Frequently Asked Questions

Who is organizing the retreat?  

The retreat is sponsored by the Muslim Alliance for Gender and Sexual Diversity (MASGD).  A group of volunteers from across the country plans and organizes the retreat.

Where is the retreat being held?  

The retreat is being held at a private retreat center located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.  Due to safety and privacy concerns, the location of the site will only be sent to those that register in advance.  Please see "Location" for description & pictures.

How was the location decided?  

There was an informal survey that was conducted in 2011 and the majority of survey participants indicated the Northeastern US as a preferred location for a retreat. Future gatherings may take place in other regions.

What is the program & schedule of events for the retreat?  

The program of workshops and sessions is being finalized and will be announced in mid-August.  

If you have suggestions for workshops, sessions or other retreat activities please email us.  If you're interested in facilitating or leading a workshop or session, please email us.

When should I arrive and when I should plan on leaving?

The retreat begins at 1:00 pm on Friday, October 15th, 2017 with Salaat-ul-Jumaah (Friday prayer), and the program will start at 3:00 pm.  The retreat ends at 3:00 pm on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Please take into account the start and end times and plan your travel accordingly.

How do I get to the retreat site?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide airport pick-ups.  Participants can take a taxi-cab to the retreat center or take public transportation.

Please visit the Travel Information 
page for more information.  

What will the weather be like?  

The retreat site is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia in a wooded area.  Weather can fluctuate so check the weather for the Philadelphia area as we get closer to the retreat dates.  Average temperatures during October range from mid 60's during the day to mid 40's in the evening.

What kind of clothes should I bring? 

You should bring clothes that you will comfortable in.  The workshops and sessions will be in-doors where it is air conditioned, so you may want to bring a sweater or jacket. You should also pack an umbrella just-in-case it rains.

Please also bring comfortable shoes - since the retreat site is large and you will be walking between various buildings on-site. There are also hiking trails so you may want to bring hiking boots.

I have questions about the food; who should I contact?

Please review the General Information page about food being offered at the retreat.  There will be vegetarian and vegan options.  However we are not able to provide halaal meals.  If you have any further questions please contact us.

Is the retreat center equipped with Wi-Fi?

Yes the retreat center buildings are equipped with Wi-Fi.  However to create a conducive environment, laptops will not be allowed into the workshops and sessions.

Does the retreat site get cell phone reception?

Yes the retreat site receives cell phone reception from all major cell phone companies. There is also a phone on-site should you need to make an emergency call.

Are the retreat site's buildings and room accommodations wheel-chair accessible and/or accessible to those with
limited mobility?

We are committed to making the retreat accessible. Yes The retreat site is wheel-chair accessible.  There are rooms that are also wheel-chair accessible.  Organizers will do their best to arrange suitable accommodations for individuals with limited mobility. We will also provide transportation between buildings. Please contact us us if you need support with mobility access.

Will American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation be provided?

We are committed to making the retreat accessible and we will do our best to provide ASL interpretation if needed. Please contact us as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation.

Will there be future gatherings like this? 


        Yes, we hope to organize future gatherings in other  
        cities. In 2018, we hope to have the retreat on the West
        Coast.

        If you are interested in helping plan a future retreat
        or event, please contact us.

I'd like to come with my partner but there are no rooms with double beds available at the retreat center?  How should we register?

Couples coming to the retreat have the following options for accommodations:
  • Book a double room to stay at the retreat center.
  • Book your own hotel room and register as a commuter.
    Nearby hotels can be found here.

Are allies allowed to attend?

Registration is limited to those who identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and Muslim. LGBT Muslims with a partner who is non-Muslim may attend as a couple. Because the retreat center has limited space, we regret that we cannot accommodate our straight and non-Muslim allies and friends.  We value their contribution to our community. One way to support the retreat is through a donation that supports our scholarship fund.


I'm not religious.  I see a lot of religious and spiritual activities.  Will I feel out of place?


The LGBT Muslim Retreat aims to be inclusive of all Muslims including those that identify with Islam politically, culturally, religiously, ideologically and/or spiritually.
 

The retreat is open to any one who identifies as Muslim and as LGBT.  Wherever you are in your journey as a Muslim, you are welcome to attend.  There will be many activities that are not religious in nature.  We encourage you to participate in workshops and retreat activities that you feel comfortable in.  And we also encourage you to open yourself to new experiences that may involve taking risks.  We're here as a community to support one another and we hope that no matter where you are on the spectrum of being an LGBT Muslim, you will join us.

Will media be present?


No, the retreat is not open to the media.  If media or press are interested in covering the retreat please contact us for an interview with a member of the planning committee.


Can I bring my children?


Yes you are welcome to bring your children. We are committed to supporting families and individuals with children and will support with childcare on-site. There are a couple of rooms at the retreat center that can accommodate families that would like to come together.  Please contact us for more information about registering as a family and costs for children to attend.


Who is speaking at the retreat?


Retreat workshops will be primarily peer-led by participants attending the retreat.  We have not confirmed any major speakers.  Keynote speakers will be announced as we get closer to the retreat date.

Am I required to attend all retreat activities?


Retreat participants are encouraged to attend as many of the retreat activities as they feel comfortable.  Many LGBT Muslims find it difficult to participate in group prayer and other religious activities. With any painful feelings we must learn to overcome them.  We must take risks and seek support from each other to help us heal wounds from our past.  Together we can create an environment where you will feel comfortable and at peace participating in as many of the retreat events as you'd like.


Will I be able to leave the retreat site?


Our aim is to create a spiritual environment and create a sense of community.  Leaving the retreat site will detract from this purpose.  We ask all participants to remain on-site for the duration of the retreat.  The retreat is in a secluded area and leaving the retreat site will be difficult. Please review the goals of the retreat here


Can I smoke, bring alcohol or use drugs at the retreat?


Smoking is only allowed in designated areas.  These areas will be pointed out to you during the retreat orientation. 

No alcohol or illegal drugs of any kind are allowed on the retreat premises.  
If you are found with alcohol or illegal drugs, you will be asked to leave the retreat premises - at your own expense.


Do I need to bring anything else besides clothes?


The retreat center provides linens, pillows, blankets and towels.  You should bring your own shampoo, toothpaste, soap - and any other necessary bathroom accessories.  Please remember that you will be sharing bathrooms with other individuals so you may want to bring a bag to keep your items in.

Please make sure that all personal hygiene products are "fragrance-free." No candles are allowed on-site.


Should I bring any money?

        You will not need any money at the retreat center, unless

        you plan on buying books or other items at the

        marketplace.           

  
However please arrange for expenses during travel (i.e. ground transportation, meals while traveling and transportation to/from the retreat site).  Detailed travel instructions will be sent to you after you register.

If there are any questions that have not been answered here please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

How is the retreat funded?


The retreat is self-sufficient and is funded through registration costs, advertising, sponsorship and individual donations. The retreat is budget neutral and does not generate a profit.


If there are any questions that have not been answered here please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 


 
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