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Pav “out, proud” after all July 4, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Queer Muslims.
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Pav Akhtar waving from Imaan float at EuroPride 2006Hmmm. Remember this saga a few months back, after Pav Akhtar lost the election for NUS President? His supporters, including some Muslims, insist that he was the best candidate for Muslim interests, and that his sexuality should be irrelevant.

Remember the Muslim Weekly article in which he said he was “contending with” his sexuality and “insisted he has never recognised homosexuality as permissible in Islam”?

“If people understand that I recognise I have a shortcoming and that homosexuality is haram in Islam, in my view, that should be enough; this should not have been an issue in this case in my opinion. If I’d turned around and openly said ‘this is a platform I’m standing on as a gay Muslim to advocate gay rights, then even I’d have supported them (FOSIS),” he said.

That is, it seems that the Muslim students coordinated by FOSIS may have taken his “gay Muslim” status into consideration in choosing to back another candidate, resulting in him losing (and their backed candidate losing too). They deny that sexuality had anything to do with it, but I argued back then that if the delegates had taken it into consideration properly in the light of Islam, then they were probably right.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear from the above picture [more below, and see this one too], as well as his gushing e-mail to Imaan [see below] following their parade of perversion (aka EuroPride) that he fed the obliging Muslim Weekly chap whatever would allow him to make his attack on FOSIS while maintaining just a smidgeon of credibility among the Muslim readers of the paper.

Check this out and draw your own conclusions (emphasis added):

Salam brothers and sisters,

I’ve been around the block a few times on the odd demo or ten, and seldom am I moved enough by an experience to want to comment on it publicly.

Yesterday though was one of those exceptional experiences, and I do want to tell you what a brilliant success the event was.

I felt enormously privileged to be part of the Imaan Pride float, not least because it was one of the best dressed – the float I mean, (I shall reserve any comment on the floatees) ;-) – but also because of the incredibly important message that we were sending out to the wider community.

As out, proud and visible Muslim LGBT people, we really challenged the stereotyping with which we have too long been codified, and we also went a considerable way to confound the expectations of our community.

There was a generosity exuding from the crowds in an unprecedented abundance, and in particular from our Muslim brothers and sisters – yes, hijabi sisters waved at us and blew kisses with great ardour. Subhan’allah. I never thought I’d see the day when we would have such public acceptance. My only regret from yesterday is that I didn’t have a digital camera at hand to record this warmth.

So thank you, Imaan, for inspiring me with the generosity of our people, and society, and for re-kindling my wish to take our message out further a field.

I’m grateful to the creative volunteers who dressed the Imaan float on doing such an inspired job, the patient (and fit!) Imaan stewards for walking the whole route, the persistent Imaan Committee members for nagging us to attend, and of course all of the volunteers on the float for having the courage and tenacity to be there and help make this such a brilliant experience. Thank you.

Right, I’ll stop gushing here and get back to nursing my poor shoulder which is suffering the consequence of 2 hours of consistent waving to the crowds… I

My love and salam, 

Pav

Pav is now a Labour councillor in Lambeth, and was re-elected in May 2006 as Black Members’ Officer for the Labour Campaign for Lesbian & Gay Rights. And in June 2006, he was re-elected as Black students’ rep for the NUS LGBT Campaign… Sorry, what was that about “contending”?

Pav @ Pride

Pav @ Pride

Pav Akhtar (left)

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Comments»

1. Yousef - July 5, 2006

What is it that they are proud about I don’t understand!!!

2. Al-Fil - July 5, 2006

To Rasheed Eldin,

As per your April 3 article, I agree with many of your arguments, but disagree strongly with your conclusion. In Islam, the distinction between public and private has always been safeguarded, more so than any other religion. What Akhtar does in the privacy of his own home would not have affected his presidency at all, especially when he was not including gay rights in his campaign. If he had included his sexuality in his campaign, than that’s his fault, and scrutiny would be understandable, though I, of course, still think it shouldn’t matter in the end.

