Monday, August 07, 2006

Al Fatiha's Open Letter Regarding World Pride


Open Letter to the LGBTIQ Community and WorldPride Participants

As LGBTIQ Muslims and allies, the Al-Fatiha Foundation is torn, but united in our boycott of WorldPride in Jerusalem. As a religious organization, Al-Fatiha embraces the great symbolism that WorldPride in Jerusalem represents: the bringing together of LGBTIQ people in a city regarded as holy by Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Yet, this WorldPride will not be a bringing together of people; Palestinians and the vast majority of Muslims will continue to be denied access to the city of Jerusalem. Al-Fatiha cannot, in good faith, support participation in WorldPride held in a segregated Jerusalem, under an Israeli apartheid system.

There is no pride in a system of apartheid institutionalized by the Israeli government and enforced by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinian civilians. Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are routinely denied freedom of movement and unrestricted access to Jerusalem. Palestinians must carry identity cards to go anywhere, and if granted, special permits to enter or exit Jerusalem. Every day, Palestinians must endure numerous checkpoints which restrict and often prohibit their travel for work, for education, and for healthcare. The escalating violence targeting civilians in Palestine/Israel precludes freedom of movement for everyone, regardless of sexuality, religion or ethnicity.

There is no pride in collective punishment of millions of people, in wholesale denial of food, water, adequate shelter, right to property, freedom of movement, access to health care and hospitals, access to education, right to earn a living, right to integrity and liberty. These are basic human rights. And, these are human rights that are systematically violated by policies and practices of the Israeli government and the IDF on a daily basis throughout Palestine.

The recent Israeli bombing of a water treatment plant and the sole power plant that supplies electricity to sixty-five percent of Gaza Strip's 1.4 million inhabitants is just one example of collective punishment experienced by all Palestinians--regardless of religion, political or ideological persuasion, sexual expression or identity. To date, thousands of Palestinians are still without access to clean water and electricity during the hottest summer months.

In addition, the recent systematic violence by Israel targeting civilian lives in Lebanon and the deliberate annihilation of Lebanese infrastructure of water and electric power plants, airports, seaports, highways, schools and hospitals further widens the scope of collective punishment of millions of innocent civilians.

As an organization, and as a community that spans all continents of the globe, Al-Fatiha stands for justice, peace and self-determination for all people. We believe that all people have the inherent right to liberty, and to freedom of sexual and religious expression. We equally believe that all people have inviolable human rights, regardless of ethnicity, culture, or nationality.

The Al-Fatiha Foundation stands in solidarity with the many individuals and organizations, such as ASWAT and Helem, which are actively working for nonviolent, peaceful solutions to the violations of human rights in Palestine/Israel, and now Lebanon. We envision a time when all people, regardless of faith, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, culture, or nationality, may celebrate a true WorldPride in a united Jerusalem.

In Struggle and Solidarity,

Al-Fatiha Board of Directors
http://www.al-fatiha.org/

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