Abbas sitting on the Elbe beach in Hamburg Övelgönne. After a long time he took the Qur’an again. And start reciting. In the past, the 28-year-old was fascinated by Islam in Lebanon. But then he realized that he liked boys: “If I feel something about other boys, I might hide it because it’s forbidden.”
Abbas hails from a religious family, at the age of 18 he entered a religious school. “I had relationships with other boys from an early age in Lebanon. It felt so natural to me. But then I realized that the society in which I live rejects it. There was a voice inside me saying: What you are doing is wrong. I got to a point where I realized that if Show my feelings, it can be really dangerous.”
An outdated image of masculinity and traditional power structures
Abbas applied for asylum in Germany. Gay sex is illegal in 18 Muslim countries, according to a report by the International Gay and Lesbian League. Conservative Muslims point to a passage in the Qur’an that is supposed to prove that God hates homosexuals: the story of the Prophet Lot and his people: “In your lust for the senses you really hang out with men rather than women,” the text says. God kills the “sinners”.
Whether this story is about what we now call homosexuality is debatable. The problem is not with the Qur’an, says Atahan Demirel from Stuttgart. It lies in an old image of masculinity and in archaic power structures: “In my opinion, it is something that patriarchal power takes advantage of, and it is there to justify what is actually unjust. Human dignity and human rights are already found in the Qur’an rather than the suppression of homosexual people in the first place. the first “.
The first queer Muslim group in German CSD
Atahan Demirel has a Turkish background with immigrant backgrounds. Born and raised in Stuttgart. Not all Muslims are homophobic, it is important for him to emphasize this. But he also did not go to a mosque in Stuttgart to pray. He says there is a certain hostility towards homosexuals.
He is a member of the Youth of Islam Conference – Post-Migration Network of Muslim Youth. Demirel explains that the network has had its own LGBT group since 2020: “LGBT Muslims are discriminated against in many ways. The problem often remains hidden. Attention, first and foremost, vision is required.” In July, Attahan and other representatives of the Youth Islam Conference want to participate in Christopher’s Street Day in Berlin – perhaps as the first queer Muslim group at the German CSD Centre.
Hope for a normal life
Abbas hopes he can live here if his asylum application is accepted: “I see the difference here, I see what normal life would look like here: I am accepted by society. I don’t have to hide. I should not be ashamed of anything, anything I do I can be myself. Honestly.”