Junaid Jahangir
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Dr. Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He occasionally attends the Southminster-Steinhauer United Church and is inspired by the elder Muslim mystics. He works with Alabama based Dr. Hussein Abdul Latif on developing a renewed perspective on Muslim same-sex unions.

Entries by Junaid Jahangir

Muslim Leaders Must Do More To Stop Homophobia And Prejudice

(10) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 2:49 PM

A Bangladeshi LGBT rights activist, Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend were brutally hacked to death by an extremist group for "promoting homosexuality." The funeral picture showed local community members and Muslims offering his funeral prayers.

This clearly draws the line between those who see religion as a...

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What Allah Means To Muslims

(13) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 1:16 PM

Gretta Vosper, who has been dubbed as the atheist minister, recently expressed on CTV that people "are not in search of doctrinal beliefs that are dictated by religious organizations" but rather "want to find ways to create meaning in their lives, ... improve their own well-being and their...

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The Greatest Challenge For LGBT Muslims Lies Within

(3) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 2:38 PM

Recently, news surfaced that Saudi Arabia was mulling over executing LGBT persons who come out online. This should not be surprising given the fate of prisoners of conscience like Hamza Kashgari, Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair.

It would also not be...

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Hug Ahmadi Muslims And Hug Pakistani Christians

(2) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 12:17 PM

Recently, Asad Shah, a popular shopkeeper was mercilessly murdered for being an Ahmadi Muslim. He was not murdered in Pakistan, where such acts are rampant owing to extreme social ostracism against Ahmadi Muslims. He was murdered in Glasgow, where his family members are afraid for their...

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4 LGBT-Affirming Islamic Teachings

(4) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 10:57 AM

There are many LGBT Muslims and many LGBT persons who embrace Islam as their faith. They address the prohibitive Islamic texts on homosexuality in their diverse ways. Some adopt the "martyr of love" narrative to live their life as a struggle. Others live with severe cognitive dissonance, often zealously following...

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A Muslim Reflection On Fear And Violence

(5) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 1:54 PM

Last year, Rev. Chris New at my home Church -- Southminster-Steinhauer United (SSUC), invited me for a joint Christian-Muslim reflection in the wake of the Paris tragedy and the Syrian refugee crisis. I shared the following words with the beautiful congregation.


video from SSUC, starts around the 25:00 time mark

My mother in Pakistan asked me if I was safe. She was concerned about news of backlash against Muslim communities in the wake of yet another terrorist attack. The Paris tragedy led to hateful incidents in Ontario. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, Muslims of all stripes find themselves on the defensive. This includes those in interfaith relationships who are raising their children in multi-faith traditions.

I told my mother that I was in the safest place on Earth. So many blasts have taken place in my home city of Lahore in Pakistan, that I have lost count. In fact, my sister witnessed one from a distance. Due to my work on Islamic law and same-sex unions, I am cautious of Muslim majority countries. Given the hysteria related to Muslims, I do not go to Conferences in the U.S. either.

Canada is my sanctuary. I fell in love with her people the day I set foot at the Calgary International Airport in the summer of 2000. I had missed my connecting flight to Edmonton and was quite concerned about additional expenses given my limited funds. Yet, with a smile on her face, an older lady with a cowboy hat told me I needn't worry about that. Since that day I did not have to worry about much.

I have been protected by the love of the wonderful people, who have become my family and friends in this city. I live next to an amazing neighbour, Rob Wells, who has been there for me in some of my most difficult of times. He brought me to SSUC. My late grandmother would often tell me to attend this Church, for Jesus also belongs to Muslims and that prayers are heard in the different houses of Allah.

At SSUC, Anne McCracken nudged me to write. Along with Rev. Nancy Steeves, I welcomed a baby boy in an interfaith Muslim-Christian ceremony. I have even performed a Muslim funeral at this Church when conservative Muslim doors were shut. Like the work of our ministers, Rev. Nancy Steeves and Rev. Chris New, I have tried very hard to offer an expansive vision of Islam.

I fully acknowledge that the Qur'an like any ancient religious text is imbued with contradictions of its own. As in the Star Wars movie, it can be wielded for the light side or the dark side of the force. There are texts that condone violence and those which condemn it. The Qur'an can be used to stoke supremacism or promote pluralism. Indeed, as the Prophet's cousin Imam Ali asserted, "The Book is Silent for it is us who speak."

Canadians refuse to give into hysteria, as they do in other countries.

In the present trying times, one extremist group after another rears its ugly head. This includes the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the most recent incarnation ISIS. Yet, my colleagues at Universalist Muslims and I refuse to let go of Islam. We cannot in good conscience leave religion to the hands of hateful ideologues, of which there is no dearth in this world.

We choose to stay to offer hope and inspiration, to facilitate ease and comfort and to show a path of an all-inclusive Islam. For us faith is not about mindless religious rituals or rigid laws. For us the uncompromising concept of Tawhid (Oneness) is about being at peace with ourselves and about embracing our unity in diversity.

We believe that all of us, gay and straight, religious and atheist, white and beautifully coloured, are all part of one body. If one part of this body aches, the rest of the body suffers. We fully embrace the Prophet's teaching that echoes Matthew 25 that Allah is within the sick, the hungry and the thirsty and that we find Allah by caring for the vulnerable and the poor.

I know Pakistanis gave into fear and so poorly treated Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis and Shiis. When the army bombed the Taliban, Pakistani provinces refused internally displaced refugees out of fear that that the Taliban would come in. Pakistan surely has a large army and even nukes but Canada is strong where Pakistan is weak, for we refuse to give into hate.

