Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Abdellah Taa: Morocco's first gay writer reimagines Islam, queer

26/05/2023

Abdellah Ta a: Morocco's first gay writer reimagines Islam, queerAbdellah Ta a is Morocco's first gay writer in history living in Paris who reimagines being muslim, queer and African.

by The Conversation

26-05-2023 07:33

in Culture

Abdellah Ta a is Morocco's openly gay writer who has expressed a lot of ideas in his work.

Image: pexels.com

Abdellah Ta a was born in 1973 in Rabat, Morocco. He currently lives in Paris. He is the first writer from north Africa - and in fact the Arab world - to openly declare that he is gay. In 2006, he came out in a highly publicised article in the Moroccan magazine Tel Quel. This was considered scandalous by conservative Muslims.

--

Being queer is often seen as conflicting with being religious. Yet, in African contexts - as in other parts of the world - religion and queerness intersect in multiple and productive ways. Much of the academic study of religion and queerness in Africa has focused on Christianity. This runs the risk of reinforcing the idea of Islam as a more homophobic other . However, Islam can be a resource of queer creativity and subjectivity in contemporary Africa.

ALSO READ: Nigeria's debt: economist analyses the country's future impact

A small but growing body of literary works have represented what queerness means in African Muslim societies. Abdellah Taia's novels are a significant example of this. We came together as a scholar of French and queer literature, and a scholar of religion and African studies to consider Ta a's work alongside texts by queer Muslim writers from other parts of the continent. In our research we argue that doing so recognises the continent's political, cultural and intellectual diversity.

--

We also tackle the problematic historical distinctions between north and sub-Saharan Africa, which are often imagined as different and diametrically opposed. In fact, they share many lived Muslim African experiences.

ALSO READ: Trump found liable for sexually abusing writer

ALSO READ: Shouting at Prince Harry': Prince and ghostwriter go head to head

--

Abdellah Ta a's work Ta a has published numerous novels, often with a semi-autobiographical element. Abdellah Ta a also produced a film, Salvation Army, that details the complexity of being gay in Muslim societies of Morocco. Although his work has received critical acclaim and awards internationally, this has not been the case in his home country.

His most notable novels that have been translated into English include Salvation Army (2009), An Arab Melancholia (2012) and Infidels (2016). These all challenge the culture of discretion and silence on queer-related issues in north Africa and the broader Muslim world. Abdellah Ta a's books have played a key role in building an archive of African queerness and have foregrounded the place of Islam in such gender and sexual identities.

Islam is not inherently homophobic: Abdellah Ta a's ideas Ta a's novels demonstrate that Muslim cultures and Islamic traditions are not inherently homophobic. This counters the common perception by Muslim conservatives that homosexuality is a sin. Rather, Muslim social spaces are portrayed as promoting physical closeness and contact between bodies - Muslim societies are linked to considerable levels of homosociality and tolerance for homoeroticism.

ALSO READ: Ed Sheeran, singer and song writer wins US trial lawsuit

ALSO READ: Noni Jabavu was a SA writer: A book shows how relevant she still is

For Ta a, queer bodies can find intimacy, protection and acceptance in the ceremonial and mystical spaces created by Islamic practices of communal and private prayer. In Infidels, he describes how the space of the hammam, or steam baths, is at once homosocial, intimate and erotic. During his first visit to a hammam, the narrator is surprised by how men showed off their virility. He sees men in a new light: fragile, sensitive, handsome, and open to all experiences . He says:

An infinite tenderness passed between their bodies, through their strongly scented, intoxicating skin. They brushed against each other, they touched. Pure sensuality. Writers from sub-Saharan Africa have supported Abdellah Ta a's assertion of how Muslim cultures generally tolerate queerness. Novels like Fairytales for Lost Children by the Somali writer Diriye Osman, Confessions of a Gambler by Rayda Jacobs, as well as Jamil F. Khan's Khamr: The Makings of a Waterslams highlight how queer sexuality is tolerated in Muslim communities in different African countries.

