Title: Islam and Queer Muslims
Subtitle: Identity and Sexuality in the Contemporary World
Date: 2019, March
Source: Text provided by author via email
Notes: A thesis submitted to the Department of Cultural Studies, In conformity with the requirements for, the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. (March 8th, 2019). Copyright © Mohamed Abdou, 2019

The Ph.D. is a forthcoming book. Nonetheless, in an effort to provide an overview of this interdisciplinary and transnational project I’m offering the table of contents, this chapter, the Bibliography and Appendix till the impending release.


This Ph.D. is an ethnographic-activist-based project. It first examines the genealogy of popular nationalist-statist and religious enforcements of postcolonial cisheteronormativity in Egypt through the examination of two case studies, the Cairo 52 case in 2001 and the transgendered case of Sally Abd Allah in 1982. It then presents my fieldwork, which documents my ethnographic narrators’ resistance to these narratives. Specifically, my fieldwork investigates the neocolonial/neoimperial conditions that inform the circulatory geopolitical relationship between Islam and queerness in non-Western societies such as franchise-colonial Egypt and settler-colonial U.S./Canada, in an age where sexual and gender diversity is a hallmark of neoliberal ‘secular’ modernity, whose advent historically exposed Arabs, North Africans, and Muslims, if not all non-Europeans, to a plethora of false competing dualisms, such as secular/religious and heterogeneity/homogeneity, as well as discourses such as homonationalism (al-qawmiyyat al-mīthlīyat) and pinkwashing (al-ghaseel al-banafsajiy). My fieldwork participants offer decolonial, gender-based, readings and formulations of queerness through their diverse and complex experiences, which evade the apparent tidiness of European feminist and narrow LGBTIQA categories that characterizes most Western/non-Western political queer scholarship. While the spiritual initiatives of diasporic queer Muslims clarifies the urgent need for a radical, decolonial, reinterpretation of Islam, the revolutionary participation of queer Egyptians in the so-called ‘Arab Spring/Islamist Winter’ offers crucial challenges to both discourses on gender/sexuality in the Middle East and academic and activist literatures on radical and revolutionary social action. In this dissertation, queer Egyptians, and queer Muslims in particular, appear as single theorists of radical political activity, not the co-opted and duped, colonized pawns of the ‘Gay Empire’. This exploration of queer interventions in revolutionary Egypt will force radical social theorists to consider postcolonial/decolonial queer politics as a primary basis for determining the shape and course of future revolutionary theory and praxis in this current xenophobic and Islamophobic geopolitical moment. Utilizing intersectional/assemblage based theories, I argue that strictly adopting sexual discourses, in the absence of accounting for colonialism/imperialism as well as engaging postcolonial, critical race and feminist discourses, is insufficient to narratively/analytically understand the dynamic nature of Arab and Muslim gender and sexualities in these Islamophobic conditions.


How can one speak of acknowledgments and summarize the innumerable lives that have challenged, supported, shared, and breathed life into this dissertation and me, and without which neither would see daylight. Following eight years of fieldwork, research, writing and editing, how am I to deliver a eulogy honoring those whose bodies fell in Tahrir Square, were dumped in the desert and fished out of the waters of the great river Nile after the uprisings? How am I to do justice to those who have been forcibly disappeared and are languishing in punitive prisons dedicated to missionizing human misery and sadistic suffering? How do I reconcile and pay back what was entrusted to me to relay while contending with the infinite debt I owe others? Somehow I am expected to do this hierarchically, to act as an authority figure calculating and ordering in my acknowledgments those deemed relevant. All there is infinite debt and responsibility at work here, compounded and multiplied beyond recount that I can only now forfeit to a generous, benevolent Creator. For the truth is my loves, you have all left trembling and attesting to Jacques Derrida’s words: “I am sacrificing and betraying at every moment all my other obligations: My obligations to the other others whom I know and do not know, the billions of my fellows (without mentioning the animals that are even more other others than my fellows, my fellows who are dying of starvation or sickness. I betray my fidelity or my obligations to […] those who do not speak my language and to whom I neither speak or respond, to each of those who listen or read, and to whom I neither respond nor address myself in the proper manner, that is, in a singular manner (this is for the so-called public space to which I sacrifice my so-called private space), thus also to those I love in private, my own, my family.”

My infinite debt, love and gratitude to the Creator, Allah, my mother, my father, distant relatives, and ministering angel of a sister, Marwa. All of you sacrifice of yourselves every day to breathe life into me. I pray your hearts and that of others forgive my shortcomings towards you, for I stand guilty of being indebted to you all for eternity. Thank you for your grace, love, and benison.

I am particularly indebted to my supervisors Adnan Husain, and committee members Scott Lauria Morgensen and Dana Olwan for their counsel, relayed and transmitted knowledge, for challenging and emboldening my spine and tongue and standing up for me on countless occasions, as well as their faith in me, which, thesis aside, has given me much to reflect on regarding myself and my relationships with others so far into my life. I am indebted as well to the members of the dissertation’s examining committee, Drs. Wilson Chacko Jacob and Eleanor McDonald, for taking the time to convene, read, and to listen patiently to what little I have to say and what this thesis aims to contribute within and across a multiplicity of disciplines and fields. To my research and fieldwork participants in Egypt and Turtle Island, neither the dissertation nor I would be standing here defending without you. Bring your ears closer to my lips. To you all, I say: ‘I love you’, was never meant to be written. I am humbled knowing you and am eternally grateful for you trusting me with your narratives, stories, words and lives that give further meaning and purpose to mine. I pray I convey but a partial measure of your radiance.

To my teachers, elders, friends, communities, students, allies and those who have stood in love and solidarity, thank you: Robert Lovelace, Sarita Sarivstava, Frank Peace, Richard JF Day, Villia Jefremovas, Joaquim and Larysa Voss, Katherine McKittrick, Trish Salah, Linda Jessup, Karen Dubinsky, Susan Lorde, Bonita Lawrence, Taiaiake Alfred, Ashanti Alston, Vivian Salah-Hanna, Biko and Yasmine, Gustavo Eseteva, Jacqueline, Laith Marouf, Yafa-Zein, Saja Marouf, Gretchen King, Sabine, Chadi, Fehr, Tarafa, Breanne, Krista, Corey, Ko-Ko, Wahtha, Ahanu, Susan Delisle, Leen, Gill, Mohga, Maysam, Deepa, Tiane and Mat, Rawan and Wael, Alaa, Salah, Abeer, Michelle Hartman, Dahlia, Fatima and Milad, Mubeenah, Hameed, Farah, Doaa Abdelaal, Dina Wahba, Urooj Arshad, El-Farouk, Troy Jackson, Yasir S. Abdullah, Tamer Mowafy, Sarah Mangle, Sayyida & Scott, Monica, David, Perick, Pancho, Chivis, Kris, Noor, and my brothers and sisters in Chiapas and Oaxaca, the Fahmy and Bayoumi, and Hafiz-Al-Rahman families, the entire Queen’s Students for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) cohort of 2015-2018, the Queens University Muslim Student Association (QUMSA), the Queen’s Gender, Sociology, and Development Studies departments, as well as the faculty and first Queen’s Cultural Studies unit of 2010-2011, AKA, EPIC, OPIRG, volunteers and staff at CFRC, members and non-members of the Sleepless Goat and workers at Sipps cafés, and doubtless many others. To the unwavering and dedicated Sheelagh Frame, Angela Pietrobon, and Nancy Wills, Editorial Assistants.

Dedicated to the children, to womyn, to the elderly, to queers, to people of color, to the poor, to the differently abled, and the wretched who are always the first to endure, grieve and be marytered. If this collective struggle to see through this earth’s rebellious rebirth denotes our fall then it is an honor to undergo it while by your side. Fyodor Dosteovsky once wrote, “even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point. And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point! He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object – that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key!” If there is to be hope, it demands that we see through an avalanche by betraying our countries to save one another. In the words of Vladimir Pecherin, "How sweet it is to hate one's native land, to desire its ruin, and in its ruin to discern the dawn of universal rebirth."

Thank you Creator, Allah, for the countless blessings I have been afforded. Whatever shortcomings exist in the text are my own doing which I take full responsibility for, and whatever goodness exists is by Your will and that of the participants and those who have guided and taught me. Rabbi Ishrah Li Sadry, Wayassir Li Amry, Wahlul ‘Uqdatan Min Lisany, yafqahu Qawly (Moses’ prayer in the Holy Qur'ān: My Lord! Expand for me my breast! Make my affair easy for me, and untie a knot from my tongue, that they may understand my speech) (20: 25-28).

La Fe no se vende (Faith is not for sale).

A Note on Transliteration & Translation

In general, because the interviews were conducted in colloquial Arabic dialects, usually Egyptian, I have used a modified version of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies’ (IJMES) system to transliterate terms and expressions in a way that reflects their spoken pronunciation. However, for consistency, when reporting important concepts and terms used by my participants that are also well-established in Modern Standard or Classical Arabic (particularly terms that are part of Islamic tradition), I have rendered these according to the IJMES system, while still conveying the flavor of Arabic/Egyptian colloquial expression and the rich complexity of what and how my participants state what they state. I maintain diacritical marks, although I have not altered transliterations of direct quotations from published material. All of the translations from Arabic, whether from colloquial dialects or Modern Standard/Classical Arabic, are my own, unless otherwise indicated. This includes archival research and oral interviews, as well as supporting written materials (e.g., newspaper articles, Islamic and Arabic texts). The only exceptions are Qur’ānic citations, all of which, unless stated otherwise, are from Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (New York, NY; HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017).

Chapter 2

Theoretical Frameworks & Methodology

From the vantage point of the colonized, a position from which I write, and choose to privilege, the term ‘research’ is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism. The word itself, ‘research’, is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary. It galls us that Western researchers and intellectuals can assume to know all that it is possible to know of us, on the basis of their brief encounters with some of us. It appals us that the West can desire, extract and claim ownership of our ways of knowing, our imagery, the things we create and produce, and then simultaneously reject the people who created and developed those ideas and seek to deny them further opportunities to be creators of their own culture and own nations.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1991: 1)


In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Friere argues that no pedagogy that dreams of being “truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates.”[1] True liberation must move beyond the neocolonial/neoimperial framework of capitalist nation-states that produces globally racialized, gendered, and sexualized, Orientalized, and dehumanized non-Western unfortunates who must be saved or overcome. For Muslims in the post-truth world, the alternatives presented by the colonial model of nations are to either become multicultural, liberal-progressive, assimilated good Muslim settler subjects or neofundamentalist, conservative Salafi-Wahhābi jihādis. This is magnified for queer Muslims. Debates on Islam and same-sex practices, particularly in Islamic studies and within Muslim communities, all too often begin with predetermined assumptions/conclusions about queerness that have obscured its entanglement in the construction of settler-and-franchise colonial societies. On the one hand, this leaves queer Muslims the choice between a so-called accepting and superior West and, on the other hand, an intolerant and savage terroristic Islam and East. To liberate ourselves, we must rediscover what it is to dream dangerously – to reimagine ourselves and reclaim our own decolonial, non-authoritarian, Arab, Muslim, North African, and Indigenous models of governance, non-materialist ethical-political values, and spiritual knowledge systems.[2]

To liberate our colonized minds and free our hearts and souls from the false binary, reactionary, choices before us, decolonized knowledge production and education are vital. As Audre Lorde states, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”[3] This dismantling and rebuilding has less to do with engaging in high-theory, itself a culturally specific and privileged way of knowing, than with teaching ourselves how to symbiotically fuse theory and praxis. This will enable critical thought and acceptance of criticism such that we can exactly determine and contextualize what we are fighting against and for. Thus, liberatory theory arrives from and is grounded in social movement experience and praxis.[4]

Accordingly, to develop my queer Muslim critique, I draw on some of my participant’s non-ideological and tenuous non-Western identifications and their affinity with post-anarchism’s anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist ethico-political commitments, which arise from their involvement in the Tahrir Uprisings of 2011. I identify and seek to understand my participants’ non-Western understandings of queerness and the circumstances under which they embrace, reject, or attempt to transcend the Western category of queer identity. I also draw on my own positionality and social movement experiences in Turtle Island, Egypt, and Chiapas (Mexico). I am a first generation settler-immigrant of Arab and North African Egyptian descent living on colonized, traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee land, studying at Queen’s University, a neoliberal academic institution, and my non-ideological affinity and identification as a Muslim anarchist or anarca-Islamist. By anarca-Islam, I mean an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, egalitarian, and feminist Qur'ānic anarchistic interpretation of Islam.[5]

My work is part of the anti-racist feminist and transnational queer diasporic literatures and is inspired by the decolonization theories that have emerged from Indigenous discourses and queer Indigenous and Two-Spirit studies in Turtle Island. Indigenous discourses are particularly critical of Western Eurocentric understandings of queerness, agency, and resistance. They insist that the struggle against cisheteropatriarchy cannot be separated from the struggle against settler colonialism, which transnational queer theories tend to elide given how queerness is snarled in the relationship between settler-and-franchise colonial societies that are symbolically and materially related.[6] Radical Indigenous scholars argue against reform or multicultural neoliberalism, which play to the cisheteropatriarchal capitalist nation-state politics of integration and recognition.[7] Although varying in their decolonial visions, radical Indigenous scholars often emphasize engagement with non-statist frameworks of decolonization; they privilege land-based struggles, recognizing the way that land itself structures relationships to and with space, time, autonomy, spiritual notions of kinship and understandings of polygamy, as well as gender and sexual relationship practices.

In contrast, although Arab, Muslim, and North African scholars and activists often offer imminent critiques of neoliberal capitalism, with a minority critical of nation-states, they tend to Eurocentrically take franchise postcolonial nation-states for granted. This occurs despite the fact that Islamic socio-political and economic principles are antithetical to capitalist nation-state frameworks.[8] This dissertation seeks to disrupt the neocolonial/neoimperial logics associated with the signifier ‘queer’ in order to explore a distinctive ontology, epistemology, and genealogy of gender and sexual ethics that cannot be explained outside non-authoritarian and non-capitalist interpretations of Islam as a form of spirituality (ruhaniyat), faith (īmān), and religion (dīn). This is necessary not only because of queerness and Islam’s unique geopolitical figurations in the contemporary world, but also because Arab and Muslim conceptualizations of masculinities/femininities are currently being challenged by both non-statist Islamist movements such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, and by secular-nationalist Egyptian military dictatorships such as that of Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

In this dissertation I distinguish between Islamic principles and Muslim cultural practices. I engage both religious and cultural approaches to reflect queer Muslims’ struggles, within Muslim communities, queer circles, and broader societies, to theologically justify and reconcile their queer and Muslim identities. Although I consider the theological debates that transnational queer studies tend to elide, my objective is not simply to extend Islamic studies’ discussions on whether or not same-sex practices are sexually licit or forbidden in Islam, at the expense of dismissing broader colonial/imperial conditions that frame the former debate. Engaging in the theological debates nonetheless is necessary, as when I discuss, in Chapter Three, the case study fatwā (related religious adjudications) issued by al-Azhar University, a pre-eminent institution for Islamic religious studies, regarding Sally Abd Allah’s transgender body.

Methodologically, I draw on two social scientific and historical studies of sexuality/gender in Islam, namely Saba Mahmood’s Politics of Piety and Joseph Massad’s Desiring Arabs and Islam in Liberalism, as well as my own fieldwork experiences to develop a decolonial, anti-racist, and feminist methodology that I call queer Muslim critique. My queer Muslim critique is based on the understanding that the Western instrumentalist notion of desire attached to the word queer cannot explain queer Muslims’ lives and desires in Islam. My fieldwork shows how the cisheteropatriarchal conceptualizations of masculinities/femininities, which have been shaped by ongoing Western colonial/imperial encounters, are being performed, negotiated, transformed, and subverted by my research participants. Queer Muslim critique is an extension of a methodology I refer to as anarchic-Ijtihād, which I used to construct anarca-Islam.[9]

As a subject and subject-less critique, queer Muslim critique challenges neo-orthodox Muslim scholars who argue that same-sex practices are an immoral Western imports.[10] It also challenges Western citizen-diasporic Muslims who refuse to acknowledge the mutually constitutive roles of settler colonialism, imperialism, postcolonialism, anti-Blackness, sovereignty, self-governance, decolonization, land-based struggles, and questions pertaining to subalterneity and indigeneity in the broader geopolitical construction of queer Muslim subjectivities, specifically in relation to complicity in the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples in North America.[11]

Theoretical Frameworks

Throughout this thesis, the principal theories I examine and intend to fuse, are transnational queer critiques; Arab and Muslim feminisms; postcolonial, settler-colonial, and decolonization theories; and schizo/psychoanalytic and post-anarchistic social movement theories. I use these literatures and theories to explore what is referred to as the bio and necropolitics or political economy of the life and death of same-sex practicing Arabs and Muslims.[12]

This synchronistic fusion, which is heavily indebted to my Egyptian participants’ discussion of these literatures, is part of an ethical-political project to dismantle the belief amongst non-Muslims that Islam is rabidly queerphobic, and the belief amongst Muslims that gender, sexuality, and desire in contemporary Islam can only be envisioned through binary dichotomies. My goal, which is to create a space for Muslims and non-Muslims to decolonially speak of gender, sexuality, and desire, is dependent upon the cohesive joining together of these ethical-political theories and philosophies.

Transnational Queer Theories, Arab and Muslim Feminisms, and Cultural and Islamic Studies

At its inception, queer studies focused on sexuality as an independent category of subjective identification and as a way of apprehending personal sexual conduct.[13] It took as its subject the white homosexual male and hence re-instantiated an idealized white masculinity, despite efforts by scholars such as Judith Butler, Michael Warner, and Gary W. Harpers to undermine the ideas of stable sexual subjects and compartmentalized notions of LGBTI identities.[14] As Lisa Duggan has noted in The Twilight of Equality, this homonormativity is indicative of a queer politics “that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions, but upholds and sustains them, while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption.”[15] After all, as Eng et al. note, gay marriage and its association with queer freedom are often addressed according to a hyper-individualist 18th century Enlightenment Protestant reformation ethics and a conservative social agenda, which results in the recoding of queer liberation “in narrow terms of privacy, domesticity, and the unfettered ability to consume in the ‘free’ market.”[16] Addressing the domestication and compartmentalization of queer theory within the academy and its reformist promotion of queer inclusion into the nation-state, Amy Brandzel notes, “perhaps no field can be (or should be) called out more for its bandwagon-like political agendas than queer studies, a field that is as culpable for creating monosystems of thought and action as it is for critiquing them.”[17]

However, by the 1990s, queer diasporic and people of color critiques were arguing that ‘sexuality,’ as an identitarian classification, was as Joseph Massad notes, a specific Euro-American “‘cultural’ category that is not universal or necessarily universalizable.[18] They further noted that most queer scholarship is written in English, which in effect reifies already “uneven exchanges [that] replicate in uncomfortable ways the rise and consolidation of U.S. empire, as well as the insistent positing of a U.S. nationalist identity and political agenda globally.”[19] They noted that the restriction of sexuality to the individual’s sexual behaviors ultimately hinders queerness’ political potential by disregarding its conjunction with race/ethnicity, gender, ability, nation, class, religion, capitalism, the nation-state, and continuing imperialist/colonialist projects in the East. One of the stated goals of transnational queer and diasporic studies is to address the denaturalization of the silenced voices of queer diasporic people, migrant workers, and refugees, while offering imminent critiques of queer liberalism and the incessant demands of U.S./Canadian queers petitioning for rights and recognition before the law. Queer diasporic studies focus on expanding the interrogation of sexuality’s relationship to citizenship, nationalism, race, and gender politics while undermining the triumph of individualist neoliberal marketplaces that obscure conflicts between global capital, labor, and the biopolitics and necropolitics of gendered, racialized, and sexualized bodies in a 9/11 era.[20] For example, Martin F. Manalansan explores the politicization of queerness in the post-9/11 era by examining the gentrified African American, Latino, South Asian, Arab, and Muslim urban migration from Jackson Heights, Queens, during its transformation into a “new exotic gay mecca.”[21] Whereas in Aberrations in Black: Towards a Queer of Color Critique, Ferguson interrogates the ways in which Black scholarship and African American activism subvert their racialization through nonheteronormative practices while also reproducing heteronormative nightmares that consciously and unconsciously reproduce cisheteronormativity, American exceptionalism, and imperialism.[22]

Other queer of color critiques, like those of David Eng, have exposed how members of the queer diaspora have invested in heteronormativity. Specifically, he describes the “racialization of intimacy” and the depoliticizing effects of queer liberalism’s depolitical construction of gayness as the new blackness, which assumes the teleological disappearance of racism, in a supposed post-racial, multicultural, colorblind age.[23] Extending this insight, South Asian queer of color critics like Gopinath sought, using a scavenger methodology, to “dissect the ways in which discourses of sexuality are inextricable from prior and continuing histories of colonialism, nationalism, racing, and migration” and critiques the “parochialism of some strands of queer studies by making the study of sexuality central to an anti-imperialist, antiracist project.”[24] Drawing on the critical works of Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall, as well as cultural literary genres, musicals, and Bollywood film representations of family, home, the nation, and diaspora, Gopinath challenges the construction of queer diasporic female/male South Asian subjectivities as either transnational, homonormative, and eroticized model minority neoliberal citizen-subjects seeking multicultural assimilation or alternatively terrorists who are perverse and homophobic. Gopinath’s formulation of the queer diaspora is critical because it demonstrates how queer migrations can recuperate “those desires, practices, and subjectivities that are rendered impossible and unimaginable within conventional diasporic and nationalist imaginaries.”[25]

Similarly, and critical to this dissertation, the work of José Estaban Muñoz builds on Michel Pêcheux’s conceptualization of “disidentification,” in the context of minority queer people of color who have been rendered erased as a consequence of colonialism and white heteronormativity.[26] Muñoz examines how the former not only subvert and resist their mainstream assimilation into dominant white queer figurations, but also engage in disidentifying political actions as a means of “managing and negotiating the historical trauma and systemic violences” to which they have been exposed.[27] In these disidentifying instances, queer people of color, as some research participants in this dissertation’s fieldwork prove, do not necessarily seek to assimilate into Gay Internationalist narratives nor do they entirely reject them or engage in constructing a radical decolonial counter-identity to challenge the former’s hegemony. Rather, in this context, they more complexly partake in a third self-actualized survivalist strategy that entails, “tactically and simultaneously” working “on, with, and against” dominant Eastern and Western cultural formations, seeking to rework these hegemonic cultural identities in order to alter their own futurities, as part of a queer counterpublic.[28] In other words, as Hiram Perez notes, queer diasporic theories are a call for queer theory to re-examine its collusions with Euro-American imperialism/colonialism and embrace the rich vocabularies that non-Western discourses have to offer.[29]

Thus, this dissertation argues that although modern identity politics are tactically necessary for alliance and solidarity, in light of the differential and hierarchical racialized, sexualized, and gendered realities that Indigenous, Black, and people of color face, they are also strategically limited given how they represent what George Lipsitz refers to as “possessive investments in whiteness.”[30] Our investment in identity politics occurs at the expense of our focus on radical decolonial ethico-political commitments and a politics of collective responsibility and accountability centered around what Richard J.F. Day refers to as a “politics of affinity,” which would usurp the nation-state as an arbiter of our rights and responsibilities.[31]

It is critical to note the distinction in this thesis between whiteness (as a racial/ethnic category) and liberal ‘cultures of whiteness,’ which refers to ontological white values, conceptualizations of civility and progress, as well as epistemological practices and paradigms. The practice of whiteness has consistently (de)humanized, infantilized, sweetened, feminized, exaggerated, and flattened the psychic life of diverse people of color and is associated with hegemonic Eurocentric ideas and notions of a hierarchy of civilizations (or what Lisa Lowe refers to as “colonial divisions of humanity”) that continue to be internalized and exercised by whites and nonwhites alike.[32] This struggle against (neo)colonial/ neo)imperial incursions is ongoing, and is related to histories of master/slave and colonizer/colonized relations that are not being transcended because of a lack of engagement with decolonization and reindigenization.

