HM2F     |   HOMONATIONALISM
Liberation of homosexual Muslims of 
France, beyond Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
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In recent weeks, the citizen network of HM2F has been the subject of several defamatory concomitant attacks; we would like to share with you today our brainstorming, disclosing pieces of information - we refused to reveal so far - to try to see things more clearly in this political context, at least let’s say difficult, in which we have been working for the last two years.

HM2F and the inter-LGBT * federation of Paris

HM2F is a citizen network, working for two years for an inclusive Islam of France and a truly inclusive notion of secularism, which is respectful of the freedom of belief of each citizen. For this endeavor HM2F worked with many organizations in Paris and across the country, in Europe and on an international level. We have built a peaceful discourse, beyond all prejudices; some thought, two years ago, it was impossible to do so for homosexual Muslims. Not surprisingly, the Inter-LGBT [0] through his spokesman, asked us twice - in public meetings - to join the Inter-LGBT.

However, on October 29th, the citizen network HM2F was denied membership from the Paris Inter-LGBT; some organizations from the Parisian l’inter-LGBT claiming that some of us try to be "good Muslims"; these organizations, a minority but fiercely opposed to the accession of Muslims in their community, asked us why we do not drink alcohol at our meetings (!?), told us we give out the impression of fleeing from "one dogmatism to another”, we give them as a "double talk", they do not "trust" us. Later, some sent us a critic of our constitution - while the inter-LGBT did not proceed like that with any other association; this is a discriminatory treatment they have reserved for LGBT Muslims, in order to justify their exclusion of the citizen network HM2F. These members of the Inter-LGBT asked us especially if we take some of the rules of our HM2F inner rules of an "imperative and proven hadith** "!? Would they have asked such questions in a non-denominational decide to share food in accordance with a regime they consider to be particularly good for their health? Some of us had to fight their entire life, here in our country in France, against those prejudices.

We would like to disclose today that already last year, the ARDHIS - the former President of that organization, member of the Political Committee of the Inter-LGBT, now the new president of the Inter-LGBT - made clear its refusal to work with us because they fear of amalgams because we are of a "Muslim religion" (their email of 7/10/10). Yet, at the time we heard their fear of amalgam, and we had made the effort to keep the dialogue open by writing an article about them on the HM2F website [1]. Then the conference of Arab LGBT associations - named “Mantiquitna” -, that we nevertheless invited to our CALEM conference in Paris in 2010 [2], made clear that they do not want to work with us because, among other things, we were LGBT Muslims of France and not "Arab" (their email dated 7 January 2011).

It is interesting to note that the representative of the conference of Arab LGBT associations were invited by the Political Committee of the Inter-LGBT at the Gay Pride in Paris, june 2011. That was exactlty at the same time, the inter-LGBT was under pressures because of the controversy about the poster described as "nationalist", proposed at the time and then withdrawn by the Inter-LGBT in Paris [3]. Thus, it is interesting to ask ourselves why the associations, who do not want to work with us because we are Muslim, are so interested in working together, without us. Is this just a matter of political affinity? In this case, no problem. Or is this a coordinated strategy to isolate the homosexual Muslims of France?

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transidentitaires.

**Oral tradition from the Prophet of Islam ASWS.

HM2F in Israel and Palestine: Between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

At the same time exactly where HM2F was denied membership from the Inter-LGBT of Paris, the conference of Arab LGBT associations accused us of taking part of a trip in Israel and Palestine that would actually be a "Zionist” project; then they called all our contacts to boycott us, especially guests of the conference 2011 CALEM, telling them not to come. The question that members of HM2F arises is: why are we qualified as "dogmatic" Muslims and then as "Zionnists" by associations working together, almost at the same period of time? What is the Political Committee of the Inter-LGBT and the conference of Arab LGBT associations would benefit by seeing HM2F silenced, boycotted? It is important to note that only one Palestinian LGBT association, a member of the conference of Arab LGBT associations, called for boycotting our trip AND the 2011 CALEM conference; besides, we met with several representatives of associations on the ground in Israel and Palestine, including Palestinians in Israel (Tel Aviv) and in Palestine (Ramallah and Bethlehem) [4].

