Saturday, February 14, 2015
THE LOVING’S LOVING LOVE
Valentine’s Day has always brought fond memories of my life as a same gender loving man. As I remember in my early childhood, whether it was cutting out red hearts and writing sometimes funny, but far more often very serious messages of devotion to my intended male puppy love—my Valentine’s Day sweetheart—all the kids and young adults enjoyed sharing the chocolate and sugary sweets of heart-shaped Valentine’s candies and cookie donations from several neighborhood moms among our classmates and friends. It continues to bring a big smile and warm feeling to my heart, even now some 55-plus years later.
Yet, as those memories brings a smile, growing older and maturing in understanding of who I am as a Muslim gay man, the affairs of the heart grew stronger and deepened my commitment to being a man loving man. Whether it was in my teenage years, my early and later adulthood, or now as I enter into my senior years, love and marriage can be one—holy in Islam, and wholly and legally in many sovereign states, globally. For LGBTQ people, worldwide, samesex marriage takes on a more serious tone. The breath of human relationships where we find love and companionship has expanded and is bursting at the seams. In 2015, such relationships, cross a wide array of racial and gender diversities, love cannot be limited to what is "historical and hysterical" in the minds of naysayers hell-bent on stopping loving couples from marrying and sharing in the benefits of marriage—not only in this country— but worldwide.
In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Loving v. Virginia that miscegenation was against the law, and no state had the right to limit the race from which one could marry based upon a “religious” belief. This ruling ended the last group of “legal” segregation laws in many parts of the US at that time. A major win for the Loving’s loving love. Then, people across the US could marry who they wanted to marry as long as it was "a man and a woman," even though they knew in advance—and from a historical perspective— that not all marriages thrived or survived. However, the opportunity to fall in love with someone of a different race or ethnicity did not hinder the process. Yet, in 1967 and for many decades to follow, those who were LGBTQ and involved in or wanted to be in samesex relationships were viewed as aberrations of all that was “religiously good and wholesome.” Fast forward and nearly 40 years later, the LGBTQ community received another "Loving-style" gift from the US Supreme Court when the Lawrence v. Texas (2003) case struck down sodomy laws as a violation of an individual's privacy. Now, over a decade later, we can celebrate their marriages in more than 37 states—and with more to come—an unfolding of love across our great land making samesex marriage nationally recognized.
The Loving’s loving love is a testament to the will and power of love for all people. Mrs. Love, in a May 6, 2008 New York Times article entitled “Mildred Loving, Who Battled Ban On Mixed-Race Marriage, Dies at 68,” conveyed Mrs. Loving’s views on LGBTQ marriages. "(Though) Mrs. Loving stopped giving interviews, but last year (in 2007) issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling, urging that gay men and lesbians be allowed to marry.”
As the broader LGBTQ community continues its forward movement for samesex marriages around the world, it is important for me as a black man and other samesex loving POCs to acknowledge that "sex-uations" is not marriage—marriage is a serious commitment and responsibility to yourself and your intended spouse, children and family on so many levels. We must take it seriously in every aspect of our being. I do and I encourage you to do so too.
Everyone needs to remember, whether gay or not, but not for the tenacity and commitment of a Virginian interracial couple named Loving to fight for interracial marriage, and a gay couple in the Lawrence case—both major civil rights victories—then the meaning of “love” between samesex couples would not have the inclusivity of race and the legal power of sexual orientation. If this is not a clear example of "The Loving's love" for all to share, then maybe some folks don't really know what "love" and "Loving" means in this worthy cause.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Throughout these three years, I have been very grateful for having had the opportunity to be the first MPV’s Director of LGBT Outreach. In that position, I was able to accomplish several major projects, which included researching and writing the 13 videos for Muslim gay youth, their families and friends, which is on MPV’s website under LGBTQ Resources. Additionally, working with Al-Jazeera last year, in December, a major documentary was broadcast throughout the known Muslim and non-Muslim world, which further expanded outreach to the LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ Muslim communities worldwide. This exposure literally helped MPV double its membership within a couple of weeks after the broadcast.
However, as with all great things, the time is come for me to leave MPV. New opportunities to teach and write have presented themselves, including a chance to build an online Islamic training program. I have also been presented with more opportunities to participate in conferences, working with more organizations in fostering better environment for LGBTQ Muslims, as well as having more opportunities to tend to larger communal needs. Now that I have completed my tenure with MPV, I can now dedicate my fuller attention to these efforts.
I wish to thank the MPV board, its president, and the innumerable people who worked with me during that time, for it has been a great pleasure in working with you in responding to the needs of the LGBTQ Muslim community, availing so many the opportunity to make significant changes in how they saw themselves, as believers in the Islamic faith, and to bring some clarity and happiness in reconciling their faith and sexual orientation.