While existing anti-racist and transnational queer theories are useful to my project, there are two lacunae in the theoretical framework. The first concern includes the role of religious theology in understandings of Arab and Muslim genders and sexualities, particularly in the case of queer Egyptians who live in a predominantly Muslim society, and hence are compelled to theologically justify their existence as both queer and Muslim using Islamic exegetical concepts. The second concern relates to how transnational scholarship in general and queer immigrant Muslim diasporic populations in particular, due to a lack of a decolonial perspective, often silence their complicit and collusive role in upholding settler colonialism, empire, and the continued racialization of Indigenous peoples as political communities.[33]

The transnational queer theorists most relevant to the overarching theoretical context of Arab and Muslim gender and sexualities in this age of terror are Jasbir Puar, Joseph Massad, and Paul Amar. Puar’s investigation of Western homonationalism and Israeli pinkwashing is critical to situating the interlocking yet fluid nexuses of power that maps queer Muslims and queer Egyptians across various demarcations of colonialism/imperialism, race, gender, class, nation, and religion. Puar’s seminal Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times examines the particular paranoia surrounding the War on Terror, and the appropriation of sexuality and queer bodies by U.S. patriotic discourses. As she writes,

The paradigm of gay liberation and emancipation has produced all sorts of troubling narratives: about the greater homophobia of immigrant and communities of color, about the stricter family values and mores in these communities, about a certain prerequisite migration from home, about coming-out teleologies.[34]

Puar’s work is critical to this dissertation as it describes the manipulative Euro-American socio-political-economic processes that justify prejudicial cisheterophobic, racism, and xenophobic claims against migrants, and especially against Islam, and the entrenchment of its image as homophobic and savage in contrast to the image of Western democracies as civilized and egalitarian. As a patriotic mandate, homonationalism is concerned with domesticating queer communities under settler-state authority by offering the hope of inclusion, thereby neutralizing their capacity to disrupt national unity. Puar calls this process homonationalism, which she considers a biopolitical process that conscripts LGBTQ bodies and causes for neoliberal, militarized imperialist/colonialist, racist, xenophobic, nationalistic ends, especially against Islam and Muslims. It creates queer subjects who are worthy of life, while other queered bodies are condemned to die.[35] In particular, Puar’s scholarship examines the Zionist Israeli settler-colonial state’s particular manifestation – pinkwashing – in which the state’s LGBTQ-friendly images and rights record for a few is used to reframe and deflect attention from its occupation of a ‘backwards’ Palestine.

Puar’s scholarship is vital to understanding the Cairo 52 case study in Chapter Three, particularly as it relates to the medicalization of torture in Egypt and why the Cairo 52 defendants were charged with undermining national security, a charge usually reserved for militant Islamists. I argue that this is related to the enmeshed nature of counterterrorism, securitization, and patriotic logic post 9/11; the same logic that led the U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay to act as “docile patriots” and develop “culturally specific ‘effective’ matrix of torture techniques” to shame the monstrous queer terrorist fag prisoners into confession.[36]

My participants’ critiques of the geostrategic effects of queer migration, neoliberal development programs, and NGOs coincides with Puar’s critiques of queer tourism, human rights discourses, and normative queer nationalism’s collusion with the empire’s racist foreign policies and their implicit acceptance of American imperialist expansion.[37] Furthermore, for many of my queer participants, desire and queerness do not strictly pertain to sexuality, but are associated with broader nonsexual investments in and overlapping interconnections to socio-political, imperial, colonial, nationalist, racial/ethnic, ageist, religious, class, gender-based, and neoliberal entanglements. Therefore, my dissertation builds on what Puar calls assemblage theory, without the need for supplanting or replacing what Kimberle Crenshaw referred to as intersectionality.[38]

As with intersectional analyses, assemblage theory does not assume the stability of identity across space and time. Puar notes, “assemblage is actually an awkward translation – the original term in Deleuze and Guattari’s work is not the French word assemblage, but actually Agencement, a term which means design, layout, organization, arrangement, and relations – the focus being not on content but on relations, relations of patterns.”[39] Puar adds, “You become an identity, yes, but also timelessness works to consolidate the fiction of a seamless stable identity in every space.”[40] Intersectionality is structural, and privileges naming, visuality, epistemology, representation, and meaning, whereas assemblage, Puar argues, underscores feeling, tactility, ontology, affect, and information.[41] Some of the problems with intersectionality’s focus on naming and representation are demonstrated by my research participants’ struggles with the politics of translating their gender/sexual experiences, both theoretically and in social movement terms, as language, irrespective of nuance, will always fail “to properly grapple with processes of differentiation, power, identity, and subjectivity.”[42] Recently Amy Brandzel, utilizing a “ventriloquist” writing method, has responded to Puar’s critiques of intersectionality, and stated, that although Puar’s efforts to make feminist and queer studies “more accountable to critiques of racism, empire, and the logics of the normative” are necessary, this does not imply, by Puar’s own admittance, that intersectionality and assemblage are mutually exclusive.[43] Brandzel affirms that although intersectionality can serve and abet the nation-state,

What Puar names intersectional state practices, I describe as anti-intersectional ones. The nation-state does not practice intersectionality when it requires subjects to check preselected boxes to mark identity categories on a census, nor when it marks a subject as a potential terrorist due to their racially injected affiliations or geographically marked surnames. Rather, these are anti-intersectional efforts by the nation-state, whereby categories of identity and difference are forged, segregated, and forced to exist in separate and hierarchicalized frames.[44]

Similar critiques of intersectionality by feminist, queer, critical race, and poststructuralist scholars argue it is hegemonic. This reinforces multicultural neoliberalism and sustains normativity, indicating the need to distinguish between quasi-intersectional approaches that are complicit in upholding the nation-state and assimilatory citizenship discourses, and intersectional analyses that seek to expose how liberal-progressive positions uphold these hegemonic contradictions. Perhaps the greatest challenge to overcome is intersectionality’s misapplication in academic and mainstream discourses. Many scholars/activists claim to be engaging with intersectionality. They are instead engaging in an ornamental or ‘toothless’ intersectionality that refuses to decenter whiteness and is “used as an alibi that lets scholars and activists off the hook for actually being attentive to the embodiments” of a host of gendered colonial/imperial power differentials.[45]

As Brandzel notes, assemblages and intersectionality can be complementary methodological tools to conceptualize and visualize complex subjectivities and intersections between struggles alongside what the Combahee River Collective refers to as an analysis of “interlocking systems of oppression” and what Patricia Hill Collins refers to as the “overall social organization within which intersecting oppressions originate, develop, and are contained.”[46] All of these methodologies are necessary to build social movement coalitions grounded in anti-racist feminist paradigms, while rejecting the idealization of naturalized identities, bourgeoisie minority nationalisms, and the perpetuation of male normativity and white normativity. Engaging these methodologies, which some queer Egyptian participants employ, is necessary to conceptualize the radical social movement trajectories they have embraced since the 2011 Tahrir uprisings.

Just as Brandzel does not see a contradiction between intersectional and assemblage approaches, I do not see a conflict between these methodologies and what Chickasaw scholar Jodi Byrd’s describes as “cacophony,” which she developed in Transit of Empire.[47] As an analytical interpretative tool, cacophony can assist transnational anti-imperial and anti-colonial queer and feminist scholarship to expose questions relating to home, place, and belonging given how “U.S. colonialism and imperialism domestically and abroad often coerce struggles for social justice for queers, racial minorities, and immigrants into complicity with settler colonialism.”[48] Cacophony as a methodological tool can reveal the interstices between Indigenous dispossession and U.S. imperialist orientalist politics, exposing what Black feminists such as Patricia Collins highlight as the varying “degrees of penalty and privilege” reaped from “multiple systems of oppressions.”[49] For instance, cacophony can illuminate the way repression by military dictatorships, propped up by the West in societies such as Egypt, leads to the voluntary and forced displacement of queer Arabs and Muslims to the U.S./Canada, who then inadvertently profit from assimilation into these settler colonies and further the violence against and dispossession of Indigenous peoples.

By illuminating the relationship between settler-and-franchise colonialisms, these approaches can decenter competing claims or the ‘Oppression Olympics’ that often take place between horizontalist struggles as to who is more oppressed. This is a crucial process, as these claims often transform “horizontal histories of oppressions into zero-sum struggles for hegemony and distract from the complicities of colonialism and the possibilities for [decolonized] anticolonial actions that emerge outside and beyond the Manichean allegories that define oppression.”[50] After all, with globalization, systems of oppression are nationally and transnationally dynamically connected, interacting with and feeding off of each other: racism strengthens gender oppression against women of color, as classism strengthens racism against poor people of color, and sexism against poor women, while Western imperialist queerness strengthens all the former (i.e., racism, sexism, and queerphobia) against those in the East.

On numerous occasions, my participants refer to Joseph Massad’s scholarship on the Gay International and his indictment of Orientalism, which is also used in this dissertation’s analysis of the case study of the Cairo 52. Massad’s work serves as critical reminder of how identity politics bear within them Eurocentric, (neo)liberal, cultural, and spiritual assumptions. The West created a bourgeoisie Eastern ars erotica discourse in relation to the Other. As Fanon states, this in turn aroused in the Othered, an Oedipal inferiority complex.[51] In the case of Muslims, this complex is grounded in an ambiguous and amorphous symbol called ‘Islam’, whose meanings are further obscured by pathological fundamentalist/orientalist discourses on sexuality/gender that depict Islam as opposed to all that is civilized and ‘Western’.[52] However, despite the validity of Massad’s criticism of the Western instrumentalization and universalization of liberal LGBTIQ discourses, Massad offers no decolonial alternatives to counter cisheteropatriarchal, xenophobic, colonially nationalist, and queerphobic sentiments within Arab, North African, and predominantly Muslim societies. Equally, Massad racially and sexually essentializes not only Gay Internationalists (according to specific upper and middle-class elite dynamics) and the very idea of the East and West, he also essentializes queer Arab and Muslim experiences, both within the Middle East and in immigrant diasporas, so that he has been accused of representing queer Muslims and Arabs as duped pawns with no agency of their own.[53]

Exploring these tensions is particularly important in light of the fact that Egypt is not a homogenous society, and it has internalized anti-black politics, despite the existence of repressed Coptic, Nubian, and Sudanese-Egyptian populations, as well as Somali, Iraqi, and Palestinian refugees who are often exposed to xenophobia. Massad pays little attention to the visceral impact on queer Muslims and Arabs of discourses of securitization, surveillance, and terror, under the pretext that he is not interested in becoming a “native informant.”[54] Most problematic is Massad’s exclusive focus on men, deemphasizing gender’s carnal relationship to sexuality. He is content with simply identifying LGBTIQ identities as a white neoliberal-commoditized importation. As a consequence, any reconciliatory ground between identitarian/non-identitarian discussions, or even the possibility of transcending debates as to whether or not Arabs and Muslims should or should not identify as LGBTIQ, is forsaken.

Therefore, while Massad’s work provides a trenchant and valuable critique on Islam, sexuality, and the imperial influence of the Gay International, his criticisms are not the end of the discussion, but rather the beginning of the conversation. Massad ignores the fact that Arabs, as well as migrant North African and South Asian diasporic Muslims who reside in Canada/U.S., are pressured to become good settler subjects who participate in settler colonialism and hence contribute to the ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples.[55] In other words, the object of one type of colonialism can be if not in fact is, the circulatory agent of another colonialism. A non-statist, decolonial, and accountable solidarity such as the one this dissertation seeks to express must address all of these interlocking systems of gendered coloniality. The multiple colonialisms are in fact historically, materially, and spiritually interrelated. Settler-colonial power targets queer Arabs and Muslims as outsiders (i.e., through global Orientalism). However, what facilitates and nourishes this Western imperial Orientalizing are the other forms of white supremacist Othering that precede or intersect it, such as the Othering of Indigenous people or anti-Black racism.

Paul Amar’s work demonstrates the nexus of securitization and surveillance, and their affects on how gendered queer spaces have morphed since the 1798 Napoleonic French occupation of Egypt, immediately followed by the British colonization of Egypt from 1801-1952.[56] Amar’s work is critical to my discussion of the Cairo 52 case study and is also necessary to contextualizing Egyptian society and the nation-state’s response to the case. Using an ‘archipelago method’, Amar discusses how militarized humanitarianism, urban planning practices, as well as illiberal controls and security cultural campaigns have coalesced to form what he refers to as a ‘security archipelago’ that justifies itself on humanitarian grounds and is exercised upon sexualized populations, namely, sex workers and queer resisters, hence affecting sexuality politics in the Age of Terror and post-Arab Spring/Islamist Winter uprisings.[57] Moreover, Amar’s scholarship is vital in his specific examination of how militarized humanitarian rescue discourses, neodevelopment projects concerned with reviving Islamic heritage sites, and most importantly Gulf-Arab sex tourism in the Red Light districts along the Nile Waterfront and Pyramid’s Road, transformed the very spatial-temporal geographic organization of land. This in turn affected Egyptian notions of desire and perceptions of sexuality/gender, changing them from fluid embodied pre-modern practices to cisheteropatriarchal norms of modernity.[58] The theme of land and how it defines desire is a key theme in decolonization discourses, which seek to understand how restructuring land transforms practices and perceptions of spirituality, gender, and sexuality in postcolonial nations such as Egypt. However, Amar also argues that securitization facilitated deeply repressive forms of policing under the premise of protecting national security interests, which ushered in the end of neoliberalism, which my thesis contests.[59]

Incredibly vital to this thesis is Amar’s analysis of the case of Muhammad Atta, the queered 9/11 hijacker, who had written his MA thesis on the urban refurbishment of an Islamic quarter in the districts of dar al-Darb al-Ahmar, al-Husayniyya, and Suq al-Silah in Egypt, two years prior to 9/11. In Chapter Three, I juxtapose fundamentalist Islamist subjectivities such as Atta’s against other orientalist subjectivities such as those of Sherrif Farahat, the main Cairo 52 defendant who was accused by the Egyptian government of being a Zionist agent. This analysis is critical to unearthing the imperialist/colonial psychoanalytic effect of hypersexualized neoliberal Western Gay Internationalist on postcolonial subjectivities, which Amar takes for granted. Using, in part, Amar’s work, I illuminate how the West solicits reactionary responses from Arabs and Muslims.[60] As some of my participants state, these responses are often based on internalized shame and Islamophobia, which at times even implicates some queer Egyptians in settler-colonial Israeli pinkwashing and homonationalist narratives that undermine the struggle for Palestinian liberation, just as diasporic Egyptians in North America participate in the U.S./Canadian states’ settler colonization of Indigenous peoples.

I will also be building on the extensive scholarship of secular Arab feminists as well as Islamist-leaning Muslim feminists because of their immeasurable contributions to clarifying the gendering and sexualization of the postcolonial nation as well as Arab and Muslim peoples. They offer alternatives to Western whitewashing that also address the reality, including the gender and sexual violence, of their own experiences. Arab and Muslim feminisms are generally congruent with the overwhelming emphasis of my queer participants on focusing on gender egalitarianism and feminist concerns as a precursor to discussing same-sex intimacies.[61]

Arab and Muslim feminisms are further critical to the debate, because of the majority of my Egyptian participants explicitly rejected and resented Western militarized human rights initiatives and their associated set of whitewashed interventionist development schemas of globalized queer politics. Western LGBTIQ discourses have resulted in the essentialization of women’s and queer rights and experiences as human rights, which consistently construct brown and black women elsewhere as subjects of oppression and depict them as lacking agency, regardless of their cultures, spiritualties, histories, and traditions. As an alternative, some Arab and Muslim feminists discuss non-Western forms of agency that challenge Western conceptualizations of what constitutes resistance and binary oppressed/oppressor, domination/subversion narratives.[62]

There are two strains of Arab and Muslim feminisms: secular Arab and Islamist/Islamic. Leila Ahmed characterizes them as follows:

The dominant voice of feminism, which affiliated itself, albeit generally discreetly, with the westernizing, secularizing tendencies of society…[and] the alternative voice, wary and eventually even opposed to Western ways, searched a way to articulate female subjectivity and affirmation within a native, vernacular, Islamic discourse.[63]

Arab and Muslim feminisms have mutually influenced each other. Although they each accused the other of being a product of the West, in fact, both feminisms operated within its liberal-statist paradigms, without a radical decolonial project that would allow them to transcend the false binaries of secular and Islamist.[64] Secular Arab feminisms are intricately linked with the liberal-reformist nationalist struggles that emerged with postcolonialism and they tend to racialize the Islamic concept of Umma (global spiritual-political community that arguably includes Muslims and non-Muslims alike) and hence advocate for an Arab Umma, that at times is used interchangeably with Arab qawmiyyat (pan-Arab regionalism). In contrast, Muslim feminists tend to be affected by statist and non-statist Islamist discourses and aspire towards a non-reformist, non-racial, and non-statist Umma that they hope can ultimately displace the Eurocentric nation-state.

The division of feminisms has historical depth. Some of the early secular Arab feminists, such as Huda Sha’rawi, who in 1923 advocated for educational opportunities for Egyptian women and restricting the practices of polygamy, were strongly nationalist.[65] In 1951, secular feminist Doria Shafik formed the Bint al-Nil Union, which advocated for women’s political rights while engaging in militant actions against British colonial rule.[66] Other secular Egyptian feminist leaders like Malak Hifni Nasif, Nabawiyya Musa, and Ceza Nabarawi, were nationalists who advocated for a strong Egyptian army to counter a phantom Sudanese threat. In contrast, some of the early Muslim feminist organizations, such as the Society for the Advancement of Women founded in 1908, adopted a conservative Islamist trajectory.[67] Another early Islamic women’s group, Jamaa'at al-Sayyidaat al-Muslimaat (Muslim Women’s Association), was formed by feminists who rejected the Western liberal feminism of the Egyptian Women’s Union.[68] The Muslim Women’s Association primarily focused on women studying Islam within a social justice framework, with an emphasis on issues of poverty. Al-Ghazali, one of the founders, who was associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, took the Islamist stance that “Egypt must be ruled by the Qur’an, not positivistic constitutions.”[69] It is in this context that Leila Ahmed argues that while “feminism and the idea of rights and justice for women formed no part of the original Islamist agenda, activism in the cause of justice most emphatically was a foundational requirement and obligation of Islamism.”[70] Arab and Muslim feminists are useful in critiquing how in Egypt, the state is embodied in the figure of the woman, who must by protected by cisheteropatriarchal Arab military dictators and moral Islamists.

