October 1 - 3, 2018
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Open to everyone, registration required
Monday, October 1, 2018
Queer Muslim Geographies
14.30 - 17.00 h - Masterclasses
Interactive session on queer Muslim Geographies:
European and Global perspectives.
19.00 - 22.00h - Open Event
19:30 - 20:30 Panel: “Black consciousness, Afrofuturism and Queer Technopolis”, Sarin Drew & Imaan Latif
"I would like to conduct a survey on the experience of the session for my participants. The survey will be centred around concepts of self. I am reading a lot of academic literature on the experience of the Global South subject, the epistemically existential, the damned of society. This idea of subject, or in my case, self, is completely alternative to the conception of the world around me.
For me, the expansion of self came in the form of gentleness towards my process, especially as you grow more conscious you become more aware of all the negativity, aggression, violence, abuse, hurt that neurotically get thrown around and this is painful. The existence of this and knowing you cannot actively or physical change this leads the self to a sense of one's own responsibility to survive despite the circumstance. I translate this anxiety into your responsibility to create this change on the mat through self-reflexive work. With the subtlety of sharing the teachings you create a safe space for people. Participants are encouraged to practice the guidance of movements that support healing, harnessing and empowerment of the active being that is changing infinitely. In this way the self is naturally finding an intrinsic movement pyscho-spiritually away from the colonized mentality.
I believe beyond all the obvious 'Piscean' 'age' cultural characteristics of Western imperial patriarchy, we are overcoming a deep awakening and the glaring responsibility of oppression. We are all students, in need of support and guidance and being reminded of our responsibilities as human beings and spiritual beings.
Is Heedlessness what our spiritual practice needs to move past the anxiety of responsibility? The answers always lie within self and its endless possibilities. As Spiritual Engines, it is how we exist. My research is centred around works by Grosfugel, Dussel, Quijano and Sara Ahmed who draw on realities of different subjectivites but still do not come from an African female location."
Imaan Latif is a visual artist, Muslim Queer activist and Kundalini yoga teacher.
Sarin Drew is a Afro-futuristic Queer content maker, MA researcher and activist.
20:45 - 21:45 Panel: “Queer Muslim Geographies – the story behind”
Different queer Muslim contexts will be presented to the audience. Short statements and talk afterwards.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Queer Muslim Voices
15.00 - 17.00h - In-depth conversation
Panel: “LGBTTIQ* politics and intersectional justice”, Rzouga Selmi, Olcay Miyanyedi, Danijel Cubelic,
While intersectional theories and methods are widely discussed in academic circles and led to a growing body of thought-provoking research, their practical implementation in LGBTTIQ* policies for governmental and non-governmental actors alike are still in a process of experimentation. How can we combat racism, discrimination and intersecting forms of structural inequality in LGBTTIQ* movements and institutions?
The panel talk wants to discuss the challenges and real-life implications of intersectionality on a local level. Taking the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg as a case study, the talk will bring together practitioners from the field of LGBTTIQ* refugee self organizations (Rzouga Selmi, Queer Refugees for Pride/Unicorn Refugees), Queer Muslim spiritual care (Olcay Miyanyedi, Project „Culturally Sensitive Sexual and Gender Diversity“, Turkish Community in Germany) and state policy-making (Danijel Cubelic, Advisory Board for Acceptance and Equal Rights Baden-Württemberg/ Head of Antidiscrimination, City of Heidelberg) to critically analyze racism, tokenism and performative politics of inclusion in LGBTTIQ* spaces and provide insights what kind of strategies could lead to a real change in LGBTTIQ* movements and institutions.
19.00 - 22.00h - Open Event
19:30 - 20:30 Talk: "Between the Lines: the Search for Non-normative Gender and Sexuality in Iranian Shi’a Discourse”, Shekoufeh Behbehani
In his book, Sex Change (2010), Hojattoleslam Mohammad Mehdi Kariminia, a Qum-based Shia cleric, strives to present a specific mapping of gender and sexuality, one which approves the legalization of sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) in Iran and condemns homosexual acts. T his paper examines Sex Change and aims to discover the special meaning of sex change in Iranianized Shi’a fiqh as well as its consequences and implications both for transsexuals and homosexuals. The paper concludes that while legalization of SRS fails to go beyond enabling a narrow and temporary space for expressing and practicing same-sex desires and non-binary gender representations in Iran, it fortifies a discussion on gender and sexuality. Contemporary Iranian films and performances actively engage with politico-religious discourses, offering new ways of understanding non-binary genders and sexuality.
Shekoufeh Behbehani holds an MA degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam and is currently part of Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam, conducting her Ph.D. research. Her previous experience as an intern in the Gender Justice Team at Oxfam Novib and her background in Comparative Literature have developed her interest and knowledge in interdisciplinary research. Her on-going research aims to understand how ‘queerness’ is defined and approached in contemporary Iranian society through a comparative study of cinematic/performative and politico-religious discourses surrounding sex reassignment surgery (SRS). She is fluent in English and Persian and has an intermediate proficiency in Arabic and Dutch.
