Let’s Support Incarcerated LGBTQA+ Muslims This Ramadan Through Masjid al-Rabia

Seven months ago, Masjid al-Rabia opened in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The masjid provides spiritual care for marginalized Muslims — those who identify as women, non-conforming, queer or trans are welcome in the community without fear of exclusion or violence, and incarcerated Muslims are extended spiritual support through the mosque’s Black and Pink Crescent campaign.

The masjid is a safe haven for individuals who are targeted with hate and potentially fatal violence- so far, 2017 has seen the murder of 12 transgender people, mostly women of color- at rates disproportionate to the general population. 

As part of their affirming mission, Masjid al-Rabia created and continues to organize under the Pillars of Inclusivity, which centralizes the five pillars of Islam and provides a powerful message of diversity and dignity.

Masjid al-Rabia’s Pillars of Inclusivity:

  1. We are WOMEN CENTERED: We aim to be a radically equal mixed-gender space, and the first step to equality is confronting misogyny and patriarchy in the masjid.
  2. We are ANTI-RACIST: We name racism, colorism, and anti-blackness for what they are. We strive for justice in the face of white supremacy and unabashedly assert that BLACK LIVES MATTER
  3. We are LGBTQIA+ AFFIRMING: Too often, as queer and trans people, we are denied access to a spiritual life. We believe that everyone – including sexual & gender minorities – has a right to practice faith without fear of violence or excommunication.
  4. We are PLURALIST: Our faith is strengthened by learning from different faith traditions. Rather than sweeping away differences in sect, we embrace the plurality of our faith. We are prepared to pray beside – and learn from – any who call themselves Muslim.
  5. We are ACCESSIBLE: Accessibility is about more than ramps and handrails. We strive to create a community that is available to all. Physical, economic, geographic, and academic accessibility are at the root of our organization.

Masjid al-Rabia is celebrating its first Ramadan, which coincidentally overlaps with June’s Pride Month, and the community is putting their mission into practice with a Ramadan Care Package Program. The Program expands on the Black and Pink Crescent initiative and commits to making sure that incarcerated LGBTQA+ Muslims feel connected and spiritually nourished during the Holy Month. Mahdia Lynn, director of the Masjid, hopes that the care packages send incarcerated Muslims a message: “You are not alone. You are not the only one. There are people on the outside who are listening and will continue to be there for you.”

There are four ways that you can get involved:

  1.       Become a pen-pal to incarcerated queer Muslims through the Black and Crescent Initiative, in partnership with the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project and Black and Pink. Sign-up here!
  2.       Send books! Masjid al-Rabia is seeking works of critical feminist and minority sect Islamic literature and scholarship, books about equipment-less workouts (like yoga), books on crafting and unused crossword puzzles. You can send new-to-lightly-used books via US Postal Service to:

Masjid al-Rabia

PO Box #408325

Chicago, IL 60640

  1.       Through the end of Ramadan, each donation to Masjid al-Rabia will be contributed to the Ramadan Care Package Program and will be put into the commissary account of an incarcerated LGBTQA+ Muslim, or will support the purchase of small gifts and books for them. Donate here.
  2.       For the remaining Jummah’s through the end of Ramadan, Masjid al-Rabia will be accepting in-person donations of packaged food, dates, books and stationary to support the care package program. For more information on where to attend prayers or drop-off donations, contact Masjid al-Rabia here.

For a comprehensive list of LGBTQ Muslim Resources, click here.