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Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project

Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project

“Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging.”

The work of Toronto photographer Samra Habib focuses on images and interviews with queer Muslims. “Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging,” Habib says. “I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties, and Jumu’ah prayer. So I picked up my camera and decided to photograph what I was witnessing. In the words of the brilliant Dali (who I shot for this project), ‘we have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.’ QueerMuslimProject.tumblr.com

 

Shima

“In my opinion, stigma and misplacement are some of the biggest challenges facing Queer Muslims today. Islam is incredibly misunderstood and the queer conversation is only just beginning. We can be rejected by both queers and Muslims. The supposed juxtaposition of Islam and queerness is only made more complicated by the North American hostility towards Muslims in a climate where Muslims strive for acceptance and visibility.”

Leila

“My hijab is political, my hijab is resistance. I am covered in tattoos so when people see me with a hijab, they’re always shocked. Some non-Muslims like to tell me that I shouldn’t have tattoos or dress this way. I just want to say , ‘It’s between me and Allah!’”

El-Farouk

“One of the things that’s happened in Islam, especially post-oil and post Iranian revolution is that Islam has been reduced on many levels to a simple list of dos and don’ts. It’s devoid of any spirituality or any intimacy with the creator. LGBT people have always been around. The fact is that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks have always been accepted into Muslim societies. It wasn’t a question of whether they were Muslim, it was more about whether they were transgressive. Today, people’s Muslim identities are being denied and robbed, taken away from them.”

Dali

“We have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us. Today, with all the political upheavals in the Muslim World, some of us, those who are not daily threatened with death or rejection, have to speak for the others. They have to tell stories of a community that is either denied or scorned. Together, through facing distinct realities, we should be united—united in the desire to be, 
in the desire to enjoy being free, safe, and happy.”

Troy

“It’s important for people to realize that Islam is not a monolith. Islam practiced in Egypt is different from the Islam practiced in India. I think that Muslim LGBTQ folks and women are challenging patriarchy within Islam, in fact I think they’re leading the way.”

 

 

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