We believe that European associations that use the position of victimhood of the conference of Arab LGBT associations - that the concrete work on the field in Europe is almost non-existent in reality, despite all the promises of increased visibility they have been made - do not want any LGBT Muslim to have a strong political word. We believe that the conference of Arab LGBT associations - which some of them are refugees in Europe -, inexperienced and unfamiliar with politics of European LGBT network, are used by "homonationalists" associations in Europe who do want homomuslims to be seen exclusively in a position of victimhood, breaking with their culture of origin and rejecting Islam. We also believe that the internalization from the conference of Arab LGBT associations of panarabic and anti-Semitic views of radical Muslims in Europe or the Arab world will not allow them to be accepted more easily as queers; it shall be just the opposite, since this is in our opinion a form of Arabic homonationalism that we have to fight back, and that we learned more about during our trip, indeed, in Israel and Palestine [4].

Homonationalism is ht use, that has been denounced by scholars such as Judith Butler in Berlin [5], made by LGBT associations of ideological thesis that are openly racist or Islamophobic. In this, what difference is there between the fear of Muslim [6] recuperated in the Netherlands and Germany by the right-wing, or the same recuperation from homonationalists in France in favor of the far-left? We believe they is no difference; and everyone will be in the future able to built his/her own opinion. In our case, the Board of Directors and the National Bureau of the citizen network HM2F - meeting on Tuesday, November 22th 2011 at 8.PM -, now shall refuse to respond positively to invitations from the leaders of the Inter-LGBT (we received none so far), before they shall be able to calm their internal dissensions, the vagueness of their constitution concerning the precise criteria for inclusion or not of a new association, and eventually before they will not guarantee clear and precise opposition to that homonationalism that comes from the north, but that seems now earn more and more ground in Europe.

However, we are not saying that the Inter-LGBT is Islamophobic, but clearly there is Islamophobia and political inconsistencies in the Parisian inter-LGBT that reserved, for political reasons, a special treatment to the citizen network HM2F. Isn’t the very definition of discrimination? How the inter-LGBT tomorrow will still come as a paragon of virtue and fight against all forms of discrimination, while practicing within the LGBT network a different treatment? Moreover, under the influence of homonationalist, Islamophobic & antisemitic, European current, and according to the main religious affiliation of a particular association? In our case, HM2F shall continue to work alongside those who, far from any ideology or political manipulation, will want to argue against all forms of discrimination in France and wherever Islam raises its voice.

HM2F against any kind of homonationalism: consequences on the International CALEM Conference

 

None of the official representatives of the citizen network HM2F shall participate to the CALEM conference this year to be held in Brussels, even though HM2F developed from scratch this conference for two consecutive years - the concept of international cooperation, invitations of the main guest, website or presentation folders. However, even if we are not at the CALEM conference this year in Brussels, we shall let our sister association Merhaba [7] do it as it was planned, since Merhaba has obtained grants from the Belgian government for which it should report, the conference is indeed held this year in Brussels - and not in Tel Aviv, as stated by some of our critics - since the original idea was that each Muslim LGBT Association of Europe is organizing the conference each year in a different country ; it is perhaps not yet the right time for such a cooperation, according to the current political context. Merhaba - the first partner of HM2F for the CALEM conference - shall continue on their own way; indeed we encourage the maturation of their thoughts. We recall here that we invited Merhaba to participate to our trip to Israel and Palestine, by an email sent to their Council on February 23rd, 2011; Merhaba had not return to us with any comment. They also assured us, during our telephone conversation of November 22th, 2011, they would give no space for homonationalism of any kind, during the conference; otherwise, for that they shall alone assume full responsibility.

Nevertheless, in view of the pressures applied to us and our partners - among which email boxes flooded with threats and warnings - HM2F asked its partners (telephone conversation on Saturday, November 19th, 2011) to announce that we shall not work together anymore in the immediate future, and indeed, we prefer not to work with anyone on the topic of Islam and homosexuality, if it has to be under on homonationalism or another. In this, one of the main reasons for our decision not to participate to CALEM 2011 in Brussels is simply the fact that The Inner Circle - TIC [8], the other main partner for CALEM 2011 - made it clear that they could attend CALEM in Brussels, because of the political pressure against them, if the representatives of HM2F are represented. It is therefore clearly the collaboration between TIC & HM2F that is targeted in fine - our two associations being exactly on the same wavelength concerning Islam and homosexuality -, through the CALEM conference. Indeed, TIC were threatened with having their "grants" decreased, from their northern European financial sponsors - a delegation of TIC is right now in Amsterdam -, if they do not agree with what seems now to be the only "politically correct" position for homomuslims in France and elsewhere, namely to do nothing else but to support the refugees coming from the Arab world; let’s note that the conference of arab LGBT associations is financially supported from northern Europe, just like French associations dealing with refugees and just like TIC has been proposed to be sustained right now.

