'We exist': LGBT+ Muslim community to hold first ever Muslim Pride

The charity Imaan have started a crowdfunding campaign to set up a brand new festival during London Pride which will celebrate the culture of LGBT+ Muslims.

Members of Imaan holding a banner with a crescent moon and the words

Imaan has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a festival celebrating the LGBT+ Muslim community called Imaan Fest, expected to be held in Spring 2020 if funds are met. Donations will be going towards setting up this new event and helping towards subsidising places for those who cannot afford to attend, as well as left over funds going towards the running costs of the monthly support groups.  

Set up in November 1999, Imaan was a charity founded by LGBT+ Muslims. Over the past twenty years, the volunteers have continuously promoted a strong sense of community and belonging. Imaan Fest is the exciting next step for the charity.

In a video where LGBT+ Muslims speak about their experience, one person said, “Without Imaan, I wouldn’t have been able to speak up and help others who went through the same thing as me or maybe worse.” 

Earlier this year, in March, Tell Mama reported a stark rise in Islamophobic incidents following the New Zealand terror attack where 50 Muslim worshipers were gunned down. The monitor stated, “Cases included people making impressions of pointing a pistol to Muslim women and comments about British Muslims, and an association with actions taken by the terrorist in New Zealand.” In June, the Guardian reported that homophobic and transphobic hate crime has doubled in the last four years. 

With Islamophobia and homophobia on a steep rise in the UK, the planned Imaan Fest is of crucial importance. Throughout the video, the members of Imaan sent the powerful message of “we exist.” The LGBT+ Muslim community shows the strength in speaking about lived experience in order to bring about change. 

In the GCN issue 357, the message from the video is echoed in the Black Pride Ireland Manifesto: “Our existence is non-negotiable.” At times, the two identities are kept separate but through Pride initiatives such as Imaan Fest and Back Pride, it acts as a powerful declaration of acceptance within communities. 

To support the great initiative, you can donate at the following link: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/imaan-lgbtqi.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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