one-hundred LGBTQ Muslims gathered for a jummah prayer for Palestine in front of the Stonewall National Monument on Friday to demonstrate that there is “no pride in genocide.”
“Queer Muslim New Yorkers are rising up in solidarity with Palestinians, and through a queer Muslim-led interfaith prayer, they will stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who are facing genocide, starvation, and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Israeli government backed by the United States,” organizers said in a statement.
LGBTQ activists raised colorful signs reading “ceasefire now” and “free Palestine” as dozens of people gathered on prayer mats outside of the first national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights in the country. The action, endorsed by seven LGBTQ and Palestinian rights groups, was a resounding call for a permanent ceasefire from faith communities.
“Queer communities face historical discrimination, prejudice, violence, criminalization, lack of proper healthcare and/or gender affirming care, and more — and here in the U.S. queer activists have been rising up against increased LGBTQ+ attacks, yet their struggles are being exploited in a dangerous narrative war to suggest that there would be no place for queer people in Palestine,” organizers said.
Since October 7, Israel has waged a genocidal bombing campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, killing more than 18,600 Palestinians and injuring more than 50,500. According to an Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessment reported by CNN, 40 percent of the bombs that Israel has used on Gaza are unguided bombs designed to maximize civilian harm.
Over the past few months, millions of people across the world have protested the genocide in Gaza and demanded a permanent ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately said that he is concerned that political pressure overseas may threaten the U.S. arms shipments that Israel relies on. According to intelligence figures provided to Congress and reported by The Washington Post, Israel has deployed over 22,000 U.S.-produced bombs on Gaza since October 7.
“There are huge demonstrations in western capitals,” Netanyahu said, according to the Financial Times. “We need to apply counter-pressure … There have been disagreements with the best of our friends.”
One of the tactics used by the Israeli government to elicit support for Israel’s war on Gaza is pinkwashing. The Israeli government has used pinkwashing as a strategy since 2009 to obfuscate its apartheid and occupation of Palestine by drawing attention to Israel’s record on LGBTQ rights.
“Pinkwashing is a form of propaganda marshaled by supporters of the right-wing Israeli state to draw attention to the state’s purported advanced LGBTQ rights record in order to detract attention from its gross violations of Palestinian human rights,” Sa’ed Atshan, an associate professor of peace and conflict studies and anthropology at Swarthmore College, recently wrote for Truthout. “Pinkwashers want us to ignore Israel’s atrocities by giving the state an LGBTQ-friendly veneer.”
In recent instances of pinkwashing on social media, Israeli soldiers hoisted a rainbow flag amid the ruins of Gaza and shared an image of same-sex marriage proposal, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not legalized in Israel.
“We are here to continue to bring attention to this genocide while building our collective resilience in order to fight this occupation. We are here to say there is no pride in genocide. That we demand an end to pinkwashing and using our trans/queer bodies, stories and struggles to fuel Islamophobia and settler colonialism,” Rafa Kidvai, a queer Pakistani parent from Brooklyn and one of the organizers of the Queer Muslim Jummah, said in a statement.
“Pls know despite what the media says there are gay Palestinians. We are here, we are queer free Palestine,” one story by an LGBTQ Palestinian reads.
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