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Monday, August 29, 2005

International Conference for Gay Muslims

Sexuality and women's rights will be the dominate topics this weekend during the Al-Fatiha international retreat in Atlanta. Al-Fatiha is the nation's only organization dedicated to serving the gay, lesbian, transgendered & bisexual Muslim population. The meetings this year will discuss sexuality and the role of women in Islam with the entire weekend conference entitled "Sexism, Misogyny and Gender Oppression: Breaking Down the Systems of Patriarchy".

Two events over the weekend will be open to the public. One is a short film festival dedicated to gender and sexuality in the Islamic world with a panel discussion to follow. The panel will be lead by Asra Q. Nomani, author of "Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam". The other is an awards ceremony, mixed prayer and keynote address. The address will be given by the author of "Quran and Woman", Dr. Amina Wadud. She is considered a scholar of Islamic theology and jurisprudence.

On a side note - Dr. Wadud has been the subject of criticism before, most recently this past March, for leading a Friday prayer service in New York's the cathedral of St. John the Divine before 100 men and women. This broke with the tradition of having only male imams host such a service.

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