Unfortunately, a majority of contemporary Arab and Muslim feminists continue to ignore settler colonialism and its relationship to either the nation-state or the global Umma. With few exceptions, queer and feminist, Arab and Muslim literatures tend to ignore the “gendered dispossession of Indigenous lands and sexist neoliberal and neo-racist migratory structures and processes.”[71] In transnational feminist and queer literatures, non-statist Indigenous understandings of decolonization are often problematically perceived to be a single example of anti-racist discourse rather than the foundation of a grander anti-racist struggle.[72] Thus, as with queer theory, Arab and Muslim feminists in the West often re-instantiate “a white supremacist, settler colonialism by disappearing the [I]ndigenous peoples colonized in this land who become the foils for the emergence of postcolonial, postmodern, diasporic, and queer subjects.”[73]

The under-theorization of settler colonialism within women of color feminisms and queer people of color critiques, and the downgrading of decolonial Indigenous feminist understandings of nationhood is problematic given the geopolitical interlocking systems of oppression and empire’s investment in both sustaining postcolonial conditions in non-Western nation-states, while also creating and depending on migratory processes and diasporic populations that are pitted against Indigenous dispossession.[74] Ignoring the mutual dispossessions that emerge from the bifurcations between settler/postcolonial societies hinders the collective solidarities needed to simultaneously confront gendered colonialisms and a global white supremacy. After all, postcolonial and anti-racist Third World feminist collective organizing “necessitates alliances and coalitions, not only across groups and issues, but also within groups, precisely because there are varying forms and degrees of power at play in the margins as well as between various relational centres and peripheries.”[75] In a similar vein, Indigenous literatures cannot essentialize all monotheistic spiritualities, particularly Western Judeo-Christianity and Islam as one and the same, while ignoring theological and historical differences between Western and non-Western interpretations of the former.[76]


Indigenous, queer and feminist discourses have argued that queerphobia and the origins of homophobic violence are actually rooted in cisheteropatriarchy and settler colonialism and that the responses must be centered in alliance work. They argue that Euro-American queer advocacy for gay marriage as a civil right is imperially homonormative, neoliberally social conservative, and serves to reproduce a white, cisheteropatriarchal, and colonial citizenship politics that compounds the genocide that Indigenous peoples in settler-colonial societies face. Moreover, the reformist civil rights approaches/hate-crime legislations adopted in North America erodes the political claims of Indigeneous and Black others, pacifies resistance, and upholds settler-colonialism.

Radical queer activist literature has argued that gay marriage is beside the point when one witnesses the criminalization and murder of trans people of color, as well as the normalized violent targeting of black, brown, and Indigeneous bodies at the hands of the police, prisons, mental health institutions, and Immigration and Custom Enforcement agencies (ICE). As the trans South Asian artist collaboration DarkMatter note, civil rights approaches to queerness through victories like the Supreme Court rulings of Lawrence and Garner v. Texas that decriminalized sodomy and legislatively legalized gay marriage are mere props “used to pinkwash [and homonationalize] the US government and make it seem LGBT friendly even though it’s one of the biggest arbiters of anti-queer and anti-trans violence at home and abroad.”[77] In this new script, gay and lesbian parents now possess the rights to reproductive futurity, a temporality premised around the investment in the child, nuclear familial units, and proper, privatized routes of inheritance.[78] Windsor, like Goodridge, marked same-sex marriage rights as a means to protect the future/child. However, Windsor was much more direct about how marriage rights are primary mechanisms for the transmittal of property and capital accumulation. In these processes, a particular type of familial, class-based gay rights inherit the right to futurity, and the futurity of rights.[79]

Postcolonialism, Settler Colonialism, and Decolonization

My participants’ discussions of settler-hood, anti-blackness, and Arab supremacy within Muslim communities in Egypt and the U.S./Canada illuminate the value and limitations of postcolonial literatures. They also demonstrate the need to examine concepts of non-statist decolonization/reindigenization within Indigenous discourses, particularly in relation to what community means to queer Muslims through the Islamic concept of Umma. As queer Indigenous studies illuminate, decolonial movements ought collectively strive to unsettle the rigid, dogmatic, ways of conceptualizing gender/sexuality through the constant decolonization of our paradigms.[80] It is the decolonization framework that links this dissertation’s examination of ‘queerness’ in Egypt to ‘queerness’ among the Middle-Eastern diasporic settlers in Turtle Island.[81]

A close reading of both postcolonial and decolonial theories is critical to this dissertation’s examination of queerness because postcolonial societies such as Egypt never decolonized; they merely adopted the European capitalist nation-state model, including their security and surveillance apparatuses and their political, economic, social, medical, and judicial systems. Postcolonial nation-states even emulate the architectural and spatial-temporal construction of the colonizers, including the casting of ‘peripheral’ rural terrains as inferior and savage. Their embrace of neo-developmental frameworks that mould their urban-metropoles in the image of Western city-states, not only disconnects native-subjects from land and their responsibilities to nonhuman life, it also restructures gender/sexual practices, as well as perceptions of the private/public.

The nature of a postcolonial society is demonstrated in the Cairo 52 case discussed in Chapter Three, in which the defendants were arrested under national security and French colonial fujūr (debauchery) laws originally intended to prosecute women’s sex work, not the same-sex practices to which these laws are now extended. This dissertation argues that homophobia and queerphobic violence in Egypt are rooted in cisheteropatriarchy, which is a by-product of colonial/imperial rule. I also show that the current Egyptian nation-state denies the more fluid pre-modern perceptions of gender/sexuality in order to bolster its patriotic mandate to guard imagined and normalized ‘licit’ gender moralities, which in turn are a neoreactionary response to perceived illicit Western neoliberal hypersexualized penetrations that have prostituted the motherly Egyptian nation. Queerphobia is patriarchy dressed in drag.

This dissertation represents a call to identify the roles that Islam and queerness play within what Patrick Wolfe and Lorenzo Veracini refer to as franchise or postcolonial societies that never decolonized and in settler-colonial societies. The objective of the fieldwork and case studies is to illuminate the liberatory potentials of queer black and brown Arab, North African, and Muslim migrant ways of belonging that do not neutralize our radical politics or terminate our differences by appealing to national unity pogroms, civil rights discourses, or the vocalized multicultural assimilationist paradigms of the 1980s and the post-racial ideologies of the 2000s – all which usurp and deny Indigenous peoples’ right to self-governance, and homogenize all minorities into the category of Other in the U.S./Canada.

To achieve this objective, this dissertation draws on postcolonial/subaltern studies, which are primarily concerned with analyzing the historical, anthropological, socio-political, cultural, spiritual, and economic structural legacies of colonialism and imperialism, and on critical race theories, which are focused on revealing intersections between white supremacy, law and racial hierarchies, inequalities, and power.[82] In particular, this dissertation uses the work of postcolonial feminists who have “contributed greatly to the discussion of the ‘double marginal’ and have challenged other feminists to consider the intersections of gender with other axes of difference.”[83]

However, postcolonial theories and critical race theories without an engagement with settler colonialism, Islamic anarchism, radical Indigenous conceptualizations of non-statist self-governance, autonomy, decolonization, and reindigenization are limited. This is because postcolonial and critical race theories can reproduce colonial discourses through their adoption of nation-state frameworks.[84] Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang affirm this when they note that racism and colonialism are not just symptoms and technologies of capitalism but are also a product of the organizing principle that is the nation-state, whether capitalistic or Marxist.[85] Sandy Grande notes, “both Marxists and capitalists view land and natural resources as commodities to be exploited, in the first instance, by capitalists for personal gain, and in the second by Marxists for the good of all.”[86]

Jodi Byrd and Michael Rothberg argue that it is the misleading emphasis on ‘post’ in postcolonialism that has meant that postcolonial studies have largely ignored the specificities of settler-colonialism and Indigenous studies, and hence avoided a critical engagement with the material oppression and the colonization of Indigenous peoples.[87] Similarly, Tuck and Yang note that the reliance in postcolonial scholarship on anti-colonial critique is not remotely equivalent to a decolonizing framework.[88] An anti-colonial stance celebrates the transfer of power to postcolonial subjects, whereas a decolonizing stance seeks to subvert and remake the colonial system.[89] In this sense, the “postcolonial pursuit of resources is fundamentally an anthropocentric model, as land, water, air, animals, and plants are never able to become postcolonial; they remain objects to be exploited by the empowered postcolonial subject.”[90]

Critiques of settler colonialism are therefore vital to this dissertation. Moreover, the dissertation recognizes that Indigenous and Black subjugation are integral to white settler colonialism and both are interrelated projects.[91] This dissertation draw on scholars such as Rita Dhamoon and Patrick Wolfe who have noted that discourses on race and religion are deployed in settler colonialism to provide access to land.[92] Patrick Wolfe argues that the expropriation of land is the basis for physical and cultural genocide that contains and kill Indigenous peoples, which in Canada takes the form of Indian Acts, blood quantum politics, and their continued treatment as children under the paternalist wardship of the nation-state.[93] Scholars in Indigenous studies have long argued that policies of ‘inclusive’ integration into the nation-state erases Indigenous epistemologies, sovereignty, and the intimate relationships that all people living on Indigenous territories must bear to land, culture, spirituality, egalitarian self-governance, and values. Moreover, they have called on those who become assimilated citizen-subjects to challenge the “constructions of land as extractable capital,” given the ways in which this denies Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous views on the integration of cosmological, ecological, spiritual, and non-statist, feminist, ethical-political commitments to land.[94]

At the same time, as Tuck and Yang note, settler society participates in what Philip Deloria refers to as “playing Indian” or what Sherene Razack refers to as a “race to innocence.”[95] As Tuck and Yang note, these strategies, practiced by white and brown settlers, are attempts to relieve feelings of guilt without giving up land, power, or privilege.[96] These moves to innocence include evoking Indian blood quantum narratives, registries and policies, gendered settler-nativism, and Indian grandmother complexes that ignore the implications of sexual violence, in which “settlers [mythically] locate or invent a long-lost ancestor who is rumored to have had ‘Indian blood’, and they use this claim to mark themselves as blameless in the attempted eradications of Indigenous peoples.”[97] However, there is no such thing as purity when it comes to racial/ethnic belonging. Thus Byrd also cautions that in advocating for self-determination and sovereignty, indigenous movements should not reify binaries and thus ought not “be just a return push that demonstrates difference – that move is anticipated and already silenced.”[98]

Audra Simpson and Andrea Smith write that settler colonialism thrives on bypassing Indigenous peoples and creating an environment in which the fate of Indigenous peoples “are inextricably linked to the conditions facing other oppressed groups.”[99] Similarly, using an anti-imperialist approach, Byrd argues that the logic of settler colonialism is replicated throughout the U.S. Empire, transforming “those to be colonized into ‘Indians’,” who are politically erased physically and culturally.[100] In this sense, Tuck and Yang state, “settler colonialism is built upon an entangled triad structure of settler-native-slave” and hence the “desires of white, non-white, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people” are knotted “in resettlement, reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism.”[101]

Unlike postcolonial movements, non-statist decolonization suggests there is no single framework for decolonization or for Indigenous citizenship, although there is some agreement that “decolonization requires, at a minimum, the repatriation and the rematriation of land, the reinstatement of Native governance in all of its distinct varieties, and the unsettling of white settler colonialism and its constitutive logics.”[102] Dene critical theorist Glen Coulthard states that land is the ethico-political criterion for Indigenous peoples’ identities. He argues for Indigenous conceptions of autonomy that are anchored in “grounded normativity,” otherwise understood as the centering of land as an “ontological framework for understanding relationships” in non-individualist/non-exploitative ways, which will facilitate renewed interconnections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and their mutually shared environments.[103] Accordingly, colonized peoples have three choices: “become good subjects, accepting the premises of the modern West without much question; become bad subjects, always revolting against the parameters of the colonizing world; or become non-subjects, acting and thinking in ways far removed from those of the modern West.”[104]

It would be a grave mistake to think that settler colonialism’s manipulation of race/ethnicity as a site through which whiteness orients and replicates internal and external racializing, gendering, and sexualizing projects affects only settler-societies. Due to imperialist projection and transference of its effects onto franchise-colonialism, both types of colonialism uphold each other. Therefore, in light of the intertwinement of gendered and racial colonialisms, social movement scholars/activists should strive to examine the intersections between “the comparative racialization projects of U.S. orientalism and U.S. settler colonialism.”[105] Settler colonialism, homonationalism, and cisheteropatriarchy not only systemically racialize and sexualize all people within settler-colonial states, they also forcibly queer people in postcolonial nations.


Decolonization in white settler colonial societies involves the relinquishing of settler communities’ sovereignties “over these very pieces of earth, air, and water is what makes possible these imperialisms.”[106] I argue that decolonization in franchise-colonial societies entails abandoning capitalist nation-state paradigms, as well as the inferiority complexes and cultures of whiteness that we, as people of color, have internalized. It involves a complete re-understanding of our utilitarian and exploitative use of natural resources, land, and nonhuman life, and the construction of non-statist and non-capitalist, non-cisheteropatriarchal, egalitarian social justice land-based alternatives that are based on our own spiritual and cultural traditions, and are characterized by our own notions of public/private as well as our gender/sexual based intimacies, encounters, and relations. Decolonization facilitates the assertion of dignity and respect, as it offers alternative ways of interpreting taxonomies of Arab and Muslim desire in relationship to self, community, kinship, family, and territory. Decolonization in settler-colonial societies implies being guided by an ethic of inconsummerability that entails the repatriation/rematriation of Indigenous land, and hence is not a metaphor for reconciling with nation-state paradigms.

In is important to note, as Tuck and Yang do, that decolonial struggles in postcolonial and settler-colonial societies intersect but are distinct. They entail different demographics and histories.[107] Due to Islam’s contemporary positioning as a geopolitical arc and the conjoined relationship between settler-and-franchise colonialism, settler colonialism cannot be utilized as a stand-alone analytic or be self-contained. As Manu Vimalassery, Juliana Pegues, and Alyosha Goldstein argue, in the absence of an anti-imperialist analysis, it “potentially reproduces precisely the effects” that are entangled in more complicated histories.[108] Thus, decolonization is not adopting civil/human rights-based approaches, nor does it mean that we simply improve our school curriculums or deploy liberal-multicultural social justice paradigms. Radical autonomous and Indigenous non-statist conceptualizations of decolonization involve comprehending that white settler states engage in and benefit from constructing, collapsing and reshuffling the taxonomic borders “between Native, enslavable Other, and Orientalized Other[s]” as a “triad of categories.”[109] This divide and conquer strategy sets ‘model’ and quasi-assimilable minorities in competition with each other, while retaining the threat of a return to “the status of foreign contagions (as exemplified by Japanese Internment, Islamophobia, Chinese Exclusion, Red Scare, anti-Irish nativism, WWII antisemitism, and anti-Mexican-immigration).”[110] Radical understandings of decolonization, based on the understanding of how settler colonialism fuels imperialism, can therefore illuminate the codependence and constitutive natures of colonialism and racism. It can also show how white antiracists, allied decolonialists, people of color, and Indigenous activists can explore ideas and practices that abstain from reinforcing ‘model minority’ myths. As Brandzel suggests we decolonize by focusing “our energies toward queering – as in, denaturalizing – the disaggregation of race and colonialism [and hence embracing] a politics that is against citizenship – one that refuses both futurity-as-inclusion as well as retroactive and restorative political visions of the past, in order to enact a coalitional, intersectional, and decolonial politics in and of the present.”[111]

This conversation is critical given calls by the likes of Linda Tuhiwai Smith (née Mead), as well as others, including the Mi’kmaw scholar Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua, for settler-accountability from the margins.[112] Urging allies of non-native people of color to stop seeking colonial administrative inclusion within the specter of American/Canadian citizenship-belonging and instead decolonize their anti-racist and feminist movements, and to make returning to the land a priority of their agendas, Lawrence and Dua have spawned discourses between Indigenous, Black, and anti-racist people of color on the varying typologies and differential placements that occur as consequence of both historically forced and willful displacements and migrations to the North American empire.[113] There is consensus amongst scholarship that the term ‘settler’ is “intrinsically linked to the complex relations of the post-Columbian White colonialist project globally,” and, as a consequence of settler colonialism, non-native people of color can be complicit in.[114] However, Byrd notes that “it is all too easy, in critiques of ongoing U.S. settler colonialism to accuse diasporic migrants, queers, and people of color for participating in and benefitting from indigenous loss of lands, cultures, and lives […] as if the could always consent to or refuse such positions or consequences of history.”[115] Thus, Byrd in her efforts to destabilize the construction of “Indianness” and the notion of a ‘pure’ authentic indigeneity, whether in the context of Indigenous peoples or the general colonized Other, introduces the category “arrivants”, borrowed from Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite “to signify those people forced into the Americas through the violence of European and Anglo-American colonialism and imperialism around the globe, but who have functioned within and have resisted the project of colonizing the ‘New World’.”[116] Hence, arrivants include racialized non-European immigrants, migrants, and refugees as newcomers to Turtle Island.[117] Her approach represents a call to the “settler, native, and arrivant” to “each acknowledge their own positions within empire and then reconceptualize space and history to make visible what imperialism and its resultant settler colonialisms and diasporas have sought to obscure” through the violent erasure of Indigenous people’s relationship to land.[118]

A growing body of research addressing the terrains of Indigenous and Black peoples and solidarities are illuminating how white settler-colonialism is, was, and continues to be contingent on not only Indigenous genocide, dispossession, and the denaturalization of their relationship to land, but also fundamentally continues to co-depend on anti-Blackness as illuminated in works of Tiffany Lethabo King, Tuck and Yang, as well as Shona N. Jackson, Achille Mbembe, Stephanie Smallwood, M. Jacqui Alexander, Saidiya Hartman, Kyle T. Mays, Frank Wilderson III, Jared Sexton, George Sefa Dei, Melissa Phung, Achille Mbembe, and Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley. Shona N. Jackson, for example, discusses, “practices of belonging and becoming that have provided a new material, symbolic, and discursive relationship to the land for blacks, Indo-Guyanese, and Indigenous Peoples.”[119] Settler colonialism, as these authors describe, relies on the racial and sexual economies of the Middle Passage, as well as the abduction and sustaining of transatlantic chattel and plantation colonial enslavement of Africans as indentured labors and property. It also relies on contemporary colonial/imperial ‘after-life slave’ projects that continue to dehumanize people of color whether through white-liberal humanist judicial laws, that are purportedly impartial and objective, or the usurping modus operandi of global racial capitalism across what Katherine McKittrick refers to as a vast “landscape of systemic ‘blacklessness’.”[120] Indigenous-Black relations are creased by white settler-colonialism, whose divide and conquer strategies pit native against native and black against black. Whereas historically both entities were mutually engaged through treaty and other forms of cooperative relationships. the impact of white colonialism resulted in fraught conflicts as some Native people enslaved Black people, and some Black people participated in Indigenous extermination, expulsion, and land theft. And yet, in other instances, we see fused identities like the Black Cherokees in Oklahoma and Black Mi’kmaq peoples in Nova Scotia, who are a living embodiment of these two worlds and the intertwining of Indigenous and Black peoples’ fates and futurities.[121]

The entanglement of Indigenous-Black histories emerges not only in the context of the U.S. that is often assigned strict blame, but Canada as well. This is despite the myth of Canada’s multicultural inclusiveness and it was as an innocent bystander and haven to runaway slaves, and during the Jim Crow and segregation era. Scholarship by Ronaldo Walcott and Afua Cooper documents the invisible history of the slave trade and argue that the reality is: First, that Canada was a colony of France and Britain, two of the largest slave traffickers. Second, because the Atlantic slave trading activities connected diverse economies, for much of the slavery period, there was a brisk trade between the capitalists of eastern Canada and the slaveholders of the Caribbean… Third, recent scholarship discovered that at least 60 of the slave ships used in the British slave trade were built in Canada. Most important, enslavement of Africans itself was institutionalized in Canada. The enslavement of black people existed from least 1628 to 1834.”[122]

The complicated nature of Black-Indigenous relations is explored in this research’s fieldwork through a Nubian-Egyptian black queer participant who, on account of the hypervisibility and invisibility of blackness and Arab supremacy, shuns his Arab identity in exchange for a perceived globalized black and African identity. Such an essentialization of ‘Blackness’ can both erase the ongoing effects of the Middle Passage and contribute to the promotion of narratives that Islam was spread by the sword and that Muslim slavery is akin to Euro-American slavery. In another instance in the fieldwork, a queer black participant of Nigerian-African descent acknowledges black-on-black prejudices, and the difference between her experience in the U.S. and the unique position of transatlantic descendants. She also indicates how contemporary militarized policing allocates black bodies, irrespective of their origins, to prison industrial complexes.[123] These accounts echo the call to acknowledge how settler colonialism benefits from conflating historical experiences, and hence the need to expose the power relations, cultural logics, and subjects that have co-opted and erased radical Indigenous and Black trajectories. Blackness is further complicated when it intersects with Islam as many Middle Passage slaves were Muslims who were forcibly Christianized.

