Being Muslims and gay in the UK

Amrou Al-Kadhi, who identifies as a gay agnostic Muslim, responded to the first same-sex Muslim British marriage by expanding on the experience of other sexually diverse Muslims. Al-Kadhi reflects on the experience, from a young age, of being “forced to imagine myself in the pits of hell” for all sins including homosexuality.

When Al-Kadhi’s parents’ discovery that Al-Kadhi was gay, their relationship fell apart, mostly because of fear of judgement from extended relatives.

Many Muslims in the UK see being Muslim and gay as “an utter irreconcilability.”

Al-Kadhi notes that Christian communities have had the same conflict; however, the British public is not as shocked when Christian communities have started to accept gay people as it is when talking about Muslims.

The author recognises a spiritual connection to the world related to Islam but has been push out of “Muslim” communities. A friend, Umber Ghauri, identifies as Muslim and calls for recognition of gender progressiveness in Islamic history.

Al-Kadhi calls for celebrating gender and sexual autonomy in all faiths.

Turkish Community Associations join German pride festivals

Signalling solidarity and allying against discrimination

Turkish community associations have joined gay pride marches in Stuttgart and Hamburg, in a bid to broach questions surrounding sexuality and to demonstrate their openness to diversity. The Federal Chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD), Gökay Sofuoglu, noted with regard to ongoing difficulties faced by the LGBT+ community that “as an association taking a stand against discrimination of any kind, we cannot close our eyes to this”.((http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell/bw/csd-in-stuttgart-tuerkische-gemeinde-bricht-mit-tabu/-/id=1622/did=17791268/nid=1622/tvsne5/))

Sofuoglu, speaking in the context of the Stuttgart gay pride, noted that there had been some resistance to the decision to participate. Such resistance had also been felt by the chairwoman of the Hamburg Turkish Community association, Nebahat Güçlü: In previous years, Güçlü had failed to overcome her fellow board members’ reservations about joining the local pride march.((https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/hamburg/CSD-Veranstalter-Parade-wird-politischer,csd640.html))

This year, however, the Hamburg community released a statement on its website arguing that “the vindication of equal rights for minorities is a concern for all of us. This includes the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. We are conscious of the fact that as a managing committee in our community we are taking an important but also provocative step that could also trigger negative reactions. Nevertheless, we deem it important and right to stand against all kinds of discriminations in our society and we also face up to the discussion within our organisations”.((http://www.tghamburg.de/news/?nid=149))

That the Turkish community’s participation in local pride festivals is more forthcoming this year must perhaps also be seen in relation to the spate recent attacks more or less straightforwardly motivated by Islamic radicalism, including Omar Mateen’s shooting at the LGBT Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. After this event, Muslim organisations elsewhere have also taken a conscious decision to join pride marches in order to demonstrate their solidarity and open-mindedness.((http://www.euro-islam.info/2016/06/28/muslim-community-joins-regina-pride-parade-1st-time/))

The ambivalence of Islamic associations

As Euro-Islam reported at the time, the initial reaction of explicitly Islamic associations in Germany remained muted.((http://www.euro-islam.info/2016/06/20/muted-reaction-of-german-muslim-leaders-to-orlando-touches-upon-uncomfortable-issues-of-homophobia-and-media-discourses/)) Since then, Ayman Mazyek, prolific chairman of one of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), has stated in a public speech that when any person irrespective of race, religion, or sexual orientation were attacked, the Muslim community would “rally to their protection”, “defend freedom” and “protect the dignity of the human being and therefore our own dignity”.((http://zentralrat.de/27631.php))

Yet the difficult contortions that underlie Mazyek’s view were on ample display in an interview published ten days before the shooting at Pulse: when stating his view on homosexuality, Mazyek asserted that “I am a citizen of this country and the chairman of a German religious community. For me the Basic Law is decisive. I don’t accept homosexuality personally and religiously. But at the same time I stand up against homophobia, as a Muslim.”((http://www.volksstimme.de/sachsen-anhalt/islam-mazyek-abschottung-weg-der-angsthasen))

To be sure, such a statement is not substantially different from the disconnect between, for instance, contemporary Catholic teachings on homosexuality on the one hand and the Church’s stance on the worth of the dignity of the human individual on the other hand. It does elucidate, however, why participation in a gay pride march might still be one step to far for many explicitly Islamic associations.

Muslim community joins Regina pride parade for 1st time

Regina held its annual Queen City Pride parade on Saturday, as the main event for pride week.
This year was special for some Muslim people in Regina, as it’s the first time a group from the religious community marched in the parade.
Sabreena Haque, a Muslim woman who took part, said many who joined the parade felt it was time to show more visible solidarity, especially in the wake of the tragic shooting in Orlando at a gay bar earlier this month.
“We are a misunderstood community ourselves, and I think you know when things like Orlando happen and things that happen in other places, I think other people always see us as being this harsh group of people. That we have only one way of thinking,” Haque said.
Haque said people were happy to see group marching, and said they’re thankful for the opportunity to take part.

