still don’t acknowledge and support their LGBT worshippers. That needs to change.”
Sohail Ahmed, who is gay and from a devout Muslim family, added:
“As a gay Muslim myself, I always feared that Muslims and non-Muslims alike would view me negatively for being both Muslim and gay. I thought that mentioning I’m gay would make me and my religion look bad and that everyone would judge me as being a ‘fake Muslim.’ I felt so alone and thought that no one would understand me. I never told anyone. This campaign has the opportunity to change lives, and even save some. I wish I had come across something like this during my darkest moments as a young gay Muslim. No one deserves to be alone and unsupported, especially not LGBT Muslims, who often go through extreme difficulties because of their sexuality, faith and ethnicity.”
Gay Muslim student, Safdar Mohammed, observed:
“Homophobia definitely seems to be a problem within the wider Muslim community. This thrives in areas where there’s less integration and a large concentration of Muslims. It’s important to challenge homophobia within the Muslim community….(and) the assumption that the two communities are mutually exclusive …. There are many Muslims who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. LGBT-affirming Muslims often face discrimination on two separate fronts; making it equally imperative that we tackle both homophobia in Islamic communities, as well as rising Islamophobia. The threat to LGBT people from Islamic extremists is very real….(they) take literal interpretations of Qu’ran to justify hate and punishment towards LGBT people.
More needs to be done within the Muslim community to expressly counter this narrative, to guarantee that these views do not flourish. The importance creating solidarity between the LGBT and Muslim community serves everyone. Once that is achieved, we can develop loving and respectful relationships with each other.”
Haydar Zaki, the Quilliam Foundation’s Programs Officer & Outreach, noted:
“Homophobia is something that is becoming increasingly legitimised and must be challenged. It is this dehumanisation of the LGBT+ community which has led to tragedies such as the terrorist attack that took place in Orlando. As a straight ally and Muslim, I have participated in Pride to showcase solidarity against homophobia, the need to challenge it from whichever set of ideas it comes from, and the need to end anti-Muslim bigotry by fixating instead on intellectually compromising the theocratic ideals of Islamist ideologues. We must empower the voices that call for the universality of LGBT+ rights – including Muslim reformers – and drown out the calls for the criminalisation of a community purely based on whom they choose to love.”
Tehmina Kazi, the Muslim human rights activist and volunteer at the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, pointed out:
“LGBT Muslims often face ostracisation from their families, communities and mosques. Many have to live double lives, and hide their orientation or same-sex partners from their families. There is evidence that some have even been forced into marriages with members of the opposite sex and been subjected to honour-based violence if they refuse. The dominant interpretations of Islam run counter to LGBT equality and contemporary human rights standards…..(however) the academic work of Scott Siraj ul-Haq Kugle on Islam and homosexuality, and the new online theological resource set up by Daaiyee Abdullah, showcases that LGBT-affirming interpretations of Islam are possible. Homosexuality needs to be talked about more in Islam to avoid further cases like the suicide of gay Muslim Naz Mahmood. It is very important for us to all work together and challenge all kinds of bigotry, whether homophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic or otherwise.”
Fiyaz Mughal, the non-gay Muslim Director of Faith Matters, said:
“Sadly, homophobia is a problem in sections of the Muslim community. When Tell Mama has tackled homophobia, some Muslims have accused us of promoting homosexuality. This is not only untrue, this accusation is homophobia by the backdoor and it plays to a homophobic element, which is unacceptable. Groups purporting to tackle hatred and prejudice cannot be selective in which group is protected against hatred, as these are universal human rights. Mutual solidarity is important, since both the Muslim and LGBT communities have elements of their identity that are targeted for hatred. There are gay Muslims and they deserve to be treated with dignity, equal life chances and be free from fear. So intersectionality, joint campaigning and standing up for each other is fundamental for the future.”