Recent diasporic migrations of people of color render the notion of settler-hood even more complicated. There can be little doubt that arrivants, and in particular brown people of color who have embraced and promote a culture of whiteness, have knowingly or unintentionally accepted a permanent invitation to appropriate Indigenous land.[124] An ethic of healing must be embraced, but this cannot happen without acknowledging and being accountable for the ways that we, as Indigenous, Black, and people of color, and all that is in-between, collectively hurt and wound each other. White supremacy must be recognized as a “key pillar of the settler colonial state” and this knowledge can be “mobilized as common ground for solidarity among [colonized] people.”[125] Clearly, it is neither the responsibility nor place for white settlers, even those engaged as radical allies with Indigenous peoples, to ascribe or school people of color, “even if in the former’s capacity to oppress Indigenous people.”[126] In other words, white allies possess their own culpability and complicity, and it is their responsibility to allow and permit us space/time – as Indigenous, Black, and people of color communities – to order and rearrange our own house.

My fieldwork finds that some queer Egyptians emigrate to the West, particularly to U.S./Canada, as a consequence of their repression. It is therefore critical to examine Byrd’s category of arrivant. I agree with Sara Ahmed, that Byrd’s arrivant is not “a third position somehow located between settler and native,” but rather a productive means to “destabilize the settler/native binary.”[127] The emphasis on arrivant can potentially disrupt the imperial/colonial categories that separate labor and bodies from land.[128] This requires, as Byrd notes, settlers, natives, and arrivants to each first acknowledge their positions within the imperial system of relationships and then to reconceptualize them. There are two means through which this can be achieved. The first is through mobilizing Sara Ahmed’s insights in Queer Phenomenology. She discusses the process of arrival and “migrant orientation,” that operates against the logics and dynamics of invasion while also reifying one’s position as a colonial product now engaged in the colonization of others.[129] The second is through mobilizing the concept of indigeneity, especially given how a majority of non-Indigenous Muslims from franchise-colonial nations do not identify as settlers of color and abdicate their responsibilities to Indigenous peoples on account of their own fears and self-victimizations.

With regards to migrant orientations, Ahmed reflects on the process of arrival by noting that what is transplanted or arrived “is shaped by the conditions of its arrival, by how it came to get there.”[130] Understanding the migrant’s orientation is critical for the purpose of relating across our mutual struggles, because, as Vimalassery, Pegues, and Goldstein note, both the “arrivant and indigenous positions alike certainly speak to ‘lost homes’, but neither seems to inhabit home in the mode of ‘not yet’.”[131] For this reason, a too-neat settler/native binary can silence and compromise not only “the question of blackness in the world, of black liberation”, but also the futurity of settler people of color.[132] Furthermore, non-Indigenous peoples cannot miss out on the productive opportunity to “articulate in relationship with indigenous decolonization” how to dismantle imperialist conditions in franchise-colonial societies.[133] Taking into consideration the migrant orientation and constructing relational opportunities should not mean, as Tuck and Yang note, “that Indigenous peoples or Black and brown peoples take positions of dominance over white settlers; the goal is not for everyone to merely swap spots on the settler-colonial triad, to take another turn on the merry-go-round” but rather “the goal is to break the relentless structuring of the triad – a break and not a compromise.”[134] Instead, non-Indigenous settlers of color must build decolonial relationalities through situating their struggles in one another’s narratives and vitally understand that “breaking the settler colonial triad, in direct terms, means repatriating land to sovereign Native tribes and nations, the abolition of slavery in its contemporary forms, and the dismantling of the imperial metropole.”[135] Dismantling settler-colonial ‘here’ means eradicating franchise-colonialism ‘elsewhere’, as much as “decolonization ‘here’ is intimately connected to anti-imperialism elsewhere,” because both colonialisms are informed through liberal universalism and modernism that regenerate the social formations of empire.[136] Any thesis on decolonization must address Indigenous sovereignty or rights and take into account the unsettling and de-occupation of land. To do otherwise constitutes an equivocation.

It is critical to note that I disagree with Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright, who argue that people of color are not settlers. They also critique all nationalisms for being cisheteropatriarchal and hierarchical products of colonialism, and problematically assume that Indigenous nationalisms are antithetical to decolonization, by suggesting that they are premised on Western ontologies of the nation.[137] By problematically essentializing Indigenous understandings of the nation, Sharma and Wright’s analysis denies and depoliticizes, as Dhamoon notes, the “differences between Indigenous peoples and other non-whites.”[138] In fact, like the Islamic concept of the Umma, Indigenous approaches offer ontologies of nation that refuse hierarchies of power and open decolonial modes of governance. By adopting an Oppression Olympics perspective that pits claims of oppression against one another, Sharma and Wright misconstrue settler colonialism and Indigenous nationhood, and interpret the latter to imply the expulsion of non-Indigenous peoples. They argue that Indigenous nationalisms are likely to advance “neoliberal practices that have further globalized capitalist social relations and to the related neo-racist practices.”[139] In response to Sharma and Wright’s model, Rita Dhamoon argues that the crisis of collective liberation is “not so much about whether migrants are settler colonists, but rather how migrations and the movement of non-whites are enabled and regulated by a global system of nation-states and corporations in the service of settler colonial projects and vice versa.”[140]

Drawing on Melissa Phung, Robinder Sehdev, and Beenash Jafri, Dhamoon argues that the differing effects of racial colonial structures on their lives mean that not all non-Indigenous residents of Turtle Island can be categorized as one.[141] Sehdev argues that non-Indigenous people’s presence on Turtle Island, “is made possible by treaty, and it is therefore incumbent on us to reconsider our strategies for social justice with treaty in mind.”[142] The call here is for allies across the vast array of racialized arrivant-communities, who bear distinctive historical trajectories from both Indigenous peoples and white settlers, to adopt or at least engage Indigenous conceptualizations of treaty, “such as that of the Two Row Wampum and that is based on mutual peace, respect, and friendship, and contains a spiritual dimension.”[143] Seeking to distinguish between settler privilege and settler complicity as well as arrivant-privilege and arrivant-complicity is necessary because privilege and complicity do not circulate in the same way. Racialized subjects who have been marked as white may not benefit from the former, but cannot disavow the latter. Beenash Jafri states,

When people refer to ‘settler privilege’, they are referring to the unearned benefits to live and work on Indigenous lands, and to the unequal benefits accrued through citizenship rights within the settler state. However, for people of colour the benefits of being a settler are accrued unevenly. These privileges or social advantages are contingent on things like nationality, class, gender, and migration status. When we account for systemic inequities, underemployment and the racialization of poverty, for most people of colour there are few ‘benefits’ associated with being a settler. Thus, if we follow the logic of a settler/non-settler binary, an argument about people of colour having settler privilege quite easily falls on its face. Many people of colour are settlers without (or with limited) settler privilege.[144]

If Indigenous, Black, and people of color communities seek to transcend the triadic structures of settler-native-arrivants to offer a horizontalist unconditional hospitality that is still paradoxically conditioned on the existence of conditional shared ethical-political decolonial commitments, then I argue that beyond an honest action-based acknowledgment of our complicities and privileges relative to each other, as well as Byrd’s category of arrivant, and Ahmad’s migrant orientation, there is a need to activate what Byrd, Jeannette Armstrong, and Robert Lovelace refer to as indigeneity.

Michael Rothberg and Byrd argue that in this time of volatile borders and massive displacements of people, “‘indigeneity’ holds the promise of rearticulating and reframing questions of place, space, movement and belonging.”[145] They see postcolonialism and indigeneity as overlapping and opposing positions that can illuminate each other, and they point to Gaurav Desai and Supriya Nair as rare examples of academics exploring this area.[146] Rothberg and Byrd also note the reluctance of some Indigenous scholars to adopt postcolonial perspectives “since confronting the ongoing colonization of native lands remains at the top of the agenda for indigenous peoples, […] indigenous intellectuals have been reluctant to sign on to a theoretical project that appears to relegate their dilemmas to the past or an achieved ‘after’ (even if, in practice, this has rarely been the project of postcolonial studies).”[147] Moreover, although postcolonial studies have provided important tools for indigenous scholars, it is unclear whether “models developed as a response to the colonization of the Indian subcontinent and (to a lesser extent) Africa” are suitable for understanding the settler colonies in Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Palestine.[148] In particular, “both ‘subaltern’ and ‘indigenous’ name problems of translation and relationality; or, to put it slightly differently, subaltern/indigenous dialogue is, among other things, a dialogue within and about incommensurability, but “for postcolonial work to resonate in indigenous contexts it must be careful about the way it translates its terms,” as, for example, ‘subaltern’ and ‘indigenous’ may be incommensurable.[149] As Rothberg and Byrd write, “failed reception can certainly mean a complete lack of reception, that is, a relegation of subaltern subjects to silence, absence and non-recognition.”[150] Gaurav Desai explores this issue in his case studies and travel narratives on the Otavalo and Cotacachi, two indigenous communities in Ecuador. She suggests that the term ‘diaspora’ is key to understanding the relation between subalternity and indigeneity.[151] Rothberg and Byrd note, “Desai calls for a ‘located’ consideration of the significance of indigeneity and uses the category of subalternity as a lever for revealing power relations that cluster around different experiences of tradition, place and movement.”[152] However, Rothberg and Byrd also direct our attention to how Desai rightfully argues that indigeneity can become nativist and have genocidal mutations such as “Hindutva in India and Hutu Power in Rwanda.”[153] The objective, as Rothberg and Byrd interpret Desai, “is not to relativize the emphasis on distinctions of power that subaltern studies and indigenous studies share, but rather – in the spirit of Desai's call for a located critique – to trace the shifting meanings that indigeneity has had and continues to have in colonial and neocolonial imaginaries.”[154]

Syilx Okanagan scholar/activist Armstrong notes that through sacred activism and spiritual paths of service, indigeneity can become a social ethic in which “[l]ife practices intent on TEK, and knowledge of the land’s local realities and regenerative capacity, become the guiding force for human occupation.”[155] Moreover, Ardoch Algonquin elder Robert Lovelace notes that indigeneity or becoming indigenous is not synonymous with nor is it a politically charged euphemism for Aboriginal, Native, or Indian.[156] Nor does it follow from archetypical multicultural liberal UN declarations, articles, and racial definitions of Indigenous peoples. To Lovelace, indigeneity and becoming indigenous cannot take place in the domesticated corridors of a cordoned neoliberal academy that has a transactional relationship with corporations and the state. Lovelace states, “re-indigenization and indigeneity entail a return to the expectations of the womb [and] every infant in the womb has an expectation that he or she will emerge into a thoroughly indigenous world.”[157] Indigeneity can only manifest and unfold through anti-colonial/anti-imperial sacred and decolonial, place-based, ecologically literate, symbiotic relation to land and (non)human life. To do so demands that peoples develop trust, an ethic of hospitality and disagreements towards each other, and enhance cognitively, spiritually, politically, and metaphysically each other’s relationship to land. This allows settlers/non-settlers alike to engage in becoming indigenous. Nonetheless, this entails decolonially teaching, learning, and listening to each other as we discover what it means to become human again in a world in which we are mere migrating travelers, witnesses to each other worlds during our temporary transit(s).[158]

Lovelace emphasizes that we are not our ancestors and hence there is no return to an authentic and pure notion of self. He writes, “re-indigenization focuses interest on a complex set of contingencies. Knowledge of Indigenous technologies is certainly part of it. Exploring the theoretical underpinnings of technological, social, political, economic, artistic, psychological and philosophical development within Indigenous societies as they may be applied to real life collective decision making connects knowledge to practice…[reindigenization is] about present decision making, forming intentional communities and engaging in actual earth based work.”[159]

Amadahy interprets and expands on Lovelace’s views, arguing that non-Indigenous people should do away with settler-guilt syndrome in exchange for our collective embracing of healthy minds and living well.[160] As an Algonquin-Muslim, Lovelace teaches, “anyone can become indigenous to a place” and this does not mean “everyone has to ‘become Indian’” or that we engage in white orientalized projects that entail our collective return to innocence.[161] At the core of Lovelace’s understanding of decolonization/indigenization, Amadahy notes, “is not bloodlines, skin colour, or cultural heritage”.[162] Rather Lovelace argues for fulfilling acts of compassion (rahma), goodness (iḥsān) and intelligence, and adhering to non-statist, innate communal bonds and ethical-political, spiritual commitments. These are all synonymous with Islam’s notion of fiṭrah (originary nature of individuals to incline towards all that is communal and good) and associated with achieving an anarchistic interpretation of a global Umma and pluriverse-spiritual world. As discourses on Islamic anarchism have discussed through the concept of Umma, “there are existing ontologies of nation that refuse hierarchies of power and still open decolonial modes of governance.”[163] A pluriverse vision of an Umma (global Muslim and non-Muslim polity) is premised on the acceptance and not mere tolerance, in a multicultural liberal way, of the Other, and is composed of participants bound by variant spiritual belongings, faiths, and religions interwoven with shared decolonial ethico-political social justice values derived from their own paradigms. This occurs even if those composing the Umma differ from each other in their cultural and ritualistic performances and traditions.

Through Lovelace and Armstrong, and a conceptualization of ethical contracts and concepts within decolonial understandings of Islam I seek to go beyond Byrd’s understandable trepidation regarding indigeneity. This is done by offering indigeneity as a transnational category and a spiritual-ethical-political decolonial coordinate in relation to land. The condition of being indigenous or indigeneity allows us to mobilize as an international collective of multiple anti-imperial/anti-racist decolonial communities that can build solidarities with Indigenous Peoples in Turtle Island and with settler-colonial societies found in Australia, New Zealand, and Palestine, and their decolonizing work. Since decolonization is a spiritual act, arrivant Muslims must engage decolonial scriptural interpretations, as those emergent from Islamic anarchism, to locally connect and correspond with spiritual, decolonial, visions of indigeneity.

We cannot predetermine or predict what a decolonized and reindigenized world will look like. Decolonization entails a biodiverse strategy of resistance, which I discuss in Chapter Five. Decolonization is filled with anxieties because it relies on the understanding that land, its soil, and nonhuman life have much to teach us spiritually and materially regarding our species’ purpose and existence. In other words, we must understand that all “the answers are not fully in view and will not emerge from friendly understanding either” as what is required is a “dangerous understanding of uncommonality that un-coalesces coalition politics – [and hence involves] moves that may feel very unfriendly.”[164]


To conclude this subsection, settler colonialism as a form of racial and sexual occupation sustains both homonationalism and cisheteropatriarchy. This dissertation uses settler-colonial theories to identify and critique the ways in which the politics of settler colonialism in Western societies creates and diffuses queer Muslims and non-white settlers of the diaspora. I also examine how their positionality and identity politics differ from queer Egyptians and Arabs in predominantly Muslim societies. Crucially, this decolonial critique of settler-coloniality recognizes that some diasporic queer Muslims inadvertently participate in the promotion of a settler-colonial mentality, whereas some queer Egyptians seek migration to the West on account of repressive conditions in Egypt and hence strive to escape to a new world of freedom. Settler colonialism critiques and decolonization theories attempt to transcend these transnational gender/queer colonial constraints by positing radical different ways of speaking of desire.[165] It is through particular concepts like ‘blackness’, ‘migrant’, ‘arrivant’, and ‘indigeneity’, that we need to understand how racial/ethnic hierarchies of citizenship in the East and West privilege and oppress people of color, Indigeneous, and Black people differently, and to do so beyond a politics of inclusion. The aim is our collective liberation, given the urgent demand that we begin to look to each other – and not to the state – for our self-determination.

Chapter 3

Psychoanalysis/Schizoanalysis & Post-anarchist Social Movement Theories

My dissertation is informed by psychoanalytic theories, particularly Deleuze and Guattari’s anti-Oedipal schizo-analytic critique of psychoanalysis. The Sally Abd Allah case study in Chapter 3 reveals how the controlling logics of Egyptian psychiatry viewed through particular Islamic legal interpretations condone torture in the name of medicine. Although the logics underlying this are based on a modern Egyptian and Islamic theory of gender diversity that is effectively non-Western, they simultaneously produce presuppositions about gender/sexuality derived from Western psychiatry.[166]

Deleuze and Guattari’s critiques of psychoanalysis point out that desire is not only related to sexual investments in the social field, but also relates to nonsexual dimensions such as race, gender, nation, class, and social justice. Similarly, some of my research participants understand queerness as not exclusively relating to sexual practices. Deleuze and Guattari make a distinction between desire and pleasure. A similar distinction exists in Islam, between desire (raġba) and pleasure (shahwa), in which the latter is a temporary lustful or illicit appetite. To Deleuze, “desire lacks nothing, and guards itself as much as possible from the pleasures which would come and interrupt its process.”[167] Deleuze argues, “the system of sexuality reduces sexuality to sex (to the difference of sexes, etc.; and psychoanalysis abounds in this gesture of reduction).”[168]

My use of psychoanalysis also relates to Massad’s works in Psychoanalysis, Islam and the Other of Liberalism, in which he states,

In addition to Arab clinical psychoanalysts trained in France and the United Kingdom, who began to practice and teach in Egyptian universities during the 1930s and after and to translate works of Freud and other psychoanalysts, Arab intellectuals showed an early interest in psychoanalytic knowledge, especially in the studies of the unconscious. Yet those who employed a psychoanalytic method were not interested in applying it to the Qur’an, or the biography of the Prophet, or ‘Islam’, tout court, but used it rather for cultural analyses that took as their subjects secular historical figures such as the medieval [queer] poet Abu Nuwas, or modern literature (especially novels) or the ‘group neurosis’ said to afflict contemporary Arab intellectuals working on the question of culture and modernity.[169]

Massad identifies prominent Arab psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic thinkers, such as Moustapha Safouan (Egyptian), Fethi Benslama (Tunisian), Adnan Houballah (Lebanese), Khatibi (Morococan), and Tarabishi (Syrian), who attempted to “evaluate critically not only Islam as religion, its scriptures, and theological tradition[s], but also contemporary Islamist movements, often conflated with/as ‘Islam’.”[170] These Western-Arab intellectuals, all male and usually writing in French, adopted various positions. Some, like Bensalma, perceived, “‘Islamism’ [as] a ‘return of the repressed’, of something that should, according to these thinkers, have disappeared long ago.”[171] Massad’s psychoanalytically informed arguments are complemented by Deleuze and Guattari’s schizo-analytic approach, which argues that in modernity we are all required to submit our desires to a macro-oedipal family represented in the form of capitalist nation-states. Capitalist nation-states form an “open praxis […] the sub aggregate to which the whole of the social field is applied.”[172] Each capitalist nation-state family is constructed as a triadic heteronormative relationship modeled on the Freudian Oedipal structure of Daddy-Mommy-Me. In this structure, Daddy symbolizes macro- and micro-authoritarian practices; Mommy symbolizes capitalist practices; and Me symbolizes an Oedipalized individual in a capitalist nation-state. This understanding is premised on the idea that each of us has been weaned on and socialized with the holy nation-state as our symbolic, authoritarian, disciplinarian father, and capital as our representative mother.[173] The nation-state and capitalism percolate into our every relation, so that we are not governed and managed by institutions apart from ourselves, or by a nation-state set over and against a “civil society, but rather we all govern each other” and reproduce “a complex web of capillary relations of power.”[174] Our internalized macro-authoritative and individualist practices, in turn breed “‘little command centers proliferat[ing] everywhere”, making of all of us, “coaches, teachers and cops, all little Mussolinis”, transforming us collectively into micro-fascists in possession of micro-fascisms during our social interactions with each other, and nonhuman life. We become micro-fascists who operate according to dynamic malleable assemblages of hierarchies built upon Eurocentric conceptualizations of ethnicity/race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class dynamics imposed upon and reproduced by all of us. We compensate for our communal longing in this triadic paternalistic relationship by partaking in fabricated nationalist, patriotic, sentiments or, as the fieldwork suggests, seeking racial/ethnic Arab or African, and even queer interpretations of the Umma.[175]


A significant portion of the Egyptian participants are active in social movements concerned with local, regional, and transnational solidarities. Many were involved in the Arab Spring/Islamist uprisings in Tahrir, discussed in Chapter Five. Some participants explicitly identify as anarchists, while others find non-ideological affinity with non-statist, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, and anti-oppressive ethical-political commitments. Their discussions resonate with the discourses on Islamic anarchism, decolonial understandings of the Umma, and Indigenous strivings towards land-based alternatives beyond capitalist nation-state enclosures explored in this dissertation. Post-anarchism is used in this dissertation because even classical anarchism “retains the marks of its birth out of the womb of the European Enlightenment.”[176] Post-anarchism and Islamic anarchisms challenge Western classical anarchism’s dogmatic perspectives on faith, spiritualties, and religion. Furthermore, post-anarchist theory sets itself apart from other interpretative traditions in anarchism by recognizing a Deleuzian and Foucaultian analysis of power that illuminates how classist, racist, ablest, sexist, queerphobic, mutually constitute each other. Hence post-anarchism serves to challenge andro-, phallo-, hetero-, Euro-, and ethno-centrisms.[177] Post-anarchist theory sees that our struggles are not constricted, as Western classical anarchism assumes, to the state and capitalism.[178] Social movement theories are crucial to this analysis because they bridge the gap between academics and activists who are at war at the grassroots.[179] Social movement theory is where the former theories I identified are manifesting and interacting.[180]

In concluding the discussion of the theoretical frameworks in this dissertation, I maintain as Tamim Saidi and other Muslim scholars such as Tariq Ramadan have done, that while Islamic practices and Muslim cultural practices may intersect, the two practices are not to be conflated. Saidi argues, “There are certain areas of overlap: A people's religion influences their culture, and culture influences how they practice their religion. But in Islam there is a clear distinction between the two.”[181] This distinction is critical. Queer Muslims are often expected, within both Western and non-Western queer circles, movements and societies, to theologically reconcile these two identities. This perspective on culture and religion stems from a desire to neither dismiss culture’s influence on Islam and Muslims, nor to utilize culture to silence what Islam as a faith, spirituality, and religion has to ethically-politically say for itself, on its own Qur'ānic and oral traditional terms. This distinction is also called for because neoconservative Muslims often presume that feminist/queer readings of Islam represent an impure, Westoxified, reading of it – a term first developed by Ahmad Fardid then adopted by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.[182] It is these overarching theoretical frameworks that permit me to explore the conditions for making truthful statements about Islam, Muslim, and Arab gender and sexualities. This is particularly true at this time when incidents of gender/sexual, statist and non-statist based harassment and Islamophobic violence are globally heightened and the homosocial fabric of Arab and Muslim societies continues to be threatened by white supremacy.

