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Was the Orlando Shooting a queerphobic attack? Here is what the Queer Muslims have to say

Many queer Muslims took to social media to remind others that they exist, too.

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Image Source: Buzzfeed (Dylan Martinez / Reuters)
  • The debate on whether Muslim communities need to be more welcoming of gay people left the queer Muslims at the epicenter of the conversation
  • Many queer Muslims took to social media to remind others that they exist, too
  • Being Muslim and queer are not mutually exclusive

While the world is mourning over the deadly mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 killed and 53 injured, it is true that this incident has become more of a blessing for the queer groups who are often abandoned by the society and their religion. Post this incident, the Islamic Organisations who keep mum about the LGBT issues, has shown some sense of responsibility towards this community.

The American Muslims have condemned the shooting and the shooter. American Muslim groups issued statements expressing their solidarity with the LGBT community and emphasizing tolerance as they brace themselves for the sadly familiar backlash that they have come to expect in the aftermath of such events, said a Buzzfeed report.

The debate on whether Muslim communities need to be more welcoming of gay people left the queer Muslims at the epicenter of the conversation.

“I hope we empower and uplift our LGBT Muslim brothers and sisters, who often suffer in silence and have been ostracized and demonized by multiple communities in America for their sexuality, religion and ethnicity, “says popular U.S. playwright and journalist Wajahat Ali on his Facebook page on Sunday, June 12.

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“We will not be erased in this tragedy. We will not be pitted against ourselves and others — we are both and all things. It’s not ‘queers versus Muslims’ and it has not been historically,” said Jordan Alam (24), a queer Bengali American writer and activist living and working in Seattle.

Izzaddine Mustafa(24), a trans man living in Brooklyn, New York while speaking to Buzzfeed said,“being a Muslim and queer are not mutually exclusive. We are here, we exist — and we are here to help bridge the divide that the politicians and corporate media makers are creating among our communities.”

“Millions of my Muslim sisters and brothers are queer and millions more of us believe in equality. This scumbag and his bullets don’t speak for us, “lashes out Saladin Ahmed on twitter.

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Street Protest. Image Source: The Atlantic

Zaynab Shahar, a queer, black doctoral candidate at the Chicago Theological Seminary is also a co-founder of the Third Coast Queer Muslims of Chicago and runs a Tumblr for queer Muslims. She speaks to BuzzFeed ,“Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti says in his last sermon ‘love all and hate none’ is ‘but never refuse to bless and help the needy and the poor, the widow and the orphan, if they come to your door. This is your Mission of Peace, to serve the people.’ […] I take this very seriously as a Sufi Muslim. If I can live a life of service to ending oppression, if I can live a life dedicated to writing and embodying activist theologies, making space for queer Muslims and queer people of faith at large to connect with the divine and each other, then I will have lived a good life.

I want people to know that our community, like any other, is a symphony of stories, whose complexity and diversity are like the notes on a page. No one note is more important than the other, they are all essential. But it only begins to unfold if you take the time to truly listen,” said a Buzzfeed report.

While it is easy to blame and bring one community against another, it takes true strength to stand up and fight for other’s rights and defend one’s faith from false accusations. It is required of us to have a broader mind to see things as they are,resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia and Islamophobia.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • devika todi

    It is required of us to have a broader mind to see things as they are,resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia and Islamophobia.

    I could not agree more. Isn’t it high time we lived peacefully and harmoniously, with equal rights?

  • Karishma Vanjani

    Terrorists cant be singled out from the haystack of Muslim Community. Terrorists have no religion to belong to a community.

SHARE
  • devika todi

    It is required of us to have a broader mind to see things as they are,resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia and Islamophobia.

    I could not agree more. Isn’t it high time we lived peacefully and harmoniously, with equal rights?

  • Karishma Vanjani

    Terrorists cant be singled out from the haystack of Muslim Community. Terrorists have no religion to belong to a community.

