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Hostility and support as LGBT Muslim group take to London streets

By Attitude Magazine

An LGBT-Muslim Solidarity launch campaign yesterday in Tower Hamlets provoked mixed reactions among locals, with shows of both hostility and support. Organised by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, with the presence and participation of local LGBT Muslims, the campaign promotes “solidarity between the LGBT and Muslim communities, to combat homophobia and all hate, and support LGBT Muslims.”


“We received wonderful positive responses from some Muslims: ‘I’m a Muslim and I support gay equality’ and ‘If Muslims are gay, let them be’,” said Peter Tatchell. The campaign has provoked discussion around the Islamic faith’s attitudes towards homosexuality in the 21st century.

“There was particular hostility from some Muslims towards the idea that a Muslim person could be gay. Some expressed their greatest antipathy for LGBT Muslims. Unsurprisingly, most of the local LGBT Muslims who asked us to do this campaign were too afraid to attend. They feared retribution from their families and neighbours. It demonstrates why this campaign is necessary,” said Tatchell.


While some reactions were negative, the campaign did open up an important dialogue about the subject. Anastasia Kyriacou, campaign coordinator, explained: “We set up our street stall outside Whitechapel tube station and leafleted passers-by from the local community. Lots of them stopped to chat with us, with very mixed responses.”

One abusive outburst captured on camera sees a young Muslim male arguing that “in my religion it says gay is not acceptable,” to which a young woman replies “No it doesn’t. Where?”

“Our initiative was prompted by requests from East London LGBT Muslims who have suffered abuse and harassment, often from fellow Muslims,” said Kyriacou.

The organisation will continue promoting its campaign, with further events scheduled in the coming months: “The first phase of our campaign [is] to overcome divisions between Muslim and LGBT people, for our common good.”

Photo c/o Peter Tatchell Foundation