2014 Retreat Program Book
Plenary I: Gender Identity
Sexuality and Gender are on a spectrum, and each of us occupies a unique spot on this spectrum every day. This Plenary will focus on the fluidity of gender and sexuality, as well as the importance of understanding terminology, respecting an individual’s place on this spectrum, and using identity pronounce correctly.
Meditation Session I and II
The content of these sessions will be different each morning as we introduce new and interesting ways to understand and connect with your body on a therapeutic level. We will discuss laugh therapy, as well as reflective exercises to enhance our personal understanding of our physical and mental needs.
This creative writing workshop will allow participants to engage with others and begin to discuss their visible and invisible differences in experiences and backgrounds. We encourage individuals to tap into their personal storytelling in order to share who they are as a way to inspire new and/or deeper understanding of the diversity within our community as Muslims.
An introductory session to the physical and mental act of Salat/Namaz which will include a discussion on the different ways of performing Salat/Namaz, as well as a step-by-step walk through.
Plenary II: Diversity and Privilege
In this module I hope to discuss, in a simplified and easy-to-understand format, the general knowledge of HIV and AIDS (what is it, how is it spread, description on the anatomical occurrence of the viruses, etc.). This module also points out, most importantly, how to cope with diagnoses and things to remember if a friend/loved one is diagnosed. The purpose of this seminar is not only to educate, but also to empower.
Islam of the Heart
This workshop would address the topic of Sufism or Islamic mysticism, which is often called Islam of the Heart. It represents an alternative approach to Islamic faith and practice that is based on virtue, love, compassion and self-discipline. It has practices of meditation, mindfulness and music that members of our community might find stimulating. Sufism is a practice found in many diverse Islamic sects. It is nurtured primarily in Sunni communities, but in ways that challenge a legal-centered or ritualistic practice. It is also found, by other names, in Shi`i communities. Giving people an introduction to Sufi thought and practices will help them appreciate the diversity within the Muslim community, in a practical way.
Coming Out – Opportunities and Challenges
One of the most difficult aspects of living in the LGBTQ community is the act of coming out – during the process it is possible to lose friends and family members, but it is also possible to gain a better understanding of yourself and your relationships with others. In this session we will discuss our stories – our choices surrounding “Coming Out” and not “Coming Out,” and open the floor to a frank and honest discussion on the topic.
Conversation: Envisioning an Inclusive Islam
Plenary III: Diversity in Faith
Inclusive Spaces Secular and Sacred
This panel will feature representatives from inclusive spaces that have evolved over time, including El Farouk Khaki who founded Toronto based “El Tawhid Jumma Circle,” an inclusive mosque space that aims to be a celebration and affirmation of diversities at all levels of human experience; and Kaamila Mohamed, cofounder of Queer Muslims of Boston (QMOB) – an activist and social space open to all queer Muslims in the Boston area.
Queering The Quran
A quick overview of the emergence of normative / normalizing classical Muslim interpretive traditions that police the Qur'an's descriptions / prescriptions of sexuality, gender and "habitus" (i.e. ways of being). An introduction to how we, as LGBTQ Muslims, ought to begin the work of "queering" (i.e. deviating from normative / normalizing expectations of) the Qur'an. I would like this session to be a pep talk that de-mystifies aspects of the Qur'anic and encourages folks in our community to re-claim interpretive agency / power.
Living Well: A Discussion on Mental Health and Resilience
The South Asian Diaspora & Queer Spaces: Challenging Normative Spatial Powers
For people marginalized through sexuality, uneven development in space has compounded their sense of isolation. In this lecture, I ask, what are the meanings of a queer-identified South Asian-American in the U.S. racial and ethnic imaginaries? The objectives of my lecture are three-fold:
- What are the meanings of a queer-identified South Asian-American woman in the U.S. racial and ethnic imaginaries?
- How do these meanings travel through class, gender, sexual, and cultural hierarchies in the United States?
- Address the underdocumentation of the lives of queer South Asian-Americans.
Many Roads to Islam
LGBTIQ Muslims wrestle with and come to terms/ or reject or partially reject/ or create news paths to belief. While I think it important that there is a historical overview of the different tariqas, I think it more important how people are reconciling and creating their spiritualties within Islam. The panel would consist of individuals discussing what their Islam is and their reconciliation with it. This opens up conversations about possibilities and creating “Islams” that speak to us.
Negotiating Sex and Relationships
“Are You My Chosen Family?”
We want participants to walk away from this workshop with a tangible vision on how to build and support communities where they live. Drawing on our experiences with communal living and the NYC Queer Muslim Book Club, we can provide people with a range of ideas to help folks explore what kind of community and support networks they need and how to address challenges. Depending on participants’ interests, we can address various topics, from connecting with other folks, to getting people to come to a regular gathering, to alternative living/family structures, to intentionally challenging patriarchical, racist, classist, ablist, Islamophobic, etc. structures.
Workshop & Plenary Session Tracks:
- Community Building
- Health & Wellness
- Arts & Media
- Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
- Islamic Education & Spirituality
Descriptions of these tracks can be found here.
The 2012 Retreat included community building exercises, workshops, sessions, 5 times a day prayer, zikr (meditation), recovery group meetings, caucuses, hiking, painting, art, music, talent show and much, much more.
2012 Retreat Program Book
2012 Participant Demographic Information