Canadians refuse to give into hysteria, as they do in other countries. We rose up for a woman who wasn't even a citizen for a niqab, which is even discouraged in Muslim rituals like the daily prayer and the Hajj -pilgrimage to Mecca. Cold Lake citizens came out to remove the mosque graffiti. Similarly, Canadian communities galvanized against the recent hateful attacks in Ontario. Indeed, the way we put hate mongors and self-serving politicians in their place speaks of the immense reservoirs of Canadian strength.

All of this makes me proud and safe to say, Mamma, do not worry for I live in a place where my people follow that ancient piece of wisdom echoed by Muhammad and uttered by Jesus over 2000 years ago in Aramaic -- Hivu lkum (Love One Another).

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Muslims Offer Valentine's Day Message To LGBT Muslims

(5) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 1:37 PM

Love alone cuts argument short, for it alone comes to the rescue when you cry for help against disputes ~ Rumi

Valentine's Day will soon be upon us. Many Muslims celebrate it in their own special way. Some celebrate it to honour the love for their beloveds, while others cherish...

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Conservative Muslims Must Address Their Deep-Rooted Heterosexism

(19) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 11:47 AM

On January 28, Rev. Mark Chiang from the Edmonton Presbytery (United Church), Netta Phillet and Priel Buzny from Temple Beth Shalom, and I participated in a panel on the Abrahamic faiths and homosexuality at the University of Alberta. The responses to my presentation reflected the unprovoked and unneeded suffering of...

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Freedom Of Speech Does Not Mean Freedom To Hate

(21) Comments | Posted January 18, 2016 | 8:21 AM

This Armada that sails against us, carries in its bowels the Inquisition. God forbid it succeeds, for then there will be no more liberty in England, of conscience or of thought. We cannot be defeated ~ Elizabeth - The Golden Age

Dan Barnes' post in the...

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Stop Hosting Hateful Speakers In The Name Of Religious Freedom

(25) Comments | Posted January 13, 2016 | 4:27 PM

Many of us in university and interfaith circles uphold safe spaces. We let students know that they are welcome in our spaces irrespective of their religious and political affiliations, gender expression, sexual orientation and other characteristics. Whether they sport traditional religious garb or express themselves with colour as LGBT persons,...

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LGBT Muslim Leaders Offer Hope For The New Year

(1) Comments | Posted December 29, 2015 | 11:00 AM

2016 is upon us.

Straight Muslim activists like Linda Sarsour, Wajahat Ali, Haroon Moghul and Mehdi Hasan have made it clear that while they oppose homophobia, they also do not find any theological justification for Muslim same-sex unions.

While some may support...

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We Muslims Need To Be At Peace With Ourselves

(22) Comments | Posted December 24, 2015 | 1:29 PM

Some Muslim leaders have expressed "grave concerns" over the Study Qur'an, a recent translation and commentary of the Qur'an because of its promotion of salvific pluralism and universalism. Such Muslim leaders promote exclusivism and supremacism and also bully fellow Muslims, who uphold inclusive values,...

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Muslims Must Reject Exclusivist Theology

(21) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 2:49 PM

Some Muslim leaders have expressed "grave concerns" over the Study Qur'an, a recent translation and commentary of the Qur'an led by prominent Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Their main concern seems to be the promotion of perennialism, a philosophy of religion that views each of the world's religions...

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Let LGBT Muslims Speak For Themselves

(3) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 5:24 PM

Recently, American Muslim activist Linda Sarsour broached the issue of LGBT Muslims, among other issues on the Al Jazeera program UpFront. She raised the concern of creating spaces to bring LGBT Muslims closer to Islam.

Those involved in the discussion were cissgender males, one of whom equated...

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Conservative Muslims Must Stop Backing Preachers Of Hate

(39) Comments | Posted December 7, 2015 | 9:46 AM

According to one of the chief Imams in France, Hassan el-Alaoui, "between 100 and 160 mosques will be closed because ... they preach hatred, or use takfiri (excommunication) speech." He clearly mentioned that, "this kind of speech shouldn't even be allowed in Islamic countries."

Often, under the guise...

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Muslims Must Stand Against The Persecution Of Ahmadis

(7) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 11:14 AM

Recently, a bloodthirsty mob torched an Ahmadi owned factory in the Pakistani city of Jhelum. In contrast to Canada, where communities galvanize against hate, there were no rallies in defence of Ahmadi neighbours, and social media was ablaze with their "heresies" instead of condemnation of persecution.

...
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Umpteen Condemnations Do Not Stop Anti-Muslim Bigotry

(3) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 9:45 AM

I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid ... and he gives me courage. ~ Gandalf

Sheila Musaji has been compiling a...

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Constructive Self-Criticism Can Stop The Vicious Cycle Of Hate

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 11:45 AM

British Muslim activist and former radical, Maajid Nawaz wrote on the Paris tragedy, "Jihadism ... is incredibly hard to tackle, because its recruits remain invisible in our very own societies, born and raised among us, fluent in our languages and culture, but full of venom for everything they...

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Conservative Muslims Must Lead the Dialogue With LGBT Muslims

(22) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 6:02 PM

What else can you do when faced with death, what can anyone do? You go on living. -- Bilbo Baggins

Recently, in London, U.K, Sohail Ahmed, a Muslim gay man, had to listen to a fellow Muslim radio show caller suggest that gay people were influenced...

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Affirming Transgender Persons Is a Catholic Value

(2) Comments | Posted October 10, 2015 | 10:08 AM

"Don't act like the hypocrite who thinks he can conceal his wiles by loudly quoting the Qur'an." ~ Hafez (14th century Persian poet)

Recently, a parochial vicar in Edmonton added to the debate on an issue as trivial as the use of washroom facilities by a transgender student...

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