The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) rejects the Task Force’s latest attempt to address current tensions at Creating Change 2016 with regard to Zionism and the military occupation of Palestine by Israel. The past two weeks have included a series of attempts to manipulate, undermine, divide, and co-opt our communities, absent any intersectional analysis of the broader oppressive dynamics at play. MASGD stands with all LGBTQ activists who reject oppressive forces at Creating Change, whether they be ICE or Zionism.
We specifically reject the impromptu session “Radical Dialogue: Palestine, Israel, and LGBTQ People” as a way to address our concerns. This session is illegitimate and flawed on several counts. First, by framing it as a “dialogue,” the session gives the incorrect impression that this is a conversation between equals, when the reality is that there can be no true dialogue between military occupiers and the occupied. Second, the framework of the session pits the issue of the occupation of Palestine as a conflict between two faith traditions, which both obscures the true political and structural underpinnings of the conflict, as well as serves to amplify both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Reducing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a “Jewish-Muslim” conflict contributes to equating the Jewish faith with Zionism, and the Muslim faith with “terrorism.” Third, this supposed-dialogue fails to include any Palestinian voices, and instead assumes that all Palestinians are Muslim, and that all Muslims speak for one another. Fourth, we are deeply troubled by the attempt to divide our communities by deliberately excluding MASGD from the conversation, as well as excluding many other important voices in the LGBTQ Muslim community.
Finally, this “dialogue” is a naked attempt to co-opt our criticisms of the structural violence of Zionism, by making this issue one of emotions and “hurt feelings” rather than one of the politics of oppression, occupation, and racism. Such attempts at window-dressing can never address structures of power, and therefore cannot serve as a fix for the decisions made by the Task Force at Creating Change 2016 that support systems of oppression. The Task Force pays a lot of lip service to being concerned about social justice, and to understanding the ways in which oppressions intersect with one another; however, their actions this year have demonstrated a clear hypocrisy and betrayal of what queer liberation truly means. We demand that the Task Force cancel this session, that it engage in meaningful introspection about transparency, accountability, and privilege, and that it recognize and reject Zionism by signing on to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction campaign. By siding with the forces of oppression and occupation, the Task Force is clearly on the wrong side of history.
The MASGD Steering Committee
January 22, 2016
The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity works to support, empower and connect LGBTQ Muslims. We seek to challenge root causes of oppression, including misogyny and xenophobia. We aim to increase the acceptance of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim communities, and to promote a progressive understanding of Islam that is centered on inclusion, justice, and equality.