A Wake Up Call on LGBTQ Equality

On behalf of the Muslim community, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. We completely reject this hate and this fear that outsiders seek to instill within our community, within our country.” This from Omar Suleiman, resident scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, at tonight’s beautiful multi-faith press conference in Dallas. I wish such events, which featured Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders as well as a number of local politicians, were broadcast or at least reported nationally.

The outpouring of support for the victims of the Orlando shootings from Muslim communities all over the country, including many gay Muslims, has been quite tremendous (see previous post).

Even so, Orlando is a wake up call for Muslim Americans and their relationship to LGBT Muslims and the wider LGBT community. The Islamic Society of North America (the largest organization of Muslims in this country) and both Muslim elected officials to Congress already actively support LGBT equality. Now is the time for all Muslims to condemn homophobia and similar forms of prejudice.

Nearly half of Muslim Americans support same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. We need to speak up in mosques and community events, push for programs that educate fellow Muslims about the LGBT community (which includes members of just about every mosque), create physical and emotional safety for young people exploring their sexuality, and counter intolerance of any kind.

By doing so, we serve the causes of pluralism, respect, and love in our communities and country — and may set an example for Muslims around the world.

6/13/2016

Hassanaly Ladha is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut.

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