Queer Muslim artist talks representation and Ramadan

Samira, pictured, is a queer Iranian Muslim based in Toronto.

Samira, pictured, is a queer Iranian Muslim based in Toronto. Samra Habib

When Samra Habib was growing up in Pakistan and later in Toronto, faith was a core part of her identity, but she struggled to integrate it into her sexual identity, until she found Unity Mosque.

“To me, the mosque embodies the diversity that exists within Islam,” Habib told The Huffington Post.

The photographer, who documents LGBTQ Muslim was recently featured in HuffPost Religion’s series highlighting Muslim artists during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends this year on July 5.

Habib said she was encouraged to do the photo series, “Just Me and Allah,” by one of the mosque’s founders. The photos reveal the diversity of LGBTQ Muslims and their spiritual journeys.

“My body of work aims to bring light to the struggles and often complicated experiences of queer Muslims around the world by documenting their visual history and narratives,” Habib explained when she took over the site’s Instagram account on Friday.

She added that she is praying this Ramadan for “the safety and well being of queer folks all over the world, as well as religious minorities who get killed by extremists on a regular basis,” and for those in Istanbul in particular, following the terrorist attack at Atuturk Airport that killed 43.

Queer Muslim voices are especially need in the current climate, Habib said:

I feel that my identity as a queer Muslim woman of color who is an artist, a journalist and an activist gives me a unique platform to share the kind of insight that had been missing from mainstream media. Our voices had been missing from conversations about the Muslim experience. I feel so fortunate to be part of the many emerging voices of queer Muslim artists and writers that highlight the diversity that exists within Islam. Because of the climate, there is a hunger for the different perspectives of Muslims who deal with Islamophobic attitudes daily.

Check out Habib’s photo series here.

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