On January 26, 2012 Sana Ghani, a former research assistant at University of Alberta, posted on Facebook:
The Muslim and LGBTQ Communities: Is there a possibility for strategic alliances? Al-Hikmah Discussion Group Fri. Feb 3, 6:30pm. Steeps (11116 82 ave).
As-salamu ‘alaykum all,
This month’s Al-Hikmah open discussion is on the Muslim and LGBTQ communities. Both “The Muslim” and “The Homosexual” are lumped into the category of discriminated minority figure/ political scapegoat. Of course, these two figures make very strange bedfellows (no pun intended). What do we make of this situation?
What possibilities are there for alliances, when we might have fundamental disagreements? Why have very different ways of being been flattened into parallel “identities”? How might we get the leaders of our community to address this issue in a more open and nuanced way?
This is a very contentious topic, but we feel there needs to be more open discussion in our community on these kinds of issues. We wish to discuss the kinds of questions, difficulties and possibilities we see here, to get a very important conversation started in our community.
Mustafa Farooq is Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). A lawyer by profession, Mustafa completed his Juris Doctor at the University of Alberta and Osgoode Hall (York University) and later earned his Master of Laws (LLM) at UC Berkeley in California.
Here are Mustafa Farooq’s comments on Sana Ghani’s Facebook post:
Mustafa Farooq: “We should also have seperate [sic] but related conferences on how Muslims should work with Adulterers, and then another one on how Muslims need to ally themselves with those who take insane amounts of interest, and then another about Muslims with the alcohol industry.”
Sana Ghani: “I didn’t say Muslims SHOULD necessarily ally with the LGBTQ community. The issue is, of course, that the LGBTQ community has been trying to support Muslims because they see a common goal with us (opposing state coercion). I think we definitely need to think more carefully about how to respond to this, what would be best politically for our community, while acting with integrity towards our principles. Dr. Sherman Jackson and Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah have had really interesting things to say on this issue, which I would like for us to consider. May Allah (t’ala) guide us to whatever is best, amin.”
Mustafa Farooq: “I believe strongly that to ask a question is to create conditions of possibility, especially since in the Muslim community the consensus on this question is, in my opinion, pretty clear. To ask the question is, in fact, to argue that allying ourselves with a certain community is possibly a correct choice. As a political science student, if there is one thing I have learned, we can’t predict the future in terms of alliances. Picking the side of justice, however, and truth, is something we can never lose at (because even if we are oppressed, we are drawing closer to Allah). Dr. Sherman Jackson, I know, has made his opinion on this pretty clear (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HisIwWhyU34) which is to say that we do not condemn homosexuals (just as we do not condemn those who have feelings of attractions towards the opposite sex) but condemn the act of homosexuality (just as we condemn adultery). May Allah guide us to the truth, and forgive us for wen we mispeak.
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Mustafa Farooq: “I apologize if my comments came of as sarcastic. That was not my intention. I was merely attempting to make an analogy- if the postulations in my point struck you as conversations you would never have (because they are forbidden) then this would fall in the same category (as it is clearly forbidden). Allah knows my intention, as there are indeed conversations that I don’t think we need to have- it would be like raising objections to having Ayaan Hersi Ali or Irshad Manji [Muslim-born activists critics of Islam] lecture at a masjid [mosque]. Please forgive me if I offended you.”
Sana Ghani: “I take your concerns very seriously, Mustafa. But I’m just not convinced either way, or by this line of thinking. The greatest thing forbidden to us is shirk [polytheism], and yet we make alliances with non-Muslims all the time. We have inter-faith alliances with people who define themselves as a group by their belief in the trinity. Allahu ‘alam [Allah knows best], I just have a lot of questions on this, and I think as a group we could at least clarify our concerns. It doesn’t end here, of course. I want to discuss these issues with scholars as well, as we as a community start articulating and clarifying precisely what our concerns are. This is a relatively new and strange situation we are in, but I am confident that Allah will guide us as a community to whatever is best for us. If this is more harmful than good for us, then may He make that clear to us, amin.”
UPDATE (October 31, 2019) – NCCM Mustafa Farooq’s statements critical of alliances with LGBTQ were removed from Facebook.
BEFORE (Accessed October 26, 2019)
AFTER (Accessed October 31, 2019)