Gay Muslims are getting an increasing amount of media coverage recently thanks to award winning documentaries like Jihad for Love and even Showtime's new show Nurse Jackie which co-stars Haaz Sleiman as a gay Muslim nurse. So, it was not surprising when the survey, Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations, asked Muslims about their views on homosexuality-and garnered media interest.
Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies and appointee to the White House faith-based advisory council, released the Gallup survey results on May 7 in London. Compiled from six different surveys, the study looks at Muslim attitudes in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is Gallup's first annual report on the state of faith relations and global attitudes among people of faith in different traditions and countries around the world.
Germany came in second with 68% of non-Muslims and 19% of Muslims demonstrating acceptance towards homosexual acts.
Out of the 500 Muslims in Britain interviewed, all responded negatively but gay Muslims in the UK are becoming increasingly visible and raising awareness. Groups like Al-Fatiha and Imaan are working hard to give a voice to gay Muslims in the UK. Al- Fatiha is in the process of conducting their own survey in order to better understand the experiences and concerns of the British LGBT Muslim community. Meanwhile, Imaan sponsors an annual LGBT Muslim conference in order to reconcile Islam with sexuality and educate people that Islam is not a homophobic faith and one that all LGBT can practice.
LGBT Muslims are slowly emerging into the spotlight and changing hearts and minds. As expressed by gay UK journalist Omar Hassan in his recent commentary of the Gallup polls findings in The Advocate, there is no reason not to be optimistic: "I'm still hopeful. Together, we can build new families and communities. It won't be easy, but that shouldn't stop us from trying. After all, we owe it to each other -- we deserve it."