Beginning in December, you will be able to reach me at my new website, daayiee.net, where I will host my articles, blog, and videos, as well as offer other services in the near future.
Imam Daayiee Abdullah
Friday, February 14, 2014
When I woke up this morning, little could I imagine that an article by the The Guardian, entitled “Male Sexual Orientation Influenced by Genes, Studies Show,” would appear in my life and would provide me with such lovely feelings throughout the day.
I am sure that much to the chagrin of modern-day Islamists, and fence-sitting moderates within the Islamic faith, modern science again provides “daleel,” or evidences, that our biological genes play a role in sexuality. This particular study, which was conducted in the United States, found that at least “two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.”
The socio-cultural and socio-religious homophobic views, including those that dictate homosexuality as being “choice” or “sin” to the masses over the centuries, have been and will continue to be only “human interpretations, biased-evaluations, or false determinations” – judgments that are based solely upon narrowly prescribed “cultural rules” outside of nature and procreation, which is Allah’s purview alone.
I’m sure our Islamic clerical classes, and their followers, will refute such scientific findings and continue to hold onto their misguided beliefs about Allah’s limitations based upon “the traditions of ancient scholars.” For most, they will never stop their sharia-based prosecutions because they fear such knowledge will decrease their positions of power, weaken their intellectual circle’s interpretation of Qur’an, as well as lessen their influence to motivate their followers to feed their historic and culturally-bound bloodlust to kill “homosexuals” – an act that is regularly followed in some majority-Muslim societies, and provides cover for those in Muslim-minority societies to turn a blind-eye to Muslims mass murders in their countries.
Thank you, Allah, my Creator, for your Valentine’s Day gift of boundless love to LGBTQ people everywhere, and you know through my open heart, I continue to love you too. Love and kisses.
Link to The Guardian article: http://bit.ly/1cBh5Ec
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Major sports idols around the world are doing what they do best, play their sports with the integrity and verve that helps them or their teams win. Whether it's national or international sports, true talent is on display and those with far less athletic ability support our teams. But what happened when Michael Sam, the senior defensive end of the Missouri Tigers, came out prior to his NFL draft pick? It was not such a pretty picture of American football.
As a black gay man, I was very happy to see such an outstanding young athlete’s virtue on display. His quote in the New York Times says it all, “I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. I’m comfortable with who I am… And I want to tell it the way I want to tell it.”
Sam’s honesty, truthfulness, sincerity and frankness are virtues that I find admirable and would encourage more athletes of all races, genders and sexual orientations to adhere. Though, if this were a utopian world, the media and social networks would have ended the discussions with positive notes. But, this is America and this is the NFL, the gladiators’ game, and many do not see it as a place for anyone to take a stand outside of patriarchal “tradition” where only “real men” rules stand true.
Needless to say, I’m very happy to see that the negative comments found in the media and the social networks remain far less than those that support Michael Sam. Therefore, it is notice to the NFL owners, the homophobic gladiators still in play, and some of the fans that have been brainwashed into this negativity, to recognize that a better future has come.
Those of us, who grew up in times when these things were not possible, we are left with an immense gratitude for how our world is continuously changing for the young people of today and tomorrow.
May the Divine continue to bless us all.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Nearly 20 years after the Rwandan massacre of 800,000 people, 1/32th of their population, a few days ago another African country, Nigeria, has done the unthinkable by signing an anti-LGBT bill into law – a law that has already taken numerous lives through mob violence, invasion of privacy and arrests by police and governmental officials, lashings and future judgments of sharia courts to stone LGBT Nigerians, while giving governmental support and religious justification to Christians and Muslims and tribal groups seeking retribution towards those who are least able to protect themselves or receive the help of their families and friends.
Reports are coming in each day with photos to substantiate the horrors that are being played out in Nigeria, people have become the victims of mob justice. Reports of a person having been burned to death, 10 or more people are waiting stoning through an Islamic court in the Northern region. Even tribal people are able to join in while seeking retribution for harms they had no legal recourse. In this battle, it’s a winning lottery for Christians, Muslims and tribal leaders – for the prize is the lives of LGBT Nigerians - and everyone gets to quench their blood lust and feel good about themselves being good Christians, Muslims and Africans. The only thing missing are the cheerleaders and the pom-poms. Nigeria scores, millions dead.