2.3 The Methodological Framework

The two main scholars, from whom I draw inspiration for the fieldwork and case studies research, are Saba Mahmood and Joseph Massad.

Saba Mahmood’s ethnographic research in the Politics of Piety, conducted between 1995-1997, exposes the false binaries in liberal secular/religious as well as Islamist/feminist identity politics. She examines “how notions of religious liberty travel” through time/space across the Western/non-western frontiers.[183] She unravels the geopolitical interplay between Islamist jurisprudential-religious and civil-legal conundrums in relation to the UN Charter, the UDHR, international laws and treaties, in Egypt.[184] Mahmood’s fieldwork tracks the embedded socio-cultural/political influence of variant breeds of Egyptian Islamist feminist tractions in civic life, that transcend Western liberal feminist perceptions of resistance/agency, liberty, communal responsibilities, and minority rights.[185] In her work, Mahmood notes that, since Anwar Sadat’s 1979 assassination, the Muslim Brotherhood had predominantly focused on da’wah (proselytization) and social welfare activities. Mahmood explores the women’s piety movement, which “is part of the larger Islamic Revival or Islamic Awakening (al-Sahwa al-Islamiyya)” that had swept Muslim societies since the 1970s, and where Islamic Revival refers not solely to the “activities of state-oriented political groups but more broadly to a religious ethos or sensibility.”[186] There is no denying spirituality’s importance to Muslims. As a queer Egyptian research participant phrases it, “here, religion is a volcano.” Mahmood’s research finds that Sahwa women use religion as a way of organizing their daily lives, which they feel has been increasingly affected by “‘secularization’ (almana or almaniyya) or ‘westernization’ (tagharrub)” that “reduced Islamic knowledge (both as a mode of conduct and a set of principles) to an abstract system of beliefs that has no direct bearing on the practicalities of daily living.”[187] Mahmood’s work exposes how although celebrations of female modesty (al-ihtisham and al-haya) “would not at face value be seen as liberatory” they nonetheless denote creative liberatory expressions whose symbolism cannot be dismissed.[188]

Mahmood draws inspiration from Janice Boddy’s fieldwork on the political consciousness, from the counter-hegemonic women’s zar cult in Northern Sudan, and from other Arab feminists like Lila Abu-Lughod’s scholarship on the women’s poetry of the Awlad Bedouin tribe. Mahmood’s research intellectually challenges the understanding of women’s political agency in egalitarian Western-secular feminism. She exposes the mutual imbrication of religion/secularism that transcends blind universalism or misguided cultural relativism.[189] Mahmood’s research, as with Abu-Lughod and Boddy’s, informs her criticism of poststructuralist feminisms for being too preoccupied with “‘explaining resistance and finding resisters’ at the [costly] expense” of conceptualizing the broader inner workings of the fields of power.[190] Feminist approaches that focus on dualistic resistance/subordination narratives, like postcolonial narratives that simply change the people in power and not the power structure, risk re-inscribing cisheteropatriarchal norms. For Mahmood, questioning these presumptions is critical.[191] Mahmood asks, if Islamist women challenge cisheteropatriarchal norms and yet uphold them, does this indicate that they are any less feminist or Islamist, when both signifiers (feminism and Islamism) are genealogical products of Anglo-Saxon and French discourses, premised on presumptions incepted by imperial/colonial liberal modernity?[192]

This dissertation strives to demonstrate how queer Egyptians and Muslims are entangled in settler-and-franchise colonial conditions, yet strive to transcend Western liberal feminist/queer identitarian/non-identitarian debates and their representations as colonial/imperial oppressed dupes requiring ‘white-saving.’ Building on Mahmood’s work, I ask what are the strategic limits of identity politics for queer Muslims, if one accepts that Islam is inherently anarchistic, queer, and feminist in its ethico-political commitments? I argue that the ethico-political commitments in Islam challenge Western compartmentalized perceptions of queer/feminist/anarchist/Islamist are contradictory, unrelated, mutually exclusive labels.[193] In other words, what benefits are there to appealing to contrived labels such as ‘Muslim anarchist’, ‘queer Muslim’, or ‘Islamist feminist’, if their effect is to re-instantiate Euro-Western feminism, queerness, and anarchism? Yet, what provocative universalist trajectories and radical controversial conversations might they provoke in the wake of modern liberalism’s destructive legacy? If there are strategic limits to identity politics that the fieldwork exposes in the context of 2011’s Tahir’s uprising, shouldn’t the focus be on the ethico-political commitments informing contrived identities?

This dissertation draws on Joseph Massad’s in-depth examination of medieval and contemporary thought on Arab and Muslim sexualities (archival, historical, literary critical, journalistic, fictional, theological, and medical). Desiring Arabs is a work of retrieval of sexuality, although it disavows it, as Massad traces the political effects of the ‘Gay International’. Inspired by Edward Said, Massad’s anti-colonial counter-genealogy of queerness is a foray into medieval/modern and Arab renaissance (nahda) literatures and thinkers such as Rifa’ah Al-Tahtawi, Naguib Mahfouz, and Sonallah Ibrahim, who discuss same-sex desires as social critique. Massad’s archive unsettles Western and Arab orthodoxies regarding sexual desire in order to reap space for “different conceptions of desires, politics, and subjectivities.”[194] Discursively charting desiring Arab subjectivities, Massad delves into the divisive worlds of East/West and the modern episteme he aspires to displace. He rejects the stubbornly persistent orientalist/fundamentalist conceptions of geostrategic civilizational projections of progress that facilitate militarized humanitarian interventions. However, in doing so he also reproduces attendant binary conclusions regarding cultural difference in the East/West. Eschewing anthropological accounts and adopting a culturalist approach, Massad’s methodology arises from a history of ideas, particularly that of fiction, and is indebted to poststructuralist Foucaultian modalities.[195] Massad’s broader objective is to demonstrate how interpretations of sexuality in Islam emerge in a field that insists on the neurotic and obsessive need to study ‘sexuality in Islam’ based on Euro-American assumptions that represent a racialized white normativity, while eliding Islam’s own theological framework and principles. Massad’s archive provides insights, critical to this dissertation’s case studies and fieldwork, to the ethico-political usage of linguistic terms such as ‘civilization’, ‘culture’, ‘sexuality’, ‘progress’, ‘liberation’, ‘renaissance’, ‘development’, and ‘decadence’, as well as the divisions between ‘private’ and ‘public’. While sharing Massad’s idealized desire to safeguard utopian notions of privacy in Arab and Muslim societies, this dissertation argues that this cannot occur in the absence of a decolonial non-statist strategic vision. Massad’s strict adherence to an archival approach hinders his ability to interrogate how same-sex practitioners identify with, disidentify with, or transcend Western taxonomies. Thus, Massad depicts the West as “the only active agent in this un-dialectical relationship between colonizer and colonized.” [196]

This dissertation exposes how a monolithic, hegemonic, queer Muslim or Arab subjectivity does not exist in the context of the Arab Spring/Islamist Winter, particularly across the myriad of the gender, class, age, and ethnic/racial differences, and the religious and sectarian differences of the fieldwork’s subjects. Contrary to Arab and queer Muslim literatures, a number of hybrid and heterogeneous participants in this dissertation are aware of the trap of colorblind, neoliberal identity politics informed by colonialism/imperialism.[197] The multiple positions that emerge from the original thirty interviewees, eleven of which I rely on, are too rich to be essentialized. They can only be interpreted by adopting open-ended theoretical positions that recognize the participants’ dynamic and infinite capacity to strategically and tactically morph in non-totalizable ways. The fieldwork, through individual semi-structured interviews (see the attached letters and interview scripts in Appendices A and B), offers accounts too fragile to be captured in clichéd statements about same-sex Arab, North African, and Muslim desires. But when the range and strands of the participants’ views are broadly and collectively examined, they demonstrate a political ethos that this dissertation supports. The individual fieldwork participants did not offer competing claims. Instead, their differences illuminate why centering a critique of cisheteropatriarchy on gender and the feminization of society rather than on sexual identities and rights, and the creation of autonomous decolonial alternatives in relationship to land, yields a comprehensive strategy for resistance more so than any single narrative could. The interviews affirm the social movement lessons gained in the wake of Tahrir’s uprisings, and the cataclysmic errors in the midst of the ongoing tumultuous upheavals.[198]

To this project I bring my years of research experience under the auspices of Dr. Richard J.F. Day’s Affinity Project between (2002-2007). I also bring my involvement over the course of 15 years with radical social movements in Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico, and with Indigenous and non-Indigenous social movements, addressing queer/feminist politics, prison abolition, Iraq and Afghanistan anti-war protests, and land-based struggles. I was also personally involved in the Arab Spring/Islamist Winter.

Given the contentious politics of translating gender and queerness in non-Western societies, conducting such research means I could not rely on taxonomic equivalences with Western discourses and not merely because of the resistance of the Arabic language to modern Western segregated political and sexual/gender-based identities.[199] This research project’s objective is to unearth and unsettle alternative comprehensions of what migrating Western gender/sexual terms mean in my participants’ universes, on their own genealogical terms. When this research began eight years ago, literatures, websites, articles, and blogs on Arab and Muslim sexualities were scarce. But midway through, with the surge of ISIS in 2014, I witnessed an explosion of material that resembled a dirty, pressure-cooker bomb. The fragmented ball bearings from the detonation decontextualized and conflated issues relating to Islam, Arab supremacy, slavery, authoritarianism, capitalism, queerness, and feminism. The conjoined themes manifested schizophrenic trajectories resembling a proxy battle that suddenly raged into a world war within Muslim and non-Muslim circles. Now, transliterated terms such as queer (kiwr) or gender (jindr) are prevalent on Arabic websites, often mistranslated or associated with judgmental notions of deviance, or peculiarity (shudhudh), and even phrases such as al-hawiyat al-jinsīyat al-la namatiyat, more or less equivalent to atypical sexual identities.[200] The terminologies recur in relation to other dehistoricized modern and medieval terms such as khawal, mukhannath, mujun/majin, ma’bun, luti, mu’ajar, amrad, and hulaqi.[201]

My participants’ voices coalesce and permeate each other, and also diverge from each another. I struggled to decide which participants to include/exclude, as I conducted a thematic analysis and synthesis to creates the themes and subthemes necessary for a semblance of coherence across the broad strata of their experiences. If interdisciplinary scholarship armed me with the analytical/theoretical tools to interpret the participants’ voices, it was the two-decades of social movement activity that taught me the craft of listening. Merely hearing opinions and parroting responses would have confined the participants and me to echo-chambers, during our challenging, respectful, and open-ended conversations. The dialogues were intended to open avenues assumed to be closed. Moreover, as a participant observer, I believe in language’s finiteness and inherent violence, which necessitates particular attunement to what has escaped articulation. Indeed, there were times when the participants and I were at a loss for words, at once defeated and liberated by the deafening silence. Language, like the wildness and wilderness of sex, is capable of proliferating gendered/sexual positions and personas. This also means we cannot take for granted its correspondence or translatability. My participants and I were undoubtedly entangled in asymmetrical power relations that can be delineated but never eliminated. Mine include male-privilege and my familiarity with patriarchal/matriarchal practices, access to education, pedagogy, discursive knowledge, my Western accent, and my radical social movement experience as a non-ideological, anti-authoritarian, and anti-capitalist Muslim anarchist or Islamist-anarchist. I concentrated on the participants’ linguistic contortions, when referencing and theorizing non-Western desire, to unravel alternative ethico-political derivative meanings and commitments in relation to how they define themselves, their relationships to each other, and why, when, and how they chose to embrace or transcend Euro-American categorizations. I strove to not impose my own interpretation of their lives prior to and during the interviews, and later while translating and interpreting the qualitative research.

The participants’ lives cannot be reduced to my analysis. They unequivocally demonstrate paradoxes but not contradictions. They are torn between their desire to escape repressive societies such as Egypt for the West, and their refusal to abandon ‘home’ and their friends and families. They seek to embrace a society that ostracizes them.[202] The Egyptian participants state that Muslims and Arabs have become accustomed to dysfunctional Western emulation (taqlīd) which has contributed, along with authoritarianism and neoliberal impoverishment, to the spread of the diseases of illiteracy and jāhilīyah (mass ignorance), and an intellectual paralysis, as opposed to an engagement with revolutionary renewal (al-tajdīd al-thawry). As in Mahmood’s fieldwork, the participants trouble the perception of their victimization and exceed their Western binaric fundamentalist/orientalist, colonized/colonizer, and repressed/subversive depictions. Our conversations revealed the powerful vectors of oppression like racism, ethnocentrism, classism, ageism, cisheteropatriarchy, and colonialism/imperialism, all of which are entangled with issues of sex and sexuality.

My post-anarchistic feminist ethico-political commitments – which my strategic Islamist anarchistic identification stands for – attune me to the interwoven geopolitical, authoritarian, gender, sexual, racial, and neoliberal socio-economic relations structuring the Sally Abd Allah and the Cairo 52 case studies, and affirm that queerphobia is rooted in cisheteropatriarchy. My theoretical analysis of the case studies and my fieldwork is informed by my observations of xenophobia, anti-blackness, queerphobia, sexism, and misogyny in mosques, as well my familiarity with the cultural norms in modern Egypt, my place of birth, as well as Arabic and the Qur'ān.[203]

In this dissertation, I develop a queer Muslim critique. This critique facilitates the interrogation of the nexus of racial, sexual, colonial, imperial, and gendered identities that situate queer Arab and Muslim subjectivities in both settler-and-franchise colonial societies. A queer Muslim critique seeks to directly intervene in current debates within transnational queer people of color and feminist scholarship, while remaining attentive to the ways in which they are part of the settler-colonial context. Queer Muslim critique employs a decolonial method of discourse and narrative analysis to search for and interpret what is understood, unspoken, or normalized and left in place in the case studies and interviews due to shame, fear, anxiety, and angst, and the violence and liberation that arrives with the fundamentalist/orientalist reproduction of queer Arab and Muslim subjectivities and Islam. The objective is to affirm the intellectual ethnographies of often-silenced voices and foster debates that illuminate differences, not as interruptions of – in this instance – queer and Muslim politics, but rather formations worthy of study, such as contentious, geopolitical border-crossing deliberations.

A queer Muslim critique centers the gender and sexual ethics of Islamic perspectives. This requires insight to Islamic understandings of private/public spaces, non-capitalist/non-statist frameworks of social justice, Umma (global spiritual-political polity of Muslims and non-Muslims alike), and the ontological/epistemological definitions of property and inheritance laws. This challenges Western materialist understandings of liberty and freedom, as well as the universality of Euro-American notions of sexuality, which are based on neocolonial interpretations of gender, Lockean and Weberian Protestant notions of property, the superiority of whiteness as a racial construct (that categorized all other beings as less than human), and the Enlightenment-influenced assumptions tied to imperialism and global normative citizenships or what Amy Brandzel refers to as “colonial normativity.”[204]

Islam addresses intimacy but solely in relation to sexual ethics, which are fundamentally yet differentially tied to the notions of gender egalitarianism that precede discussions of same-sex attractions. A queer Muslim critique is attuned to the fact that throughout the medieval period, slavery, gender, and same-sex desire were explicitly related to each other. Investigating the contemporary context of Arab and Muslim gender/sexuality, if we are to remain faithful to Islamic frameworks without romanticizing or seeking to apply them verbatim in the modern present, means understanding pre-modern slavery’s relationship to gender and sexual ethics. This requires a grasp of the medieval understanding of what freeing Muslim children from concubines implied and what constituted (il)licit sex.

Modern sexuality cannot be decontextualized from current manifestations of gendered and sexual slavery that are similar yet distinct from pre-modern slavery (ubudiyyah) and interrelated with gendered concepts of sabī and sabāyā. These latter concepts have been usurped by movements such as ISIS, and have come to represent key realms in the Islamic construction of masculinities/femininities. They are contingent on distinctions between customary law and canonical works, and the diversity of doctrine within and between Islamic normative texts. If we are all abīd (worshippers) of God, no one can possess or be lesser than another. Yet, as this research demonstrates, ethnocentrism, Arab supremacy, and anti-Blackness are prevalent themes in Arab and Muslim communities that exacerbate the repressive ostracization of non-Arab queer Muslims.[205] One finds paradoxical Qur'ānic verses that state, ‘believers must abstain from sex, except those joined to them in the marriage bond’ (23:1-6) as an indictment against sex with slaves. Meanwhile other verses state, “They may wed believers from among those whom your right hands possess” (4:25) and “Marry those who are single among you, and the righteous among your male slaves and your female slaves” (24:32). But if indeed “Muslim history reflects a wide variety of historically specific patterns of enslavement, slaveholding, manumission and abolition” that are all entwined with medieval concepts of gender, kinship, and sexual ethics, then to ahistorically compare medieval slavery (ubudiyyah) with European transatlantic slavery is absurd.[206]

A queer Muslim critique is not only necessary to discern what Islam claims for itself in relation to gender and sexual ethics, but also to analyze settler colonialism’s weaponization of queerness in the service of empire. This is achieved through homonationalist, pinkwashed, civilizational LGBTIQ narratives and exploitative narratives of sexual shaming and humiliation or the sadistic torture of Arabs and Muslims as in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay that has furthered the neofundamentalist responses of statist/non-statist Islamist movements such as ISIS as well as persecution by paternalistic Egyptian military-secular dictatorships that consider themselves to be Islam’s moral arbiters and guardians. For this reason, a queer Muslim critique distinguishes between hierarchical and feminist and non-authoritarian/non-capitalist interpretations of Islam, through what I refer to as anarca-Islam, constructed using anarchic-Ijtihād.[207] Anarca-Islam is an anarchistic interpretation of Islam that relies on textual Qur'ānic evidence of the existence of anti-oppressive, feminist, non-capitalist/non-authoritarian concepts and practices inherent to Islam. Anarchic-Ijtihād is an anarchistic resituating of classical ijtihād, an uncontested Islamic divine right granted by God to reinterpret Islam. This is regarded as a duty for a mujtahid (m)/mujtahidah (f) (scholar) be they an Islamic modernist or notable medieval Islamic scholar such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Muhammad, Iqbal, Ibn Timiya (1262–1328), Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti (1445–1505), and Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406).[208] Queer Muslim critique, as an extension of anarchic-Ijtihād, serves as a rigorous tool of independent reasoning while re-interpreting Islamic principles of the Qur'ān, its āyāt (verses), its sūrahs (chapters), and the Sunnah (oral tradition), as a source of legal understanding (fiqh) regarding sharīʿa (the proper mode of organizing life in accordance with God’s will Islam). The vitality of queer Muslim critique cannot be underestimated, given theological debates pertinent to fatwās (jurisprudential adjunctions) relating to the case studies, as well as the internal wars within queer Muslims lives on account of attempting to reconcile their spiritual identities and same-sex practices.

