Tickets are now on sale for London’s first ever Muslim LGBT+ Pride
Tickets are officially on sale for London’s first LGBT+ Muslim Pride festival, bringing together artists and advocates for an event that organisers hope will spotlight a community so under-represented in the Pride calendar.
LGBT+ Muslim group Imaan set the date for the event for Saturday, April 11, and tickets hit the EventBrite shelves Wednesday. Tickets range from £5 for those on lower-incomes to £20.
The full-price tickets include both lunch and dinner as well as all sessions, panels and evening entertainment.
🚨Tickets are now LIVE for #ImaanFest the first Muslim Pride event on 11 April in London. Proud to announce @Glamrou @AsifaLahore @BlairImani are just some of the amazing guests in a programme of speakers, workshops, art, food, entertainment & more! https://t.co/4uAZ0MqblJ pic.twitter.com/c7ngN2GhnM
— Imaan LGBTQI (@ImaanLGBTQ) February 26, 2020
What is ImaanFest?
Panels and discussions will feature special queer Muslim guests including American black bisexual Muslim activist Blair Imani, queer British-Iraqi writer Amrou Al-Kadhi and trans activist and star of Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens Asifa Lahore.
Al-Kadhi said in a press release: “The media has tried to control the narrative about queer Islamic identities for too long, often thrusting us into a horrific culture war, as if Islam is the mortal enemy of queer identity.
“ImaanFest, Muslim Pride is the perfect counter-narrative, revelling in the joys of queer Muslim identities, and giving us the chance to make our own space.”
Imani added: “LGBTQIA+ Muslims are as beautiful and naturally occurring as the rainbow that represents us.
“Allah’s love knows no bounds and we are loved, too.”
ImaanFest came off the back of tireless campaigning and crowd-finding from the charity, that saw the community chip in more than £10,000 to help fund the festival.
Organisers have stressed that the festival will bring LGBT+ Muslims who feel isolated and without community a space to find camaraderie, love and support. Empowering members as well as raising awareness of the mistreatment queer Muslims face both within and outside of the LGBT+ community.
The charity previously linked a rise in hate crimes in the UK to protests against LGBT+ inclusive education, which were sparked in Birmingham’s Muslim community.
Why is a festival by and for queer Muslims important?
A lot of reasons.
With technicolour floats and confetti raining down, Pride is a brief moment where meandering streets and major thoroughfares are transformed into spaces to watch, remember and celebrate the LGBT+ community.
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Yet, many queer folk of faith – particularly Muslims – have said they feel sidelined. Far-removed from the often secular and white celebrations.
With religious preachers hurling homophobic abuse to the chagrin of Pride-goers, spreading both fear and the thought that belief in religious and the LGBT+ community cannot intersect.
It’s difficult to define the “Islamic position” on homosexuality. With 1.6 million followers scattered across six continents, there is no one way of practising Islam, many coming from different backgrounds and speaking different languages.
In some countries where laws are defined by Islamic traditions and teachings, homosexuality can be punishable by prison time or even death.
Yet, in others, it is not considered a crime and is instead celebrated.
The stigma tagged to LGBT+ Muslims, who may feel their sexuality is “wrong”, is one campaigners are keen to reject. To reinvent what it means to be both queer and Muslim.