About two years ago, we stood up against some of the homophobia that we were coming across not only in wider society but also within some small sections of Muslim communities. The wide majority of Muslims in the UK get on with their lives and worship piously and without any harm or hindrance to anyone. Some of these law-abiding citizens suffer prejudice, and some on a weekly basis and with much of it being targeted at visible Muslim women.
Yet, even though we have been at the front lines of tackling anti-Muslim hatred in the UK, the minute we stood up in solidarity with LGBTQ communities against homophobia targeted at these communities and against gay Muslims, we had Whatsapp campaigns targeted at us, sometimes by the very groups purporting to tackle Islamophobia. In other words, they were willing to tackle one form of hate, but because a man loved a man or a woman a woman, they were not willing to tackle prejudice against these communities and instead turned their fire on groups like us who stood in solidarity with LGBTQ communities and against hatred and intolerance.
No doubt, you will hear the usual platitudes about how IS (Daesh) are terrible and how evil they are. We know that, that is not the point. The point here is that the gay community in the US was specifically targeted and murdered in cold blood. So, we are sure that some will be asking the following questions.
“Is this what God wants? Is this what life is about? Is this what religion is about?” We believe the answer to all of these questions is a firm ‘no’.
Let us also be clear. We will give no quarter to anti-Muslim bigotry, as we will give no quarter to LGBTQ hate or to anti-Semitism. We will continue to work with partners to tackle such intolerance and bigotry and if we come across it within some small sections of Muslim communities, we will actively and robustly challenge it. If groups choose to campaign against us on this, then we say, you will not win. You will not win because of the hatred and prejudice you promote and you will not frame the lives of people who are different and unique within the borders of hatred and intolerance.
Today, young lives were lost because of the hatred of Omar Seddique Mateen. Tomorrow, let us get up with righteousness on our side and counter those who hate people because they are gay, or Muslims or Jews. That is the righteous struggle ahead and there is still more work to be done.