Queer Muslims Exist - and We Are in Mourning Too
This can’t be turned into a story of us v them – because the real world is far more complicated than that
Queer Muslims Exist - and We Are in Mourning Too
Supported by a friend, a man weeps for victims of the mass shooting just a block from the scene in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. (Photo: Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images)
By Samra Habib / theguardian.com
Jun 13, 2016

A strange thing happened a few months ago. I got a news alert that my photo project, Just Me and Allah, which documents queer Muslims and their diverse experiences, had been mentioned in a major LGBT magazine website.

I didn’t recall having done an interview with them, so I clicked on the article. The piece was about a 17-year-old Muslim girl in North Dakota allegedly having had a gun pointed at her head by her father after he discovered that she was a lesbian. In the piece, I was cited as proof of the existence of pro-LGBT Muslims – as if that were an anomaly. I wondered whether some random LGBT Christian would’ve been mentioned had the story involved an evangelical father and his daughter.

This pattern of double standards is going to be repeated on a massive scale in the aftermath of Sunday’s horrific news – the devastating fact that 29-year-old named Omar Mateen killed 50 people at an Orlando gay club. Although details are still emerging, his father told NBC News that his son may been motivated by witnessing two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago. “This has nothing to do with religion,” he told NBC, adding that the family had been unaware of his plans.

There will be no shortage of voices in the media in the days and weeks ahead analyzing the links between Islam, terrorism and homophobia. Political candidates will likely use the incident to gain support for their platforms in the upcoming election.

We are now used to the fact that, every time a criminally misguided Muslim commits an act of violence, the entire religion and all its followers are questioned and placed under suspicion in a way that isn’t replicated with other faiths. We – and this of course includes queer Muslims – have to take extra care walking down the street at night and entering our mosques for fear of Islamophobic attacks. Muslim organizations and activist groups are tasked with the responsibility of releasing public statements, apologizing for the actions of terrorists and reminding the world that Islam promotes peace so innocent Muslims who are just trying to go about their daily lives don’t suffer repercussions.

Much has been written about what drives someone to kill innocent people. Arie Kruglanski, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland, studied the final words of suicide bombers and discovered a pattern: their motivation is personal significance and a search for a meaning that they are brainwashed into believing can only come with death. This is not the typical Muslim experience, but an aberration.

Our thoughts must for now be with those in Orlando. But over the next few days, as we try to recover from this atrocity and begin to piece together what it all means, it’s important to remember that Islam is exploited by religious extremists all over the world, often in attacks committed against other Muslims. One such incident occurred recently in Gulshan-i-Iqbal in Lahore, Pakistan – a park I used to love visiting with my family as a kid. Nothing made me feel freer as an 8-year-old than rushing down the slides with my younger sister. More than 70 people, mostly women and children, were killed by jihadists who claimed to be targeting those celebrating Easter. However, the majority of people killed were Muslims – something the terrorists would have known full well.

Hopefully the Gulshan-i-Iqbal story illustrates that this can’t be boiled down to us v them. We’re all experiencing the same tragedy together. And I can tell you first-hand: being a peace-loving Muslim who is just as angered by homophobic attacks as everyone else isn’t out of the ordinary.

© 2016 Guardian News and Media Limited

Samra Habib's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Globe and Mail and the Advocate. She is the founder of Just me and Allah: a Queer Muslim Photo Project.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 10,614 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 3,203 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 2,507 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 2,355 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,016 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 1,502 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
What Is a Gift Economy? - Alex Gendler
4 min · 1,387 views today · What if, this holiday season, instead of saying "thank you" to your aunt for her gift of a knitted sweater, the polite response expected from you was to show up at her house in...
Why I Think This World Should End
4 min · 1,126 views today · Sorry if this offends you. - Prince Ea
Union Co-Operatives: What They Are and Why We Need Them
Simon Taylor · 1,080 views today · Neoliberal policies contribute to alienation, disempowerment and non-unionised jobs, but a new model for unions could break the vicious circle, argues Simon Taylor.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 947 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 663 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Prophecy Delivered! Martin Luther King Jr. and the Death of Democracy
Reverend Osagyefo Sekou · 658 views today · “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Democracy is dead. It...
The Myth of Romantic Love May Be Ruining Your Health
Susanne Vosmer · 569 views today · Romantic love in Western societies is often portrayed in a stereotypical way: two yearning halves, who search for each other to find their complete, original state. Few find...
Trump: The Illusion of Change
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 536 views today · “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed.” — Wendell Berry
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 339 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 331 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 315 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 297 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Bracing for Trump's Anti-Worker, Corporate Agenda
Colin Jenkins · 293 views today · Rich people don’t have to have a life-and-death relationship with the truth and its questions; they can ignore the truth and still thrive materially. I am not surprised many...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 278 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Queer Muslims Exist - and We Are in Mourning Too