Today I attended a conference in Birmingham organised by Hidayah, London Queer Muslims and Finding a Voice.
One of the key note speakers Martin Hasani of London Queer Muslims, opened his speech by asking the attendees to raise their hand in dua (prayer) and to repeat after him, a Surah Al-Fatiha which is a
prayer for the guidance, lordship and mercy of God.
As I raised my hands and opened my heart, I recited the words of the first chapter of the Qu’ran, no sooner were the words coming out of my mouth that my eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t stop crying.
Tears of sadness, sadness brought on by the length of time that has passed since the words of the book has passed through my lips. Tears of joy, joy brought on by being surrounded by LGBTIQA+ identifying people and hearing an Islamic verse being recited by them.
The rest of the day passed in a haze of empowerment, seeing so much struggle in peoples experiences and how they have overcome that struggle to become the leaders of their own queer destiny. An opportunity to see so many brown people in one space, something I wish I had experienced when I was younger, and still trying to find others in the world who I could identify with.
So many words rung true to me, I learnt so much in such a short space of time, phrases, stories and experiences. Above all a level of acceptance and safe space was provided which was humbling and filled with positivism for the future.
I’ve come away from today feeling like so much has been achieved, yet so much is yet to be achieved. Never did I think having such an event in a public place would have existed, for that, I thank the organisers.
They all did a brilliant job of providing a safe space for people who are struggling with their identity and their faith and today, hopefully, will have provided them with the guidance that the two can co-exist and to keep fighting the fight. It is your human right to love who you want to and keep your love for Allah too.