Forum deplores ‘demonisation’ of sexual minorities by Kerala’s right-wing Muslims

Being targets of hate politics themselves, Muslims should know the difference between free speech and hate speech, says Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy

Updated - March 17, 2023 06:39 pm IST

Published - March 17, 2023 06:37 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has strongly condemned the “efforts by the Muslim right wing in Kerala, including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and some Muslim-run websites,” to denigrate and demonise Muslims who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A pressnote signed by 38 persons, including Islamic scholars, journalists, scientists, filmmakers, academicians, lawyers and social activists, said it was a tragic irony that while the minority Muslim community in India was itself the target of rampant Islamophobia, the conservatives among them were hurling hate speech at the sexual minorities. “What logic or ethics makes Islamophobia wrong but homophobia, queerphobia or transphobia right? Not surprisingly, the Muslim right has much in common with the Hindu right,” the pressnote said.

According to the IMSD, the latest trigger for the fulminations by the Muslim right wing was the news the previous month of a transgender couple from Kerala, Zahad Fazil, a transman, and Ziya Payal, a transwoman, becoming biological parents of a baby. “What perhaps added to the fervour of the self-appointed custodians of morality is the fact that Kerala’s Health Minister Veena George promptly congratulated the couple and directed the Kozhikode Medical College to provide all treatment free of cost. She also arranged for breast milk to be provided to the baby from the human milk bank.”

“Being targets of hate politics themselves, Muslims should know the difference between free speech and hate speech. Comparing homosexuality to paedophilia, targeting members of the LGBTQIA+ community with words and expressions such as “a shame”, “mentally ill”, “worst kind of people” or “people in need of treatment” are hate speech, not free speech”.

The pressnote said the Constitution that guarantees Muslims the right to freely profess, practise and propagate their faith cannot but also guarantee to sexual minorities the right to publicly proclaim their presence and hold a Pride Parade.

Signatories to the pressnote include lawyer A.J. Jawad, actor Naseeruddin Shah, poet and scientist Gauhar Raza, Islamic scholar Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, and civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.