LGBT Muslim Magazine Shuts Down, Publishes Past Work In Books
After extended consultation with the Board of Directors, Huriyah’s Editor-In-Chief Afdhere Jama has announced today that the oldest magazine for LGBT Muslims is to shut down.
(I-Newswire) July 13, 2010 - Los Angeles, CA – After extended consultation with the Board of Directors, Huriyah’s Editor-In-Chief Afdhere Jama has announced today that the oldest magazine for LGBT Muslims is to shut down.
“We are all saddened by this,” said Jama, in a statement. “After many years of service to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or the queer Muslim community, we have decided it is time to close down.”
Huriyah, Arabic for “freedom,” has been publishing in Arabic since 2000 and in English since 2002. The Arabic edition was distributed to 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The English edition was distributed online, and has garnered a global status with over 200 contributors in over 70 countries.
“When we started, we were the only magazine doing this kind of work,” said Jama. “We introduced everyday queer Muslims from all over the world so that people would not feel alone being queer and Muslim. We invited scholars to teach people about Islam and how our religion is not against our diverse sexualities. But since then, the world has changed. There are now magazines in most major Muslim countries, countless blogs and websites, all devoted to queer issues in a more localized way. And because of that, we don’t feel like we are abandoning the community.”
Like many magazines of late, Huriyah closed down because of financial hardship.
“Huriyah was a unique project because it was privately funded, did not allow advertisement, and had not charged its readers,” said Jama. “And while all of us volunteered our time, it was becoming harder and harder to continue publishing. This was mainly due to the fact that it was becoming harder to find private funding. Our largest donors have lost a lot of money in the past couple of years because of the global financial crises. Our printing office in Cairo, which had been extremely generous, could no longer afford to continue offering the discounts. Add to the mix the fact that many of our staff could no longer work as volunteers, it became impossible.”
Closing down the magazine does not end its work.
“I’m pleased to announce that most of Huriyah’s original content will not be lost to the world,” said Jama. “Oracle Releasing, a multimedia company, has agreed to publish our content in book forms. These will include selected pieces from the voice section, which were the personal testimonies of everyday queer Muslims world wide; the regular columns, penned by a diverse group of LGBT Muslims; and the main interviews, conducted by me, with queer Muslim activists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and the likes.”
To continue with its tradition of offering literature to the community free of charge, Huriyah made a deal with Oracle Releasing that all of its e-books would be offered for free on the Huriyah website.
“It is very important to us to make sure queer Muslims have access to these books,” said Jama. “Most of our readers live in countries where they can’t buy these books from their local bookstores. Most of them would not even feel comfortable to do so even if they could. A lot of them are going to be familiar with these works, but we also have many readers who joined us in the later years. This will be great for all.”
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