‘There is a strong thread of egalitarianism and social justice within the Qur’an,’ argues Fahad Ali
There’s sadly plenty of Islamophobia in the LGBTI community. But a new organisation in Australia is putting Muslims at the heart of the fight for marriage equality.
Australia is currently putting the issue of same-sex marriage to a non-binding postal vote. If the majority of Australian voters back the change, the Australian Parliament has promised to debate the issue and possibly deliver marriage equality at last.
The debate has turned nasty with the ‘no’ vote saying marriage equality will lead to bestiality and erode freedom of speech. While the majority of Aussies in polls have supported same-sex marriage, reports indicate the ‘no’ campaign is being granted four-times more media coverage than people arguing for a ‘yes’ vote.
So now is not the time to stay silent. Step forward Fahad Ali, a 24-year-old university student and queer activist. He’s founded the Muslims for Marriage Equality group to help win marriage for same-sex couples and to support LGBTI Muslims during the process.
Ali told my Gay Star News colleague in Australia: ‘It’s important that queer identifying Muslims take leadership positions on these issues… we need to say this is a part of us like anyone else in the (Muslim) community.
‘The notion that all Muslims are opposed to equal rights for same-sex couples is absolutely incorrect.
‘There is a strong thread of egalitarianism and social justice within the Qur’an and we think that it is very applicable to the question of same-sex marriage.’
In fact, Australia’s 604,000 strong Muslim population has a wide range of different views.
But it’s alarming that one of Ali’s greatest fears is that the homophobia the ‘no’ campaign is stirring up will lead to queer Muslim kids killing themselves.
Let’s hope they can be inspired by Ali himself and see that there is a great future for all LGBTI young people, whatever religion they come from.
Meanwhile, if you want to know the latest from Australia, we have set up a dedicated Australian Marriage Equality page which we are updating daily with fresh news. There’s a useful article explaining the postal vote and what happens next, and a timeline of Australian LGBTI marriage equality history, from 18th century British colonisation to today.