Beyond Sexual Nationalism. Who Are the Allies of Queer Muslims?

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 656A (University of Glasgow)
Dino Suhonic , Foundation Maruf
Until the 1990s, the ‘classical triad’ of race, class and gender was the main focus of the feminist theory of intersectionality, but in recent years various scholars have started scrutinizing the relationship between religious and sexual identities. The analysis of Queer Muslim identities has demonstrated how multilayered forms of discrimination and exclusion have affected the identities and practices of queers with a Muslim background. They occupy a position at the complex intersection of various social and political identities in suerpdiverse Europe - and this complexity cannot be reduced by imposing a dichotomous lens that frames Muslims as religious conservatives and non-Muslims as secular (and sexual) progressives. The analysis of the intersectional location of queer Muslims offers insight into the dominant discourses concerning sexuality and citizenship in contemporary Europe - discourses in which queer Muslims have increasingly been framed as occupying a space on the battlefield between the allegedly queer-friendly West and the allegedly homophobic Muslim and Arab world. In this paper, I try to destabilize that problematic, Orientalist frame. Queer Muslims in Western Europe, Canada and the United States face discrimination based on their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, class and sexual orientation. Moreover, they are often subjected to externally-imposed categories. All this raises a central question: who are the allies of queer Muslim? Taking into account the dominant discourse concerning Islam and sexuality, how much do queer Muslims need to compromise - in terms of cultural and religion conviction - in order to keep allies and not stand alone?