Next Story

India Assists Syria By Rebuilding Brain Power

India silently extends support to Syria by rebuilding brain power

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India helps Syria
India is helping Syria by providing them medicinal and educational support. Wikimedia Commons

BY RANJANA NARAYAN

In the midst of the global focus on Syria with Turkeys latest offensive putting a big question mark on when the war will end, India has been quietly doing its bit to help the Syrian people cope, and also laying the foundation for its bright future.

It’s not just with medicines and food supplies that India has been helping the war-wracked country, but now with education too.

India is providing scholarships to 1,000 Syrian students to study in Indian universities, in undergraduate, post-graduate courses and even PhD.

Behind the move to provide scholarships to students from Syria is a hope that it would in the near future replicate the success stories from the African continent — where several current or former Presidents, Prime Ministers and Vice Presidents have attended educational or training institutions in India.

Syrian Ambassador to India Riad Abbas thinks so too, and is happy at the move by India.

“India supports Syria in many ways. They support Syrian people with medicine, with food, and this initiative has come from Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) for our students,” Abbas told IANS in an interview.

“Around 1,000 students have come to India to study in different universities and different courses – from Bachelors to Masters to PhD”

“Through this means India is assisting Syria by rebuilding the brain” – here he taps his head with a meaningful smile, “the brain of our people to plant education, science, and peace”.

According to Abbas, it is “the best thing to rebuild humanity and the people”.

Could these students one day become leaders in Syria too?

“Definitely they could become… They will come back to our homeland to rebuild Syria. And maybe they will be in the government in future. They will be like ambassadors of India to Syria and Arab countries,” he said.

Abbas said that all the Syrian students currently studying in India as part of the initiative “are satisfied by the nature of Indian people and the hospitality. They are happy in their universities, and are fully supported by the universities”.

India-Syria
India is providing scholarships to 1,000 Syrian students to study in Indian universities. Wikimedia Commons

The students are in 11 government and private universities across the country.

Abbas hopes the initiative will become a yearly feature. “I hope we make it every year, if it is possible.

“Because we look forward to enhancing our relationship with India, and we want all our students to get their certificates from India, because Indian education is of a higher level, compared to other countries — similar to the UK and US,” he added.

Another important factor is the students “feel at home” in India due to the cultural affinities.

“There are similar traditions between the two countries and because of this they feel at home.

“Most of our students will come back to our homeland to help their families, their people and to rebuild Syria,” he said.

Though the Western world sees Syria as badly battered and bruised, India sees Damascus as a strong country with a powerful military that has been able to determinedly push back the Islamic State militia, which a few years ago had threatened to overrun the country.

While a few years ago the West was loudly calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, today those voices have accepted his rule.

The Syrian envoy agrees. “Since a long time we have been fighting terrorism on behalf of the world. All terror groups came to Syria by Turkey’s support, they (Ankara) opened the border and facilitated their smuggling into Syria to kill our people and destroy our country.

“But now the last bit is left. We will defeat the terror groups on the ground, which get support from America. It is America which leads the army of mercenaries to fight against our army, and our army has defeated them. So now we are faced with the American army on the ground of Syria. This means that America’s project in the Middle East has failed, because of Syria,” the envoy told IANS.

India
Syria has cordial relations with India, since the independence of both countries. Both have similar views in many cases in the international arena. Pixabay

“They (the West and the US in particular) declared in the past, ‘We will change the government of Syria, we will change the president, we will do like this and that’… It was only talking for talking’s sake. Only they destroyed the country, but they couldn’t achieve their aims to change the Syrian government, and Syrian policy.

“And we are proud of our relation with BRICS countries, and especially with India. We highly appreciate India’s position and the Indian people, and we pray for God to save this country and its people.”

On Syria-India relations, he said: “We have cordial relations with India, since the independence of both countries. Both have similar views in many cases in the international arena.”

He praised India’s stand on the Syrian issue – on support for a political solution in Syria put forward by the people themselves, help realise the aspirations of the Syrian people and stand against any external intervention in Syria.

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“Because India has a strong voice in the international arena and many countries follow India’s position. And if all countries are like India, there would be no problem,” he added. (IANS)