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New LGBT-friendly mosque to host community meeting

Meeting sponsored by Muslims for Progressive Values USA at Human Rights Campaign headquarters in October; Rep Keith Ellison to attend

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D.C.’s Light of Reform Mosque, which formed in February and provides weekly prayer services for LGBT Muslims and others, is hosting a community forum in Washington in October that will discuss LGBT-related issues pertaining to the Islamic faith, according to Imam Daayiee Abdullah.

Abdullah said the forum will take place Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign building at 17th and Rhode Island Ave., N.W. He said U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will be among the speakers at the event.

The forum is being sponsored by Muslims for Progressive Values USA, a group that formed in Los Angeles in 2000 to promote, among other things, tolerance within the Islamic faith for LGBT people, Abdulla said.

He said Light of Reform Mosque holds its weekly prayer service and a discussion session every Friday from noon to 2 p.m. at a meeting room in the Cleveland Park Public Library at 3310 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

“All are welcome,” he said. “It’s a mixture of folks who attend, gay and straight.”

Abdullah, who founded the Light of Reform Mosque, said he became certified as an imam last year through the Toronto, Canada based El-Tawhid Juma Circle, which identifies itself as a “sacred prayer center or mosque,” he said. He said he’s also certified to perform marriages in D.C. as a clergy person.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. laurelboy2

    August 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I’ve lived extensive period in several Muslim countries and there is not such thing as a gay-friendly mosque. Dream on.

  2. Imam Daayiee Abdullah

    August 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Laurelboy2, salaam. Whatever you experienced by living in Muslims states (and I have studied and worked as an expat in several myself), is not the only way believers worship around the world. If you accept your experience as the truest formulation of Islamic theological thought, you have swallowed whole a proscribed variant that does not speak for all 1.5 billion Muslim believers, and you ignore the dynamism of progressive Islam. It is not a dream to honor Quranic teachings by recognizing all who are believers. God provides everyone many probabilities, and the Light of Reformation mosque is women and gay friendly, intrafaith welcoming and interfaith active. Women led prayer, the Imam is openly gay, and all are welcome to participate in our worship service. I welcome you to join us one Friday to experience Islam as you may have never done before.

    • Musa Ibraheem

      January 4, 2012 at 12:53 am

      As-Salaam alaikum, Imam. I fear you are being used by the enemies of Islam to create a great fitna. Your sexual orientation is your business, and none of mine, unless you choose to make it so. Our Beloved Messenger (SAW) said: “A good Muslim stays away from things that do not concern him.” As an Imam, you must know, as I do that the Shari’a only prohibits OPEN (or “out”) Gay/Lesbian identity. Tolerance of Gay people has existed for centuries within the Ummah.
      A perfect example is an immigrant Muslim family I know. The son of the family caught polio, and is severely handicapped, being unable to walk with out leg braces and crutches. Very unfortunately, this leaves him basically unmarriagable, yet he still has the same sex drive Allah has created us all with. The Brother’s “best friend” is obviously gay. His Mother and Father, myself and others look at this, but don’t see it. Anything is contrary to good Akhlaq, our code of good manners. If we even mention it, we are backbiting. Do you see how Allah shields the Believers so they can seek forgiveness?

      Related by Abu Huraira:
      I heard Allah’s Messenger (saws) saying, “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the ‘Mujahirin’ (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knew of the sin except the one who committed it and Allah) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” – Bukhari 8:95

      Being out removes the screen that Allah’s Mercy has used to conceal your sins, and these sins are not forgiven, by the speech of Rasoolullah (SAW). Don’t you want Maghfirah? Or have you been deceived by Shaytan into believing that Gay sexuality isn’t sinful?

      Also, as an Imam, you have to know that the Shari’a doesn’t allow a woman to lead a jama’at of men and women. The imam has to be a man, not my rule, Islam’s. Why are you doing this? You have to know as your Masjid becomes more and more publicized, that these practices will cause a great deal of embarrassment to more conservative members of the Ummah in the USA, and our elders. Do you have close relatives in this country?

      I think you and your congregation may well be used by the powers who are trying to destroy Islam to say to the rest of us: “See, Masjid Annural Isslaah is self-proclaimed Queer-friendly, and allows women Imams, why can’t the rest of you do this?” Don’t let yourself be a pawn of Zionists, and the New World Order. Finally, and most disturbing of all, your website states that you have performed Ijtihad, making a new interpretation and ruling that the Shari’a allows the practices done at the Masjid. Unfortunately, Ijtihad is only valid when done by those who are qualified. You state that you are merely an Imam. Are you also a Mufti or other qualified ‘Aalim? If not, you seem to be falling even deeper into misguidance. I look forward to a response from you, and am willing to correspond privately via email afterward, to remove our discussion from prying eyes. May Allah grant us all Hidaya, Ameen.

      Yours in Islam,
      Musa Ibraheem

    • mira

      January 21, 2012 at 8:21 am

      I appreciate your response. I’m not gay, but I’m looking for a progressive welcoming space to explore the religion of my youth. Are there classes at the religious center?

  3. zaksmama

    August 29, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Just because it’s not in a Muslim-majority country, doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. I’d be hard-pressed to find a mosque with a nursery in Muslim-majority countries, but several American and Canadian mosques have them.

  4. Indie

    December 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Wow I think I wanna check it out. I enjoy studying and experiencing other faiths and cultures but sometimes its hard, me being openly lesbian, to find more open minded places.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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