Al-Fatiha Foundation

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This article is about the LGBTQ foundation. For the Surah of the Quran, see Al-Fatiha.
Members of Al Fatiha at the LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco 2008.

The Al-Fatiha Foundation was an organization which advanced the cause of LGBTQ Muslims. It was founded in 1997 by Faisal Alam, a Pakistani American, and was registered as a nonprofit organization in the United States until 2011. Imam Daayiee Abdullah was also a board member of the Al-Fatiha Foundation.

History[edit]

The organization grew out of an internet listserve questioning Muslims from 25 countries, and by 1998 had developed numerous in-person chapters.[1][2] At its height, Al-Fatiha had 14 chapters in the United States, as well as offices in England, Canada, Spain, Turkey, and South Africa.

The name "Al-Fatiha" means "the Opening." It is also the name of the first surah of the Qur'an. In the beginning of that surah, Allah is described as compassionate and merciful; the organization's founders believe that these attributes characterize Islam, rather than hatred and homophobia.[3]

Each year, Al-Fatiha hosted an international membership retreat and conference.[2] Early conferences took place in Boston, New York, and London in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and focused on issues such as the reconciliation of religion and sexual orientation.[1][4] The last Al-Fatiha conference was held in 2005 in Atlanta, GA.

Fatwa[edit]

In 2001, Al-Muhajiroun, an international organization seeking the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate, issued a fatwa declaring that all members of Al-Fatiha were murtadd, or apostates, and condemning them to death. Because of the threat and coming from conservative societies, many members of the foundation's site still prefer to be anonymous so as to protect their identity while continuing a tradition of secrecy.[5]

Challenges[edit]

While Al-Fatiha worked to combat homophobia within Muslim communities, it also felt it faced the challenge of seeking to avoid provoking an Islamophobic reaction among non-Muslims.[3]

After the organization's founder, Faisal Alam, stepped down, subsequent leaders failed to sustain the organization. It began a process of legal dissolution in 2011.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cyber mecca". The Advocate. March 14, 2000. p. 27. 
  2. ^ a b Thumma, Scott; Gray, Edward R. (2005). Gay religion. Rowman Altamira. p. 379. 
  3. ^ a b Kincheloe, Joe L. (2010). Teaching against Islamophobia. Peter Lang. p. 192. 
  4. ^ "Where the others stand". Out. November 1999. p. 97. 
  5. ^ Tim Herbert, "Queer chronicles", Weekend Australian, October 7, 2006, Qld Review Edition.
  6. ^ "Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity". Muslimalliance.org. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 

External links[edit]