SKSM Consultation on Queering the Study of Islam

Ibrahim Farajajé Provost, SKSM

Ibrahim Farajajé
Provost, SKSM

as-salaam aleikum!

In 2013, a small group of us gathered by phone, SKYPE, and in  person to start planning a consultation by and for transgender Muslims. At that time, we decided that it would be important to eventually have a queering the study of Islam consultation. On 27/28 February 2014, the Starr King School for the Ministry invited a group of queer/transgender muslim scholars/activists/artists/spiritual leaders and friends  from the United States, Kashmir, Pakistan, Turkey to gather and  reflect on what it means in contemporary the@logical education in the United States  and globally to “queer/trans” the study of Islam/ to approach the study of Islam from an “intersectional” counter-oppressive multireligious perspective.

We grappled with how can we best be of support to communities of resistance who are seeking to be openly inclusive.  What are some ways in which we can be plugged into social media like Tumblr, etc. which provide space for queer muslim discourse?  How can we provide a scholarly discourse that links LGBTIQQA issues to other questions that impact our lives like the prison-industrial complex,  imperialism, disability, environmental degradation, etc.? We studied together, prayed together, experienced powerful preaching, ate together, made new friends and had fun together (a truly revolutionary practice, lol!.) We look forward to creative and regenerative programmatic developments in this area!

with metta/with loving-kindness and in deepest gratitude,

Prof Dr Ibrahim A Farajaje’
Provost and Professor of Cultural Studies and Islamic Studies
Starr King School for the Ministry
Consultation Convener

Sharings about the Consultation:

When Ibrahim baba invited me to attend Starr King’s Consultation on Queering Islam I said yes instantly, frankly because I trust that anything Ibrahim is involved with will be wonderful. As a rabbi, I wasn’t sure of the role that I could play, but I wanted to be the most engaged, supportive ally I could be. Of course the Consultation exceeded my expectations. From the welcome to the closing we spent the day sinking deeper and deeper into the Cave of the Heart of the Holy One of Blessing. Radical love, brilliant practicality, deep theology infused the day. I will be forever grateful for my invitation.

~ Rabbi Debra Kolodny, Executive Director, Nehirim, Spiritual Leader P’nai Or of Portland, Oregon

“This truly is a historic day. Not only because Starr King School of the Ministry is the first theology school to sponsor an event for queering the study of Islam, but because any day which gives queer folks across faith traditions an opportunity to converge and rise together, I believe is a historic day. So let us rejoice and be glad in its name.

Today is not only a day about what is means to “queer” the study of Islam. Today is also a day which begs us to ask what it means to embody our identities in the work that we do; the spaces we create, the scholarship we produce, the change we seek to create in the world. We come to the table whole. Unlike our government when we say no part of you is left behind we actually mean it. This is a place that in your queering you don’t have to cherry pick what part of yourself comes forth the loudest or strongest. All of it is equally important to the conversations we’re going to have, the prayers we are going to raise up, the laughter, and even the tears that will be shared among us.

I know I’m grateful for this space. This is one of the few places where being a Muslim Jewish studies major, imam in the making, and a womanist theologian rising doesn’t feel like I’m trying to walk a split tight rope meant for an octopus. I know all of me is here today. I hope for those of you sitting here and listening from a far the same can be said. Remember this space and keep it holy!”

~ Ariel Burton, Muslim seminarian from Chicago Theological Seminary

The herstoric Queering Islam Consultation wove liberatory voices, suppressed experience, and trailblazing scholarship into a revolutionary holy force. My heart was moved by the immensity of the challenges faced globally by queer Muslims and the wisdom and fortitude of the visionaries who gathered at this critical juncture to expand and deepen this witness. The awareness that we have to move forward in solidary with all oppressed peoples and equipped with intersectional frameworks of analysis and action for wholeness and liberation was exciting and demonstrated the profundity of our calling in this time. Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé’s leadership in this growing radical tawhid movement has given direction and undergirded the urgency with which we must all act to affect change and bend reality towards G-d’s justice and mercy. It was an honor to have joined with so many scholars, sacred activists, and spiritual leaders and I look forward to the future of a movement that is being ignited one flame at a time.

~ Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, Admissions and Recruitment Director, Starr King School for the Ministry