When religion and sexual identity collide:
Public Relations - Published: October 19, 2010
AlamFaisalThe struggles and challenges facing sexual and gender minorities within the Muslim world will be the focus of an event hosted by a Widener Law student group on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Speaker Faisal Alam, who describes himself as a “queer-identified Muslim activist of Pakistani descent,” will give the 5 p.m. talk “Hidden Voices: The Law and Lives of LGBT Muslims” in the Barristers’ Club on the school’s Wilmington campus at 4601 Concord Pike. Alam will draw from his own life experiences and explore the complex history of the Islamic world as he sheds light on the lives of an often-invisible and silent community: Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning.

Islam is considered one of the world’s fastest-growing religions, with more than 1.5 billion followers, yet much of the Western world views it with uncertainty. Alam’s presentation also aims to dispel common stereotypes and myths about his faith.

Alam organized the first-ever gathering of LGBT Muslims, while trying to reconcile his sexuality with his faith at the age of 19. That led to the formation of Al-Fatiha, an organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning Muslims, which he directed from its inception in 1997 to 2003. Today, he travels the world speaking about the movement and in support of LGBTIQ Muslims seeking ways to integrate their faith and their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The event is free and open to the public. It is presented by OUTLaw, a Widener Law student group dedicated to promoting the interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersexed and questioning students at the School of Law and throughout the broader legal community. The group will host a networking social after the talk, also in the Barristers’ Club.