1. Just Me And Allah is a photography project and Tumblr that features intimate portraits of LGBT Muslims.
The idea to start a photography project featuring queer Muslims came to Toronto-based photographer Samra Habib a few years ago. “I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties, and Jumu’ah prayer,” she explains.
Although the Tumblr account was created only a few days ago, Habib is already receiving requests from Muslims all over the world to take her project on the road. She will show her exhibition in Toronto starting June 18th in coordination with World Pride.
2. In the words of one of her photography subjects, “We have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.”
3. In her own words, Habib describes what the “Just Me And Allah” project means to her:
4. “Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging.”
5. “Whether it’s through celebrating Muslim traditions in queer spaces or incorporating aesthetic elements and symbolism in their everyday lives…”
6. “… the work explores the ideas of community and personal expression that are inspired by Islam but are the individuals’ personal re-interpretations.”
7. “I’ve been getting ‘thank you’ emails from LGBTQ Muslims from around the world and it’s reaffirming my belief that this project is important.”
8. In addition to updating the Tumblr with photographs from the project, Habib is also publishing some short interviews with the subjects she captures.
Samira (photographed above) on why she joined the project:
“I had made a conscious decision about a decade ago to live my life out loud. By that I mean, to not shy away from any of my identifications, be they sexual, political, cultural and/or religious. Naturally, I felt it necessary to do so because I had met so many youth who were quite conflicted and closeted and in fear of living their lives. This is a small token or gesture on my part to let them know that they should not underestimate their families or their communities.”
Dali (pictured above) on why they decided to participate in the project:
“When I first brought up the topic of queerness back home, I remember I was in class. My philosophy professor said that being homosexual is a “western” phenomenon, and that, in the Arab world, such “debauched people” do not exist. My participation is mainly to encourage queer visibility in the Muslim community. Through art, at least, we’re saying that yes, we’re here, and we do exist.”