LGBT-Muslim Solidarity campaign in East London
Unity against all hate. Oppose homophobia. Support LGBT Muslims
Wednesday 21 October, 12 noon-2pm, Whitechapel tube station
A new LGBT-Muslim Solidarity campaign is being launched by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, to engage with Muslim & other communities. It will start with a street stall outside Whitechapel tube station, London, on Wednesday 21 October, from 12 noon - to 2pm.
The stall will include LGBT Muslims and non-Muslims and will involve direct dialogue with people in the local community. We’ll be inviting the public to stop and chat with us - and offering them leaflets about LGBT and Muslim issues, including leaflets from the LGBT Muslim organisation Imaan and from Asian LGBT groups.
“Our initiative has been prompted by requests from East London LGBT Muslims who have suffered abuse and harassment, often from fellow Muslims. They’ve asked us to come to East London to challenge homophobic prejudice,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“The aim of this campaign is 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 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 in our LGBT-Muslim solidarity campaign, aimed at building bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims, for our common good,” he said.
Ejel Khan, a gay Muslim and social activist, and a participant next Wednesday, 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, will also be on the stall next Wednesday. He added:
"As a gay Muslim myself, 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."