This year for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, HRC Foundation is launching an online campaign to tell the stories of LGBTQ Muslims and their allies. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar when God revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad.
During this time, Muslims, including LGBTQ Muslims, fast from dawn until dusk and are encouraged to pray, read the Qur’an and give to charity.
“By acknowledging our differences and fully accepting our humanity, we can create the opportunity to support each other in defending our human and civil rights protected under U.S. law,” said Imam Dayiee Abdullah, member of HRC’s Religion Council and Executive Director of MECCA Institute. “May our prayers for greater inner peace and help for our neighbors manifest in our world today.”
We hope the reflections offered every week starting May 27 until Ramadan culminates in Eid al-Fitr on June 25, will bless souls, revive spirits, renew minds and strengthen bodies. These stories will be hosted on the HRC website and on Twitter and Facebook.
Our first post comes from Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Executive Director of MECCA Institute, an inclusive and progressive online Islamic seminary, and a member of HRC Foundation’s Religion Council. He is the first – and only – openly gay imam in the Americas.
The Ramadan Reflections is a faith-filled resource that compiles reflections written by LGBTQ Muslims and allies from across the United States.
As-salaamu Alaykum (Peace be upon you) and Ramadan Mubarak (Success in your Ramadan celebration). I am sure I speak for the ever-growing number of LGBTQ Muslim imams worldwide when I say well wishes to one and all – LGBTQ members and our allies of the Abrahamic and other faiths.
Ramadan is a very special time of year for Muslims, as it is a religious celebration similar in ways to the fasting of Lent and the family get-togethers associated with the feasting that occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is our festival to promote charity and harmony within the Muslim world. Ramadan also calls for Muslims – whether conservative on one end, moderate to progressive in the middle, or secular and nonreligious– to reflect upon the past year and be thankful for our personal and community-wide blessings, as well as offer prayers and statements of forgiveness to the wider, non-Muslim communities worldwide.
As a person with more than 45 years of LGBTQ advocacy and a progressive Muslim, the struggle for recognition in both communities has not been an easy one. I can say with confidence that the LGBTQ community has made strides in fighting against Islamophobia, and acknowledge that progressive Muslims continue to build inclusion and confront the homophobia within Muslim communities.
Seeing LGBTQ Muslims and their allies continue the sometimes-arduous work to eliminate Islamophobia within the queer communities, there is a reciprocal recognition by LGBTQ people and Muslims alike that anti-LGBTQ bigotry and anti-Muslim bigotry are two sides of the same coin – both promote unwarranted discrimination against integral parts of their humanness. By acknowledging our differences and fully accepting our humanity, we can create the opportunity to support each other in defending our human and civil rights protected under U.S. law.
After the atrocity in Orlando last year, I saw the LGBTQ community and Muslim community come together in peace and harmony to assist the victims and the survivors. I am proud, both as a Muslim and an LGBTQ person, to have participated on a national and local level to highlight the importance of working together to ease the tensions between Islamophobia and homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within LGBTQ and Muslim communities.
I encourage those who are reading this article to consider learning more about MECCA Institute and furthering our quest and mission to educate a new generation of diverse Muslim clerics in a progressive Islamic theology that will have a significant impact on our contemporary society. It is through reeducation that the building of progressive Islamic communities for contemporary Muslims can become a reality today and into the future.
May our prayers for greater inner peace and help for our neighbors manifest in our world today.