Standing Against Islamophobia with Muslims for Progressive Values
September 14, 2010
There is enough love for you and for me, there is enough for the straight and the gay, there is enough for the people who were born in America and the new immigrants, there is enough for the blacks, there is enough for the whites, there is enough for the Latinos, there is enough for the Asians, there is enough for the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus. There is enough for everybody. - Rep. Keith Ellison speaking at the Unitarian Universalist National Convention, 2010 Listening to the news recently you might wonder if Rep. Ellison, the Muslim Congressman from Minnesota, is right. Such an inclusive love is put to the test by stories of a New York cab driver stabbed after a passenger found out he was Muslim, of an Islamic center in Tennessee terrorized by a pipe bomb explosion, and most recently by the threat of a pastor in Florida to commemorate 9/11 by burning copies of the Qur’an on his church’s front lawn.
We in the LGBT and allied community know what it feels like to be the recipient of hostility and threat. And in HRC’s Religion and Faith program we have heard too often the painful struggle of LGBT Muslim Americans dealing with homophobia and transphobia. This struggle is only exacerbated for LGBT and allied Muslims by the incessant, life-numbing effects of Islamophobia. In the midst of an alarming rise in anti-Islamic rhetoric, it is spiritually rejuvenating to showcase HRC’s partnership with Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV). MPV, an inclusive community rooted in the traditional Qur’anic ideals of human dignity and social justice, promotes accessible and theologically-sound frameworks for progressive Islamic thought. Most recently, HRC sponsored Tynan Power adaptation of a chapter from Dr. Scott Siraj al-Haqq’s recent book, Homosexuality in Islam. This adaptation is part of a larger web resource, Literary Zikr, designed for a younger Muslim audience searching for an alternative perspective on such topics as Shari’a law, pluralism, women’s rights and sexuality.
There is nothing on the web quite like Literary Zikr and HRC is privileged to play a role in bringing this accessible yet theologically rigorous perspective on Islam to a whole new generation of Muslims. MPV is a powerful anecdote to the violence and intolerance so omnipresent in recent public discourse around Islam. They are indeed living into Rep. Ellison’s words --“there is enough love for everybody.”