HM2F has supported from the very beginning refugees, as individuals and as organizations; but we always refused to consider Islam as automatically homophobic and to present Islam as the main cause of homosexual refugees fleeing homophobia in their country because of political reasons that as nothing to do with Islam. We believe that the vision some politicians in Europe are trying to impose about Islam and refugees is, again, the consequences of homonationalism now advancing openly, and who does not want a homosexual Muslims but in a position of victimhood, small, stalked in their countries, breaking with their culture of origin and with Islam; and/or internalizing the norms of the fundamentalists and Panarabists - certain Arab LGBT associations even work with the Hezbollah (...). For our part, we who always have been totally independent and have organized CALEM 2010 entirely on personal funds of our members, we believe that self-determination is still possible when one is homomuslim. We shall have no doubt of the fact that TIC shall go over these ideological and financial pitfalls, inch’Allah, just like HM2F is doing it.

Otherwise, the other main reason not to participate to CALEM 2011 in Brussels is that in the current political climate and the polarization it causes, we were asked to denounce the Zionist homonationalism only, certainly because the majority of Israeli are Jews, while that we were strongly advised not to denounce with the same force the Panarabist or European homonationalism. We believe it is simply a primary form of anti-Semitism! Risking, in addition, to import into France and Europe the ins and outs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Some political fundamentalist Middle Eastern parties have forbid LGBT associations issues of diversity - member of the Conference of Arab LGBT associations - to work with LGBT Jewish associations in France! Some "queer Muslim" associations were ostracized, for example in Canada, for anti-Semitic remarks. Again, this was the result of the internalization of anti-Semitic stigma usually carried by fundamentalists or Panarabists, that we do not condone; hence it is the sign, when you have nothing to do, of a poor political answer to islamophobia and homophobia within Islam, namely to internalize, in a primary way, homonationalism of the most radical of us to try to be accepted by them - which will never happen that way, we believe.

Concerning Palestine, we must clarify that we are for peace in the Middle East, we have hailed - again in contrast to what have been claimed by some of our critics - the decision of France to support the creation of an independent Palestinian state not occupied by Israel because - for reasons we explain several times during the travel blog in Israel and Palestine by giving the foot to those concerned in first (LGBT Palestinians) [4] - we think this is the best way to promote the rights of individuals belonging to a LGBT sexual minority. Here is, and only there is, the primary concern of the citizen network HM2F, away from all forms of political, nationalist, ideological calculations. Moreover, helping the extremists of any country to discriminate a particular minority, over another, will not advance our human LGBT rights; worse, we believe this policy contributes to the rise and strengthening of these extremisms that are the root of discrimination, such as homophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, we pretend to fight back.

The final reason for HM2F not participating to the CALEM 2011 conference to be held in Brussels is that one of the major associations representing the conference of Arab LGBT associations - founded by Arab LGBT refugees - is located in Brussels; we were afraid they will do everything to prevent the holding of this conference if we are there.

Future prospects, for a truly inclusive Islam of France and a secularism respectful of all beliefs

Our citizen network pay the price that must be paid not to be diverted from our main objectives: the peaceful struggle against all forms of discrimination, especially against homophobia, contributing to the development of a truly inclusive Islam of France; and the fight against Islamophobia, through the promotion of a representation of secularism truly respectful of all beliefs. We want to believe that to experience double discrimination, as a homosexuals and Muslims, should allow us to avoid repeating the same patterns on other minorities such as Jews, or women, or the transsexuals, or HIV positive, etc. As homosexuals and Muslims, eventually, we believe that only self-determination, beyond all exclusive ideologies, shall enable each and everyone of us to elaborate his/her own liberation.

