" Intersectional Islam: Juggling with discriminations to Build resistance: Crossed analysis of religion, gender, race and sexuality "
Identities like queerness, feminism, blackness, Islam are usually used or seen as monolithic, this gathering intends to show the diversity of hybrid subjectivities. What happens when we match identities that are traditionally governed by normativity?
A Sunday afternoon discussion on Islam and its intersectional identities, with a zoom on race, gender, sexuality. We will try to discover from 2 experiences the role of Islam in fighting oppressive ideologies instrumentalizing those identified criteria. Although many realise that Islam and Muslims are no monolithic religion/community, when it comes to Islam vs. feminism and queerness these identities are often still seen as irreconcilable, both from inside and outside perspectives. We therefore want to create a platform for more diverse and inclusive voices on Islam and/or interpretations of Islam, without claiming any authority on the matter. More so, we want to display the Islamic relevance in movements of resistance. I.e., considering that Islam has its origins as a movement of resistance and liberation, we want to pose the question, what can Islam mean in movements of resistance against racism, sexism LGBT+phobias?
We will do this by having two inspirational speakers with us, Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Fatima Ballah andNassr Eddine Errami, who will share their knowledge and experience from their perspectives and positions.
Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons: Currently a Senior Lecturer of the African American and Islamic Studies at the University of Florida, she is one of the first generation activists of the African-American Civil Rights movement and the Black Power movement. She has been active in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the 60’s Sit-In Movement and marched with Dr. King in several desegregation demonstrations in Atlanta, and has a long history in the area of international human rights and peace work. Simmon’s primary academic focus is on Islam with a specific focus on Islamic Law and its impact on Muslim women. She conducted research in Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Syria on the Shari’ah’s (Islamic Law’s) impact on women, and the contemporary women’s movements in those countries to change these laws while on Fulbright and USAID Fellowships in the 1990s. Her secondary focus in her teaching and writing is on the African American Civil Rights Movement and the group’s centuries long struggle for human rights. She currently teaches Courses for UF’s African American Studies Program on African American Religious Traditions, Civil Rightsand Religion, African American and Black Atlantic Thought, Martin and Malcolm and Race Religion and Rebellion. In the Religion Department she teaches courses on Islam, which include Introduction to Islam, Women and Islam, Islam in theAmericas, and Modern Islamic Thought. Simmons also has a thorough grounding in Sufism (Islamic Mysticism) having studied for seventeen years with the contemporary Sufi Mystic, Shaykh M.R. Bawa Muhaiyadeen and is a founding member of the Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship & Mosque, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Fatima Ballah is a representative of MVVN. MVVN is an association for Moroccan women in the Netherlands. Its mission is to strengthen the position of Moroccan women both in the Netherlands and in Morocco. The right to self-determination and solidarity are the guiding principles in their work. The struggle against exclusion from society as well as institutions (and therefore their civil and human rights) on the basis of gender, race, sexuality and religion is a daily reality, especially for the most vulnerable women. MVVN supports women in need in their struggle for justice and translates this struggle into political language when necessary. At the same time an inclusive space is created for these women in between the walls of their office. MVVN is now also actively involved in building a safe place for LGBTQ women with an Islamic background, a project called Lesmina's.
Nassr Eddine Errami: From a Moroccan Amazigh background, Nassr Eddine is a queer Muslim activist focusing on Shia theology of Liberation, LGBT rights and gender equality. Interfaith Seminarian at the Catholic Institute, he is the co-Founder of the French Inclusive Muslims (and former Paris inclusive Wandering Mosque, as he calls it). He is also trainer of Islamic theology and diversity with the Inner Circle (The largest NGO working on Marginalized Muslims based in Cape Town, South Africa). He is involved in other initiatives related to civic rights and faith-based programs.