20:45 - 21:45 Talk: “Indonesia: Caning homosexuals, Caning Our Islam”,
Under the Shariah law that is being imposed in the special province of Aceh in Indonesia, homosexual acts are considered a crime and subject to punishment by caning in public. Under this law a gay couple was punished recently with 83 times of caning in Aceh, which has drawn media attention nationally and internationally. Despite that there is no national law in Indonesia that criminalises homosexuality (yet), the negative sentiments and occurrence of raids by conservative religious groups are happening in many parts of the country. In Surabaya 14 men that were accused of being homosexual were raided and abused publicly. In Jakarta 141 men were taken by the police from a sauna. They were accused of being gay and their arrest was justified under the pornography law (which is a problematic interpretation of this law). In East Java 2 trans women were captured by the police. This situation of arbitrary arrests and punishments is likely to become even worse if conservative intolerant groups that currently push for the criminalisation of homosexuality into the new penal code of Indonesia, are successful. These developments in Indonesia are opposite to developments in other parts of Asia, such as the High Court ruling that decriminalises homosexual acts in India, the improved environment in Taiwan and Thailand as well as more acceptance in other neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Timor Leste.
Anshori highlights that the caning in Aceh has made Indonesia become the centre of international attention. The government of Indonesia tries to promote the image that the kind of Islam in Indonesia is different and tries to position itself as a representation of moderate Islam in the world. Aan Anshori tries to show that the acts towards queer people in Indonesia are actually contributing to the perspective that in Islam there are no peaceful teachings and that this religion disregards human rights by denying the humanity of LGBTI individuals. He digs into the qur’anic verses that are often being used to support these anti-LGBTI arguments; he undertakes an in-depth analysis of the Arabic words written in the qur’an when describing Sodom and Gomorah, and looks into the exploitative vs mutual consent formed in a relationship. He also analyses the definition of liwath and the historical background of society described in the qur’anic scriptures.
Moh Anshori will share what positive efforts have been pushed forward and are needed to be supported in light of the political year of Indonesia in 2019. Could the re-interpretations of qur’anic scriptures contribute in trying to influence the national discourses in favour of people with different SOGIESC? What are the contemporary discussions among queer Moslem scholars in Indonesia at the moment? Are there any other opportunities that we can (queer society) use to influence the national narratives and at the same time avoid the notions of the need to criminalise LGBTIQ communities? These questions are proposed to be discussed during the panel at ICRA 2018, where Aan Anshori will be the main presenter/speaker.
Moh. (Aan) Anshori is a progressive Moslem scholar that is part of Jaringan Islam Anti Diskriminasi (Islamic Anti-Discrimination Network). He regularly talks on the issues of sexuality and faith in different venues and writes news articles that are published by The Jakarta Post, Rappler and many others. His Master Thesis talks about ‘the re-construction of same-se marriage in Islamic law based on human rights perspective’. He is currently based in East Java, Indonesia.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Queer Muslim Performances & Art
15.00 - 17.00h - In-depth conversation
Panel: “Exploring new vocabularies in conversations about religion, race, and politics”, Nawal Mustafa & Matthea Westerduin
This masterclass departs from a critical stance toward a secular-religion distinction. The religio-secular opposition presupposes a notion of religion that is internalized and separate from politics. ‘Religion’ so the argument goes, is inherently dangerous and must be restricted and controlled. Hence, the religio/secular rests on distinctions between good and bad religion. The religio/secular frame however, displaces questions of how this distinction is itself deeply political: liberal thought has mainly problematized non-Christianity, or non-liberal-Protestantism. This production of inequality for non-liberal, non-secular, and/or non-Christian others was often closely entangled with racial hierarchies and colonial politics. In this masterclass we aim to re-politicize religion, and engage in a conversation that includes both critical ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ thought and practices. We will depart from our personal experiences and explore how we might enter such a conversation.
Nawal Mustafa is currently a PhD candidate at the Free University Amsterdam. Her PhD research focuses on the historical regulation of interracialized intimacy in the UK in the period of 1950-1970. Previously Nawal worked for Amnesty International, Humanity in Action, and Critical Mass. Nawal is active as board member for Bureau Clara Wichman and De Goede Zaak. Although the world is currently characterized by an immense inequality, Nawal hopes that her efforts, as small as they may be, can contribute to the redistribution of power and help create a more just world.
Matthea Westerduin is a Phd candidate at the Free University Amsterdam, in an NWO funded project In her research she analyzes the ways in which the categories of race, religion, and the secular are entangled with Christian theology in Western Europe. Especially how these interrelations produce exclusionary practices for Muslims today. She worked with artist/activist Ioana Tudor on art-projects about racism, whiteness, and exclusion. Bringing together scholars and activists, Matthea co-designed the course ‘Masking the race-religion constellation in Europe and the US’. In these projects she hopes to co-create conditions to engage in more equal conversations about religion, race, and politics, in which alternative futures can be imagined and practiced.
