Oct 182011
 
Authors: Moonier Said

As a 20-year-old, Faisal Alam, struggled with being a queer-identified, Muslim activist, and it was this confliction that led him to start Al-Fatiha, an organization supporting those like himself.

According to Alam, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queers within Islam need a voice, and Wednesday he is bringing his lecture series “Hidden Voices” to CSU as a part of GLBTQ month.

While GLBTQ Muslims are a small minority within Islam, Alam said there needs to be a place for Muslims to be able to talk about the situations they were going through and to have a place where they could connect and help each other.

“This is an issue that attracts a lot of attention, but mainstream Muslims don’t know enough about it and don’t discuss it,” Alam said.

Alam’s organization Al-Fatiha was founded in October of 1998 to help Muslims better understand their own faith, gender identity and sexual orientation.

“I couldn’t find resources online and when I did, it was mostly hateful speech,” Alam said.

This workshop comes during the GLBTQ Month, which is established in October due to big events such as gay marches and National Coming Out Day, is held on Oct 11.

The GLBTQ offices raise awareness in October about gay rights and highlight how equality should be across all groups, especially within the gay community.

The GLBTQ Resource center and ASAP have collaborated on bringing Alam to CSU.

Alexandra Yuan, a junior communications major and member of ASAP, is helping with this event.
She said the event will be in two parts, a workshop facilitated by Alam and his speech.

“The workshop, which is the beginning half of the event will consist of dispelling Islamic myths and also a talk about the gay community within Islam,” Yuan said.

The second half will be a speech by Alam about the journey and struggles he encountered being queer and being Muslim.

“We like to bring out issues which aren’t talked about out loud,” Yuan said.

Foula Dimopoulos, the director in the GLBTQ Resource Center, saw Alam talk in 2000 about spirituality and has been a fan ever since.

“Fasil helps to build bridges between people that others wouldn’t try to do,” Dimopoulos said.

Dimopoulos added that mainstream media has been showing more of the negative events in the gay community, including last year’s suicides by members of the GLBTQ community.

“Things that feed our soul become that much more important in the presence of loss,” Dimopoulos said.

Dimopoulos made it clear that while there are sad situations within the gay community and life in general, there always needs to be an emphasis on laughter and happiness.

Alam was brought to talk about the negative connotations of people who identified themselves as GLBTQ, but he also brings an uplifting and spiritual manner to his workshops.

“I hope when people hear Fasil, they will go out and learn more about GLBTQ issues and Islamic topics,” Dimopoulos said.

Collegian writer Moonier Said can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm

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