What is apparent, if you understand human history well, religious fanaticism is being stocked through ancient religious and tribal histories of hatred to lay the groundwork for their “life” improvements in modern times at the expense of millions of LGBT Nigerians. Of course, we can presume, a significant number of them will die at the hands of religious fanatics – whether it is a form of evangelical Western Christianity, or a form of Saudi-based Wahhabism from Islam, or centuries old tribal wars – and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan with a flick of the wrist, turned Nigerians’ attention away from his political failures of his administration on to easy scapegoats.
Of course, the typical religious response to the question of human rights for all people, including their LGBT relatives, friends and neighbors, is a moral one, but those morals lack the substance of historical wisdom and truth. President Jonathan’s political and moral stance supports a rendering of socio-religious laws based upon social conditions, rather than moral wisdom and truth that supports human rights law. None of it has to do with religious faith – but I’m certain you can find the seven deadly sins snugly entrenched in his government’s thinking.
But, as we see in other lands like Russia, India, and other African states, political leaders funnel the souls of LGBT people into the hands of common murderers, justified by their faith, to quench their blood thirst, and they really think hell is worse. Religious leaders who provide these mobs justification for religious fanaticism must always look to their perceived “pristine” past to find “resolutions” for their modern lives. Not thinking that such logic is the supremacy of foolishness. Not unlike paying attention to where you step, when you seek solutions for the future by adhering to the distant past without review of your recent past, you will not find an answer to your needs. What you get is the dry bones of the human proclivity to kill another human being because they are different, a source of strength of social and religious practices of the dead. There’s no life nor living in the dust-dry and hallowed recesses of the dead.
If we are to believe the Kinsey Report, about 17 million Nigerians are gay. So, the Bill that has been signed into Law by President Goodluck Jonathan seeks to persecute a population larger than Belgium's or three times the size of Norway's population. It's a population the size of the Jewish population around the world put together. These are millions of people whose sexual orientation, love, and lives are being denied. Just think about that.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Having just celebrated my own birthday a few days ago, and recognizing that today we are celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, and also knowing in a few days we will also celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s important to understand why we celebrate birthdays.
As a black man, as a Muslim, and as a believer in the Quran’s inclusive philosophy, I am able to celebrate all of these aspects of my being over these several days.
Dr. King’s birthday celebration, which in the United States is an actual National Holiday, is a way for us to remember a great man, who contributed to a great cause in his community, his society, and the world at large. His message for equality is remembered on that day and lives in all of us as human beings.
I celebrate my birthday because I celebrate my life, because the Divine has given us a great opportunity by being human beings and being born in this awesome world. My birthday is a time for me to pause and remember all the good things that are just part of my life simply because I was born.
Today, Monday, January the 13th, which corresponds to the 12th day of the month of Rabi Al-Awwal in the Islamic Calendar, is the traditional celebration of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, a practice by Muslims of all backgrounds around the globe.
It’s considered special this year because of the Prophet’s birthday falls on a Monday, as it was on Monday that Allah created the tree of life that has given humankind food, medicine and the promise of renewal and rebirth. The Prophet’s birthday celebration reminds us of our covenant with Allah that brings rapture and joy to all of humankind.
It’s also a reminder that Prophet was born on a Monday, and the Black stone in the Ka’aba was placed on a Monday, making Monday’s celebration an extra special one. If you ever visit the Muslim World you will note that many people actually fast on Mondays because they are celebrating such important day.
This day of celebration is considered an accurate reflection of early Islamic history, where Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, celebrated her father’s birthday on this day. By the way, Fatima also celebrated her husband’s birthday, her own birthday, and the caliphs’ birthdays of her time, thus reminding us that birthday celebrations are joyous times for one and all in the Muslim community.
I am reminded as a man of multiple talents that I must continue to work for the uplift of my sisters and brothers of all faiths and backgrounds worldwide, whether it is through a day of community service, attending a religious service or celebration, or remaining cognizant that all of us have one thing in common, our Creator, and that brings me joy and celebration.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Two weeks ago, there was an article about me in “Al Jazeera”, and the response has been tremendous. For the most part, I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses, which left me in a place of gratitude for the life that I live in the work that I do.
One feedback that stands out came from a young man in Egypt, whose words have touched me on a deeply. To this young man I say, this too shall pass. Your life is greater than you may understand, and I want you to try and find a way to be placed in a place of gratitude for your life for your life. No matter what we go through in life, there is always things to be positive about and to be grateful for. I want you, young man, to focus on that, and that things will change.
Another person who touched me was a woman from Jamaica, whose feedback resonated with me on many levels. To this wonderful woman I say, I thank you for coming along with me on this journey and may we one day meet and greet one another.
All for all who have written to me, all of you who have posted on social networks, all the ones who have called, I say to you all, “thank you.”
Happy New Year