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Belgium: Antwerp venue cancels ‘Queer Iftar’ after threats from Muslims

These attempts to appropriate and recast religious traditions on the basis of contemporary cultural fads are offensive to many people. Only one group, however, threatens the safety of participants and forces the cancellation of the event. The venue, by canceling, has just reinforced the proposition that terrorism works and that jihadis can get what they want out of Westerners by threatening them.

“Antwerp venue cancels ‘Queer Iftar’ as safety cannot be guaranteed,” by Lauren Walker, Brussels Times, March 22, 2023:

An event inviting Muslims of the LGBTQIA+ community in Antwerp to celebrate an iftar, a meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan, in a safe space on 31 March has been cancelled for security reasons.

‘Queer Iftar’ was a joint initiative set up by music venue De Roma in Borgerhout, Antwerp and the non-profit organisation Merhaba, an organisation dedicated to helping people in the community who are from a migrant background, to bring LGBTQIA+ Muslims together and giving them the chance to celebrate both parts of their identity in a safe place.

However, the event attracted angry reactions on social media, resulting in the event being cancelled.

“We wanted the Queer Iftar to create a safe space for Muslims from the LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate this tradition. We wanted to provide a place where they could bring together both identities and give that layering a place and make it discussable,” the organisers said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

The statement noted that organising such an event is sensitive for many in different ways. For some Muslims who are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community, the event goes against their faith. However, the organisers stressed they wanted to support perception and mutual respect, without provocation and with the necessary rules of conduct to ensure everyone’s safety.

However, “from numerous signals,” they could not guarantee the ‘safer space’. “Even though we consider the topic and the needs of the participants involved particularly important, their and our safety are priorities.”

Second wave of anger

Now, the decision not to host the event is once again provoking a lot of reactions. Flemish Minister for Equal Opportunities Bart Somers (Open VLD) reacted indignantly, saying society should not bow to threats and intimidation of this kind….



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