LGBT+ activists in Islamabad, Pakistan are planning to build the capital city its first trans-inclusive mosque according to reports from The Daily Tribune.
Currently raising money to fund the project, they plan to build the mosque on the outskirts of the city, in the Bari Imam area, providing transgender Muslims a place to pray without prejudice.
As it is, when trans people go to mosques to practice their faith, they're often met with ridicule, and sometimes will even have the police called for as little as standing outside the mosque.
Shafqat Shah, a Pakistani trans woman, says: “People make fun of us, pass insulting comments and question us about our religion.”
“We are Muslims, but we are not allowed to enter a mosque,” said another unnamed transgender woman involved in the fundraising mission.
She continued: “In our society, people only think of transgender women to be sex objects, so they don’t want to allow us to enter mosques to offer prayers”.
Nadeem Kashish, the founder of Pakistani transgender rights group The Shemale Association for Fundamental Rights (Safar) - said that the mosque will serve as both a safe place for transgender people to pray, and also "to convey a message to our society that people who are transgender are also Muslim."
“They too have a right to offer prayers in a mosque, to recite or teach the Holy Quran, and to preach Islam,” Kashish added.
So far, it's been an uphill battle, as many have responded to the fundraising project by mocking it, but the team has not been deterred.
Shafqat Shah, a Pakistani trans woman, says: “I do not feel ashamed if I have to beg for money for this project, but when I do tell people that the money is for the construction of a mosque, they make fun of me and pass offensive comments such as ‘how can you people build a mosque?'”
But the group will continue to raise the funds. As Kashish says: “We know our religion is against of all kinds of discrimination and hatred and teaches us lessons of unity, love and peace".