Largest U.S. Muslim Organization Supports LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill
Post submitted by Michael Toumayan, HRC Religion and Faith Program Manager
Last week, one of the clearest shifts in the decades-long debate over Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) came into light from the largest U.S.-based Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), joined a broad interfaith coalition, calling ENDA a “measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their personal characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In a historic advancement for the LGBT rights movement, the Senate on Thursday approved ENDA, a bill that protects against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite advances in anti-discrimination in the workplace, Muslims continue to face unfair job discrimination. Our shared experiences of discrimination can provide a common basis to work with one another to mold a more inclusive America.
Commenting on the shift of tone, Dr. Sharon Groves, Director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, regarded ISNA’s support of ENDA as a major step in right direction.
“LGBT Muslims both in the U.S. and abroad need to hear from organizations like ISNA that their experiences as Muslims are recognized in the spirit of Islam’s emphasis on compassion and respect for all humanity,” said Groves.
The movement for greater acceptance of LGBT people in Islam is growing. LGBT Muslims continue to be at the forefront of cutting edge scholarship at the intersection of Islam and issues affecting the lives of LGBT Muslims. Around the nation and the world, LGBT Muslims and their allies are working to build an inclusive faith — and having some notable success.
A Pew Research survey released in August 2011 found that 39 percent of Muslim Americans belief homosexuality should be accepted by society. Still, there is greater support for societal acceptance of LGBT people among U.S. Muslims today than there was a few years ago when only 27 percent accepted. Today, LGBT Muslims are a cornerstone of the LGBT community. Muslim Americans have enriched our country with Islam’s core teachings of human dignity, egalitarianism, compassion and social justice.