[PAST EVENT] Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims

October 25, 2011
Activist Faisal Alam presents the struggles and challenges facing sexual and gender minorities within the Muslim world when he visits William & Mary.

While highlighting the diversity of Islam around the world and in the United States, "Hidden Voices" explores the legacy of colonialism and sodomy laws within the Muslim world; and the suppression of LGBT rights around the world under the guise of the so-called "war on terror."

Faisal Alam is a queer-identified Muslim activist of Pakistani descent. Faisal began the first internet-based email discussion group (listserv) for LGBT Muslims in November of 1997 (when he was 19 years old) which marked the first time that LGBT Muslims could discuss issues of common concern in a safe environment.

Since its inception in 1998, Al-Fatiha has grown to include eight chapters in the United States with another seven sister-organizations in three countries (the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada). Al-Fatiha has 800 members in the United States. Since its formation, the organization has provided resources, counseling services and information to more than 3,000 people around the world. Al-Fatiha's mission is to provide support and to empower to LGBTIQ Muslims who are trying to reconcile their sexual orientation or gender identity with their religion (Islam).

In August 2011, Faisal had the honor of being invited to and attending President Obama's annual White House iftar dinner (breaking of the fast during Ramadan). From 1998-2000 he was the youngest member of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), an interfaith network of more than 50 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faith-leaders in the United States. During his tenure as volunteer director of Al-Fatiha, Faisal served on the national advisory boards of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. Currently, Faisal is a member of the advisory board of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV).