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Secular Muslim forum condemns Kerala Muslim right’s demonisation of LGBTQIA+ community

The press statement by the Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has been signed by 38 persons, including activist Teesta Setalvad and poet and former MP Javed Akhtar.
File Photo/PTI
The Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has issued a press statement condemning the “concerted effort by the Muslim rightwing in Kerala” against the LGBTQIA+ community. IMSD is a forum of Indian Muslims committed to the values of democracy, secularism, equality and justice,according to their website. The press statement has been signed by 38 persons, including activist Teesta Setalvad and poet and former MP Javed Akhtar.
“Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy strongly condemns the concerted effort by the Muslim rightwing in Kerala – including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and some Muslim-run websites – to ridicule, vilify, denigrate, and demonise Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a tragic irony that while the minority Muslim community in India is itself the target of rampant Islamophobia, the conservatives among them are hurling hate speech at the sexual minorities (minority within the minority). What logic or ethics makes Islamophobia wrong but homophobia, queerphobia, or transphobia right? Not surprisingly, the Muslim right has much in common with the Hindu right,” the statement read.
IMSD added that the latest trigger was the Kerala trans couple becoming biological parents. “What perhaps added to the fervour of the self-appointed custodians of morality is the fact that Kerala’s Health Minister Veena George promptly congratulated the couple on the phone and directed the Kozhikode Medical College to provide all treatment for free. She also arranged for breast milk to be provided to the baby from the human milk bank,” they said.
“Being targets of hate politics themselves, Muslims should know the difference between free speech and hate speech. Comparing homosexuality to paedophilia, targeting members of the LGBTQIA+ community with words and expressions such as “a shame”, “mentally ill”, “worst kind of people”, “people in need of treatment” etc, are hate speech, not free speech. The very Constitution which guarantees to Muslims the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate their faith cannot but also guarantee to sexual minorities their right to publicly proclaim their presence, hold a Pride Parade,” the members asserted in their statement.
They further added that the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Indian Constitution recognise the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all citizens. “Even as the humiliated, bruised, and battered Indian Muslim community struggles for its own right to a dignified life, it must learn to respect and uphold the “right to dignity” of all citizens,” IMSD said.
TNM had recently reported on how several Muslim religious and political outfits have been making hateful comments against LGBTQIA+ persons, and how this means that queer Muslims face the double brunt of queerphobia and Islamophobia within their own communities.
Read: Muslim LGBTQIA+ persons in Kerala suspect targeted hate campaign by Islamic groups