On Tuesday, October 19th, Faisal Alam spoke on Widener Law’s Delaware campus from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the invitation of the student organization OUTLaw. The talk, entitled “Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims,” was held in the Barrister’s Club.
Ostin Warren, President of OUTLaw, offered a general welcome, and introduced Mr. Alam.
Using a power point presentation and a series of Video clips, Alam described the history of British Colonial Era Sodomy Laws and explored the divisions in Muslim Society that currently exist. Several of the video clips showed a changing attitude towards homosexuality in some predominantly Muslim countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia, India, and Malayasia.
Following his presentation, Mr. Alam fielded questions from the audience on variety of topics, including how to reconcile the fact that the orthodox interpretation of the Quran is that it is against homosexuality. Mr. Alam indicated that there are only a small number of versus that deal with homosexuality in the Quran and that what those verses mean is not as clear as some suggest.
Alam, who describes himself as a “queer-identified Muslim activist of Pakistani descent,” organized the first-ever gathering of LGBT Muslims, while trying to reconcile his sexuality with his faith at the age of 19. From 1997 to 2003, he directed Al-Fatiha, an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning Muslims. He now speaks about the movement across the world, seeking ways to help Muslims who have questions about how to integrate their faith with their sexual orientation or gender identity.