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LGBT Muslims to launch first-ever Pride festival

Ella Braidwood September 23, 2019

Members of the Imaan Muslim LGBTQI support group take part in the Pride in London parade on 06 July, 2019 in London, England. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Europe’s biggest charity supporting LGBT+ Muslims is crowdfunding to create its debut Pride festival, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The Pride event, which will provide a safe space for LGBT+ Muslims, is being organised by volunteer-led charity Imaan.

The charity needs to raise £5,000 for the event, which will be held in London in Spring 2020 if the crowdfunder is met.

New Pride festival will provide a safe space for LGBT+ Muslims

A spokesperson from Imaan told PinkNews that the festival aims to show that people can be both LGBT+ and Muslim.

“Often LGBTQI Muslims are caught in the middle of Islamophobia and homophobia, so we want to provide a safe and inclusive space where people feel like they do not have to choose between identities and that they can be LGBTQI and Muslim without pressure from those who say otherwise,” they said.

“Our festival will provide a space for LGBTQI Muslims from across the UK to be empowered, engaged and to make no apologies for being practising Muslims and LGBTQI people.”

If enough money is raised, the festival – called Imaan Fest – will coincide with the charity’s 20th anniversary.

Nearly £4,000 had been raised at the time of publication.

Imaan will also be recruiting volunteers to support the festival and calling on both LGBT+ and Muslim organisations for practical support.

Often LGBTQI Muslims are caught in the middle of islamophobia and homophobia, so we want to provide a safe and inclusive space where people feel like they do not have to choose between identities.

Plans for the festival come at a time when reported incidents of both Islamophobia and homophobia in the UK have spiked in recent years.

In March, it was reported that Islamophobic incidents in the UK rocketed by nearly 600 percent in the week after a terror attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 51 people.

And, in June, a Guardian investigation revealed that hate crimes against LGBT+ people have more than doubled in the past four years.

Imaan praised for setting up Pride festival.

Campaigners from LGBT+ faith organisations have praised Imaan for working to setup the festival.

Matt Mahmood-Ogston, who set up the Naz and Matt Foundation, which works to tackle homophobia triggered by religious and cultural beliefs, praised Imaan for creating the “fabulous” new event.

“The launch of the festival will create an exciting new platform that will inspire hearts, and help many more people understand and celebrate the beauty of LGBTQI+ Muslim culture,” Mahmood-Ogston told PinkNews.

“Too often members of the community, and many of the LGBTQI+ Muslims who come to our charity for support, are forced into choosing between their religion and their queer identity.

“This festival will become a safe place – an event to look forward to – where this choice never has to be considered. We can’t wait for the festival to begin!”

To donate to support Imaan Fest, visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/imaan-lgbtqi

More: iman, Islam, LGBT, Muslims, Naz and Matt Foundation, Pride

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