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A Pride Festival dedicated to LGBT muslims. “I think we’ve earned a party”

A Pride Festival dedicated to LGBT muslims. “I think we’ve earned a party”

Pride festivals are all about celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. In recent times, Pride Festivals have started to focus on, and represent,  niche groups to showcase the diversity that exists within the community. Hence, there are larger marches featuring different groups or smaller events that are dedicated to a particular part within the community. Have you heard of Trans Pride and Black Pride before? These are some of the examples of prides that recognise and celebrate diversity within in LGBTQIA+ community.

A charity in the United Kingdoms has announced a similar effort. The charity institution, IMAAN, plans to launch a pride festival. This festival is going to be the first of its kind dedicated to celebrating LGBTQIA+ Muslims. Joy Muhammed, a 29 year old, and member of Imaan says, “I think we’ve earned a party”.

What is IMAAN?

Founded in 1999 in London, Imaan is the United Kingdom’s leading LGBTQI Muslim charity.  Furthermore, in Europe, Imaan is the biggest charity that supports LGBTQI Muslims. Imaan has empowered thousands of people, to reconcile their Islamic faith with their gender identity and sexual orientation.

A Pride Festival for LGBTQIA+ Muslims:

Imaan has scheduled the Pride Festival in London, for the year 2020. Why this festival? Well, according to the charity, this ‘one of its kind’ festival will celebrate the different and “unique identities” whilst bringing happiness and joy to the world. The charity stated,

Many LGBT+ Muslims still find themselves “isolated, without community and frequently facing homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and Islamaphobic abuse”.

-As reported by Independent

Hence, this festival is a step towards stopping the mistreatment that people from the community are facing.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the charity and so, Imaan has announced the launch of this unique event.

Furthermore, the charity is also hoping to source 5,000 pounds from crowdfunding for the festival. And so, they have launched a Crowdfunder page for this very purpose. Until now, the charity has raised 3,370 pounds of donation from the fundraiser.

In an interview with The Independent, Imaan explains the importance of having a festival dedicated to the Muslims of the LGBTQIA+ community. The charity said,

“Often LGBTQI Muslims are caught in the middle of islamophobia and homophobia, so we want to provide a safe and inclusive space where people feel like they do not have to choose between identities and that they can be LGBTQI and Muslim without pressure from those who say otherwise”.

“Our festival will provide a space for LGBTQI Muslims from across the UK to be empowered, engaged and to make no apologies for being practising Muslims and LGBTQI People.”

– As reported by The Independent

The organisation also added that Muslims are diverse. From languages they speak to their ethnic backgrounds, Muslims also have diversity. This means that the diversity within this community also extend to “gender and sexuality also”. The charity told The Independent,

“No one can have a padlock on Islam in the UK. We are Muslims that so happen to be LGBTQI.”

Why the need for dedicated Pride Festivals?

Previously, people who are a part of the Trans Pride and Black Pride have expressed the importance of such festivals. In a conversation to BBC’s Newsbeat, they said that such events are key because of the abuse they face from the LGBTQIA+ community.  Joy Muhammad, a member of Imaan says that it’s no different for them. The 29 year old said,

“There’s Islamophobia that we sometimes have to deal with within Pride and within LGBTQI communities,” she says.

“Not just at Pride, but within the queer community.”

-As reporter by BBC

Furthermore, Joy added that many at times, people face the problem of having to choose between their religion or their “queer identity”. This is not only true for the Muslim community but also for other religious communities. However, she does not see any conflict between the two. Even so, Joy would not “openly discuss certain topics” including sexuality within the muslim community. According to her, it’s not just because of the attitude people carry within the community but also,

“sexual orientation – whether queer or straight – isn’t really discussed in the first place.”

“There are a lot of conservative circles within the Muslim community for cultural reasons.”

-As reported by BBC

Almass Badat, 28 year old film director and member of Hidayat, a Muslim LGBTI+ group, supports the plan for the festival. Looking back at his childhood, Almass said that it was difficult to find others who were also queer.

“It’s really nice when you walk into a space and you can see someone that maybe looks like you, or has the same values – it doesn’t always have to be visible.”

-As reported by BBC

In conversation with Radio 1 Newsbeat, Joy said,

“We’ve had Bi Pride, we’ve had Black Pride, we have Trans Pride. So now we’ve got Muslim LGBTQI Pride.”

“It’ll celebrate the diversity within the BAME community and the LGBT community to show we’re not all the same, we don’t have just one identity.

Source Credit: The Independent, Imaan, BBC

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