Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat ~ Mother Teresa
As Muslims celebrate the festival of Eid, there are LGBTQ Muslims of various denominations, who may find themselves alone on this holiday. Cut off from their biological families, some find community amongst online friends. Such a community alleviates but does not necessarily resolve all their concerns.
There are LGBTQ persons for whom it gets better. They do well economically, professionally and in personal relationships. But not all sexual minorities are so fortunate. While religious law oppresses them for their sexuality, they may also face discrimination on the basis of looks, smarts, income and profession within the LGBTQ community.
Harping on "Abrahamic morality," conservative Muslim leaders forget that the objective of religious law is to empower and uplift the most vulnerable in the community. The marginalized are often construed as the poor and those of a lower social caste, whom the law seeks to protect. However, the same law amplifies the oppression for Muslim sexual minorities.
Alienated and marginalized by conservative Muslim leaders, LGBTQ Muslims experience severe cognitive dissonance between spirituality and sexuality.
Generally, Islamic values break down barriers based on wealth, looks and colour. The overwhelming emphasis of Islamic teachings is on constant reflection on being a better human being. Wealth and power are viewed as subservient to ethical conduct.
Texts attributed to the Prophet indicate that it is taqwa (ethical consciousness) that matters instead of one's racial origin, whether Arab or non-Arab. Other texts mention that Allah is more concerned with hearts than with bodies or faces. By emphasizing Allah's love, such values help build self-esteem.
However, religious teachings ironically destroy the self-esteem of sexual minorities by inculcating self-hatred through texts that promote draconian punishments. This is especially so when conservative Muslim leaders reject affection, intimacy and companionship for the very people they were supposed to protect.
Alienated and marginalized by conservative Muslim leaders, LGBTQ Muslims experience severe cognitive dissonance between spirituality and sexuality. The same faith that could have salvaged their self-esteem by helping address internalized racism and body image issues, instigates self-hatred.
Outwardly, those who are hurting may mask their brokenness through narcissistic attention seeking. Sometimes this manifests through endless selfies coupled with a rigid defense of traditional morality. Such low self-worth can become so ingrained to necessitate professional help.
These concerns are not unique to LGBTQ Muslims but are shared by those from orthodox religions and forbidding cultural norms. It is for this reason, affirming Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and atheists amongst others banded together to reach out to LGBTQ Muslims through the following "Eid Mubarak" video. (This is the third video in the Allah Loves Us All series.)
The message of this constellation of voices is one of affirmation and love. It is to let those who are broken, lonely and hurting know that there are people who love them unconditionally. The message is to resist cultural expectations that put people down based on sexuality, religious denomination, looks, colour and mannerism.
Indeed, the Qur'an says to not despair of the mercy of Allah. Why? Because Allah loves us all!
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