Last Wednesday, the Peter Tatchell Foundation launched the LGBT Muslim Solidarity Campaign by the Whitechapel Tube station. There was a mix reaction of hostility and support from the surrounding Muslim community in East London.
The campaign urges to unite against all hate, oppose homophobia and support LGBT Muslims. It’s also meant to help build solidarity between Muslims and the LGBT community.
Explaining the thinking behind the campaign, Peter Tatchell, said:
“The LGBT-Muslim Solidarity campaign is seeking to reach out, create dialogue and bring the Muslim and LGBT communities together, to oppose the prejudice, discrimination and hate crime that both communities experience. We also want to support and empower LGBT Muslims, to give them a voice and visibility – and to tackle anti-LGBT prejudice in the Muslim community and anti-Muslim prejudice in the LGBT community. Our goal is unity and solidarity to oppose all hate. This is the first phase of our LGBT-Muslim solidarity campaign, to overcome divisions between Muslim and LGB people, for our common good,” he said.
Ejel Khan, a gay Muslim and social activist, and a participant at the launch event, said:
“It is imperative that our LGBT Muslim voices are heard and that we engage with the mainstream Muslim community. I’ve spoken in some mosques on LGBT issues but many mosques still don’t acknowledge and support their LGBT worshippers. That needs to change.”
Sohail Ahmed, who is gay and from a devout Muslim family, also attended on Wednesday. He added:
“As a gay Muslim, I always feared that Muslims and non-Muslims alike would view me negatively for being both Muslim and gay. I thought that mentioning I’m gay would make me and my religion look bad and that everyone would judge me as being a ‘fake Muslim.’ I felt so alone and thought that no one would understand me. I never told anyone. This campaign has the opportunity to change lives, and even save some. I wish I had come across something like this during my darkest moments as a young gay Muslim. No one deserves to be alone and unsupported, especially not LGBT Muslims, who often go through extreme difficulties because of their sexuality, faith and ethnicity.”
*Photo/Video credit: The Peter Tatchell Foundation