Londoners unite during Ramadan for 'Big Gay Iftar'

Londoners unite during Ramadan for 'Big Gay Iftar'
2 min read
11 May, 2017
For the second year in a row Londoners are set to unite for the event which organisers say is open to all-comers.

This year's Big Gay Iftar is set to take place on June 24 [Archive/Getty]
Londoners are set to unite for a "Big Gay Iftar" for the second year in a row this Ramadan.

Pride in London advertised the event - which is set to take place on June 24 - on their website, emphasising that it is open to everyone, not just members of the Islamic and LGBTQ+ community.

To add to the inclusiveness and intersectional solidarity behind the event, it will be hosted at St Andrews Church in Waterloo.

Last year's iftar was organised in response to the Orlando mass shooting, which was carried out by 29-year-old Omar Mateen.

Read also: Orlando gunman demanded US end airstrikes in Syria, Iraq

But despite some resistance, the capital's community refused to succumb to hate and organised the event.

It was received with mixed reactions, from sheer delight, to solidarity, to those from more conservative backgrounds questioning the permissibility of the principle of hosting a "gay" iftar – considering mainstream interpretations of all three Abrahamic religions condemn acts of homosexuality.

However, criticism did not stop the event from taking place, nor were critics able to stop major British news outlets from attending and covering the event.

But this year, rather than uniting against one tragic event, Londoners are coming together to unite against hate in general, and to embrace the cosmopolitan nature of the city, the event's organisers said.

"Thankfully we don't have a tragic event to respond to, but it's back again this year and promises to be just as big and just as gay." 

Remembering LGBTQ+ Muslims

The event has been organised by Imaan, an organisation set up to support LGBTQ+ Muslims and their families.

It was formed in 1998, with the help of the al-Fatiha Foundation, a gay Muslim group in the US that has organised various Muslim LGBTQ+ conferences across the country.

Shortly after their establishment, they began to receive threats from conservative members of the Islamic community.

In 2001, Salafi militant group al-Muhajiroun - now outlawed in the UK - issued a religious decree declaring al-Fatiha Foundation members apostates, an accusation that dovetailed with death threats.

Although members of Imaan have also received threats they continue to regularly hold events aimed at providing
a safe space for Muslims to discuss sexuality in Islam and a support system for LGBTQ+ Muslims.