We, Arabs and Atheists, Support: “Allah Loves Equality”

Anes is Moroccan. Mohamed è Italian-Egyptian. Anes was born in a Muslim family. Mohamed is a mixed race and he didn’t have a religious education. They are both homosexuals and LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) activists. Neither of them are religious: Anes is agnostic, and Mohamed proudly declared, on Il Grande Colibrì: “I am atheist and yet I exist.”

Anes and Mohamed support the documentary: “Allah Loves Equality” by Pakistani director Wajahat Abbas Kazmi, for which we started a fundraiser [for more info follow: Produzioni dal Basso]. Anes and Mohamed explain why is important to carry through with the documentary.

“Allah Love Equality” is a very important documentary that doesn’t need to be labeled. You don’t need to be a woman to support women’s rights, and you don’t need to be gay Muslim to support the Islam LGBTQI community.

What I am (gay, agnostic, Moroccan, raised with an Islamic culture) doesn’t prevent me to support “Allah Loves Equality.” This is a product of culture and information, it’s a pro-human rights campaign. This is a product of care, love, bare, real, concrete activism. This documentary is not a religious confession and it is made for those who believe in human rights, for those who do not tolerate any kind of discrimination. We are generating one more voice, and one more shade in the rainbow flag.

“Allah Loves Equality” is a documentary that wants to focus on a world community, is a film that will provide one more space where to be. It feels like coming out: every time you are declaring yourself, you are gaining a yard, a mile or an entire nation, where to feel happy and be yourself. It is difficult to be yourself in Pakistan, and the director of “Allah Loves Equality”, will show us his country and its brave LGBTQI Pakistani activists.

Rephrasing a quote of the homosexual writer Reinaldo Arenas: “We scream, therefore we are.” We are all here, ready to listen to Pakistan voice, ready to be there with them.

translation by Barbara Burgio
©2016 Il Grande Colibrì

raccolta fondiI’ve been following a funny Facebook page, where Italian-Egyptian men (like me) share absurd photos, WhatsApp screenshots, and grammar bloopers pronounced by our parents and other second language Egyptian (starting from the marvelous reaction the substitution of letter P with B provokes: “B like Pittsburg” would say my father).

However, sometimes we shared photos, taken in Cairo or Alexandria, of dandy guys. This was way less entertaining. The photographed guys were heavily insulted, which it shouldn’t come as a surprise since Egypt is massively homophobic, a sentiment reaching also the Copts. Although, these insults came from second generation guys, born and/or raised in Italy.

Considering the hefty number of Muslim guys on that Facebook page, and after the umpteen post about queers, I’ve decided to link an article by Il Grande Colibrì about Daayiee Addullah, a gay Imam, to show there are many ways to be Muslim. Obviously, my action raised hell yet focused the discussion between bigots and more open minded people.

The most recurrent accusation was, that the picture of the Islam painted by the Imam, was an error of perspective because imbue of western ideas which are totally foreigner to the Muslim-Arabs culture. As if the western world is degenerate, and that the civil freedom is the prove of it. As if the openness of sexual orientation is the most obvious symptom of western decadence.

Sometimes after that, I’ve found the book: “Le trasgressioni della carne. Il desiderio omosessuale nel mondo islamico e cristiano, sec. XII-XX” (Sexual transgressions. The homosexual desire in the Islamic and Christian world, during the XII-XX) by Umberto Grassi and Cristiano Marcocci. The following passage:” The gloom of homosexuality took part in stereotyping the Muslim enemy in the Christian rhetoric, between medieval and modern ages, just like today is happening for the western culture, an imagery of decadence and infidelity that shakes the ghosts of the deepest conservative Islam”. What to say…it’s extremely comical how the situation flipped, a few centuries apart!

I think it is time to talk about it a bit more. It is time to erase some stereotypes and to stifle commonplaces. It is time to remember while Europe was inflamed by inquisition’s stakes, in Muslim’s land – from the Ottoman Empire to Persia and among Mamluk in Egypt – there was a relative tolerance about homosexuality.

“Allah Loves Equality” is moving in such direction. It will contribute to shed some light on how it is possible to be homosexual and Muslim, at the same time. It will describe a piece of real Pakistani world, a world of brave activists who risk their lives just to overturn the long-engrained way of thinking. Perhaps born from the drags of colonialism, pumped out from an aggressive and defensive Islam which come from Saud’s Saudi Arabia, who is trying to influence and poison the rest of Muslim world using a lethal mix of patriarchal tradition and religion.

“Allah Loves Equality” will be a tiny, important piece of the puzzle that will help human being to progress.

translation by Barbara Burgio
©2016 Il Grande Colibrì

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