Ask A Muslim: LGBTQ!

open forum on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer Muslim community

The Markaz and Muslims for Progressive Values presents the second edition of "Ask A Muslim" with LGBTQ!, talking about the issues facing gay, Lesbian and other "queer" Muslims, on Thursday, April 7th, and every other first Thursday of the month thereafter. Moderator: writer Ramy Eletreby. Panelists: Naveed Marchant, Ani Zonneveld. Q&A to follow.

What is LGBTQI? We will explain, and we will also address the misguided teachings, the homophobic stance imams, religious leaders and teachers take that have resulted in the demonizing and ostracizing of LGBTQI Muslims by members of their communities and even families. 
We will go over the theology that debunks Islam as homophobic and that is affirming of LGBTQI's dignity and basic human rights.
According to statistics 47% of American Muslims support Marriage Equality yet we don't see one single mosque leader or representative, Sunni or Shia openly support LGBTQI basic rights. 

"Ask A Muslim" is a new monthly series FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC that addresses some of the most pressing questions surrounding Islam today. It takes place on the first Thursday every month at The Markaz (May 5, June 2, etc.).

Naveed Najmuddin Merchant
is a first-generation American of Pakistani heritage.  A native of Los Angeles, he grew up in the Dawoodi Bohra Shi’a tradition of Islam.  Naveed came out as a gay man to his family in 1990 at the age of 19.  In 1995 he joined forces with other LGBTIQ South Asians and co-founded Trikone Los Angeles, currently known as Satrang.  In 1999 he joined Al-Fatiha, the international Muslim LGBTQ organization now known as MASGD or Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity.*  Naveed’s writings have been featured in the Satrang’s Coming Out, Coming Home and in Q&A Space: Stories and Resources for the API LGBTQ Community.  Throughout the years, Naveed has been extremely grateful for his family’s support. He has, however, managed thus far to resist his mother’s attempts to secure for him a same-sex arranged marriage.

In a time when Islam is the subject of much discussion and controversy in the media, Ask A Muslim hopes to foster an ongoing open dialogue, in a safe space for debate. The series endeavors to promote a more informed understanding of Arab/Muslim cultures, and to engage the greater Los Angeles community across all religious, cultural and political boundaries, to foster public conversation about the Qur’an and what constitutes a compassionate, egalitarian and peaceful practice in all its manifestations, with the intention to dispel simplistic or stereotypical interpretations and vilification of the Muslim religion. 

Ani Zonneveld is founder and director of Muslims for Progressive Values. Since inception, Ani has presided over MPV’s expansion to include chapters and affiliates in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Columbus (OH), Ottawa and Toronto, Canada as well as Paris, France, Chile and Australia. She has organized numerous interfaith arts and music festivals, participated in many interfaith dialogues and is a strong supporter of women and LGBTQ rights. She is the brainchild of Literary Zikr – a project that counters radical Islam on-line and co-editor of MPV’s first book, an anthology titled “Progressive Muslim Identities – Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada”. Ani is a singer/songwriter/producer and is the first woman to release an English Islamic pop album in the U.S. Ani performs Islamic wedding services for mixed faith and gay couples and in 2006, she was named a Muslim Leader of Tomorrow by the American Society for Muslim Advancement. Born in Malaysia, Ani, a Muslim since birth, spent a good portion of her formative years raised in Germany, Egypt and India as an Ambassador’s daughter. Her exposure to different politics, religions and cultures has shaped her inclusive worldview. 

Ramy Eletreby
 is a Muslim Arab-American writer, performer, and applied theatre artist based in Los Angeles, California. He directs and facilitates original artistic projects in collaboration with communities throughout Southern California. His writings have appeared on The Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, and the award-winning blog Love Inshallah. His short story "The Ride" appears in the ground-breaking anthology, Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy. Ramy recently developed "The Ride" into a solo theatre piece, which he premiered this past January at the Whitefire Theatre as part of its annual Solofest, the largest solo theatre festival on the West Coast. 

Presented by Muslims for Progressive Values and The Markaz, and sponsored in part by the A & A Fund and Bana & Nabil Hilal.

Space is limited, reservations are suggested. RSVP below or call 323.413.2001

  • April 07, 2016 at 7pm – 9pm
  • The Markaz, 5998 W. Pico Blvd LA 90035
  • 11 people are going
  • Lynne Mangione


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  • commented 2016-04-07 21:09:01 -0700
    Awesome event, thank The Markaz for hosting such culturally rich gatherings!
  • canceled rsvp +1 2016-04-07 17:56:18 -0700
  • rsvped +1 2016-04-04 17:03:53 -0700
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