What is Hidayah?
Hidayah is a registered charity. We are entirely volunteer-led and managed via a committee of elected members. Hidayah is a secular organisation, however, its projects and activities are developed specifically for the needs of LGBTQI+ Muslims. Our vision is to ensure that the voices of LGBTQI+ Muslims are heard and understood. Our mission is to provide support and welfare for LGBTQI+ Muslims and promote social justice and education about the Muslim LGBTQI+ community to counter discrimination, prejudice and injustice.
To promote equality and diversity for the public benefit and in particular the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, including in particular but not exclusively by:
Working for the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
Advancing education and raising awareness in equality and diversity.
Why we are needed:
Whilst homosexuality and Islam has a complicated history ranging from acceptance and accommodation to outside persecution, many LGBTQI+ Muslims in the United Kingdom face secrecy, hostile prejudice, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, family exile, forced marriage, honour based violence and in rare cases, death. Despite negative attitudes toward LGBTQI+ populations reducing significantly in the United Kingdom (British Social Attitudes Survey, 2016) and the LGBTQI+ rights movement making significant legal and social changes, the effects of these changes are not always felt by many LGBTQI+ Muslims both in their own communities and outside of them.
A study by Channel 4 (2016) found that when Muslim populations in the UK were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed. Whilst attitudes within the Muslim community are shifting slowly, and it is a positive step that not even half of the population surveyed show negativity toward LGBTQI+ Muslims, the lived reality for many is still very difficult. There are positive ‘coming out’ stories happening (see our case study section on this website) and we are seeing a rise in LGBTQI+ Muslims speaking out. More work is being done to address our specific needs around sexuality, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, culture and immigration status, but more must be done. It has been said about LGBTQI+ Muslims that:
“Change is happening, it’s just slow and it will take years of conversations” (The Independent, 2016). In response to this, academics such as Rahman (2014) have argued that one important way to challenge this perceived negativity is to produce further knowledge about the experiences and identities of LGBTQI+ Muslims. Here at Hidayah we exist to do this and to support those LGBTQI+ Muslims who need a place to feel safe and supported, as well as being a voice, providing educational workshops and campaigning for social justice so that this change happens sooner.
Annual Report 2019
Click the button below to view our annual report in PDF format. It covers our progress over the year and an overview of our activity.
Click the button below to view our constitution in PDF format. We believe in being open and transparent about our aims and objectives.
Meet the committee
Chair | Shelina (she/her)
Hey! I'm Shelina and I am one of the founders of Hidayah. I decided to set Hidayah up as a result of my own personal experiences. I felt like there were very few spaces to be open about one’s faith in the LGBTQI+ community without receiving ridicule or criticism from a community who may feel that religious institutions are fundamentally oppressive. Hidayah aims to undermine and deconstruct these hegemonic views and offer safe spaces and meeting groups for LGBTQI+ Muslims (whether an individual is practicing or not) and provide them with resources that show that Islam is compatible with LGBTQI+. We're here to make an invisible minority, within a minority, visible again.
Deputy Chair | Samie (he/him)
Hello, my name is Samie I’m currently based in Edinburgh and have recently completed a Master’s degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. I am Arab, Iranian and identify as queer and therefore sensitive to the particular challenges queer Muslim must negotiate in order to live their authentic lives. I joined Hidayah’s committee recently and look forward to supporting all volunteers who are generous enough to pledge some times to our increasingly vital cause.
Secretary | Osman (he/him)
My name is Osman I initially heard about Hidayah through listening to a feature on the radio. I identify as a gay Muslim man and have had to overcome many social issues around my sexuality and religion. I feel passionate about helping people who identify as Muslim and LGBTQI+. I would like to help create a safe space place for Muslim LGBTQI+ and help support people who are struggling with their identity. I currently work in higher education and volunteer with various LGBTQI+ charities and have helped organise a social group here at my University. I am part of a growing LGBTQI+ network based in Glasgow. I look forward to working with Hidayah to help build stronger bond between LGBTQI+ community and the Muslim community.
Treasurer | Kyle (he/him)
Hello! I’m Kyle, and I’ve been a supporter and volunteer with Hidayah for the past year, after first joining the Hidayah team at London Pride in July 2018. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to see both the social side and the advocacy work of Hidayah up close, and the real impact that the organisation has. I have worked in the third sector since graduating, and have spent the last four and half years working in the Finance team of a national UK charity, experience that I’m now hoping to bring to the role of Treasurer. I’m excited to be able to contribute more to the organisation, and to see Hidayah continue to grow.
Community Outreach Officer | Farina (she/her)
My name is Farina, I originally started up a safe space for Muslim LGBTQI+ Muslims in Bristol and have joined Hidayah LGBTQI+ to expand the resources and support available to Muslims in Bristol. I identify as a queer Muslim woman and have always battled with self identity as either being queer, or being Muslim. This battle I learnt was not just exclusive to me, and this was the reason I wanted to create and be part of a movement that encourages people to be both. The work that Hidayah LGBTQI+ do to promote, educate and encourage Muslims to find peace with their identity is so vital, and to be able to be a part of this is an extreme privilege.
Volunteer Co-ordinator | Mubeen (he/him)
Hi I’m Mubeen! I identify as a cis gay man. Hidayah represents a beacon of light as far as LGBTQI+ Muslims are concerned. I’m here to help enrich our journeys one journey at a time. I'm in my element when I am in nature with a camera, listening to stories from friends and family and binge watching Netflix. There is so much beauty in the world, let’s expose that!
Communications & Marketing Officer | Saba (she/her)
Hello! I’m Saba, I’ve been volunteering with Hidayah for a short while. Although I am a straight woman, I understand the Muslim community/culture and have experienced how discrimination can leave you feeling like an outsider. I also have strong links with the wider LGBT+ community and been a staunch advocate for numerous years. I have over 20 years’ experience working with a number of celebrities and Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals looking after their press, marketing, and communications. I intend to combine my experience and skills to help Hidayah grow from strength to strength.
Programmes Manager| Asia (she/her)
Hello! My name is Asia, I am based in London and I identify as bisexual. I joined Hidayah because I saw in the charity a safe place that aims to support and safeguard people by listening to their very own needs. Through my contribution to Hidayah I would like to encourage LGBTQI+ people to fully accept who they are, without having to compartmentalise themselves, which is something that I can relate to due to my own experience.
These are elected volunteers and none of the committee are paid for their work with Hidayah. Our team are spread all over the UK. If you would like to contact one of us, please email us: email@example.com