Imaan Retreat 2014: Fri 29th – Sun 31st August 2014

Our Community – Our Pride and Strength / ‘Mujtami’na – Fakhrina wa Quwwa’ 

Salaams All

It’s back! Imaan’s Retreat 2014. By popular demand and due to overwhelming success we have decided to hold it again this year. The energy, the spirit, the joy and the warmth experienced from the previous retreat demonstrated that there clearly is a need for this kind of event for our members.

This year’s retreat is entitled ‘Mujtami’na – Fakhrina wa Quwwa’ – Our Community – Our Pride and Strength. Community is a vital aspect of Imaan. We believe the community that we are creating needs to be celebrated. To be proud of it and build upon it so it is stronger community.

The retreat will be held between Friday 29th to Sunday 31st August 2014 at the same venue as last year, in the gorgeous Peak District, taking advantage of all that it offers – space, nature, creativity, spirituality and togetherness.

The retreat centre proved to be a safe and inviting space located in the heart of the Peak District, in Northern England, a 2 hour train journey from London and 1 hour journey from Manchester. The focus, as last year, will be on providing opportunities to replenish, reboot and boost our Imaan (faith). The program will consist of outdoor pursuits (last year’s nature trail was a blast involving the lovely locals in ‘helping’ some teams win!) arts, craft and group-based activities, all designed to raise our imaan and consciousness of our identity as LGBTQI Muslims. The day’s activities will be framed around prayer times and acts of worship.
Volunteers for all aspects of the retreat are most welcome – for leading prayers, waking folk up for Fajr, facilitating and leading arts and crafts sessions. Those with a creative and artistic talent will be harangued to perform at the popular and much loved ‘Imaan’s Talent/No Talent Show’!

Five full scholarships and five part-scholarships will be available for those needing financial assistance with the cost of the retreat, but proof will be required of neediness and will be granted on this basis. With regards to cost, the retreat is priced at £150.00 for two nights accommodation at the retreat centre, with all meals from Friday lunch until Sunday lunch being included, alongside unlimited tea and coffee. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, sleeping either two, three or four attendees. Single gendered rooms are available.

The forms can be downloaded from below.  For more details, please email shobbir@imaan.org.uk

Imaan Medical Disclosure Form 2014

Imaan_Retreat_RegistrationForm_2014

Imaan_Scholarship_Form_2014

 

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Press statement: Muslim leaders should discuss sexual minority issues with empathy

Press statement: Muslim leaders should discuss sexual minority issues with empathy

Imaan is deeply disappointed with Birmingham Mosque Chairman, Dr Mohammad Naseem’s comments about the mosque’s withdrawal from hosting a BBC3 discussion on gay Muslims. The debate was to address whether it would ever be okay to be gay and Muslim, and Naseem defended the mosque’s decision by comparing being gay to being “a compulsive murderer, gambler, paedophile etc.”.

Notwithstanding Naseem’s claim that he was misquoted, we wish to highlight how his logic is used by many Muslim leaders throughout the world to justify often deadly persecution of sexual minorities. Among other things, Imaan supports numerous sexual minority asylum seekers fleeing violent persecution from their countries of origin, frequently justified in the name of Islam.

Naseem says, “There are people with homosexual tendency in Muslim countries but they respect the law and control their desire as others do.” From the cases we have encountered, compliance often has less to do with “respect” than with abject fear for their lives. We have also come across numerous cases of violent homophobia and transphobia within the UK – whether against Muslim or non-Muslim sexual minorities.

For this reason, we congratulate Asifa Lahore, a long-standing member of Imaan, for his courage in sharing his personal story and initiating this pertinent question – when will it be okay to be gay and Muslim?

We believe that the Qur’an upholds sexual diversity and does not condone persecution of any minorities, but we respect alternative readings by Muslims who dispute the presence of such a pluralistic message. We are also sensitive to how these differences in opinion can be distorted and used to misrepresent Islam in the Western mass media due to prevailing anti-Muslim attitudes. Thus, we appreciate Naseem’s difficulty in balancing his personal conscience and public voice.

We are thus encouraged by Naseem’s belief that sexual minorities should enjoy full human rights in the secular sphere. We also commend his position that homosexuality should be further studied by “specialists in the fields of zoology, botany, genetics, sociology etc.”, and that the debate should continue between them and religious leaders.

In that spirit, we implore him and other Muslim authority figures to listen to Muslim sexual minorities, in Britain and elsewhere, who believe their sexuality is a gift from Allah. Far from being a code of criminal laws, the Qur’an exhorts humanity to appreciate equality, diversity, and to debate contentious issues with decorum and mutual respect. We call on Naseem and the Birmingham Mosque to continue this dialogue in the spirit of this adab (Islamic etiquette). We would be happy to meet with Naseem to discuss the plight of Muslim sexual minorities who feel alienated or isolated from their Muslim communities.  

Demystifying Shariah Law – Workshop – London – Saturday 19th April

Ever questioned, doubted or feared what Islam says about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or even just questioning? Come to Imaan’s London workshop on Saturday, 19 April 2014 for a full-day session on crucial aspects of Islamic interpretation for the lay (and gay!) Muslim. 

Please commit to attending the full day (10am – 5pm) because the discussions build systematically through each session. Venue details to be announced ASAP – we will keep all those who register informed! 

The workshop’s objectives are:
• To give an overview of how sharia laws are formulated, and how these laws vary between different Muslim societies.
• To critically examine the impact of certain interpretations of Islam on women and sexual minorities.
• To share thoughts on how Muslim sexual minorities can be protected from discrimination and harm.
• To share information on current issues in Islam throughout various Muslim societies.

To register, complete this reply form and return it to shanon@imaan.org.uk and naeem@imaan.org.uk by Friday, 4 April 2014. This information will also help us tailor the workshop to fit your needs and expectations.

1. Please tell us your age and gender (this information will help us create an environment that is as inclusive as possible). 
2. How would this workshop help you? (E.g. in your work, studies, close relationships, spiritual journey, etc. – please elaborate.)
3. Please tell us what areas of Islam and sexuality you have questions about. 
4. Are there any other specific areas you would like the workshop to focus on?

We hope you will come prepared to share in knowledge, faith and fun!