Queer Muslim critique is attuned to how liberalism incepted a crisis of language, of meanings, in a desensitized, moral relativist, and so-called apolitical, nihilist, post-alternative-fact and truth world. Muslims as well as liberal-orientalists continue to misinterpret Islam as meaning ‘submission’ (the Arabic term for which is khudu), rather than willful and engaged surrender, or choice based deliverance (from the root s-l-m or peace and verb u-sa-lim and hence to offer or hand oneself over by informed consent).[209] A queer Muslim critique therefore argues against the hegemony of gatekeeping Muslim liberal discourses that “act as a disciplining force” and buttress “religious orthodoxy” by employing “linguistic tropes (conversations interspersed with [traditional] Islamic phrases or sayings in Arabic)”, all under a veneer of intellectual freedom, despite that they “recycle formerly conservative postures and figures” on contentious issues “such as blasphemy, apostasy, gender, sexuality, the penal code.”[210] By centering knowledge produced by the participants, queer Muslim critique seeks to counter colonial representations and affirm queer Muslim intellectual histories to “foreground multiplicity” amongst Muslims.[211]

As for my own solidarity with my research participants, Long states, the researcher’s “primary responsibility is to question the people who serve up the first morsels for your consumption, to try to identify people who are rooted in a community.” The second responsibility, according to Long, involves empowering those communities, as much as Eurocentric empowerment discourses are problematic. Although we “hate the word empower, but you come in and empower, and they have less power, so what are you engaging in is a transfer of power and it’s either empower or something worse, but the idea is to empower them to no longer be just interlockers.” In this sense, empowering means learning as much as it necessitates teaching, such that local others can begin “to articulate and demand for themselves, and not just through” an expert. My role here is not to narcissistically approach matters as an “intermediary, a privileged creator of spaces”, an interlocutor though I may be. Rather, as Long notes, the highest function any researcher can aspire to “serve, is once you have created spaces for dialogue is to disappear.”


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Interview Guide

Islam & Queer Muslims: Identity and Sexuality in the Contemporary World

PLEASE NOTE: This protocol is not intended to be used in such a way that every interview will involve asking every question listed here. The method being deployed is active, informal and semi-structured. This means that the interviewer will use his judgment in following out the most productive and relevant lines of inquiry.

Questions for interviews:

Identity-based Issues

1. a. How do you define your own identity in relation to Islam and Queer?

b. How do you define your own politics?

c. How do you define your own identity in relation to Canada/Egypt?

d. How do you define your own relation to other Muslim communities in Canada/Egypt and how do you see your relation to the global Muslim polity understood through the Islamic concept – Ummah?

e. What literature/discourses/scholarship do you draw on in reconciling your identities if at all?

2. Do your religious beliefs/ethnicity/sexual orientation/class/race influence the kind of work that you are involved in?

3. What do you think of working along lines of "identity politics"?

4. What have been your experiences working with others who are differently situated racially/ethnically?

5. What do you think of the term ‘people of color’? Do you use it? Why or why not?

6. Have you ever been put in the position of having to ‘color judge’ (meaning: discern whether or not someone is a 'person of colour')? How did this play out?

Organization of Work and People

7. What kind of groups are you involved in?

8. What do the groups you work with do?

9. Why are you interested in these groups?

10. How has you background/identity influenced your politics and your choice to be involved in certain groups?

11. Is the group local / national / international / global in its reach? At which levels does it aspire to operate? At which levels does it actually operate?

12. How does your own group’s positioning affect other aspects of its practice and in relation to other queer communities? E.g. with regard to North/South, developed / underdeveloped?

13. What are the daily activities of people in the group, and how are they coordinated? Example, in relation to prayers

14. To what extent has the group been bureaucratized / resisted bureaucratization?

15. Is there an orientation to contesting the practices of the state and other dominant institutions?

16. Towards creating alternatives to these institutions?

17. What kind of efficacy is expected for each of these modes, and what is being achieved?

19. By whom, if anyone, does the group’s participants seek to be 'recognized'?

20. To what extent are they oriented to 'political' or 'social' relations of local and transcontinental solidarity?

21. Is there evidence of awareness of/commitment to solidarity within an anti-oppression framework? What is the evidence of resistance to this kind of framework?

22. What kinds of groups, involving which communities of identification, are able to work together effectively, and which are not? Why might this be the case?

23. What are the daily activities of people in the group, and how are they coordinated?

24. Who makes decisions about internal change, and who carries out that work?

25. Who makes decisions about campaigns, strategies, publications, and who carries out that work?

26. What are the power relations of work within the group: how are policy and strategy formed, new members brought in?

27. How are these power relations understood and expressed by people within the group? Are some individuals perceived as "having more power" than others? Why? Examples?

28. Is work and its coordination a source of conflict, tension or stress, and where is a need for change indicated?

29. What kinds of disagreements or tensions were there as you planned and carried out a campaign? Was that typical? Can you give me other examples?

30. What do you feel are the main sources of stress in the group? How do you deal with that stress? How do you think it affects your work?

Connections with other groups – solidarity/Networks of Activism i.e. Relation to larger movements

31. Central issues addressed by the group. What is its reason for being? How did it form, what is its history? What is its intended future?

32. Does the group perceive itself as part of a movement? Which one(s)?

33. Position of the group with respect to other groups/movements, e.g. feminism, anti-globalization, neoliberalism, anti-racism, queer struggles, independence for indigenous peoples in Canada and in Israel/Palestine.

34. Perceived position of the particular group / movement within other movements. One among many? A ‘vanguard’? Not part of other movements at all?

What does the term 'solidarity' mean to you? What do you think that it means to others?

Do you engage in activities that you would refer to as solidarity-based? Examples? With which other groups/communities do you work?

With which groups/communities are ties strongest? Weakest? Why? Examples?

What makes for a positive interaction with other groups and individuals outside of your group?

What kinds of tensions are raised when you are working with people outside your group’s membership?

Do you or other members of your group try to ease these tensions? How?

Has your group ever modified its normal process in order to work with others? How? Was this conscious/unconscious?

Has it ever proven to be ‘impossible to work with’ another individual or group? Why? Examples?

Relations between theory and practice, academy and activism

Does the group see 'doing' or 'using' theory as part of its practice? Examples?

Does the group make reference to particular theorists/scholars or theories? Which ones?

Has the group worked with academic researchers before? How often and with what kinds of results?

Modes of social change advocated – strategies

Reform of existing institutions? Creation of alternatives to existing institutions? Service work?

If interested in constructing alternatives, which kinds of institutions are highlighted? Social? Political? Economic? Cultural?

Is there a ‘design’ or a reliance upon emergent forms of organization? How is this position justified and theorized (if it is)?

Ways of achieving change - tactics

Belief in diversity of tactics, or limited to specific avenues?

Which tactics? e.g. seeking policy influence (‘a seat at the table’), direct action (violent / non-violent?), mass media interventions (e.g. Greenpeace)

How are tactics connected (or not) to the group’s expressed philosophy and guiding ideas? (e.g. nonviolence in the name of achieving a non-violent world)

Use of Media

How does the group express its ideas and philosophy? What kinds of campaigns are central to its work?

How are the content and goals of these campaigns decided on? -- How are the campaigns implemented?

What are the most common media used? Zines, websites, pamphlets, posters, formal reports, press releases.

What is the view of the use of mass media? e.g. are there concerns about co-optation?

Perceived value/ actual efficacy of the internet as a tool for mobilization. Concerns re surveillance / infiltration? Concerns re access?

Public Perception of Group

Are the mass media aware of the existence of the group? Does the group desire a presence in the mass media?

How are mass media representations of the group framed in terms of the value of its contributions to local and global society? Positive? Negative?

Are these representations racialized? Do they make use of other common rhetorical tropes of stigmatization, e.g. the radical outsider, irrational extremist, terrorist?

Sources of Funding

How does the group finance its activities?

If funding is received from state or corporate sponsors, has this affected the group’s activities or positions in any way?

Are there internal debates on these issues?

Interview Consent Form

Islam & Queer Muslims: Identity and Sexuality in the Contemporary World

I have read the Letter of Information that describes this project, and have had any questions answered to my satisfaction. I understand that I will be participating in this project that critically explores the benefits to identifying or not identifying as ‘queer’ and Muslim in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, as well as Cairo, Egypt. I am aware that my involvement consists of allowing the principal investigator to conduct interviews. I understand that my participation in this research is voluntary, and that I am free to withdraw at any time by letting the interviewer know, in which case all materials relevant to my participation will be destroyed.

I am aware that I can contact either of the following if I have any questions, concerns, or complaints about the research procedures:

Mohamed Abdou, Principal Investigator

Programme in Cultural Studies, Queen’s University

Kingston, ON Canada K7L 3N6

Email: 4ma23@queensu.ca

Phone: 613-484-0336

Dr. Adnan Husain, Supervisor

Department of History, Queen’s University

Watson Hall 229

Kingston, ON Canada K7L 3N6

Email: ah28@queensu.ca

Phone: 613-533-6000 ext 74367

Ethics concerns may be directed to:

Chair, General Research Ethics Board, Queen’s University

Kingston, ON Canada K7L 3N6

Email: chair.GREB@queensu.ca

Phone: 613-533-6081

Participant’s Name: ___________________

Date: _______________________________

Signature: ___________________________

By initialing one of these statements below:

____ I am requesting that my participation be confidential. I have been assured that a pseudonym will be attached to all materials associated with my participation, so that my real name will not appear in any publicly available results of the study. I understand that I will be given an opportunity to review the research results before publication and withdraw any material that might reveal my real identity. I am aware, however, that some readers may be able, or may think they are able, to deduce the real identity of the person described. The only person who will have access to my real identity will be the principal investigator. Tapes, transcripts, and notes will be held in a secure location to protect my privacy and to maintain confidentiality, and will be destroyed ten years after the completion of the research.

____ I am not requesting that my participation be confidential. I am aware that the researcher's observations may form part of the published results of the research, and may appear in various academic and mass media texts written by researchers involved in the project, attributed to me as an individual and as a member of any groups for which I have represented myself as a spokesperson. In any case where such materials are used, I know that I will have the right to review the text and request changes to those portions that are relevant to my participation. I know that all data will be destroyed then years after the completion of the research.

By initialing one or more of these statements below:

____ I am granting permission for the researcher to use an audio recorder.

____ I am granting permission for the researcher to make notes.

_____ I am granting permission for the researcher to quote me.

[1] Paulo Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York," Continuum 72 (1970): 54. On this point, and regarding the necessity for decolonizing leftist, humanist, feminist, and anti-racist research frameworks also see Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Zed Books Ltd., 2013).

[2] When deployed in the U.S./Canadian context, I use the terms ‘Indigenous’ to refer to the descendants of those who traditionally occupied the territory now known as U.S./Canada before the arrival of European settlers and powers. At a more general level, I use the term ‘native’ in an international context to refer to those in Western and non-Western societies that have also suffered the weight of European colonialism and whose claims to specific territories have been historically defined by particular geographic terrains.

[3] Audre Lorde, "The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House," Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, (Berkeley, CA: The Crossing Press Feminist Series, 1984), 110-113.

[4] Bell Hooks, "Theory as Liberatory Practice," Yale JL & Feminism 4 (1991); Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, "Intellectuals and Power," Language, counter-memory, practice: Selected essays and interviews 205 (1977).

[5] Mohamed Abdou, "Anarca-Islam" (2009); Mohamed Jean Veneuse, Islam & Anarchism: Relationships & Resonances (Forthcoming) (Minor Compositions/AK Press, 2018).

[6] Some of the scholarship addressing these material and symbollic relations include: Steven Salaita, The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan (Syracuse University Press, 2006); Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine (University of Minnesota Press, 2016); David Lloyd, "Settler Colonialism and the State of Exception: The Example of Palestine/Israel," Settler Colonial Studies 2, no. 1 (2012); Omar Jabary Salamanca et al., "Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine,"; Collected Edition, "Settler-Colonialism " Settler Colonial Studies Volumes 1-8 (2011-2018); Mike Krebs and Dana M Olwan, "‘From Jerusalem to the Grand River, Our Struggles Are One’: Challenging Canadian and Israeli Settler Colonialism," Settler Colonial Studies 2, no. 2 (2012); Dana M Olwan, "On Assumptive Solidarities in Comparative Settler Colonialisms," Feral Feminisms 4 (2015).

[7] Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel, "Being Indigenous: Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism," Government and Opposition 40, no. 4 (2005); Adam J Barker, "‘A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty’: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism," Globalizations 12, no. 1 (2015); Jeff Corntassel, "Re-Envisioning Resurgence: Indigenous Pathways to Decolonization and Sustainable Self-Determination," Decolonization: indigeneity, education & society 1, no. 1 (2012); Leanne Simpson, Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence, and Protection of Indigenous Nations (Arbeiter Ring Pub, 2008); Qwo-Li Driskill, Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature (University of Arizona Press, 2011); Angela Cavender Wilson and Michael Yellow Bird, For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 2005).

[8] Mohammed A Bamyeh, "Anarchist Philosophy, Civic Traditions and the Culture of Arab Revolutions 1," Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 5, no. 1 (2012); Harold Barclay, "Islam, Muslim Societies and Anarchy," Anarchist Studies 10, no. 2 (2003); Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds, God's Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam, vol. 37 (Cambridge University Press, 2003); Heba Raouf Ezzat interview by Rosemary Bechler, 2005; "The Umma: From Global Civil Society to Global Public Sphere," in Bottom-up Politics (Springer, 2011); Anthony Gorman, "Anarchists in Education: The Free Popular University in Egypt (1901)," Middle Eastern Studies 41, no. 3 (2005); Ahmet T Karamustafa, God's Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period, 1200-1550 (University of Utah Press, 1994).

[9] Jean Veneuse, Islam & Anarchism: Relationships & Resonances (Forthcoming); Mohamed Jean Veneuse, "Chapter Eleven to Be Condemned to a Clinic: The Birth of the Anarca-Islamic Clinic Mohamed Jean Veneuse," Religious Anarchism: New Perspectives (2009); Abdou, "Anarca-Islam."; Fiscella, "Imagining an Islamic Anarchism: A New Field of Study Is Ploughed."

[10] Habib Ali al-Jifri, The Concept of Faith in Islam (Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2000); Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, "The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, Trans," Kamal el-Helbawy, M. Moinuddin Siddiqui, and Syed Shukry, London: Shorouk International (1985); Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, Sexuality in Islam (Routledge, 2013); Tariq Ramadan, "Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity: The Islamic Foundation," Leicester: Markenfield (2001); George al-Tarabish, "Sharq Wa Gharb Rujulah Wa Unathah," (Beirut: Dar al-Taliaah, 1988); Mubeen Vaid, "Can islam Accommodate Homosexual Acts," (MuslimMatters, 2015); Muhammad Zafeeruddin, "Islam on Homo-Sexuality: The First Authentic Book on the Evils of Homosexuality," (Darul Ishaat, 1996).

[11] To claim that there has been an explosion of queer Muslim literature since I began this project is a grave understatement. For brevity, I list a few here although the majority of references are in the bibliography.. Ibrahim Abraham, "‘Out to Get Us’: Queer Muslims and the Clash of Sexual Civilisations in Australia," Contemporary Islam 3, no. 1 (2009); Hanadi Al-Samman, "Out of the Closet: Representation of Homosexuals and Lesbians in Modern Arabic Literature," Journal of Arabic Literature 39, no. 2 (2008); Khalid Duran, "Homosexuality and Islam," Homosexuality and world religions (1993); Khaled El-Rouayheb, Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 (University of Chicago Press, 2009); Nawal El-Saadawi, "Love and Sex in the Life of the Arab," Terence Brunk el al (1997); Samar Habib, Arabo-Islamic Texts on Female Homosexuality: 850-1780 Ad (Teneo Press, 2009); Omar Hassan, "Real Queer Arabs: The Tension between Colonialism and Homosexuality in Egyptian Cinema," Film International 8, no. 1 (2010); Junaid Jahangir and Hussein Abdullatif, Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions (Lexington Books, 2016); Samir Khalaf and John Gagnon, Sexuality in the Arab World (Saqi, 2014); Momin Rahman, Homosexualities, Muslim Cultures and Modernity (Springer, 2014); Will Roscoe and Stephen O Murray, Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature (NYU Press, 1997); Arno Schmitt and Jacobo Schifter, Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Moslem Societies (Routledge, 2013); Asifa Siraj, "The Construction of the Homosexual ‘Other’by British Muslim Heterosexuals," Contemporary Islam 3, no. 1 (2009); Omid Safi, "What Is Progressive Islam?," ISIM Newsletter 13 (2003); "Progressive Muslims: On Gender, Justice, and Pluralism," (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003).

[12] Jasbir K Puar, "Homonationalism and Biopolitics," Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality (2008); Amit S Rai, "The Promise of Monsters: Terrorism, Monstrosity and Biopolitics," International studies in philosophy 37, no. 2 (2005); Jin Haritaworn, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco, Queer Necropolitics (Routledge, 2014); Achille Mbembe, "Necropolitics," in Foucault in an Age of Terror (Springer, 2008); J-A Mbembé and Libby Meintjes, "Necropolitics," Public culture 15, no. 1 (2003).

[13] Michel Foucault, "The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume I," Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage (1990); The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure (Vintage, 2012); Thomas Lemke, "'The Birth of Bio-Politics': Michel Foucault's Lecture at the Collège De France on Neo-Liberal Governmentality," Economy and society 30, no. 2 (2001)..

[14] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (Routledge, 2002); David L Eng, Judith Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz, "Introduction," Social text 23, no. 3-4 (84-85) (2005); Gary W Harper, "A Journey Towards Liberation: Confronting Heterosexism and the Oppression of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People," Community psychology: In pursuit of liberation and well-being (2005); Michael Warner, Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory, vol. 6 (U of Minnesota Press, 1993).

[15] Lisa Duggan, "The Twillight of Equality," (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003), 179

[16] Eng, Halberstam, and Muñoz, "Introduction," 11. On this general critique of neoliberal queerness, see also Rey Chow, The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Columbia University Press, 2002); Michael Cobb et al., "What's Queer About Queer Studies Now?."; Christina Crosby et al., "Queer Studies, Materialism, and Crisis: A Roundtable Discussion," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18, no. 1 (2012); Roderick A Ferguson, E Patrick Johnson, and Mae G Henderson, "Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology," (2005); Dina Georgis, "Thinking Past Pride: Queer Arab Shame in Bareed Mista3jil," International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 2 (2013); Michael Connors Jackman and Nishant Upadhyay, "Pinkwatching Israel, Whitewashing Canada: Queer (Settler) Politics and Indigenous Colonization in Canada," WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 42, no. 3 (2014); Jonathan Ned Katz, "Questioning the Terms," A queer world: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies reader (1997); Martin F Manalansan, "Queer Intersections: Sexuality and Gender in Migration Studies," International Migration Review 40, no. 1 (2006); Tavia Nyong'o, "Queer Africa and the Fantasy of Virtual Participation," WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 40, no. 1 (2012); Yasmin Nair, "Against Equality, against Marriage: An Introduction," Against equality: Queer critiques of gay marriage (2010); Dean Spade and Craig Willse, Marriage Will Never Set Us Free (Subversion Press, 2015)..

[17] Amy L Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative (University of Illinois Press, 2016), xi-xiii;

[18] Joseph A Massad, Islam in Liberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2015), 219.

[19] Eng et al., 15.

[20] Eng, Halberstam, and Muñoz, "Introduction: What's Queer About Queer Studies Now?," Social Text, Volume 23, Issue 3-4 (84-85), 2005, 4-8. Queer diasporic theories argue that if queer studies is to participate in a true “interdisciplinary rebellion” against Western compartmentalization of knowledge and discipline as well as overcome the explicit emphasis on sexuality as queer studies’ most significant pursuit, it must critically engage other fields of study and absorb the socio-political ramifications of alternative narratives of divergent sexualities and queer counter-histories (Eng, Halberstam, and Muñoz, "Introduction: What's Queer About Queer Studies Now?," (Social Text, Volume 23, Issue 3-4 (84-85), 2005), 4,

[21] Martin F Manalansan, "Race, Violence, and Neoliberal Spatial Politics in the Global City," Social Text 23, no. 3-4 (84-85) (2005): 141-53. As Eng, Halberstam, and Muñoz note, 9/11 ushered an epoch fraught with geopolitical emergencies like George W. Bush administration’s War on Terror that exacerbated militarized state violence and signaled the further escalation of U.S. empire’s imperialist ventures, as well as other urgent crises relating to the clash of religious fundamentalisms, nationalisms, and patriotisms; the devolution of civil society and the erosion of civil rights; the pathologizing of immigrant communities as ‘terrorist’ and racialized populations as ‘criminal’; the shifting forms of citizenship and migration in a putatively ‘postidentity’ and ‘postracial’ age; the politics of intimacy and the liberal recoding of freedom as secularization, domesticity, and marriage; and the return to ‘moral values’ and ‘family values’ as a prophylactic against political debate, economic redistribution, and cultural dissent. From an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist perspective, queer diasporic theories address the non-essentializable nature of people of color subjectivities through subjectless critiques that undermines the positivitist fixity of subjects and hence denies “any positing of a proper [homogenous] subject of or object for the field” ("Introduction: What's Queer About Queer Studies Now?," Social Text, Volume 23, Issue 3-4 (84-85), 2005), 9-12.

[22] Eng, The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy, 95.

