HOUSTON - Erum Rani, a Muslim LGBTQIA+ activist in short order, tells FOX 26 that they will be opening the first affirming mosque in Houston, a dream she’s been working on for a few years.
"Pride month is a great month for us in the LGBTQIA+ community to show our pride, our color, and who we truly are," Erum Rani, Founder of Iftikhar Community.
She tells us from personal experience she knows, such space is needed.
"I don’t want any community, South Asian or Muslim whatever it is, I want them to embrace their children and I want them to embrace who they are," Rani said. "I have personally been judged very harshly, I go to the mosque I've been to."
For some queer Muslims, she says it's not always easy to balance their sexual identity with respect to religion, or even accept themselves as they are.
For now, she will be using her storefront in West Houston.
"We feel like sometimes we go to our own mosque, and we are not really welcomed," said Rani. "I want to be able to have them come in and feel welcomed and make sure they are welcomed and safe."
There are only a few mosques like this in the U.S., the largest and most well known being in Chicago. Rani hopes to create a similarly safe and inclusive space.
"I really want to show people that we can still be together, and we can still love each other," said Rani.
Rani trying to gain more funding and says her goal is to have a stand-alone mosque for those who want to join.
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