Using Facebook for queering Islam
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This study addresses the discourses surrounding queer Muslims by Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV). MPV, a non-profit rights organization based out of the US, advocates for LGBTQ rights within Islam and has used theological standing to fight the prejudice that queer Muslims face. They increasingly rely on their social media to address both Muslim and non-Muslim communities worldwide. This research analyzed MPV's Facebook to examine their discourse on LGBTQ rights in Muslim communities across the globe. Facebook is by far the most popular online platform; with more than 2 billion users, it allows the message of the user to reach a global audience. As queer Muslim comprise two marginalized identities-- LGBTQ people are marginalized everywhere whereas Muslims are discriminated in the West--the LGBTQ Muslims are an intersectional identity. Intersectionality becomes the defacto analytical framework when any two identities are converged in relation to social power. Therefore, this study uses the theoretical framework of intersectionality to analyze MPV's arguments. The data for the study came from MPV's page and the public profile of their president, Ani Zonneveld. Using discourse analysis, this study found that MPV promotes a view of LGBTQ Muslims that differs substantially from Western perspectives and many mainstream Muslim groups. What is particularly striking about their argument is that while both Western and traditional Islamic discourse identify LGBTQ rights as incompatible with Islam, MPV claims that Islam is inherently inclusive of queer rights. Therefore, MPV actually presents an alternative paradigm that resists Western notions about the inherent intersectional marginalization of Muslim queer communities, even as it challenges conservative Muslim stances on queer rights. Using intersectionality as an analytical framework reveals how this discourse reflects the need to integrate Islam with queer thought in a way that acknowledges their co-constitution rather than mutual exclusion.