“I want queer Muslim kids around the world to feel like they’re not alone and there are so many other queer Muslims out there who are asking the same questions they are. And I want non-Muslims to understand that Islam is not a monolithic religion.”
Samra is a lesbian Muslim girl born in Palestine who, at a some point in her life, made the call to do something for that weird feeling that eat her inside of knowing there were others out there questioning their selves just like her. She was sure she wasn’t the only one and even more sure she wouldn’t stay off the grid. So she started her research.
Samra challenged stereotypes, taking photos of queer Muslims of Europe and North America, dozens of faces and colors, dozens of stories that tell us about the desire to be recognized, to love and be who they really are, the wish not to be invisible.
Yes, because – as Samra says – being a lesbian Muslim means feeling twice as invisible: on the one hand the LGBTQI community does not believe – or even does not know – that homosexual Muslims actually exist, on the other the Islamic community doesn’t accept them – or even – does not want to talk about it, since talking about it would be like admitting that they exist.
All Samra wants to do, as she experiences this dichotomy first-hand, is split this grey veil of hypocrisy with a rainbow beam.
Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project is her amazing photographic project, launched for the Toronto Pride and set off a blog on Tumblr, that introduced us to queer Muslim girls and boys from Berlin to Istanbul; they are faces with their head held high and out in the open, faces that talk to us heart-to-heart and with proud eyes, against a backdrop colored by hope and polychrome graffiti.
Ordinary people but also LGBTQI community figures, activists, lawyers and other associations’ exponents, such as the founder of the Toronto’s Masjid Al-Tawhid, a mosque open to everyone, truly everyone [Facebook].
Her purpose – explains Samra – is to set serene and glowing stories against that – even cinematographic – consciousness that pictures young homosexual Muslims dealing with a wake of guilt, pain and fear.
Samra has no intention of quitting, she will continue to travel also because more and more people, who learned about the project, are asking to be a part of it. And Samra will reach them, narrate them and I, for one, can hardly wait to know them.
@2016 Il Grande Colibrì