SHAFAQNA – Nearly 60 high profile Australian Muslim individuals and organisations have signed onto a statement regarding this week’s mass shooting in Orlando, labelling it a “targeted attack” on the LGBTQI community. The statement also addresses the particular sense of “shock and grief” being felt by LGBTQI Muslims.
“The LGBTQI community has a long history of experiencing prejudice, vilification and violence. Whilst investigations are still on foot, the mass shooting in Orlando was a targeted attack on that community. There is no justification for such homophobia,” the statement reads.
“We would like to send a message to LGBTQI Muslims who may be experiencing a deep sense of shock and grief. This is an opportunity for us to cultivate a deeper compassion for each other — regardless of our differences.”
The statement has been signed by a number of Muslim organisations including Australian Muslim Voice, Islamic Foundation Australia and the Canberra Islamic Centre, as well Maha Abdo from the United Muslim Women’s Association, academic Dr Susan Carland and comedians Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman.
It’s the first time a statement referring to LGBTQI Muslims has ever been released by representatives of the Muslim community in Australia.
The signatories state that “This tragedy should not be used to foster division, fear, hatred or prejudice”. These comments contrast strongly with the stance taken by some politicians and media commentators in the aftermath of the Orlando attacks.
Owen Jones, a journalist from a UK, walked off the set of Sky News earlier this week after the hosts refused to accept his assertion that the attack specifically targeted the LGBTQI community.
Here in Australia, everyone’s favourite election candidate Pauline Hanson refused to mention the LGBTQI community in her only statement on the shooting, but did find time to foster the kind of division, fear, hatred and prejudice the Muslim community is warning about.
Ali*, a queer Muslim from Sydney, told Junkee that he welcomed the statement.
“As queer Muslims, we are all too aware of the internal tension between our identities and even more of the external abuse and derision we regularly receive,” Ali says.
“If anything positive can come out of this, hopefully the Muslim community can honestly address homophobia within our own ranks, acknowledge the pain and suffering that has been put on vulnerable queer Muslims and their families, and finally come to terms with the fact that the queer community isn’t just ‘the other’ but includes your brothers and sisters too.”
*Ali’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.