LGBT Muslims at London Pride

Islamophobes and right-wing leaders in the West often attack Muslims for their treatment of women and the LGBT community. The irony of course, is that many of these individuals themselves champion policies that  oppress both groups.

While it is valid to say that women and the LGBT community face significant obstacles in many Muslim-majority countries, the same can be said for countries throughout the world, regardless of religious affiliation.

In reality, numerous Muslim leaders and activists have been at the forefront of promoting acceptance and equal rights for the LGBT community. Here's a look at some prime examples.

1. All of Germany's Muslim MPs voted in support of same-sex marriage

On Friday, the parliament of Germany voted with a strong majority to fully legalize same-sex marriage, granting homosexual couples equal rights to heterosexuals. 

While Chancellor Angela Merkel, who leads her ruling Christian Democrats Union party, voted against the decision, all six of Germany's Muslim MPs voted in support of the legislation.

While Merkel has been dubbed the "leader of the free world" after the election of President Donald Trump in the U.S., it seems the Muslim politicians in her country are actually more supportive of the LGBT community than she is. 

2. London's Muslim mayor marched in the city's Gay Pride parade

During London's Pride 2016, the city's newly elected Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan showed his unequivocal support for the UK's LGBT community by leading his city's annual pride parade. 

This year, Khan threw his support behind an initiative that brought LGBT individuals and the Muslim community together during Ramadan for a special iftar. 

"London’s LGBT+ community is one of the largest in the world, and I was proud to lead last year’s Pride march and to be Mayor of a city that doesn’t just tolerate diversity but truly embraces and celebrates it," Khan said.

"This year’s Pride in London program reflects the full spectrum of the capital’s LGBT+ community and I urge all Londoners to immerse themselves in the festivities," he said.

3. Muslim activist Linda Sarsour has vocally sided with the LGBT community

As a leading Muslim activist in the U.S., Linda Sarsour has become well-known for her opposition to the Islamophobic agenda of President Donald Trump.

But Sarsour has also vocally and actively thrown her support behind other communities that feel threatened by Trump's policies.

"I ask you to stand and continue to keep your voice loud for Black women, for native women, for undocumented women, for LGBTQ communities, for people with disabilities," Sarsour said during her speech at the historic Women's March on Washington D.C. in January.

In the wake of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, which was claimed by the so-called Islamic State, Sarsour voiced her support for the LGBT community tweeting: "Heart is broken to pieces. Sending love to the LGBTQ communities."

4. America's first-ever Muslim congressman is a tireless advocate for LGBT rights

Keith Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress and still one of only two Muslims serving in the legislative body.

Throughout his tenure, which began in 2007, Ellison has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community. 

"Keith is a tireless advocate for equal human and civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Keith believes in expanding marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples and to have those marriages recognized by other states and by the federal government," the politician's official website says.

Similarly, Andre Carson, the other Muslim elected to Congress, is also a strong supporter of the LGBT community.

"No one should ever be discriminated against or denied services based on who they are or who they love," Carson said in 2015.

5. A Muslim imam performed a gay marriage in France before the state legalized it

Imam Ludovic Mohamed Zahed

In 2012, before France officially legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, an imam performed the blessings to marry two gay men in Paris.

French- Algerian Ludovic Mohamed Zahed and his partner Qiyam al-Din became the first gay couple in France to be married in a Muslim religious ceremony. Zahed, himself a scholar and imam, went on to found a "gay-friendly" and gender-inclusive mosque.

Zahed argues that the rejection of LGBT Muslims is "modern and new in Islam," according to The Independent.

"It has nothing to do with Islam as spirituality, because our tradition is much more peaceful in terms of dealing with sexuality and gender identity," he said.

6. Muslim entertainers are raising awareness

Hamed Sinno (L) Amin El Gamal (R)

The Lebanese indie band Mashrou' Leila has made headlines around the world for its pro-LGBT stance and its openly gay lead singer, Hamed Sinno.

Similarly, LGBT Muslim actors like Egyptian-American Amin El Gamal (Prison Break) and Iraqi-British Amrou Al-Kadhi have been vocal in raising awareness about their intersectional community.

Muslim American actor Mahershala Ali also demonstrated that his religious affiliation doesn't stand at odds with his acceptance of the LGBT community, after starring in and winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Moonlight. The plot of the film revolved around a black gay man's coming of age.