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.

Founder of group ‘Muslims for Progressive Values’ discusses homopobia in the Islamic community

In response to the Orlando shooting, a group called Muslims for Progressive Values is calling on mosques to come out against homophobia and violence against the LGBT community.
Ani Zonneveld is the founder and president of the organization. She talked about the issue of homophobia in the Islamic community. For more information, go to the website mpvusa.org

Foxla.com: http://www.foxla.com/news/161227936-story

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.

Op-ED: The Muslim Silence on Gay Rights

An Afghan-American Muslim walks into a gay club in Florida on Latin night during Pride Month. In my dreams, that is the beginning of another great story of remix, tolerance and coexistence that is possible only in America. In reality, it’s the start of a nightmare massacre fueled by hatred and perpetrated by a man from a group already scarred by a generation of suspicion and surveillance.
Whether Omar Mateen was a militant fighter financed by the Islamic State, a self-radicalized extremist or a lone wolf psychopath with a gun license, the distinction for committing the worst mass shooting in our history now belongs to an American Muslim.
No religion has a monopoly on homophobia. The track record of exclusion and outright abuse of gay men and women in the name of God is a depressing reality across faiths. But we cannot use those analogies to excuse our own shortcomings. Omar Mateen went on a rampage at a gay club out of hatred he attributed to his faith. He shot and massacred Americans for thriving in their safe space, for being among those they love and were loved by, and he did it during both Ramadan and a Pride Month that epitomizes self-love in the face of hate. The toxic cocktail of gun violence, unchecked mental illness and deranged ideology that propelled the massacre at Pulse is a threat to all Americans.
NY Times: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/opinion/the-muslim-silence-on-gay-rights.html

Dutch civil society organizations organize “Manifest Against Islamophobia”

Recently a meeting was organized in the Nelson Mandela Centre in Amsterdam by various civil society organizations under the title “Joining Powers Against Islamophobia.” Among the organizers where the Collective Against Islamophobia and Discrimination (CTID) and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Migration and Development (EMCEMO).

Among other things the meeting resulted in the establishment of a “Manifest Against Islamophobia.” Organizations and individuals can sign the manifest. Th initiative made a powerful statement against all forms of discrimination stating that “The government and politics should strive for a solidary society in which every citizen is valued and protected: gays, Jews, women, men, old or young, regardless of skin color, religion or ethnic background. A solidary society which in the most forceful manner takes a stand against homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, or any other form of discrimination.”

To read the full manifest see the following link:

http://www.republiekallochtonie.nl/manifest-tegen-islamofobie

Dutch cabinet presents plan to combat forced marriage, honor killings, and homophobia

The Dutch cabinet recently presented an Action Plan for Self-determination. The cabinet will provide a yearly one million euros until 2017 to combat forced marriages, homophobia and violence related to honor. More than 150 specially trained volunteers will be supported to bring these taboo themes up for discussion among their own communities. Additionally a social media campaign will be initiated with stories related by people who support a change of mentality on these themes. This was written to the Dutch Lower House by Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Asscher.

I am Muslim and I’m against Homophobia, a Campaign in the Arab World

Monica Ricci Sargentini

May 18, 2013

A Moroccan citizen sent a photo against the penal code which criminalizes gays in Morocco. The sign says: “In solidarity with homosexuals. Love is not a crime.” Another speaks from Tunisia: “We are human like everyone else, we are everywhere and we deserve to be recognized.” “The Love campaign” launched by an online magazine calls on Muslims in the Arab world to, through Facebook, support a campaign against sexual discrimination especially laws that criminalize gays. But the initiative, which began yesterday in the international day against homophobia, will be active for the entire month of May.

“Gay Muslims are Muslims too”

11/10/2010

Rue 89

Tareq Oubrou, the imam of Bordeaux, opposes homophobia and the state sanctioned persecution of homosexuals in Muslim majority states. The imam wants to disassociate Islam with homophobia and anti-semetism by calling for more tolerance towards homosexuals in general, as well as homosexual Muslims.

Oubrou states that the practice of homosexuality isn’t approved by the Quran but gay Muslims are still Muslims in their own right. He argues that the seven Muslim majority states the practice of homosexuality with the death penalty base their jurisdiction upon unverified hadiths.

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism widespread amongst young Flemes and Flemish Muslims

08.02.2013

Sud Info

A recent study conducted by the Flemish daily De Morgan in Antwerp and Ghent revealed a high level of Islamophobia and xenophobia amongst young Flames. Accordingly, one in three Flames has a completely negative view on Muslims and almost every fifth participant is correspondingly convinced that many Muslims are criminals. Almost one quarter of the respondents (20%) think Muslims should be prohibited from practicing their religion in Belgium whereas 1/3 hesitated in face of the question.

The study equally reveals a disturbing level of homophobia amongst young Muslims in Belgium: almost half of them reject gay marriage and one quarter considers violence against homosexuals to be well justified. 21% of young Muslim participants approve of the dead penalty for homosexuality in countries where it is still practiced. What the study however also shows is that homophobia is not just widespread amongst Muslims, but also amongst young Flames of whom 1/3 say to be disturbed by the sight of two men kissing.

Young Muslims on the other hand show a higher level of anti-Semitic views: 45% of them agree with the prejudice of “Jews being a dominant social group” or “Jews to incite wars”.

Dutch MP Asks Imams to Denounce Homophobia

1 Feb 2012

 

Education minister van Bijsterveldt has appealed to the country’s imams to speak out against homophobia. Recent comments from the Dutch Institute of Psychologists (NIP) and the country’s Moroccan-Dutch Alliance (SMN) organization have drawn attention to the difficulties that Moroccan homosexuals, particularly youth, face. The organizations commented that although there is “progress” with respect to homosexual acceptance, gay Moroccan youth are more likely to suffer from psychological problems.

Van Bijsterveldt declined to impose mandatory attention to homosexuality in elementary schools, saying that it is up to the school to determine curriculum in that respect. However he did call upon the country’s imam’s to support gay rights, as “It must really come from inside one’s own community.”