ALSO READ: How to prevent ChatGPT becoming a nightmare for writers

ALSO READ: Cricket writer slams Johannesburg, South Africa after tour from hell'

Reimagining Islam Islam, like the other Abrahamic religions, can be intolerant of queerness. Different parts of the Quran are cited in admonishing homosexuality. Abdellah Ta a's novels, like those from sub-Saharan Africa, show that it's possible to rethink Islam to find within it freedom of being and expression. This is a restorative and liberatory process. Reimagining Islam is rooted in specific local contexts and histories. However, when these disparate histories, texts and contexts are read together, they give a rich impression of how Islam tolerates queerness on the continent, both historically and to date.

The protagonist of Salvation Army explains: Little by little, I re-examine my views about Arab culture, Moroccan tradition, and Islam. Lose myself entirely, the better to find myself. The reimagining of Islam takes place not outside the religion, but rather within it. Another character in Infidels finds that: God already accepts us as we are. He made us this way. In this condition. In this situation. We accept his decisions But He, God, Allah, is not like them, isn't like the image they made of Him. God is in me. He's al
LINK: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/culture/abdellah-taia-moroccos-first-g...
See more stories from thesouthafrican

Most recent headlines

04/12/2023

Dalet Releases Dalet Cut, the Fastest Web-based Editor

Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations, announced the release of Dalet Cut, the cloud-native, lightning-fast multimedia a...

02/07/2023

The latest data is now available!

Our robust, comparable data provides trusted insights and gives media owners, buyers and planners the power to trade confidently. ABC members and data subscrib...

02/07/2023

Latest data released on 21st Feb

We'll be releasing The next set of ABC audited consumer media data covering the period January to December 2022 on Tuesday 21st February at noon. When rele...

02/07/2023

Latest data released 21st Feb

We'll be releasing The next set of ABC audited consumer media data covering the period January to December 2022 on Tuesday 21st February at noon. When rele...

01/06/2023

VSF Releases IPMX Tech Recommendation Initial Drafts

BOTHELL, Wash. The Video Services Forum (VSF) has made available to the public the initial draft of its TR-10 suite of Technical Recommendations for Internet Pr...

01/06/2023

LYNX Technik Launches 4K HDMI to 12G SDI Converter

WEITERSTADT, Germany LYNX Technik, provider of modular signal processing interfaces, has announced the addition of a new HDMI to SDI converter (model: CHD 1402)...

01/06/2023

WRAL-TV Sponsor for Ruth E. Carter Costuming, Michael Richards Sculpture Exhibitions at NCMA

WRAL-TV is a proud sponsor of two exhibitions currently at the NC Museum of Art....

01/06/2023

Holly Springs Salamanders Back in Action

The Holly Springs Salamanders are back in action at Ting Park! The 2023 season got off to a bit of a chaotic start, thanks to Mother Nature, but the team of co...

31/05/2023

Chief Debuts New Flat Panel Wall Mount System

Chief Debuts New Flat Panel Wall Mount System Posted on 5/31/2023 12:00:00 AM by Legrand AV Team The Chief Tempo Flat Panel Wall Mount System Dramatically...

31/05/2023

How Sundance Institute Labs Pave the Way for Influential Artists

[Above: Nia DaCosta and Tessa Thompson at Sundance Institute's 2015 Directors Lab for Little Woods ] By Stephanie Ornelas For over 40 years, the Sundanc...

31/05/2023

Charlotte Cardin Kicks Off CAN You Hear Me,' Spotify's New Series Dedicated to Canada's One-of-a-Kind Music Scene

In celebration of Canadian artistry, For the Record is launching CAN You Hear Me...

31/05/2023

Sencore Welcomes Chad Hassler as New Vice President of Sales

Sioux Falls, USA - May 31, 2023 Sencore is thrilled to welcome Chad Hassler as the new Vice President of Sales. With an impressive background in sales leadersh...

31/05/2023

The Making of The Silent Twins

The Silent Twins tells the story of identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, who grow up only communicating with each other. The movie which was serviced by...

31/05/2023

L3Harris Robots Selected by Australian Defence Force to Defeat IED Threats

The L3Harris T7 and T4 robots share an intuitive haptic controller that provides force feedback and enables human-like dexterity, reducing task completion time,...

