Against overwhelming odds, LGBT Muslim leaders refuse to let go of hope. They offer vulnerable LGBT Muslims safe spaces, much needed community and a sense of belonging, all that they are denied in mainstream Muslim spaces.
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 same-sex unions with drugs and alcohol on the basis that both are considered sins. If the objective was to create safe spaces for marginalized LGBT Muslims, then the discussion failed.
The power of small acts of kindnesses should not be underestimated, for they are more powerful than military expeditions. Indeed, it is not the youth who are loved that are prone to radical indoctrination but those who are forsaken at the margins. It is also important to understand that strength lies in diversity, for if we unconditionally reach out to others, they will likely reach out to us in our time of need.
How can Muslim LGBT lead the dialogue if a majority amongst them segregate their lives from conservative spaces? The importance of dialogue within conservative Muslim communities cannot be over-emphasized. Such a dialogue will have to be part of a much-needed internal critique, for outside solutions may be rejected as anti-Muslim bigotry.
Rev. Gretta Vosper is concerned about how mindless faith can motivate harmful actions, and how basing moral authority in a supernatural source can trump "humanistic endeavours." These are extremely important questions that merit careful reflection.
Some Muslims who struggle between their sexuality and faith internalize the opinions of conservative Muslim scholars. The only way they can address such cognitive dissonance is by accepting their struggle as a test from God.
Prescribing gay Muslims to remain in the closet is a bullying tactic that has no basis in the Islamic tradition. Likewise, caricaturing the genuine human need for mawadda as a compulsive desire is a dehumanizing tactic that violates the core Islamic values of human dignity, egalitarianism, compassion and social justice.
The overriding objectives of Islamic law include justice, human dignity, equality, removal of hardship, prevention of harm, and realizing benefits for people. It would be against the spirit of Islam to advocate that Islamic law invalidates the prayers of queer Muslims or to condemn queer Muslims to a life without intimacy, love and companionship. How long will conservative Muslim leaders inflict scriptural abuse and channel their prejudice by selectively parsing the religious tradition?