The first Muslim Pride festival for “gay Muslims” will be held in London after a fundraising campaign raised more than £10,000 to support the event.
The celebration, organised by the charity Imaan, will take place in the capital next spring.
Imaan was set up in 1999 with the aim of helping “LGBT Muslims” who feel isolated due to prejudice towards them.
Organisers say their aim is to let people know that it’s okay for them to be LGBT and Muslim and to celebrate the “gay Muslim” community.
On its fundraising page Imaan says: “Through the tireless and passionate efforts of many volunteers we have empowered thousands of others like ourselves to reconcile sexuality, gender identity with the Islamic faith through social support meetings, conferences, retreats, Pride and religious celebrations and spiritual practice.
“We as LGBTQI Muslims often find ourselves isolated, without community and frequently facing homophobic, biphobic, transphobic AND Islamaphobic abuse.
“We are proud that over the last twenty years, we have managed to build a huge community and network across the UK and the world that supports and celebrates Muslim LGBTQI diversity on almost no budget.
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“Now we want to turn to our wider friends and communities to raise funds to cover some of the costs of a unique festival that will celebrate LGBTQI Muslims on the occasion of Imaan’s 20th anniversary. The event will build on the incredible events we organised in the past and feature panels, discussions, speakers, arts, culture and history – a first for LGBTQI Muslims.”
The fundraising campaign has been promoted by the mainstream media and, judging by names, most of the donors appear to be non-Muslims.
Homosexual acts are strictly forbidden in Islam and are considered a major sin.