4 February 2021

LGBTQ+ History Month: Muslim views on queer relationships over time

According to LGBTQ+ charity Hidayah, research shows that Muslim views on sexual diversity became more conservative in the last century.

Today, the majority of the community does not accept same sex activity whether in the UK or abroad. Some Islamic states imprison gay people under morality laws, and some go as far as imposing the death penalty on them.

Countries like Iran that use the death penalty once had a tolerant attitude to queer culture. Rumi and Hafiz, two celebrated Muslim poets in the 13th and 14th centuries, wrote about love and spirituality, including same sex attraction and romance. Their poems were not regarded as being new nor unusual during their times.

Centuries earlier, Abu Nuwas, a poet from Baghdad, wrote lewd verses about same-sex desire. Such relative openness towards gay acts of love used to be widespread in the Middle East and Asian subcontinent.

In this talk, we take this opportunity to reflect on queer Muslim art and poetry from the past. We will consider how queer Muslims have become increasingly visible. They are challenging views of hetero-normative attitudes in Muslim society today, giving positive examples of queer identities from their heritage.

Speaker: Osman is the outreach volunteer for Hidayah. This is a charity that provides support and welfare for LGBTQ+ Muslims. It provides education around the queer Muslim community to counter discrimination, prejudice and injustice.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 12pm on Thursday 4 February.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.

With thanks to our Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

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