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Muslim Leaders Say Yes to Love

by Michael Toumayan June 14, 2016

In an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity with the LGBTQ community, Muslim civil rights and religious leaders lined up to extend the Islamic tradition of love and compassion to victims and their families after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history left at least 49 people dead and more than 50 injured at an Orlando, Fla., LGBTQ nightclub.  

LGBTQ Muslims are especially affected by the shooting, living at the intersections of their LGBTQ identities and religion. And they have been providing voices of reason and love in the wake of the massacre. In a statement released Sunday, Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD), a national organization working to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims, appealed for solidarity and for peace-loving people to resist Islamophobia and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) also released a statement urging “our community and allies to refrain from rhetoric that lays responsibility on any one community. The acts of an individual are not representatives of any one ethnicity, race or faith.”

Brenda Abdelall, director at the Muslim Advocates, joined HRC at a press conference on Sunday. “We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Your grief is our grief,” she said. “Your outrage is our outrage. We are one family together.”

American Muslim leaders have also emerged as among the strongest supporters of the LGBTQ community during these difficult times. National Muslim organizations including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Advocates, American Islamic Congress, Muslim Students Association of US & Canada, the Mosque Foundation and the The Fiqh Council of North America have been repudiating violence against the LGBTQ community.

“For many years, members of the LGBTQIA community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any acts of hate crimes, islamophobia, marginalization, and discrimination,” said Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR. “Today, we stand with them shoulder to shoulder. The liberation of the American-Muslim community is profoundly linked to the liberation of other minority groups--Blacks, Latinos, gay, Jewish, trans, and every other community that has faced discrimination and oppression in this country.”

Meanwhile, Muslim clerics have turned to Twitter to condemn the attack, and offering prayers and support to the Orlando victims and their families.

In addition to condemning the Orlando shooting on social media, CAIR appealed to American Muslims to donate blood for victims of the attack.

“We’ve organized a blood drive, organized an online fund drive to raise funds for the victims,” said Hassan Shibley, the chief executive director of CAIR Florida. “We’re also coalition-building to unite the community and send a very clear message that we, regardless of your race, religion or sexual orientation, will stand united as Americans and as human beings.”

In this tragic time when others are responding with hatred and divisiveness, it is critical that we amplify these powerful voices of love and unity.

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Michael Toumayan
Michael Toumayan


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