31/05/2023

L3Harris Receives Contract to Support NOAA's GOES-R Satellites

The GOES-R ground system receives raw data from GOES-R Series spacecraft and generates real-time data products used for severe weather warnings, real-time fire ...

31/05/2023

L3Harris, AWS Work Together to Drive Advanced Networking and Sensor Fusion Technology for DoD

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2023- L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) announced an agreemen...

31/05/2023

100 MILLION WOMEN PER YEAR WILL NEED TO ADOPT MOBILE INTERNET TO CLOSE THE GENDER GAP BY 2030, GSMA REPORT REVEALS

The sixth annual Mobile Gender Gap Report evaluates mobile ownership and mobile ...

31/05/2023

LSi REVIEWS THE 2012, 2015 AND 4055

Simon Allen gets to grips with some of the latest microphones to hit the stage "I found the 2012 to behave in a similar fashion to dynamic microphones, giving ...

31/05/2023

AUDIOTECHNOLOGY REVIEWS THE DDK4000 DRUM MICROPHONE KIT

DPA pulls together a premium family of its compact microphones to lend a larger-than-life sound to drum kits on stage or in the studio. "DPA makes exceptionall...

31/05/2023

NUGEN Audio Releases Aligner Plug-in

Brand's Automatic Phase and Alignment Tool is Designed to Speed up Workflow of Audio Professionals NUGEN Audio announces the full availability of its Align...

31/05/2023

Ian Currie joins Dot Group as Director Data BU

Dot Group, leader in data strategy, engineering and transport, has brought in Ian Currie as Director for its Data Business Unit. As well as consulting and provi...

31/05/2023

Anton Bauer Unleashes Salt-E Dog - The Future of Sustaina...

Anton/Bauer a leading manufacturer of mobile power solutions for broadcast and cinematic equipment and a Videndum brand, has announced the launch of Salt-E Dog,...

31/05/2023

Jennifer Mendes, Colourist, Loudness Films

Jennifer Mendes, Colourist, Loudness Films Brie Clayton May 31, 2023 0 Comments Jennifer Mendes is a colourist at Loudness Films in Portugal, best know...

31/05/2023

Visual Storytelling Conference Virtual Day

Visual Storytelling Conference Virtual Day Brie Clayton May 31, 2023 0 Comments Join the FREE Visual Storytelling Conference Virtual Day on June 17, 20...

31/05/2023

Senior Colorist Marcy Robinson Grades HBO Max's Reality with DaVinci Resolve Studio

Senior Colorist Marcy Robinson Grades HBO Max's Reality with DaVinci Resolve...

31/05/2023

Miguel Zenn Named the 2023 Ken Pullig Visiting Scholar in Jazz Studies

Miguel Zen n Named the 2023 Ken Pullig Visiting Scholar in Jazz Studies The Guggenheim and MacArthur fellow will give master classes, lead an ensemble, and wo...

31/05/2023

Berklee's Summer in the City Series Brings Free Concerts to Boston Area

Berklee's Summer in the City Series Brings Free Concerts to Boston Area The free series will feature Berklee students, faculty, and alumni performing at b...

31/05/2023

MLB Steps in to Ensure Fans Access to Padres Games After Diamond Stops Payments

Sinclair subsidiary Diamond Sports Group has decided to no longer pay Major League Baseballs San Diego Padres and has dropped the team from the Bally Sports reg...

31/05/2023

Anton/Bauer introduces sodium-powered 9kWh mobile power source

The Salt-E Dog enables productions to offset 2.6 kg of CO2 and associated NOx per litre of fuel saved By Jenny Priestley Published: May 31, 2023 The Salt-...

31/05/2023

In memoriam: Farah Jifri

Tributes have been paid to PR and writer Farah Jifri who passed away earlier this month By Jenny Priestley Published: May 31, 2023 Tributes have been paid...

31/05/2023

Dalet supports Radio France in the development of their n...

Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations, announced that the Dalet Flex media logistics solution for digital media manageme...

31/05/2023

BEST OF BRITISH AT THE MEETING PLACE FOR ASIA'S MEDIA PRO...

