“My name is Wajahat Abbas Kazmi, I’m 30, I’m Muslim and I come from Pakistan. I’m living in italy for more than 10 years now, after spending my first seventeen in my own original country.” Wajahat introduces himself in a simple and direct way to launch, through the Human Rights Post’s page on Facebook, a plea for the recognition of same-sex unions and the rallies that will take place tomorrow in more than 70 Italian cities to the cries of “Wake up Italy!”. “In my country, homosexual people are absolutely discriminated every day. The main reason for this attitude? Muslim population thinks that same-sex relationships are prohibited by religion. But they are wrong.” Therefore, Wajahat, sure that “religion couldn’t be used to justify discrimination”, launched the hashtag #AllahLovesEquality.
“MUSLIMS, A STEP FORWARD FOR RIGHTS”
Wajahat Abbas Kazmi was born in Pakistan, but since 1999 he’s been living and working in Bergamo (northern Italy). “I am very well in Italy – he tells to ilgrandecolibri.com – I never experienced racism. Indeed, to be honest, in my country there are more racists than in Europe.” Filmmaker and screenwriter, he devotes his art and his energies to the defense of human rights, working with Amnesty International and other organisations. “LGBT rights are now a global issue: we all have to take a step forward for equality,” he says.
“I am Muslim and I come from Pakistan, a country where there is terrorism, a problem that I dealt with also in my films. I saw that after the attacks in Paris, all Muslims took to the streets to make their voices heard against terrorism and to defend Islam. It was a choice I liked very much and I shared.” But then Wajahat realised that it wasn’t enough: “At one point I realised that almost none of my religion speaks of the fact that LGBT people have rights and are equal to the others. For this reason I had the idea to start this campaign to invite Muslims to say together: ‘Allah loves equality’. It is written in the Holy Qur’an that we are all children of God and that we are all equal. ‘All’ means also gays, lesbians and everyone else.”
INTERNAUTS: “GO AND TELL IT IN PAKISTAN!”
“I stand up for LGBT rights and one must have the courage to do it with everything that’s going around,” says Wajahat, who has received many messages of appreciation and support. On social networks, however, comments from LGBT Internet users are not always positive: “You are all murderers”, “A Muslim can not be gay-friendly”, “Go and tell it in Pakistan!”… Wajahat is philosophical about it: “I’m used to hear and read negative comments. For example, some of my fellow countrymen, after seeing my film’s trailer, wrote to me bad words and threats. It’s not a new thing for me, although I didn’t expect it from Italian friends.”
A lot of comments recall the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne or the stoning of two transgender women in Dortmund for reviving the stereotype of Muslims as inevitably violent, aggressive, disrespectful of women and sexual minorities. And yet also Wajahat, who works for various human rights associations in Italy, is a Muslim. “Obviously, I’m against these episodes, but there are good and bad people everywhere. In many countries basic human rights are not respected even by governments and no one taught them in schools: there is no education. In addition, extremism too is guilty of these violences. We have to educate people: promoting campaigns like #AllahLovesEquality can be a help.”
©2016 Il Grande Colibrì