Imaan at Reading Pride 2016 – text of speech

On Saturday 3rd September, we made a surprise appearance at Reading Pride! Mas Naina, Imaan volunteer gave an impassioned speech about the challenges of being LGBTQ Muslim. Here’s the text of his speech. If you would like an Imaan volunteer to speak at your event, please email

reading prideAssalaamu Alaikkum. Peace be upon you.

I bring greetings from Imaan, the support group for LGBT Muslims. Imaan was founded in London in 1999 to address the needs of Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Thank you for having us here today.

After Orlando, we have seen so much homophobia and Islamaphobia, and it is important for us to come together and stand united as one community. Say no to hate as one community. To stand up to both homophobia and to Islamaphobia

For me, coming together at Pride like this has always been a very political statement.

I remember when I was 11 years old, walking down the road carrying my baby cousin in my arms, when a random guy stopped us, called us terrorists, and spat on me and the little child i was carrying.

What hurt me the most was not him calling us terrorists. It was not him spitting on us. It was not even the tears from my cousin’s face. What hurt me the most was the deadly silence from the people who were standing nearby, witnessing the event, but they did not dare to speak up for us.

That place of loneliness I felt that day, that feeling of isolation, that feeling of having no voice is not a place anyone should have to face.

That is a place many of us have been before. Some of us are still there.

When you grow up as an LGBT person, it can be very lonely. You feel all alone. You feel you’re the only one. You feel you are a weird person with these strange feelings. You feel utterly powerless.

Add to that, being a Muslim and tackling Islamophobia at the same time. Strangers who did not stand up for me that day are now too busy telling my mum what to wear to the beach. It becomes an unbearable situation, a feeling of loneliness and powerlessness.

That is where organisations like Imaan come in.

After googling “Is it OK to be gay and Muslim” and skipping past the first 9 results saying no, a lucky few eventually find us, and we support our members through these difficult moments.

Showing them they are not alone.

Showing them it is OK to love God, and love whoever you want to love at the same time.

Most importantly, showing them it does get better.

Imaan is run entirely by volunteers, and it’s at times like this that our resources are put to the test. I would encourage you all to not be a bystander like the others that day, to and if you can help tell one more LGBT Muslim it is OK to be who you are, and take them out of that sad, lonely place, you would have made such a big difference to that person’s life.

To find out more on how to support us, tweet us at @IMAANLGBTQ

Thank you.

Imaan at UK Pride events 2016

Imaan at UK Pride events 2016


This year has been a whopper for Imaan’s visibility at various Pride events across the UK with appearances at London, Leeds and Manchester Prides.

We hope that a visible self-led LGBTQ Muslim presence at Pride sends a strong message to those who cannot march because of fear that they are not alone.

We look forward to growing presence at future Pride events.

Imaan LGBTQI Muslim Statement on Orlando Attack


Imaan Statement on Orlando Attack


Imaan, the LGBTQI Muslim charity, condemns the attack on the LGBTQI community in Orlando, Florida and mourns the victims who have lost their lives to this senseless act of violence during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

As an organisation, we are committed to supporting Muslims who are LGBTQI.
Because we find ourselves at the intersection of faith, gender and sexuality, we face daily abuse from Islamophobes, homophobes and transphobes alike.

Hatred and violence has no place in any of the communities we belong to and we reject and resist all forms of bigotry.

We extend our love, solidarity and condolences to the Latinx LGBTQI community who have been directly impacted by this horror.

We call on the wider Muslim and LGBTQI communities to support us in both words and actions.

Imaan AGM

Salaams all!

The Annual General Meeting is coming towards us! The board will take stock of 2015 and review and assess the year. There will be a glance at future events in 2016. The meeting will also review the financial accounts. As this is a non-election year, we will continue taking the AGM around the UK, as such the AGM will take place in Birmingham! The details are as follows:

Date: Saturday 16th January 2016
Time: 12-2pm
Venue: Birmingham LGBT Centre, 38-40 Holloway Circus, Birmingham B1 1EQ
The Agenda will be:

1. Approval of Minutes from January 2015 AGM
2. Trustees Annual Report
3. Financial Report
4. Plans for 2016
5. Any Other Business

Questions and feedback from the members of Imaan are very much welcome. Should you wish to add any specific item of discussion to the Agenda, please email at least 6 weeks notice, as per the instructions of the Imaan Constitution.

Afterwards, we will endeavour to socialise, EAT and take in the delights of Birmingham!



Press Statement: We can’t defeat homophobia with Islamophobia

Imaan is dismayed with the homophobia and Islamophobia on display when London’s LBC Radio host Iain Dale and a caller argued about Islam and homosexuality.

The Muslim caller, “Zainab from East London”, was clearly ignorant about specific Qur’anic injunctions and the history of Islamic jurisprudence. The Qur’an does not call for the death penalty for homosexuals. In fact, a growing number of Muslim leaders and scholars dispute the interpretation of the Qur’anic story of the Prophet Lut as a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

They regard these passages as contextual and confined to situations of same-sex violence and exploitation. Zainab needs to be exposed to works by people such as Omid Safi and Kecia Ali from the US, Ziauddin Sardar from the UK and Siti Musdah Mulia from Indonesia. Contrary to what Zainab might claim, these scholars are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex (LGBTQI) and they are indeed practising Muslims.  They are not so different from heterosexual Christians and Jews who express inclusive religious views on sexuality.

We are also disappointed with Dale because instead of challenging Zainab’s black-and-white interpretation of Islam, he accepted her claims. He went one step further, asking if she supported Iran’s death sentence for homosexuals and called her “disgusting” when she predictably did.

Zainab’s views are juvenile, harmful and misinformed, but it is still wrong to caricature conservative Muslims as deranged. Would we accuse white English Christians who are uncomfortable with gay rights or multiculturalism as covert supporters of the Islamophobic Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik? Do we dismiss them as closet sympathisers of Britain First or the English Defence League? Yet why do so many people ignore the fact that there is more than one interpretation of Islam?

We are therefore also alarmed at the online media’s reporting of this event, including by LGBTQI outlets. Queerty’s headline read: Muslim Calls Into Progressive Radio Program, Says Gay People Should Be Killed. In effect, it links Muslims with exceptionally homophobic and violent attitudes and singles them out as anti-progressive – a disturbingly Islamophobic image.

As LGBTQI Muslims, we at Imaan know that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are real. We also know that Islamophobia and racism are real. Our experiences are backed by academics such as Sindre Bangstad, who notes a disconcerting rise in Islamophobia across Europe.

Islamophobia and homophobia are both disgusting and can only be cured with intellectual honesty, moral and political courage, and mutual respect throughout society. There are positive instances where this is happening in the UK – for example, BBC3’s well-researched and nuanced documentary How Gay is Pakistan? We need more informative programmes like this and fewer ignorant spats between Islamophobes and homophobes.

Imaan goes purple on 15 October 2015

I'm against bullying

Imaan is proud to endorse Spirit Day, 15 October. With millions of others we will be going purple to stand against bullying and to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. As LGBTQI Muslims, many of us are only too aware of the pain and fear of being bullied not just for our sexual or gender identity, but also our religious and ethnic backgrounds.

You can go purple, too! For more details, check out: We’ve taken the organisational pledge but everyone’s welcome to take the individual pledge if they want to as well!