If you take into account personal sexualities in elections, where does it end? What if a guy tend to like to date younger women? If a woman likes to wear pink panties? If a woman’s a virgin? Are these parts of “sexual morality” that you’re talking about? Where is the line for invasion of privacy? Should there be virginity tests to see if there has been no sex out of wedlock. After all, that’s a huge sin in Islam.

As for this post, I say “good for him”. But I contend that the Imaan float was unrelated to the FOSIS incident. It wasn’t Akhtar who brought his sexuality to the forefront then, it was the other way around.

To Yousef:

They are proud of who they are, a sentiment that is easily enjoyed by the majority, which has too often tried to strip the minority of self-respect.

3. Rasheed Eldin - July 5, 2006

Al-Fil,

When someone’s “private” life is so public, and they sail around on floats parading it, just how private is it any more? I think there is a big difference between a case like Pav’s and ideas you mentioned about “virginity tests”. What Allah has covered, nobody has a right to uncover – but when someone is a known LGB campaigner, that is quite a different matter.

I think we’ll continue to disagree with regards to my post on “Pav and that Presidential Post” (3 April), but in summary, my arguments were on three levels.

MORAL: I believe that we should take people’s known moral ‘issues’ into account, but as you say, to what extent is a tricky matter.
ETHICAL: The Muslim delegates would be accountable to the Ummah and later to God for the decision they make, which could boost a fitnah-maker.
POLITICAL: While aspects of Pav’s agenda agree with Muslims’ agendas, the LGBT aspect of it certainly does not. These factors should be weighed up carefully.

Pav has made his sexuality a forefront issue in the past, but not so in the NUS elections. Perhaps he thought he could really get the Muslim votes. Cynical? Not as cynical as the rubbish he told to the Muslim Weekly purely because he is a sore loser.

The point in this post is to show that despite his claim to be “contending with” his sexuality, he is very much aligned with people who align themselves with other people that Muslims want nothing to do with.

4. Yousef - July 5, 2006

Are they proud of who they are what they do??? What is the need of displaying their sexual preference? It seems to me that they are drawing themselves closer and closer to the People of Lut as they are displaying their support for lewd acts in public.

5. Yousef - July 5, 2006

By the way, I read Al-Fil’s posts where he was complaining about the use of the word “shaath”…isn’t that EXACTLY what Queer means? Outside of the norm…different? Where are your complaints about this?

6. Al-Fil - July 5, 2006

Yousef-

I don’t like “shaath” and I don’t like the word “queer”, and I don’t use either.

Yes they’re proud of what they do. The need of displaying a sexual preference comes from the discrimination gay people face if they don’t. If there weren’t death penalties, police raids, job discrimination, tax inequalities, hate crimes, etc. etc. etc., gay people wouldn’t be so “in your face” about it.

7. Yousef - July 5, 2006

Then why don’t you protest against everyone who uses the term “queer”?????
It is NOT true that this is the reason for gay pride…all these laws are inexistent in the UK, Canada, US, Brazil…yet they still have the gatherings of half naked men displaying themselves in the most disgusting and disrespectful of ways. There are much more productive ways of displaying their points of view rather than parades explaining to people what it is that they do!!!

8. Al-Fil - July 6, 2006

I do say that I hate the word “queer” whenever I get the chance, but I don’t really think an all-out protest would be appropriate. “Queer” has come to be used as a way to “reclaim” a derogatory word to remove the inherent insult. While I like the idea, I don’t think it’s realistic. “Shaath” does not have the tradition of such reclaiming, as Arab-speakers who want to avoid homophobic Arabic terms tend to used Wester terms.

Despite what you may think, there is still discrimination in Western countries. But I digress.

Even when discrimination goes away, the parades should continue, as a symbol of how far we’ve gotten and where we’ve come from.

What is wrong with a gathering of half-naked men? Have you never been to a beach? Paraders are not “explaining to people what it is that they do”, they are explaining who they are – a huge difference. There is no sex, there is just fun. It a fallacy to equivalate homosexuality and sex, as you just did.

