Past, Present & Future of the Foundation
The Al-Fatiha Foundation started in November of 1997 when its
Founder, Faisal Alam, started a listserv (internet-based email
discussion group). The listserve now hosts more than 275 subscribers
from over twenty countries around the world. Subscribers of the
listserve decided soon after to meet in person at what became the First
International Retreat for GLBT Muslims, held in Boston, Massachusetts,
USA, in October 1998. More than 40 participants attended representing
thirteen ethnicities and nationalities, including four international
participants who came from South Africa, Canada, Belgium and the
Netherlands. At the end of the three-day retreat participants formally
decided that an international organization was needed in order to
address the specific issues and problems facing the "gay"
Muslim community. Al-Fatiha, Arabic for "The Opening," which
was the theme of the retreat was thus adopted as the name of the
organization to be established.
Since the retreat took place in 1998, six chapters of the
Foundation have started in North America (in Atlanta, New York City, San
Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington DC). In November of 1999,
Al-Fatiha established its first chapter abroad, in London, England. In
the next few years, Al-Fatiha plans on establishing future chapters in
cities across the United States and Canada, including Boston, Chicago,
Los Angeles, and Montreal and eventually across the world.
First North American Conference for LGBTQ Muslims & Friends:
In May of 1999, Al-Fatiha hosted the First North American Conference
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Muslims
& Friends. With more than sixty participants from across the U.S.
and Canada, including two people from abroad, Al-Fatiha successfully
hosted this historical event which was called the "first of its
kind," in New York City, USA. With more than ten workshops and five
plenary sessions, participants engaged in discussions on the many issues
affecting their lives, their families, and their communities.
Since November of 1997, the Al-Fatiha Foundation has received
enormous media coverage across the United States, Canada, England and
around the world. Most major gay and lesbian newspapers in the U.S.
including publications in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, San
Francisco, & Washington DC have written articles about Al-Fatiha and
its activities. Additionally Al-Fatiha and its members have been
featured in The New York Blade, Southern Voice, The Washington Blade,
Trikone Magazine, The Advocate, Out Magazine, XY Magazine, The Gay Times
of UK, and Diva Magazine. Al-Fatiha has also been featured in mainstream
publications including The New York Times, India Abroad, and The
Washington Post. In August of 1999, Al-Fatiha was featured in the Akutel
magazine of Turkey (a mainstream "lifestyle" publication).
Also coverage has been received abroad in Bangladesh, India, South
Africa, and the Far East. In addition to press coverage, Al-Fatiha has
been featured on radio programs in Vancouver and Chicago. Additionally,
in May of 1999 Dignity (the GLBT Catholic group) of New York City
featured Al-Fatiha on their weekly television program, which broadcasts
to thousands of people in the New York City metropolitan area.
Structural and Organizational Development:
In February 1999, the Al-Fatiha Foundation became incorporated in the
state of New York as an official tax-exempt, non-profit, religious
organization. In January of 2000, Al-Fatiha formed a board of directors
consisting of seven people to oversee the development of the
organization. In the Spring of 2001, Al-Fatiha will launch an official
membership drive to generate on-going revenue and to establish a formal
In the years to come, the Al-Fatiha Foundation hopes to establish
chapters across the United States and Canada, as well as countries
abroad. By working with other LGBTQ organizations, non-governmental
agencies, HIV/AIDS groups, human rights organizations, etc., Al-Fatiha
will increase its visibility around the world and bring to light the
complex issues facing the LGBTQ Muslim community.
In May of 2000, Al-Fatiha will host its Second International Retreat
for LGBTQ Muslims & Friends in London, England. This retreat will
formally launch Al-Fatiha outside the U.S. & Canada into the global
world. In the year 2001, Al-Fatiha will convene its Second North
American Conference for LGBTQ Muslims & Friends in San Francisco,
California, USA. And in 2002, Al-Fatiha will host its Third
International Retreat for LGBTQ Muslims & Friends in an undecided
Al-Fatiha Foundation, Inc.