Imaan Fest: UK charity launches first-ever pride festival to celebrate LGBT+ Muslims

Community raising funds online to make event possible

Sarah Young
Monday 23 September 2019 13:25 BST
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British Muslims launch first ever pride festival

A UK charity has announced plans to launch the first ever pride festival dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ Muslims.

The festival, which is scheduled for London in 2020, is being launched by Imaan, a charity that was founded in 1999 and has helped empower thousands of people to reconcile their sexuality and gender identity with their Islamic faith.

However, the charity states that many LGBT+ Muslims still find themselves “isolated, without community and frequently facing homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and Islamaphobic abuse”.

To help put a stop to the mistreatment members of the community face and to also mark its 20th anniversary, the charity is planning to launch a unique festival that will celebrate people’s “unique identities and bring some joy into the world”.

Speaking to The Independent, Imaan explained why it believes a festival dedicated to LGBT+ Muslims is so important.

"Often LGBTQI Muslims are caught in the middle of islamophobia and homophobia, so we want to provide a safe and inclusive space where people feel like they do not have to choose between identities and that they can be LGBTQI and Muslim without pressure from those who say otherwise," the charity said.

"Our festival will provide a space for LGBTQI Muslims from across the UK to be empowered, engaged and to make no apologies for being practising Muslims and LGBTQI People."

The organisation added that Muslims are diverse, with many coming from different ethnic backgrounds and speaking different languages.

"That diversity extends to gender and sexuality also," Imaan added.

"No one can have a padlock on Islam in the UK. We are Muslims that so happen to be LGBTQI."

Imaan is turning to its wider friends and communities to make the event possible, by raising funds online.

The charity has launched a Crowdfunder page with a goal of raising £5,000 to make the festival a reality.

So far, Imaan has received £3,370 worth of donations. You can donate to the cause here.

The festival follows ongoing anti-LGBT+ education protests outside primary schools across the country.

In July, a primary school that faced weekly protests from parents over LGBT+ lessons announced it would be bringing back an equality programme after it was suspended following a series of demonstrations.

The No Outsiders programme, which uses story books to teach about same-sex couples, was relaunched at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham after months of consultation.

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The row at the school gates sparked more protests at the nearby Anderton Park primary school and led to a political debate over what age was appropriate to teach children about LGBT+ couples.

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