BroadcastAsia, part of Asia Tech x Singapore, brings together the broadcast, media and entertainment industry from across Asia and the Pacific Rim. Taking its r...

31/05/2023

BBC Studioworks Tops Global BAFTA Sustainability Standard

Global sustainability scheme designed by albert, in partnership with Arup. BBC Studioworks has been commended as the highest-ranking studio facilitator in the ...

31/05/2023

Globecast appoints Jean-Christophe Perier as Chief Market...

On the heels of several major announcements including its new US facility, its partnership with Brklyn Media and its AWS cloud video headend for a major Europea...

31/05/2023

Custom Consoles Module-R and MediaWall Chosen by British...

Leighton Buzzard, UK, May 31st, 2023 Custom Consoles announces the completion of a production control desk and monitor display support system for one of Brita...

31/05/2023

PHABRIX to showcase new QxP hybrid IP_SDI portable wavefo...

Test & measurement innovator, PHABRIX, has announced that it will showcase its new QxP portable waveform monitor, QxL 25G IP ST 2110 rasterizer as well as its r...

31/05/2023

InfoComm 2023 - FOR-A Unveils Complete Solution for Live...

FOR-A Corporation heads to InfoComm with a complete live production ecosystem, including new innovations to grab attendee interest at the annual pro AV show. FO...

31/05/2023

Experience Commerce Retains e-Commerce Media Mandate for...

Experience Commerce won this mandate for Karcher India for the second year in a row. Experience Commerce, a leading digital marketing agency and part of the Ch...

31/05/2023

FCC Delays Implementation of New EAS Requirements

WASHINGTON, D.C. The FCC has agreed in part to delay the implementation of a requirement that television broadcasters aurally describe visual but non-textual em...

31/05/2023

Sinclair Sells Controlling Stake in Stadium Network

BALTIMORE Sinclair has confirmed that it has sold a controlling stake in the Stadium Network to Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf....

31/05/2023

Anton/Bauer Unveils Sodium-Based Mobile Power Source

SHELTON, Conn. Anton/Bauer has launched Salt-E Dog, a sodium-based 9kWh mobile power source designed for motion picture and television production....

31/05/2023

A Legacy of Her Own

A Legacy of Her Own Classical guitarist Berta Rojas discusses a banner year of awards, honors, and the return of her irreplaceable stolen instrument. By Mar...

31/05/2023

Michelle Heron Rejoins WRCB Chattanooga Anchor Crew

Michelle Heron has rejoined WRCB Chattanooga as morning anchor, working alongside Paul Shahen and Alison Pryor. She steps in for Lori Mitchell, who is moving on...

31/05/2023

William Shatner Takes Flight Again as Host of Fox's Stars on Mars' (Q&A)

Stars on Mars, an unscripted show that sees a group of celebrities try to survive in a setting that looks and feels like the red planet, debuts on Fox Monday, J...

31/05/2023

Brightcove Names Teresa Tang Senior VP, Head Of Analytics, Data Science, Data Engineering

Brightcove said it named Teresa Tang senior VP, head of analytics, data science ...

31/05/2023

New DirecTV Stream Customers Will Get Priority Access to Free Telly TVs

DirecTV made a deal with startup Telly to give new DirecTV Stream customers priority access to the free TV sets Telly is giving to viewers....

31/05/2023

Xumo Play Brings Back Game Show Week for Third Year

Free ad-supported streaming TV service Xumo Play said it is bringing back its annual Game Show Week, starting Sunday....

31/05/2023

AGT' and Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge' Premiere on NBC

May 30 features a competition series staple season premiering on NBC, and a new entry to the category starting up as well. Season 18 of America's Got Talent...

31/05/2023

Password-Sharing Crackdown Will Prompt Younger Viewers to Cancel: Study

As Netflix begins its password-sharing crackdown in the U.S., a new survey shows that nearly half of all the service's users currently share their password ...

31/05/2023

Sinclair Sells Control of Stadium to Jerry Reinsdorf's Silver Chalice

Sinclair Broadcast Group said it sold its controlling interest in sports network Stadium to Jerry Reinsdorf's Silver Chalice....