2013 - 2015
Are homosexuality and Islam two opposing ends?
After the horrible happenings in Orlando, this question has become more fundamental than ever.
This work portrays men and women who identify as Muslim and at the same time as homosexual/queer/transgender. I met them in different Parts of the western World -Canada, France, Germany, UK, USA- where they are starting to form a little movement with the help of social media. Their biographies are often marked by the assumed irreconcilability of their sexual orientation and a desire for religious affiliation.
When referring to homosexuality, both the Quran and the bible usually cite the story of Lot from Sodom and Gomorrha: God had sent two angels in human shape unto Lot who granted them hospitality. Subsequently, the people of Sodom gathered in front of Lot’s house and demanded the delivery of his guests, “so they may know them”, e.g. have intercourse with them. The situation escalated when Lot refused their demands. As a consequence, the angels destroyed both cities and struck their inhabitants with blindness after assuring Lot and his family were safe. In traditional exegeses the severity of the punishment has directly been related to the demand for homosexual acts. More modern attempts of Quran exegesis, however, assume that the severe punishment is connected to the story’s aspect of rape and violation. According to Tomas Bauer, scholar of Islamic Studies, there was “no trace of homophobia” in the Islamic-Arabic history up until 1800.
People believed that a grown man could fall in love both with a young woman as well as with a young man.
This, too, was reflected in Arabic literature of that period: from 800 onwards popular love poems appeared by male authors that were directed both at men as well as women. There was simply no conception of a specific subgroup of “homosexuals”. Sexual orientation was regarded “less as part of one’s identity than as a question of personal taste”. According to Bauer, the campaign against “disorderly sex” only began with the colonization in the 19th century, when Europe’s influence started to expand in the Arabic countries. It wasn’t until 1976 when the first Islamic country prosecuted a homosexual man, convicting him in a criminal court.
By now, in seven Islam-oriented countries capital punishment can be imposed for homosexual intercourse.
My approach in this project is to break stereotypes by showing this movement with it's contemporary unconventional understanding of the Quran. It shows a very colorful side of the muslim religion. You will meet a very big diversity:
Queer born Muslims that are seeking for a save space to pray; converts, that found
a spiritual harbour within Islam; Muslims that are no believers anymore but still looking for exchange with other muslims; Imams that identify as feminists, and transgender Individuals, that are shaking the traditional understanding of genderrolls.