We believe we are able, if we give ourselves the proper intellectual means to achieve our liberation toward all forms of extremism - homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homonationalisms -, and now more than any other days we are ready to pay the price. Thus, we decided to stay focused on the main theme of ours, away from all political manipulation or financial considerations, namely gender diversity and sexualities within Islam of France. We shall continue working with the rest of our partners for projects in this direction, away from all forms of political manipulation and financially independent; even if we do believe that in this political context, a truly international collaboration centered on Islam and homosexuality is an intellectual enterprise that will be more and more difficult.

Eventually, we thank the many organizations that have contacted HM2F the day after the refusal of the Inter-LGBT, some of them even founder members of the Inter-LGBT, who said they are "stunned" of so much opposition, form a minority politically very influent within the Political Committee of the inter-LGBT, to our participation in the Parisian LGBT movement. We also thank these associations who have supported us when, after being called a "dogmatic", we were called "Zionists"; these associations supported us at 100 per cent when the conference of arab LGBT associations called for a boycott of the CALEM conference. That last attack tend to prove, in our views, that unfortunately - and despite all the other very positive feed-backs after two years of consecutive CALEM - it is the visibility of the CALEM conference that brought upon us all these enmities from a radical Islamophobic minority within the LGBT movement. Eventually, we do thank the LGBT Center of Paris, who has supported us since our inception; associations Beit Haverim, David and Jonathan, the ILGA, the Ravad and the Federation LGBT of France *.


* HM2F also part of the collective MTE against the exclusion of certain Islamophobic mothers of the school of the republic and the Committee IPERGAY against HIV / AIDS. Our meetings are opened to all; we invite you to join us. Agenda online: http://www.homosexuels-musulmans.org/AGENDA.html


The Board of Directors; the citizen network of HM2F.

Press contact : Ludovic Lotfi Mohamed Zahed - Tél. 0659919012 - homomusulmans@gmail.com

 

[1]http://www.homosexuels-musulmans.org/ARDHIS-association-pour-la-reconnaissance-des-droits-des-personnes-homosexuelles-et-transsexuelles-a-l-immigration-et-au-séjour.html

[2] www.calem.eu

[3] http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/societe/gay-pride-2011-l-affiche-controversee-ne-sera-plus-utilisee_984712.html

[4] Blog de voyage de HM2F à propos du voyage en Israël et Palestine : http://www.homosexuels-musulmans.org/INCLUSIF/BLOG-voyage-isreal-palestine-spiritualites-LGBT.html

[5]http://360.ch/blog/magazine/2010/06/judith-butler-jette-le-trouble-dans-la-csd-de-berlin/ http://www.revuedeslivres.fr/homonationalisme-et-imperialisme-sexuel/

[6] http://360.ch/blog/magazine/2011/02/peur-musulmans-gays-en-voie-de-recuperation/

[7] http://webgay.skynetblogs.be/archive/2008/01/15/merhaba.html


 










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CITIZEN NETWORK FOR A TRULY INCLUSIVE ISLAM OF FRANCE?

AND A SECULARISM TRULY RESPECTFUL OF EVERY BELIEF.

Spokesman, L.Zahed - 23rd of November 2011

Hope to see you soon among us, Peace.

http://www.homosexuels-musulmans.org
homomusulmans@gmail.com


   

HM2F, notre collectif citoyen, est coordinateur international de la conférence internationale
CALEM - financée en 2012 par le conseil de l'Europe et qui reçu le prix
Pierre Guénin de SOS homophobie -,
membre de la Fédération LGBT, du RAVAD, de l'ILGA ;
membre des collectifs interassociatifs Pinar Selek et IPERGAY, et
membre fondateur du MTE.

Le collectif HM2F est l'aboutissement d'une collaboration fraternelle entre des homosexuel(le)s (ou des citoyens appartenant à d'autres minorités sexuelles visibles) : qu'elles ou qu'ils soient athés, de confession juive, de confession musulmane, chrétienne, bouddhiste ou autre... C'est une grande fierté !
Et nous fomentons le secret espoir à la face du Destin, que cette pluralité et ce "vivre ensemble" citoyen et collégial,
restera la pierre angulaire sur laquelle nous continuerons de bâtir nos projets communs, inch'Allah.