[23] See also Roderick A Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (U of Minnesota Press, 2004). Ferguson illuminated how non-white understandings of queer freedom did not necessarily suppress racial differences, as much as it coincides with the erasure and lack of intersectional exploration of race and racial differences as relevant in relation to gender, queer, and imperial/colonial national identities despite the perceived minuscule accomplishments of the civil rights movements of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

[24] Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press, 2005), 3.

[25] Ibid., 11.

[26] José Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, vol. 2 (U of Minnesota Press, 1999); Michel Pêcheux, Language, Semantics and Ideology (Springer, 1975); "The Subject-Form of Discourse in the Subjective Appropriation of Scientific Knowledges and Political Practice," in Language, Semantics and Ideology (Springer, 1982).

[27] Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics, 2, 161.

[28] Ibid., 12.

[29] Hiram Perez, "You Can Have My Brown Body and Eat It, Too!," Social Text 84 (2005). These interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches are critical, as the neoliberal globalization of Western queerness, intertwined with notions of the nuclear family, private property, and capitalist economics, has hindered, and in some cases opposed, the development of anti-racist, postcolonial, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and Third World feminist agendas concerned with transnational solidarity and combatting cisheteropatriarchy.

[30] George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Temple University Press, 2006), vii.

[31] Richard JF Day, Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements (Pluto Press London, 2005), 14-22..

[32] Lisa Lowe, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Duke University Press, 2015),7.

[33] As noted in the literature review section of this dissertation’s introduction, queer Muslim religious and cultural literatures have developed in isolation from queer of color critiques.

[34] Jasbir K Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press, 2007), 22. Puar’s text further examines the depiction of Muslim and turban-Sikh subjects post 9/11, and also unravels the figure of the suicide bomber as a queer assemblage that resists the incumbent Western demand of their construction as rational subjects. According to Puar: “Queerness as assemblage moves away from excavation work, deprivileges a binary opposition between queer and not queer subjects, and, instead of retaining queerness exclusively as dissenting, resistant, and alternative (all of which queerness importantly is and does), it underscores contingency and complicity with dominant formations” (Ibid, 205).

[35] Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, xi.

[36] Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, 123.

[37] Ibid., 123. For queer of color perspectives on sex tourism and militarized human rights see Agathangelou, Bassichis, and Spira, "Intimate Investments: Homonormativity, Global Lockdown, and the Seductions of Empire."; M Jacqui Alexander, "Imperial Desire/Sexual Utopias: White Gay Capital and Transnational Tourism," Talking visions: Multicultural feminism in a transnational age (1998); Mary Fillmore, "Women and Tourism: Invisible Hosts," Invisible Guest (1994); Annette Pritchard, Tourism and Gender: Embodiment, Sensuality and Experience (Cabi, 2007); Jasbir Puar, "A Transnational Feminist Critique of Queer Tourism," Antipode 34, no. 5 (2002); Jasbir K Puar, "Circuits of Queer Mobility: Tourism, Travel, and Globalization," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 8, no. 1 (2002); Jasbir Kaur Puar, Queer Tourism: Geographies of Globalization (Duke Univ Press, 2002).

[38] Kimberlé Crenshaw, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement (The New Press, 1995); Kimberle Crenshaw, "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color (1994)," (2005).

[39] Puar, "I Would Rather Be a Cyborg Than a Goddess": Becoming-Intersectional in Assemblage Theory," philoSOPHIA (State University of New York Press, 2012), Volume 2, Issue 1, 59-60.

[40] Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, 212;

[41] Ibid.

[42] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative (University of Illinous Press, 2016) 21-22.. According to Deleuze and Guattari a feudal assemblage, as an example, would consider: “The intermingling of bodies defining feudalism: the body of the earth and the social body; the body of the overlord, the vassal, the serf; the body of the knight and the horse and their new relation to the stirrup; the weapons and tools assuring a symbiosis of bodies – a whole machinic assemblage. We would also have to consider statements, expressions, the juridical regime of heraldry, all of the incorporeal transformations, in particular, oaths and their variables (the oath of obedience, but also the oath of love, etc.): the collective assemblage of enunciation. On the other axis, we would have to consider the feudal territorialities and reterritorializations, and at the same time the line of deterritorialization that carries away both the knight and his mount, statements and acts. We would have to consider how all this combines in the Crusades…[In other words] An assemblage that puts into play new relations with animals (the horse), with the earth, with deterritorialisation (the battle of knights, the Crusade), with women (knightly love), etc…desire circulates in this assemblage of heterogeneities, in this sort of ‘symbiosis’: desire is but one with a given assemblage, a co-functioning” (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Bloomsbury Publishing, 1988), 89). Puar goes further, arguing that due to its structure, intersectionality can collude “with the disciplinary apparatus of the state – census, demography, racial profiling, surveillance – in that ‘difference’ is encased within a structural container that simply wishes the messiness of identity into a formulaic grid, producing analogies in its wake and engendering what Massumi names ‘grid-lock’” (("I Would Rather Be a Cyborg Than a Goddess": Becoming-Intersectional in Assemblage Theory," philoSOPHIA (State University of New York Press, 2012), Volume 2, Issue 1), 63. As Brandazel notes, Crenshaw identified intersectionality as a “provincial concept”, critics further argue, “that intersectionality attends and simplifies identity and subjectivity” that are perceived to be separable and containable (Ibid, 19). Hence, critics argue, it is limited, because as Brandzel notes, it is mistakenly perceived to just involve the “amalgamation of vectors of difference, thereby presenting identity and subjectivity as two-dimensional operations, as opposed to the much more complex multiple-dimensional project” that is far messier given the way these vectors combine, collide or intersperse in space and time, or are seen at their intersecting junctures. There are even internal distinctions to intersectionality’s application within European and US academies and forums (Ibid, 19).

[43] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 21-22

[44] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 22. Puar states, “there are different conceptual problems posed by each; intersectionality attempts to comprehend political institutions and their attendant forms of social normativity and disciplinary administration, while assemblages, in an effort to reintroduce politics into the political, asks what is prior to and beyond what gets established” ("I Would Rather Be a Cyborg Than a Goddess": Becoming-Intersectional in Assemblage Theory," philoSOPHIA (State University of New york Press, 2012), Volume 2, Issue 1, 49-66, 63;

[45] Ibid., 21-22. However, intersectionality as a meta-theoretical tool can be used to expose how social movements are capable of reproducing the mechanics of power, domination, privilege, as well as resistance and subversive acts within their own constituent minority groupings. As Brandzel notes, the fact is intersectionality seeks to expose or attempts to name and approximate the dynamic ways in which “categories of identity (such as those forged through racialized, sexualized, colonized, and gendered productions) and their comparative worth and meaning are articulated through each other” vis-à-vis “the racialization of sexuality, the gendering of Indigeneity, the sexualization of race, and so forth” (Ibid, 17).

[46] Ibid, 18, Patricia Hill Collins, "Gender, Black Feminism, and Black Political Economy," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568, no. 1 (2000): 228-29; Jacqueline E Wade, "The Combahee River Collective Statement: Black Feminist Organizing in the Seventies and Eighties," (JSTOR, 1990);. My research participants interchangeably use the terms intersectional and matrices to describe how they interpret and describe queerness and interlocking systems of oppression.

[47] Jodi A Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (U of Minnesota Press, 2011), xi.

[48] Ibid., xvii; see also Rita Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," Feral Feminisms 4 (2015): 30.

[49] Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, 54; Patricia Hill Collins, "Black Feminist Thought, Nueva York," (Harper Collins, 1990), 230..

[50] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," Feral Feminisims, Issue 4, 30. The truth is that if any of the aforementioned methodologies are misapplied they will become a way to manage difference that colludes with dominant forms of liberal multiculturalism and uphold colonial and imperial capitalist nation-state assimilationist politics.

[51] Frantz Fanon, "Black Skin, White Masks [1952]," New York (Grove Press,1967). .

[52] Massad, Islam in Liberalism.

[53] Paul Amar and Omnia El Shakry, "Introduction: Curiosities of Middle East Studies in Queer Times," International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 2 (2013); Babayan and Najmabadi, Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire, 39; Habib, Islam and Homosexuality [2 Volumes].

[54] Massad, Islam in Liberalism, 215; Desiring Arabs. As Dina Al-Kassim equally exposes the limits of Massad’s work, and states: “A critique that is content to halt with a righteous indictment of Orientalism, however just and justified, cannot hope to illuminate the complexity of the deployment of sexuality and falls into the trap of essentializing cultural difference through a prior essentialization of epistemology” ("Epilogue: Sexual Epistemologies, East in West," Islamicate sexualities: Translations across temporal geographies of desire (Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 2008), 305.

[55] This underlying reality justifies the settler state’s position of opening its borders and its national imaginary to the inclusion of transnational diaspora.

[56] Paul Amar, The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2013), 87. As other transnational scholarship Amar misunderstands decolonization, and nonsensically assumes that “British reneged on their promise to fully decolonize Egypt” (Ibid, 87).

[57] Ibid., 236.

[58] Also see Diane Singerman and Paul Amar, Cairo Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East (American Univ in Cairo Press, 2006). Amar contributed to other studies (with Diane Singerman, Mona Abaza, and Yasser Elsheshtawy) that discussed the relationship between urban cosmopolitanism in Cairo and the construction of rurality as primitive and backwards, that is critical to re-conceptualizing how desire could look like in decolonized spaces and geographies, and where desire no longer pertains to that which is sexual as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari interpret it.

[59] Amar, The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism, 15-19. After all, neoliberalism’s ushering signifies irreversible affects in terms of the inseparability between the nation-state and what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari refer to as “Integrated World-Wide Capitalism”, as well as social movement theorists and activists argue (The Three Ecologies (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005)), 137. See also Day, Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements.

[60] Imperial sexuality has provoked neoconservative militarized statist as well as non-statist responses such as ISIS, that throws gay men from rooftops, as well as alternative liberal-progressive, assimilationist queer Arab and Muslim aspirations for a Queer Nation

[61] They see an emphasis on sexual ethics as a way to open up space for a discussion of sexual issues in predominantly Muslim societies, which enables the further feminization (and queering) of our politics in a queered world.

[62] Omaima Abou-Bakr, "Gender Perspectives in Islamic Tradition" (paper presented at the Second Annual Meeting of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, Maryland, 1999); Lila Abu-Lughod, "" Orientalism" and Middle East Feminist Studies," (JSTOR, 2001); Lila Abu‐Lughod, "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others," American anthropologist 104, no. 3 (2002); Margot Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (Princeton University Press, 1996); Asma Barlas, "Globalizing Equality: Muslim Women, Theology, and Feminism," On shifting ground: Muslim women in the global era (2005); Fadwa El Guindi, "Veil: Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance," (1999); El-Saadawi, "Love and Sex in the Life of the Arab."; A Survey and Analysis of Legal Arguments on Woman-Led Prayer in Islam," Journal of Law and Religion 26, no. 1 (2010); Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam (U of Minnesota Press, 1997); Ziba Mir-Hosseini, "Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality: Between Islamic Law and Feminism," Critical inquiry 32, no. 4 (2006); Valentine M Moghadam, "Islamic Feminism and Its Discontents: Toward a Resolution of the Debate," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 27, no. 4 (2002); Hiadeh Moghissi, Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis (Zed Books, 1999); Shahrzad Mojab, "Theorizing the Politics of ‘Islamic Feminism’," Feminist Review 69, no. 1 (2001); Zakia Salime, "Mobilizing Muslim Women: Multiple Voices, the Sharia, and the State," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 28, no. 1 (2008); Sunera Thobani, "White Wars: Western Feminisms and Thewar on Terror'," Feminist Theory 8, no. 2 (2007); Amina Wadud, Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective (Oxford University Press, USA, 1999); Sa’diyya Shaikh, "Transforming Feminisms: Islam, Women, and Gender Justice," Progressive Muslims: On justice, gender and pluralism (2003).

[63] Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, 175.

[64] Margot Badran, "Between Secular and Islamic Feminism/S Reflections on the Middle East and Beyond," Journal of Middle East women's studies 1, no. 1 (2005)

[65] Sha’rawi is well known for infamously casting her veil into the sea. Undoubtedly, there have certainly been historical solidarities between Arab and Muslim feminists. In addition to the former scholarship’s appeal to white-liberal feminist overtures they also tend to refrain from engaging queer studies, inter-ethnic/racial, and same-sex concerns.

[66] Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, 202-03.

[67] Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, 172. This movement gave birth to notable Muslim feminist thinkers like Malak Hifni Nassef, and later on in 1936, others like the famous Zaynab Al-Ghazali. Some Muslim feminists like Al-Ghazali left the Egyptian Women’s Union, because she felt that Huda Shaw‘rawi was inauthentic on account of her Western liberal feminism. Similar to the Muslim Women’s Association, Labibeh Ahmed started the Muslim Sisterhood, amongst whose specific goals was the education of Egyptian women in thus far as ‘true’ Islamic behavior. Doubtlessly, the Muslim Brotherhood had an antagonistic stance with respect to women’s issues, particularly in their direct opposition and rejection of Western liberal feminism as a model that Muslim women ought emulate. Despite that the Muslim Brotherhood employed anti-feminist rhetoric, given their disdain of Western feminism’s influence, their educational agenda remained important because of Al-Ghazali’s profound influence and her view regarding the criticality of education to women as it is for men. Islamic feminisms generally upheld “that what is happening to women is part of a societal process wherein proper Islamic principles are absent, or at least, are misused by a morally bankrupt and corrupt state regime […] [with their goals directed] at a change towards more Islamization, which in turn occurs through active participation in all spheres of life” (Ibid). As Ahmed writes, early Islamic feminist organizations sought a “way to bring about a society in which women had freedom and human rights” towards reviving “the [Global] Islamic Nation” or Umma (Ibid)..

[68] Azza Karam, "Women, Islamism and the State: Contemporary Feminisms in the Middle East," (London: Macmillan, 1998), 101. Conversations regarding the Umma emerge from the field research, and as some queer diasporic participant state, the concept, despite its various interpretations, is deeply engrained in the hearts and minds of Muslims growing up, often recurring during political conversations in public and private, as well as during religious supplications and prayers in masjids/mosques.

[69] Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, 198.

[70] The Quiet Revolution: Women and Islam in America in the Global Age, 294; "Feminism and Feminist Movements in the Middle East, a Preliminary Exploration: Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen," 160; Beth Baron, Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender, and Politics (Univ of California Press, 2005), 11; Karam, "Women, Islamism and the State: Contemporary Feminisms in the Middle East," 10.

[71] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 33. The exceptions I have in mind include: Mike Krebs and Dana M Olwan, "‘From Jerusalem to the Grand River, Our Struggles Are One’: Challenging Canadian and Israeli Settler Colonialism," Settler Colonial Studies 2, no. 2 (2012); Mikdashi, "Gay Rights as Human Rights: Pinkwashing Homonationalism."; Dana M Olwan, "On Assumptive Solidarities in Comparative Settler Colonialisms," Feral Feminisms 4 (2015); Sherene Razack, Race, Space, and the Law: Unmapping a White Settler Society (Between the Lines, 2002); Razack, Thobani, and Smith, States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century; Thobani, "White Wars: Western Feminisms and Thewar on Terror'."; "Race, Sovereignty, and Empire: Theorizing the Camp, Theorizing Postmodernity," Theorizing Anti-Racism: Linkages in Marxism and Critical Race Theories (2014).

[72] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 21. On decolonizing antiracism also see Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua, "Decolonizing Antiracism," Social justice 32, no. 4 (102 (2005).

[73] Karam, "Women, Islamism and the State: Contemporary Feminisms in the Middle East," 10.

[74] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 28. Arab and Muslim feminisms cannot simply look to Indigenous peoples to teach or compel them to engage non-statist forms of decolonization. While Arab, Muslim, and transitional and postcolonial Third World feminists seek to expose the colonial formations of cisheteropatriarchy, racial capitalism and reified forms of consumption, the must also account for the concurrent systemic implications in settler colonialism and postcolonial societies.

[75] Ibid., 33.

[76] For examples of this essentialization see Alfred, Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom; Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

[77] In Caressa Wong, “It’s about more than Gay marriage,” The Tempest, 2015.

[78] Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, 2. It is not just that gays and lesbians are described as the new rightful owners of racialized remedies and rights. They are also deemed the proper beneficiaries of rights and reap the benefits of citizenship through their new roles in the scripted “conventions of family, inheritance, and child rearing” (Ibid, 2). As Lee Edelman describes, “reproductive futurity” is a contortion of politics, whereby the (ideal) Child is the “perpetual horizon” and “fantasmatic beneficiary of every political intervention” (Ibid, 2).

[79] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 144.

[80] Driskill et al, Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature.

[81] Eve Tuck and K Wayne Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," Decolonization: Indigeneity, education & society 1, no. 1 (2012): 12.

[82] Homi K Bhabha, The Postcolonial and the Postmodern: The Question of Agency (1994); Crenshaw, "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color (1994)."; Leela Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (Columbia University Press, 1998); T Minh-ha Trinh, "Not You/Like You: Post-Colonial Women and the Interlocking Questions of Identity and Difference," Inscriptions 3 (1988); Rauna Kuokkanen, "Sámi Women, Autonomy, and Decolonization in the Age of Globalization," Rethinking Nordic colonialism. A postcolonial exhibition project in five acts. Act 4 (2006): 2.

[83] Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez, Indigenous Encounters with Neoliberalism: Place, Women, and the Environment in Canada and Mexico (UBC Press, 2013), 57.

[84] As evidenced by the anti-colonial and anti-imperial Third World nationalist independence movements of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, which at best embodied a Eurocentric, structuralist, Marxist-Leninist, socialist trajectory, and hence merely emulated, appealed to and adopted white superior, civilizational, Euro-American paradigms.

[85] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 4; Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (Verso Books, 2006); Partha Chatterjee, "Secularism and Toleration," Economic and Political Weekly (1994); Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism;; Eric J Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge University Press, 2012).. This often occurs under the pretext of imagined notions of the native’s sense of self and community that has long been corrupted through colonial encounters which includes that of Marxism because it retains liberal principles as much as it contests them. Tuck and Yang aptly state, “socialist and communist empires have also been settler empires (e.g. Chinese colonialism in Tibet).” (Ibid) Progressive-leftists and social movements as Occupy Wall-street and the International Revolutionary Socialists often elide the Eurocentric liberal assumptions imbued within their frameworks. Evidence that colonization is continuing can be witnessed in how Africa has long been declared independent and ‘free’, despite the fact that particular nations like Chad, Senegal, Mali, Cameron, and the Ivory Coast, still pay French-colonial tax, while oligarchic and plutocratic corporations ravage and pillage their recourses that are extracted and sent to Europe under the behest of corrupt ethnic-elite Western installed puppet dictator governments in these nations. Indeed, to this day “14 African countries are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control […] effectively putting in 500 Billion dollars every year to the French treasury” (“France’s Colonial Tax Still Enforced for Africa. ‘Bleeding Africa and Feeding France,’” World Bulletin, 2015). As former French President Jacques Chirac stated in March 2008: “Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power”, not to mention Chirac’s predecessor “François Mitterrand had already prophesied in 1957” that: “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century.” The fact that Africa is bled to feed France is hardly a hyperbolic understatement or an alarming exaggeration (Ibid).

[86] Sandy Grande, "Whitestream Feminism and the Colonialist Project: Toward a Theory of Indigenista," Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought (2004): 27.

[87] Jodi A Byrd and Michael Rothberg, "Between Subalternity and Indigeneity: Critical Categories for Postcolonial Studies," Interventions 13, no. 1 (2011): 3.

[88] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 12.

[89] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 19.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Anti-colonial critiques, in the absence of an analysis of the entwined circulatory relationship between settler-and-franchise colonial societies, are always doomed to reproduce colonialist horizons.

[92] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 31; Patrick Wolfe, "Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native," Journal of genocide research 8, no. 4 (2006).

[93] Patrick Wolfe, "Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native," Journal of genocide research 8, no. 4 (2006): 388.

[94] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 32.

[95] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 10; Philip Joseph Deloria, Playing Indian (Yale University Press, 1998); Tallbear in Francie Latour, "The Myth of Native American Blood," Boston. com (2012); Mary Louise Fellows and Sherene Razack, "The Race to Innocence: Confronting Hierarchical Relations among Women," J. Gender Race & Just. 1 (1997): 335.

[96] Ibid, 10.

[97] Ibid, 9-10.

[98] Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, 38.

[99] Simpson Audra and Smith Andrea, "Theorizing Native Studies," (2014): 11.

[100] Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, xiii.

[101] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 1.

[102] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 102.