There’s half-naked men at almost any summer celebration. Maybe they should cancel the 4th of July.

9. Yousef - July 6, 2006

Al-Fil, anyone who has seen even glimpses of a “gay” parade knows that it is no fourth of July parade. The parades are highly sexual and very inappropriate. The only thing they could be compared to is the Carnival in Brazil…and I think we can agree that that parade is highly sexual. Because of this, I say that the point of these parades is neither political nor social, it is to display the sexual behaviour of these people.

10. PureofHeart - July 7, 2006

Parade of Perversion?? How do you work that out? Was anyone behaving in a perverse way at the march?

Again, can someone respond to my point:

If LGBT’s were not being persecuted, murdered, bullied, defamed, harrassed, discriminated against and so forth – THERE WOULD BE NO NEED FOR A GAY PRIDE MARCH. The Pride march is a REACTION to HOSTILITY.

Hope you can understand that : )

11. jesse trautmann - July 10, 2006

I’m a freelance writer doing a story on dual discrimination and what it’s like to be gay and Muslim in DT Toronto. If there is anyone who is willing to share their story or thoughts please get in touch with me. judging by these comments i want to talk to people rather than rep’s from Salaam. Identities can be withheld if requested
thx Jesse Trautmann

12. Yousef - July 11, 2006

PureofHeart:
What is the need of having a parade where people’s sexual behaviour is displayed for everyone to see. What is the point of such parade? Anyone who has seen a gay pride parade anywhere can judge for themselves whether or not it is highly sexual…based on what I have seen, I believe that it is nothing but a perverse display of what these people do and how they act behind closed doors. Reaction to hostility: It might be, but you can’t say that it has anything to do with social awareness. That is done through education not through showing naked bodies…
my opinion.

13. PureofHeart - July 11, 2006

I thought you were only referring to Imaan the LGBT Muslim group..was there anything perverse about the way they behaved?

Media coverage of Gay Pride *always* focuses on the near naked, and other groups whom we as Muslims may not want to associate with but..guess what? It’s a reflection of greater society…we live in a western country where such things are a part of society!

You hardly ever seen the hundreds of Gya police, firefighter, HIV voolunteers, other professinals on the TV cos they are not eye catching to the media.

14. Alista - September 4, 2006

Great blog brothers! Please keep showing what these people are up to. I couldn’t believe MW printed that story, they are actually a good paper.

You know Ruqayyah Collector who was laying into FOSIS for their decision? I’m told she later nominated someone for FOSIS executive who actually calls himself “bisexual”. What is her obsession?!

15. Alista - September 4, 2006

Oh and forgot to mention she is Pav’s successor as Black Students Officer at NUS.

16. sonia - February 18, 2007

How about being honest?

17. Rasheed Eldin - February 21, 2007

Sonia – what is dishonest here?

18. fugstar - March 27, 2007

ETHICAL: The Muslim delegates would be accountable to the Ummah and later to God for the decision they make, which could boost a fitnah-maker.

OMG, you actually wrote accountable to the Ummah. Lets not live in Ummahtic CLoud Cuckoo land. What on earth does that mean in the NUS context? The entrenched isoc interest? The less organised muslims? all of our parents? The need of the ummah for the muslim britons to be smart and forwardly stanced and to support them in the shared challenge of development?

Muslim strategy and tactics at the uni and umbrella uni are rubbish.

This gay muslim scene is really quite developed. i wonder where it will go.