19.00 - 22.00h - Open Event
19:30 - 20:30 Fine art exhibition: “Immersive Muslimah”, Imaan Latif
Immersive Muslimah is an art exhibition of the photographic visual activism Immersive Muslimah is a response to shifting representation of women of colour from subjects of sexual objectification to subjects of their own divinity, ethereal qualities. This shift can be seen vividly in the representation of African women in Hip Hop music videos. The initial representation was based on emphasizing the sexual promiscuity associated with black women culture, hanging desperately onto the tale of colonial modernity that they have needed to compromising their sense of self. This propaganda went a long way in creating an otherization of the African female body. As an African cultural response, through divisive mechanisms like Islam and Christianity conservatism, the older generation started to buy into the ideal of the conservative and pure African women. This ideal became a form of force and control imposed by African parents on African women as a defense mechanism for the stereotype. The otherization composed of enforced control of representation as well as a societal expectation of African women to in fact be promiscuous. It creates a double consciousness in the body and mind of the African women. One that is able to desire and experience sexual eroticism as any other human does. But whose identity is tarnished by this act of normal human expression, as if “she fell into” the stereotype, pity her. This distaste is the same regard greater society has for black lesbian womxn. The preference for whiteness and “pure behaviour” was not only confined to sexuality. Black women’s style became “ratchet”, “distasteful” and stereotypically “cheap” in the eyes of white society, which accounts for most of modern society. Black women in this case are not coded with the same protection that white feminity is granted in representation. Female bodies are usually subjected to rape, murder and violence in representation that usually shows a compromised female bodies, whose strength inspires the audiences. This narrative of female representation is transforming. Before, Hip Hop music videos would represent the lead female as usually creole, with a certain proximity to whiteness in style, sexuality, physical features and expression. However, this representation has changed since the proliferation of social media. My hypothesis is because the consumer’s labour started rebalancing the representation through social media sites. No longer were consumers blindly consuming mainstream media as the only realm of buying entertaining black content, black content started to produce itself online. This proliferation saw an increase in dark skinner, more Africanized women of culture parading their beauty on these platforms #melanin #darkskin #Afrobeauty.
I see this act of transforming narrative of Queer black female representation on social media as prolific. If more females are able to produce these narrative, conventions and codes that normalize positive imagery and treatment of Queer black female bodies, violence could be significantly reduced. It is the normalization of an abusive representation of Queer black women that I would like to prove is the cause of violence towards women.
To take an intersectional approach, I would further highlight the issue of black lesbian women and their specific vulnerability. Often cast out of their family home for not abiding by normalized feminine culture, lesbian Black Female bodies are independent actors in large urban spaces that harbour rape culture and violence. It is these bodies left to fend for themselves that are specifically vulnerable of being left out of the narrative of liberation. The liberation is not only about representation and epistemologies that misrepresent African geo-political bodies. The Queer African womxn liberation is about a systemic shift on a practical level. Which most literally means resources and investment into basic infrastructure and administration to support these people. In the war against so many forms of oppressions, often those most marginalized are left out of the conversation. Not to say each oppression is not worth changing, but if you attack the foundation of the problem, often the solution is multifaceted and multi-beneficial. We see Black Queer Womxn of Colour as allies to any movement seeking to embark on a war on position. An ideological war that seeks to normalize the success and investment into the marginalized being.
This is especially significant considering the digital sphere and the new ground for egalitarian innovation. The ability to share resources for mutual benefit (instead of hoarding) them could potentially be disruptive. As disruptive as it was to offer a relatively free online platform to have international communication networks. Young Africa is largely Queer accepting, it is the older generation fall victim to a colonial narrative of homophobia and the lack of good citizenship in Africa. This narrative seeks to distort the initiative on the part of many youth to connect within Africa.
20:45 - 21:45 Queer Refugee Short Film Program, Yavuz Kurtulmus
In a time of international crises and wars, a political shift to the right throughout Europe, and ever-rising everyday racism, it is particularly important for us to increase the visibility of minorities within the LGBTIQ community, as well as to increase their – our self-confidence, by having an open dialogue marked by mutual respect. As we all know, the summer of 2015 and the arrival of a large number of Syrian refugees in Europe has sparked discrimination and xenophobia more than Europe ha d experienced in a while. This is more alarming for us as refugees, migrants, people of color, trans*, and dis/abled people within the Queer* spectrum, as we lie at unique crossroads of being minorities within a minority. After all, queer minorities are those most often affected by discrimination and marginalization in society at large. As we begin this walk into this period of uncertainty, it becomes ever more important for us to build community, support each other and love generously. Against this background, there can be little doubt about the importance of a queer refugee film program in the realm of ICRA.
Yavuz Kurtulmus immigrated to Austria in the 1980s with his Turkish/ Macedonian family. Leaving behind a lucrative career in risk management, he began the Queer Migrant movement in Austria with the NGO, ‘MiGaY’ and in 2012, started TRANSITION, Europe’s first film event by, for and about Que er migrants and minorities as a response to the lack of diversity and intersectionality in the Queer cinema scene. His newest project is the Porn Film Festival Vienna, which had its first edition in March 2018.
October 4 - 6, 2018
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Only for queer Muslims, registration required
Detailed information will follow after registration.
In this weekend we will facilitate workshops, trainings, seminars and spiritual activities.
Start: October 4, 14:00h
End: October 6, 14:00h
All places are taken. Registration is not possible anymore.