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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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Tamil Nadu Relaxes TV Serial Shooting Restrictions Further

Tamil Nadu has relaxed conditions for TV serial shooting

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami has announced relaxation in TV serial shooting norms in the state. Wikimedia Commons

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Saturday announced further relaxation in television shooting in the state.

In a statement issued here he said the television serial shooting will be allowed from May 31 onwards with a maximum of 60 persons at the spot including actors and technicians.

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Initially the government had fixed the number of persons at the shooting spot at 20. Pixabay

The other conditions that the government had earlier laid down were: Shooting is allowed only indoors or in the houses having compound walls; No shooting is allowed in public places, except in rural and on COVID-19 containment areas; No permission for onlookers; Spraying of disinfectant before and after the shooting at the shoot spots; Barring actors, all others should wear masks and maintain social distance.

Also Read: Vaccine to Prevent COVID-19 Could be Ready by October End: Pfizer CEO

During breaks actors too should wear masks; All equipments, vehicles coming to the shooting spots should be sanitized. (IANS)

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#21DaysAllyChallenge: Initiative to Support Inclusion of LGBT+ Community in all Spheres

#21DaysAllyChallenge is a drive to celebrate LGBT+ Pride

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The recent drive aims to support the cause of inclusion of LGBT+ Community in different spheres. Pixabay

In a recent drive, corporates, academia and individuals from across the world have signed up to extend support for inclusion of the LGBT+ community in different spheres.

#21DaysAllyChallenge, a unique initiative conceptualised by Pride Circle, a Diversity & Inclusion Consultancy, aims to bring a holistic social change by building a community of passionate allies, across the world. The campaign will kick off on June 1 which marks the beginning of the Global Pride Month.

As the world is trying to stabilize in the current circumstances caused by the pandemic, this is an effort to push forward for inclusion. The movement, led across India, is not only joined by individuals, influencers from 28 nations and 70 organisations, but also by academic institutions such as IIMs, IITs, NMIMS, MICA, Tagore International School.

Under this initiative, allies from across the world will engage in a series of 21 mini-challenges spread over a period of 21 days in the month of June. This is based on science that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

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As a part of this initiative, allies from across the world will engage in a series of 21 mini-challenges spread over a period of 21 days in the month of June. Pixabay

Commenting on this empowering initiative, Ramkrishna Sinha, Co-Founder, Pride Circle, said, “In our country where homosexuality legalization is yet to complete two years, this India-born initiative is our leap of faith to create a large-scale, global movement to advocate for equal rights and fair treatment for the LGBT+. We believe that allies are some of the most effective and powerful voices for this movement. The contribution of allies in terms of helping create a space of comfort, help bridge the gap in understanding of others with respect to the importance of equality, fairness, acceptance, and mutual respect, can be vast.

The #21DaysAllyChallenge is an affirmative action in the direction of building an inclusive and just society with the support from the allies.”

Echoing the sentiments, Srini Ramaswamy, Co-Founder, Pride Circle, added, “We are really humbled and excited by the response we have received from several national and international organizations, influencers, schools, colleges, voluntary groups which are committed to championing the cause for the greater good of the LGBT+ community as well as the society.

Pride Circle urges more and more organisations and individuals to come forward and partake in this movement. We are confident that with every new ally we create, we are loosening the shackles of homo/bi/transphobic conditioning our society is conditioned with.”

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The initiative is working towards the dignity, equality, and increased visibility of the LGBT+ community. Pixabay

Working towards establishing social equity through affirmative actions since 2017, Pride Circle has taken a significant move through #21DaysAllyChallenge. They have brought together the whole gamut of the stakeholders. Individuals and influencers from schools, workplaces to global human rights bodies, all are set to demonstrate their allyship and influence a lot more to commemorate self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of the LGBT+ community.