19. Rasheed Eldin - March 30, 2007

I don’t see what’s so objectionable about my point regarding accountability: perhaps you didn’t grasp my meaning. If Pav became a big “gay Muslim” figure some time in the future (he isn’t just now), with his NUS leadership as a springboard to that, people could question FOSIS as to why they supported him while being aware of this real possibility. I see this is as a more justified criticism than in such a case where it is a non-Muslim gay candidate. Nothing is black-n-white…

20. maybel - July 23, 2007

Yousef,

As a heterosexual who volunteered at Gay Pride this year,let me say that I never saw those half naked men of whom you talk about. But if you mean they had no shirts on(which IS half naked) then I saw plenty and in that case,let me defend them by saying it’s summer and hot!
Somehow I don’t see you complaining about the women,some of who wear short shorts and bikini tops. Hypocritical much? So until you start complaining about the women too, go frak yourself.
I digress. So what if they are half naked,like some people said, it is the one day they get to be themselves without fear of being attacked,bullied or bloodied up or meeting idiots like you. Let them be!
And there ARE anti-gay laws in the USA. Our “wonderful” president is pushing a law to ban gay marriage/civil unions,hate laws(because it’d protect those “unnatural” sinners) and has left it up to the states to handle the issue of LGBT issues which they have been doing oh so well: A govt worker in Florida was fired after she transitioned MTF and they gave some weak reason that she missed work for a week.

I rant. My point: If they and we(supporters or “enablers”) are not in your damn face, shut the heck up. I doubt you’re bold enough to go face to face to some gay men and spout off this crap because you know damn well you will be stomped!

*sorry if i didn’t comment on NUS or whatever;don’t live in England*

21. Yousef - July 23, 2007

Maybel:
First: You say you never saw those half naked men…then you say you did…

Second: You do not even know me yet you feel the need to call me an idiot, is this the tolerance that you are preaching?

Third: At what time during the dancing and showing off of their bodies during this parade were they opposing the “anti-gay” laws you speak of?

Fourth: You seem to be an expert on nothing else but digression on ranting. I will speak out against evil every chance that I get, this is my duty as a Muslim…so you will have to excuse me if I don’t “shut the heck up”. The rest of your comments are nothing more than garbage and senseless words (stomping etc…) Please do comment when you have something of substance to say. Until then, happy ranting!

22. Qusai - July 26, 2007

I saw the parade last year in London. There were a lot of dignified formations from a range of professional groups e.g policemen, engineers as well as Christians, Jews, Muslims and other ordinary human beings.

Nevertheless a good proportion of the shows were deliberately provocative. However they struck me as satirical and quite depressive. I may have felt furious as a younger man but now I feel as much sympathy for myself as for the flamboyant feeble mortals.

That maybe because, despite my efforts to conform to religious code, I never quite understood what drives the raging excitement and livid furiousness against homosexuality.

But of course you can’t spend a lifetime chasing your tail over answering every single question that crosses your mind. I hate to play Pascal’s wager but sometimes it seems to be the safest way out of some of such intellectual ‘deathtraps’.

23. Charlie Crew - November 7, 2007

I wish to comment on the debate regarding the result of FOSIS behaviour, combined with Councillor Pav Akhtar and the outrageous comments delivered by such people who follow one goal and that goal to suffice every body and every thing. Mr Akhtar stood his post at the NUS(Yes, i was present as a candidate!) regardless of my postion i was influenced by Mr Akhtar’s morals and guidance in achieving happiness and fairness! I wish to plead from all corners of Britains Society..PLEASE!…PLEASE..move on with no hostility!…move on with faith…Move on with Fairness…Move on with your achievments!…and most of all MOVIN flamin on wioth what you believe BUT at the same time respect and UNDERSTAND the people in this country who are working their arses of to provide happiness and strong joints in not just within the UK..but the Entire World. Thankyou, I look forward to some positive comments soon..and sujjestions how we can continue to achieve as Mr Councillor Pav Akhtar is. Thanks

24. ‘Gay Muslims’ comment on Eastenders « Eye on ‘Gay Muslims’ - July 30, 2009

[…] posted written and pictorial evidence back then that he was in fact fully “out and proud” (his words), and now he is the […]

25. yazz - May 19, 2012

No where is being Homosexual Gods way. Stop distorting the truth, the truth is there in black and white. Have some respect for your own religion at least. Shameful!


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