Al-Fatiha Foundation

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The Al-Fatiha Foundation was an organization which advanced the civil, political, and legal rights of LGBTQ+ Muslims. It was founded in 1997 by Faisal Alam, a Pakistani American LGBTQ+ rights activist, and was registered as a nonprofit organization in the United States until 2011.[1]


Members of Al Fatiha at the LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco 2008.

Alam founded Al-Fatiha in November of 1997. The organization grew out of an internet listserve for questioning Muslims from 25 countries, and by October 1998 had developed numerous in-person chapters.[2][3] 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 chapter of the Qur'an. In the beginning of that chapter ('surah'), God is described as compassionate and merciful; the organization's founders believe that these attributes characterize Islam, rather than hatred and homophobia.[4] Each year, Al-Fatiha hosted an international membership retreat and conference.[3] 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.[2][5] The last Al-Fatiha conference was held in 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia.


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.[6]


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.[4]

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.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khan, Surina (2006). "Al-Fatiha Foundation". In Gerstner, David A. (ed.). Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture (1 ed.). Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 9780415306515. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  2. ^ a b "Cyber mecca". The Advocate. March 14, 2000. p. 27.
  3. ^ a b Thumma, Scott; Gray, Edward R. (2005). Gay religion. Rowman Altamira. p. 379. ISBN 9780759103269.
  4. ^ a b Kincheloe, Joe L. (2010). Teaching against Islamophobia. Peter Lang. p. 192. ISBN 9781433103360.
  5. ^ "Where the others stand". Out. November 1999. p. 97.
  6. ^ Tim Herbert, "Queer chronicles", Weekend Australian, October 7, 2006, Qld Review Edition.
  7. ^ "Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity". Archived from the original on 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-06-29.

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