Also Read: Vaccine to Prevent COVID-19 Could be Ready by October End: Pfizer CEO

“Allies play a critical role in the broader fight to advance LGBTQ equality and inclusion in key areas of life, including the workplace,” said Milagros Chirinos, Associate Director of HRC’s Global Workplace Equality Program. “We are incredibly excited to support Pride Circle’s #21DaysAllyChallenge to engage businesses and organizations in promoting allyship during Pride Month and beyond.” Milagros Chirinos, Associate Director, Global Workplace Equality Program, Human Rights Campaign Foundation (USA).

“This initiative is a great opportunity for people in India and across the world to come together in support of equality for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. Visible allies to the LGBT community make a huge difference, whether that’s championing LGBT rights in your work, or supporting LGBT family members or friends. Now, more than ever, we encourage everyone who believes in LGBT equality to Come Out For Equality and find out more about how they can be an ally,” said Pete Mercer, Head, Global Programmes, Stonewall (UK).

Anyone can sign-up and participate free-of-cost by clicking on the link https://thepridecircle.com/21daysallychallenge/   (IANS)

 

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Author Maria Wirth Shares Her Opinions on The Idea of Hinduism

Author Maria Wirth speaks on Religion, Indian Culture, etc

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Maria Wirth
A picture of Author Maria Wirth. Facebook

By Muskan Bhantagar

Author Maria Wirth belongs to Germany and has been living in India from past 38 years.  She is the author of the book ‘Thank You India: A German Woman’s Journey to the Wisdom of Yoga’. Newsgram gets in a conversation with her over a telephonic interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Muskan Bhantagar: 38 years back when you came to visit india, what was the thing about indian culture or precisely hinduism that made you fall in love with it and stay back in India?

Maria Wirth: Actually, it was not too much India that attracted me. When I was in Germany still i had many questions like i was very much intrested in what is life and what is the meaning of life and I was reading on Buddhism at a time and I was not connecting Buddhism to India strangely, and i knew very little about India. So a friend convinced me to stop over in India and only when i bought a book by Swami Vivekananda, i discovered what great treasure is in India. I had no idea, anything about what Hinduism is about. it’s just what you hear usually in the west, is about caste systems,etc. So I didn’t associate India with anything positive actually and then by chance, I discovered there’s such a great treasure here and it is such a pity that we don’t know about it.

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Maria recalls how initially she could not relate India with anything positive. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: As we read in your articles that Islam and christianity have been promoting and propogating their religion for years now, but the hindus don’t do so. What do you think can be the reason behind this? 

Maria Wirth: Well I think, I was just writing an article I mean when you think how much Hindus have suffered over the last thousand years. So many were beheaded and tortured under the Muslims and then again under the British also. British were also very very brutual, especially after 1857 and etc. And hindus had no way to stand up for their religion. And I think this has gone very deep into the system of Hindus.

And then ofcourse after Independence, this secular education and even Hinduism is now put down even more than earlier. Earlier, education was not so under the Muslims, they had to lie low but they could still have gurukuls and their schools but not now.

So I think one reason is that you have been intimidated so much and also expect so much and like Arun Shourie, in his book he writes that 6th standard students learn in school, etc in Bengal that Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treat the human beings with dignity and equality. I mean such sentences. When you’re a child, it goes into you and then you just look down on it. And I think slowly slowly, even parents of these children say they have been brought up already like this.

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Maria says that Hindus were previously tortured under the Islamic Community. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: A large number of Indians are unaware about their own culture and heritage. What do you think can be a solution to this problem?

Maria Wirth: I mean it should get also in the schools. I was so shocked when I came to know that nothing is taught in Indian schools. Neither Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishad. Upanishad is philosophy, there is nothing to do with religion. It was very insidious that the British kind of bend or this stuff from being taught, because it doesn’t help them because it would make people strong. They wanted to destroy Indian sanskriti, Indian culture because it has lot of strength. Now like the young generation in India, they were brain-washed into believing that Hinduism is not worth anything. It’s so wrong, so wrong.

Author Maria Wirth spoke to us over various topics. We’re thankful to her for taking out time to talk to us and share her wise opinions. We hope to get more of her soon and help viewers know her better.