After a successful crowdfunding campaign, London will soon play host to the world's first-ever Muslim Pride event, set to take place on Saturday April 11.
Spearheaded by the UK's leading Muslim LGBTIQ+ charity Imaan, ImaanFest organisers successfully raised close to $20,000 in order to host the groundbreaking event.
"We as LGBTIQ+ Muslims often find ourselves isolated, without community and frequently facing homophobic, biphobic, transphobic AND Islamaphobic abuse," Imaan explained in a crowdfunding campaign statement.
"The event will build on the incredible events we organised in the past and feature panels, discussions, speakers, arts, culture and history – a first for LGBTQI Muslims."
With tickets for Imaan Fest now available to members of the public, organisers are now using social media to reach queer Arab speakers and service providers who might like to get involved.
Speakers already announced for the event include US black bisexual Muslim activist and author Blair Imani, who went viral last year due to her parents' sweet expressions of pride in her first book, Modern Herstory, being published.
Other speakers include queer British-Iraqi writer and filmmaker Amrou Al-Kadhi and trans activist Asifa Lahore.
“The media has tried to control the narrative about Queer Islamic identities for too long, often thrusting us into a horrific culture war, as if Islam is the mortal enemy of queer identity,” Al-Kadhi said in a statement, according to Gay Times.
“Imaan Fest, Muslim Pride is the perfect counter-narrative, reveling in the joys of queer Muslim identities, and giving us the chance to make our own space.”
Imani added: “LGBTQIA+ Muslims are as beautiful and naturally occurring as the rainbow that represents us. Allah’s love knows no bounds and we are loved too.”
Lahore said it was an "absolute honour" to be involved in the festival, saying: “We have had to fight Islamophobia, Homophobia, Transphobia and Racism to get our voices heard and being part of this celebration is an opportunity to share the message that we are here, we are queer and some of us don’t drink beer!”
You can find out more information about Imaan Fest here.