Mumbai: Muslims rally behind queer community

Tuesday, 17 December 2013 - 12:03pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Despite the support extended by top religious leaders across communities — including Muslim leaders — to the Supreme Court verdict criminalising homosexuality, liberal voices in the Muslim community are rallying behind same-sex couples in the country.

Hasina Khan, women’s activist and a member of Muslim Women’s Rights Network, said, “The apex court’s judgement goes against our fundamental and human rights. It is an attempt to control our personal lives. We want people to know that there is a bigger, progressive Muslim community whose views should be also considered.”

Commenting on religious leaders from different faiths who had all spoken against the earlier progressive ruling of the Delhi High Court, Khan added that these people can’t term themselves as religious representatives.

“If the religious leaders cannot take a secular and gender perspective decision, they shouldn’t take up the responsibility of representing the community. We need religious leaders who will come together to take a good, secular and unbiased decision,” said Khan.

Muslims for Secular Democracy has appealed to legislators to take proactive steps in decriminalising homosexuality.

Javed Anand of Muslims for Secular Democracy said, “We demand immediate action from legislators across the political spectrum for scrapping the obnoxious Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — a legacy of the colonial era — to decriminalise same-sex relations between consenting adults.”

Anand further added that the organisation is glad that some political leaders and parties have spoken out against the apex court’s ruling.

“We applaud political leaders and parties who have spoken out against the Supreme Court ruling.

We condemn the shameful support of the latest verdict by leaders from the BJP (including its prime ministerial aspirant) and the Samajwadi Party, and silence on the issue by some other parties,” said Anand. 

Mumbai turned out in thousands at the Maheshwari Garden (MG) in Matunga on Sunday to mark the ‘Global Day of Rage’, joining people from 18 cities including Delhi, New York, Boston, London, Sydney and Toronto to protest the ruling on homosexuality.

“We emphatically assert that same sex relations between consenting adults is not a crime and those engaging in it are no less human than heterosexuals. They must be respected as equals.

Leave alone their being treated as criminals, any kind of discrimination against them is entirely unacceptable,” said Khan.

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