Queer Muslims in South Africa: engaging Islamic tradition

  • Francesco Piraino
  • Laura Zambelli


In this article, we show how Islamic traditions interact with queer practices and identities. By presenting the example of The Inner Circle, a Muslim queer association in Cape Town, and the figure of its leading Imam, Muhsin Hendricks, we argue the need to overcome the separation between the Islamic tradition and queer rights and struggles. Drawing from empirical data, and focusing on Imam Hendricks’ approach to queer issues as being non-normative, bottom-up, and inclusive, we present an example of an intersectional approach, which illustrates one way of breaking the triangulation between Muslim queerphobia, homocolonialism, and Islamophobia. The Inner Circle is the product of South African Islam, it is multicultural and multi-ethnic, and is shaped by the apartheid struggle and its claims for social justice. At the same time, we will argue how this association is also the expression of a globalised Islam.

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eISSN: 0257-7062