American Muslims Send A Powerful Message Of Solidarity To Orlando Victims

The tragedy in Orlando has prompted both compassion and debate within the Muslim community.

The American Muslim community reacted with an outpouring of love and support in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The support came in the form of fundraisers, blood donations, and public statements that firmly condemned the violence that claimed the lives of 49 victims at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning, and left dozens more injured.
At the same time, the violence sparked a debate within the community about whether Muslim leaders need to speak out more forcefully against homophobic ideologies.
The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, reportedly called police about 20 minutes into the shooting and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. His father, Seddique Mateen, has claimed that his son became upset after seeing two gay men kissing in Miami a few months ago. Pulse was a haven for Orlando’s LGBTQ community.
Muslim organizations and activists across the country have spoken out against the shooting, explicitly calling it a hate crime.

Was Orlando Shooter Really Acting for ISIS? For ISIS, It’s All the Same

The revelation that the 29-year-old man who opened fire on Sunday in a gay nightclub had dedicated the killing to the Islamic State has prompted a now-familiar question: Was the killer truly acting under orders from the Islamic State, or just seeking publicity and the group’s approval for a personal act of hate?
For the terror planners of the Islamic State, the difference is mostly irrelevant.
Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group’s propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group’s core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers.

Muslim and LGBTQ communities stand together against hatred and prejudice after Orlando shooting

Muslim and LGBTQ leaders came together at The 519 community centre, in the gay village, to denounce Islamophobia and homophobia.
Muslims and LGBTQ people both know how it feels to be treated badly or even hated sometimes because of who they are.
Mostly, these groups have suffered separately. But the tragedy in Orlando brought some members of both communities together on Friday night to end the daily Ramadan fast together in an expression of solidarity.
More than 150 people gathered at The 519 community centre, on Church St. in the gay village, to break bread and denounce Islamophobia and homophobia in the wake of the June 12 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Outside, candles burned in a shrine for the 49 victims of the massacre, the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

Florida Nightclub Shooter Buried in Muslim Cemetery-Reports

TAMPA, Fla. — The gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history has been buried at a Muslim cemetery in southern Florida, media reported on Thursday.
A state death certificate lists Omar Mateen’s burial site as the Muslim Cemetery of South Florida in Hialeah Gardens, a city in Miami-Dade County, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
A funeral home located at the same address as the cemetery carried out the arrangements, the state document showed. It did not give Mateen’s cause of death, the Sentinel reported.

British Islamic scholar faces ban from Australia for preaching ‘death is the sentence’ for homosexuality

Australia is urgently reviewing the visa of a British Islamic scholar who toured

Orlando in March and had preached that “death is the sentence” for homosexual

acts.

Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a senior Shi'ite Muslim scholar, is currently giving a series

of lectures at an Islamic centre in Sydney on the topic of spirituality throughout

the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Sekaleshfar said in a lecture in Michigan in 2013 that in an Islamic society, the

death penalty should be carried out for homosexuals who engaged in sodomy

and that in Islam this was “nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals it’s the same.

Out of compassion, let's get rid of him now, because he's contaminating society,”

he said in a lecture.

There is no evidence of any link between his comments and the American

Muslim man, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando

on Sunday – the deadliest mass shooting in the United States – or that Mateen

attended Sekaleshfar’s lectures.

Sekaleshfar said he condemned the Orlando shooting as a “barbaric act of terror

that was in no way justified.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has “zero tolerance for

people to come to Australia who preach hatred” and his government was

reviewing Sekaleshfar's visa “as we speak.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/islam-scholar-

australia-visa- ban-orlando- shooting-farrokh- sekaleshfa-a7081096.html

Reports: Gunman Had Visited Nightclub Before, Used Gay Dating Apps

Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Fla., was reportedly no stranger to the club.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that some Pulse regulars recognized Mateen, saying that he spent time at the nightclub before the shooting early Sunday.
Meanwhile, at least two men say they interacted with Mateen on gay dating apps.
NPR.org: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/14/481986819/reports-gunman-had-visited-nightclub-before-used-gay-dating-apps

How the Orlando attack could mark a shift for gay Muslims

Like their counterparts worldwide, many gay Muslims in the United States have long felt doubly ostracized – both by the wider national culture and by their co-religionists. But in the days since the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., there have been some signs of acceptance by Islamic organizations and religious institutions more often known for shying away from LGBT issues than for speaking forcefully in defense of gay people.
To the surprise of many Muslims, some of the largest U.S. Islamic organizations, accustomed over the 14 years since 9/11 to quickly cobbling together news conferences and messaging against terrorism, decided to loudly, even eloquently, stand up in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia” are “interconnected systems of oppression,” Council of American-Islamic Relations national Executive Director Nihad Awad said Sunday at a Washington, D.C., news conference. Later, the organization delayed a report it planned to release on Islamophobia, saying in an email that “discussion should focus on anti-LGBT hate.”
LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-gay-muslim-20160614-20160612-snap-story.html