[103] Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, 60. Similarly, anarcho-Indigenist Taiaiake Alfred writes of the crucial reciprocal relationship between Indigenous peoples and land that has been affected by Western capitalist interpretations of the very meaning of property. Alfred expands on points of Indigenous resistance under anarcho-Indigenism by highlighting its focus on decentralization, direct democracy, and several other commonalities between anarchist and Indigenous philosophies namely, “A rejection of alliances with legalized systems of oppression, non-participation in the institutions that structure the colonial relationship and a belief in bringing about change through direct action, physical resistance, and confrontations with state power” (Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom, (University of Toronto Press, 2005)), 46. Alfred summarizes his project early on Wasase and states: “I might suggest, as a starting point, conceptualizing anarcho-indigenism. Why? And why this term? Conveyance of the indigenous warrior ethic will require its codification in some form –a creed and an ethical framework for thinking through challenges. To take root in people’s minds the new ethic will have to capture the spirit of a warrior in battle and bring it to politics. How might this spirit be described in contemporary terms related to political though and movement? The two elements that come to my mind are indigenous, evoking cultural and spiritual rootedness in this land and the Onkwehonwe7 struggle for justice and freedom, and the political philosophy and movement that is fundamentally anti-institutional, radically democratic, and committed to taking action to force change: anarchism” (Ibid, 45).

[104] Dion-Buffalo & Mohawk in Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash, Grassroots Postmodernism: Remaking the Soil of Cultures (Zed Books Ltd., 2014), 43.

[105] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 129. Audra and Andrea, "Theorizing Native Studies," 11.

[106] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 31.

[107] Ibid; see also Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, University of Illinous Press, 2016). As Byrd argues, in reference to radical and non-statist conceptualizations of Indigenous decolonization, intellectual and emotional headaches are a necessary component of decolonization. Nonetheless, decolonization can restore “life and allows settler, arrivant, and native to apprehend and grieve together the violence of U.S. empire” and permit subaltern and diasporic people of color, Indigenous and Black peoples, as well as white-settler allies, to transcend their imperial and colonial containments (The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 229. This is stated while also bearing in mind, as Tuck and Yang note, how decolonial struggles in post and settler-colonial societies intersect but are also distinct, as they entail different demographics and histories, and therefore “decolonization is not equivocal to other anti-colonial struggles”, even though “settler colonialism fuels imperialism” in a world in which “oil is the motor and motive for war”, as was salt before it, and water after it (Ibid, 31). This dissertation therefore seeks as Brandazel “to tease apart the ways in which U.S. orientalism, U.S. settler colonialism, and U.S. racializations work together to thwart coalitions and produce distractions” (Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative (University of Illinous Press, 2016), 128-129. Diasporic aspiration for subjugation (through colonial administrative inclusion) as well as the governmentalities of citizenship (as a gatekeeping mechanism within through and between nation-states) reify “norms of whiteness, heterosexuality, consumerism, and settler colonialism that are brutally enforced against nonnormative bodies, practices, behaviors, and forms of affiliation through oppositional, divide-and-conquer logics that set up nonnormative subjects to compete against each other in order to gain the privileged access to citizenship” as if a benevolent gift (Ibid, xv). I not only discuss decolonization and settler-hood with queer Muslim participants in the U.S./Canada, some of who are from refugee and migrant African backgrounds but also rather their positionalities, given how migrants, refugees, and diasporas have been affected by multicultural liberalism and are bio-and-necro-politically racialized as living dead in the service of empire.

[108] Manu Vimalassery, Juliana Hu Pegues, and Alyosha Goldstein, "Introduction: On Colonial Unknowing," Theory & Event 19, no. 4 (2016): 7; Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Duke University Press, 2006).

[109] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 18.

[110] Ibid, 18.

[111] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 128-29.

[112] Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples; Lawrence and Dua, "Decolonizing Antiracism."

[113] Lawrence and Dua, "Decolonizing Antiracism."

[114] Bonita Lawrence and Zainab Amadahy, "Indigenous Peoples And Black People In Canada: Settlers Or Allies"? in Breaching the Colonial Contract: Anti-Colonialism in the US and Canada. Arlo Kempf (Ed.). (New York: Springer Publishing, 2010),107.

[115] Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, xxxviii-xxxix.

[116] Ibid., xix; Edward Brathwaite and Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy, vol. 25 (Im Selbstverlag des Museums, 1988); Kamau Brathwaite, Roots (Univ of Michigan Pr, 1993).

[117] Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, 229. Arrivants refers to those that Indigenous peoples did not anticipate would be forcefully displaced and migrate. Byrd’s work seeks to destabilize the construction of “Indianness” and the notion of a ‘pure’ authentic indigeneity, whether in the context of Indigenous peoples or the general colonized Other, given the disfigurations that have been wrought by colonial/imperial contacts. Byrd valiantly strives to unsettle settler/native, master/slave, and colonizer/colonized binaries and dichotomies, which Euro-American imperialist expansionist and interventionist projects, aided by Global Orientalism, benefit from. Byrd interprets “Indigenousness”, as defined in the works of Kahnawake Mohawk Alfred and Cherokee scholar Jeff Corntassel, as a counter-term to “Indianness” that perpetuates, upholds, and sustains settler colonialism as well as an attendant liberal multiculturalism, and where the former is a place-based oppositional and counter-hegemonic decolonial identity that is “constructed, shaped, and lived in the politicized context of contemporary colonialism” and hence emerges from a “struggle against the dispossessing and demeaning fact of colonization by foreign peoples” (Ibid). Her work also unsettlers the normalization and naturalization of white nativist belonging to environmental wilderness.

[118] Ibid., 222.

[119] Shona N Jackson, Creole Indigeneity: Between Myth and Nation in the Caribbean (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 64.

[120] Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle (U of Minnesota Press, 2006); More recently, there have been a series of blog posts concerning anti-blackness and settler colonialism hosted by the journal Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society available at https://decolonization.wordpress.com/tag/antiblackness/

[121] Zainab Amadahy and Bonita Lawrence, "Indigenous Peoples and Black People in Canada: Settlers or Allies?," in Breaching the Colonial Contract (Springer, 2010); also see Charles S Aiken, "A New Type of Black Ghetto in the Plantation South," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 80, no. 2 (1990). As Tuck and Yang note, “Black and Native people alike were induced to raid and enslave Native tribes, as a bargain for their own freedom or to defer their own enslavibility by the British, French, and then American settlers” ("Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," (Decolonization, Indigeneity, Education, & Society, 2012), 33. As they note, “The rising number of impoverished, all black townships is the result of mechanization of agriculture and a fundamental settler covenant that keeps black people landless” and “when black labor is unlabored, the Black person underneath is the excess” (Ibid, 33-34; also see Aiken, 1990). As Dennis Childs writes “the slave ship and the plantation” and not Bentham’s panopticon as presented by Foucault, “operated as spatial, racial, and economic templates for subsequent models of coerced labor and human warehousing - as America’s original prison industrial complex” ("You Ain't Seen Nothin'yet": Beloved, the American Chain Gang, and the Middle Passage Remix," (American Quarterly 61, no. 2, 2009)), 288. Moreover, Childs states, “despite the rise of publicly traded prisons, farms are not fundamentally capitalist ventures; at their core, they are colonial contract institutions much like Spanish Missions, Indian Boarding Schools, and ghetto school systems” (Ibid, 235). In other words, “the labor to cage black bodies is paid for by the state and then land is granted, worked by convict labor, to generate additional profits for the prison proprietors” but “it is the management of excess presence on the land, not the forced labor, that is the main object of slavery under settler colonialism” (Ibid, 235).

[122] Afua Cooper, "Acts of Resistance: Black Men and Women Engage Slavery in Upper Canada, 1793-1803," Ontario History 99, no. 1 (2007); "The Invisible History of the Slave Trade," Toronto Star 25 (2007); R Bruce Shepard, Deemed Unsuitable: Blacks from Oklahoma Move to the Canadian Prairies in Search of Equality in the Early 20th Century, Only to Find Racism in Their New Home (Umbrella Press, 1997). This point is critical given the “ongoing legacy of enslavement, exclusion and exploitation of Black and African migrants” and the exploitation and oppression of “diasporic African peoples in Canada” (Farrah-Marie Miranda, "Anti-blackness and Undoing the Territor of Migrant Justice,"in Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 2015). As Afua Cooper (2007) intervenes in this mythology, reminding us,“First, that Canada was a colony of France and Britain, two of the largest slave traffickers. Second, because the Atlantic slave trading activities connected diverse economies, for much of the slavery period, there was a brisk trade between the capitalists of eastern Canada and the slaveholders of the Caribbean… Third, recent scholarship discovered that at least 60 of the slave ships used in the British slave trade were built in Canada. Most important, enslavement of Africans itself was institutionalized in Canada. The enslavement of black people existed from least 1628 to 1834” (Ibid). Moreover, as Camille Turner further points out, “for enslaved Africans fleeing the southern United States in the 1900s, Canada was anything but a safe haven” and “for the over 1,000 Black/African people who migrated to Saskatchewan and Alberta during this period, American style racism, […] was not only alive and well, but it was also fuelled by anti-Black media narratives” (Camille Turner, Evoking a site of memory: An Afrofuturist Sonic Walk that Maps Historic Toronto’s Black Geographies, (York University, 2012)).

[123] Irrespective of the origins of individuals along the landscape in which blackness functions, all are subject to militarized policing that within itself akin to slave catchers who chased runaways and prevented slave revolts. Police are involved in the monitoring, surveiling, stop-and-frisking, and assassination of black bodies, wherein all Maritimers of African descent, Carribeans, and from regions as Central and South America and even Somalis and Middle-Easterners are homogenously cast as simply black. Nonethless, it is this reading of blackness that also confirms America’s riddled founding on anti-Muslim sentiment since inception.

[124] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 113; also see Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism. Danielle Sandhu, "Theorizing Brown Identity" (University of Toronto (Canada), 2014), 18. Scholars as Haunani-Kay Trask (Hawaiian Nation) has called for solidarity from non-Indigenous Hawaiian settlers of color (2000) and to which critics of Asian settler-colonialism like Candace Fujikane, Jonathan Y. Okamura and others responded by urging Japanese, Korean, and Filipino settlers in Hawaii to accounts for their Asian settler practices in state-legislations, the prison industrial complex, and glamorized participations in the U.S. military as well as their claims to Hawai‘i land and identity at the costly expense of the erasure of Indigneous Hawaiians. Whites calling out poc for not identifying as settlers of color is also problematic because it relieves whites of addressing their own culpability and complicity in other anti-racist, anti-imperial and anti-colonial struggles. White colonists assumed the divine right and sanctioning of land’s natural resources towards empire’s imperialist expansion under the presumed context that a few “well-meaning and good-natured Natives were taken advantage of by a few not-so-well-intentioned Westerners.” (Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative (University of Illinois Press, 2016), 113. The significant migration of racialized and marginalized non-Indigenous, non-Middle Passage Black, and non-European people of color immigrants, refugees without legal documentation, or émigrés, and undocumented migrants who have garnered citizenship, has led to a context in which they invest, reenact, occupy and participate in the settler-colonization of Indigenous lands while also experiencing colonial and racial subjugation and immobilization. Still, this does not absolve the former of their responsibilities and guilt, having internalized an apologetic liberalism and cultures of whiteness, that trains them to construe Indigenous peoples as relics and “residual artifacts of the past and to turn to the potential of law and multicultural liberal democracy as a means for redemption” (Ibid, 113). As Dhamoon notes, non-white people of color, in particular, participate “in technologies that link colonialism to racism” and partake in self-congratulatory parades celebrating the myth of ethnic diversity ("A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism"(Ferral Feminisms, 2015), 24.

[125] Danielle Sandhu, "Theorizing Brown Identity" (University of Toronto (Canada), 2014), 18

[126] Scott Lauria Morgensen, "White Settlers and Indigenous Solidarity: Confronting White Supremacy, Answering Decolonial Alliances," Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 26 (2014).

[127] Vimalassery, Pegues, and Goldstein, "Introduction: On Colonial Unknowing," 7; Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. The concept of arrivant can help us move beyond clear divisions and “between social location and claim to place.” Particularly given that Byrd notes that there are “moments where the representational logics of colonial discourses break down” such that we may be able to engage “multiple colonial experiences grounded not only in race but gender, indigeneity, conquest, and sexuality as well” (Jodi A Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (U of Minnesota Press, 2011)), 53,

[128] Vimalassery, Pegues, and Goldstein, "Introduction: On Colonial Unknowing," 7. See also Miranda Antiblackness and Undoing the Territory of Migrant Justice; Shepard, Deemed Unsuitable: Blacks from Oklahoma Move to the Canadian Prairies in Search of Equality in the Early 20th Century, Only to Find Racism in Their New Home.

[129] Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others.

[130] Ibid.,40.

[131] Vimalassery, Pegues, and Goldstein, "Introduction: On Colonial Unknowing," 8.

[132] Ibid.

[133] Ibid.

[134] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 31; Albert Memmi, "The Colonizer and the Colonized. 1957," Trans. Howard Greenfeld. Boston: Beacon (1991).

[135] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 31.

[136] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 31. This dissertation is disinterested in gestural approaches to Indigenous peoples that entail everything from social media to armchair activist approaches in support of Indigenous and Black causes.

[137] Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright, "Decolonizing Resistance, Challenging Colonial States," Social Justice 35, no. 3 (113 (2008): 122-23; Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 22.

[138] Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright, "Decolonizing Resistance, Challenging Colonial States," Social Justice 35, no. 3 (113 (2008): 122-23; Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 22.

[139] Sharma and Wright, "Decolonizing Resistance, Challenging Colonial States," 123; Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 22; Dean Itsuji Saranillio, "Why Asian Settler Colonialism Matters: A Thought Piece on Critiques, Debates, and Indigenous Difference," Settler Colonial Studies 3, no. 3-4 (2013).

[140] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 23.

[141] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism" (Ferral Feminisms, 2015), 24.

[142] Robinder Kaur Sehdev, "People of Colour in Treaty," Cultivating Canada: Reconciling through the lens of cultural diversity (2011): 265; also in Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 24.

[143] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 19.

[144] Beenash Jafri, "Privilege Vs. Complicity: People of Colour and Settler Colonialism," Equity Matters 21 (2012); also in Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism," 25.

[145] Byrd and Rothberg, "Between Subalternity and Indigeneity: Critical Categories for Postcolonial Studies," 3.

[146] Ibid., 4; see also Gaurav Desai, "Between Indigeneity and Diaspora: Questions from a Scholar Tourist," interventions 13, no. 1 (2011); Gaurav Gajanan Desai and Supriya Nair, Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism (Rutgers University Press, 2005).

[147] Byrd and Rothberg, "Between Subalternity and Indigeneity: Critical Categories for Postcolonial Studies," 3.

[148] Ibid., 4. As Byrd and Rothberg argue, the “question of fit suggests that at stake in exploring the resonance between the categories ‘subaltern’ and ‘indigenous’ is a matter of urgent translation – translation in all its senses, linguistic, cultural, and spatial. Indeed, the question of translation goes beyond the question of how to relate two autonomously developing intellectual traditions to each other (indigenous studies and subaltern/postcolonial studies)” (Ibid, 4).

[149] Ibid.

[150] Ibid., 6.

[151] Ibid., 8; Desai, "Between Indigeneity and Diaspora: Questions from a Scholar Tourist."

[152] Byrd and Rothberg, "Between Subalternity and Indigeneity: Critical Categories for Postcolonial Studies," 8; Desai, "Between Indigeneity and Diaspora: Questions from a Scholar Tourist."

[153] Ibid, 9.

[154] Ibid, 8-9.

[155] Jeannette Armstrong, "First Nations on Ancestral Connection," (Stone Circle Press, n.d.). Here, indigeneity is conceivedbeyond race, ethnicity or political definitions, [and hence] indigeneity can become a social ethic. In this way, the re-indigenized person or community is a perfectly integrated part of nature rather than separate from it” (Ibid).

[156] Robert Lovelace, "The Last Fire in Ghostland-Keynote Address " (paper presented at the The Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada / L' Association pour la littérature, l'environnement et la culture au Canada (ALECC), Queen's University, Kingston ON, 2016); "The Philosophy of Indigeneity Knowledge, Identity and the Inclusion of Aboriginal Peoples in the Academy" (The Equity and Women’s Concerns Committee of the Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University 2016); "Indigenous – Meaning What?" (paper presented at the Notes for Panel presentation at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2015).

[157] Ibid.

[158] "Asserting Our Savage Nature" (paper presented at the 15th Annual Symposium on Indigenous Research, Queen’s University 2013). Lovelace notes, “The root of the word indigenous is gignère. While it has Latin roots in English it has even deeper beginnings throughout the Mediterranean world” (2016). Lovelace further states, “in Modern English you can recognize the word in such forms as Genesis, Genealogy, Genuine, and of course Genecology and genitals. [In the} 1640s, from Late Latin indigenus ‘born in a country, native’, from Latin indigena ‘sprung from the land’, as a noun, ‘a native’, literally ‘in-born’, or ‘born in (a place)’, from Old Latin indu ‘in, within" (earlier endo) + gene-, root of gignere (perf. genui) ‘beget’, from PIE gen- ‘produce’” (Ibid). Through reindigenization, our species can transcend the transgressive colonial/imperial boundaries that splinter humanity; we can move beyond rights-based discourses of reconciliation and the same old exploitive arrogance towards the earth.

[159] "The Philosophy of Indigeneity Knowledge, Identity and the Inclusion of Aboriginal Peoples in the Academy."

[160] Amadahy, "Interview with Zainab Amadahy Zainab Amadahy in Conversation with Feral Feminisms’ Guest Editors".

[161] Ibid.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Dhamoon, "A Feminist Approach to Decolonizing Anti-Racism: Rethinking Transnationalism, Intersectionality, and Settler Colonialism" (Ferral Feminisms, 2015), 24. The reintreptation of indigeneity is to construct new coordinates for collective and global mobilization by troubling the politics of decolonizing solidarity as the in vogue intellectual flavor of the moment. There is no crystal ball that we can defer to unequivocally be assured of what we will become by engaging decolonization either.

[164] Tuck and Yang, "Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor," 25.

[165] Adele Perry, On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849-1871 (University of Toronto Press, 2001); Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Duke University Press, 1995); Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History (Duke University Press, 2006). The decolonial critiques is also based on the understanding that queer and feminist discourses are not necessarily at odds, as “queer carries with it an oppositional critique of heteronormativity and an interest in the ambiguity of gender and sexuality”, particularly given that “historically, queer theory separated from GLBT studies by exchanging the promotion of GLBT people for critique of all sexual-norms, heteronormative and homonormative” (Driskill et al, Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature, University of Arizona Press, 2011),3.

[166] Don Kulick, "Gay and Lesbian Language," Annual Review of Anthropology 29, no. 1 (2000); Joanne J Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed (Harvard University Press, 2009); Vernon A Rosario, Science and Homosexualities (Routledge, 2013); Vernon A Rosario and Joanne Meyerowitz, "Transforming Sex: An Interview with Joanne Meyerowitz, Ph. D. Author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States," Studies in Gender and Sexuality 5, no. 4 (2004); David Valentine and Don Kulick, "Transsexuality, Transvestism, and Transgender," (2001).

[167] Gilles Deleuze, "Desire and Pleasure," (1997), np.

[168] Ibid.; Rolando Perez, "On an (Archy) and Schizoanalysis," (1990).

[169] Joseph Massad, "Psychoanalysis, Islam, and the Other of Liberalism," Psychoanalysis and history 11, no. 2 (2009): 45..

[170] Ibid, 45.

[171] Ibid., 46.

[172] Deleuze and Guattari, "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Trans," 251-65; Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972-1990 (Columbia University Press, 1995).

[173] Saul Newman, From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power (Lexington Books, 2001), 99.

[174] Newman, From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power, 99.

[175] Ernst Gellner, "Muslim Society (Cambridge, 1981)," Nations and Nationalism (1983); Ranajit Guha, Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India (Harvard University Press, 1997); Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism (Routledge, 2007).

[176] Day, Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements, 16.

[177] Linda Hutcheon, "'Circling the Downspout of Empire': Post-Colonialism and Postmodernism," (1989): 31.

[178] May, The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism, 12. In post-anarchistic theories, power is decentralized because post-anarchism takes as one of its central pillars that sites of oppressions are numerous and fluidly interconnected.

[179] Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, "Intellectuals and Power," Language, counter-memory, practice: Selected essays and interviews 205 (1977).

[180] Ibid.

[181] Tamim Saidi, "Islam and Culture: Don't Mix Them Up " (2008).

[182] Janet Afary and Kevin B Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (University of Chicago Press, 2010); Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (IB Tauris, 2006); Piscatori, Islam in a World of Nation-States, 1; Hamid Dabashi, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundation of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (Routledge, 2017); Shirin Sedigh Deylami, Strangers among Us: The Critique of Westoxification in Perso-Islamic Political Thought (University of Minnesota, 2008). The term “Westoxification” was popularized by Jalal Al-e Ahmad in his book Occidentosis: A Plague from the West (Islamic Pubns Intl, 1962).

[183] Saba Mahmood, "Politics of Piety," The Islamic revival and the feminist subject (2005): 3.

[184] Saba Mahmood Interview by Nathan Schneider, "Religious Liberty, Minorities, & Islam: An Interview with Saba Mahmood," in The Immenant Frame; Secularism, Religion, & The Public Sphere, 2011.

[185] These influences are distinct from the destructive role Islamisms play in her native Pakistan where they have embarked on a Faustian bargain with the military dictatorship and colluded with imperialist U.S. interests.

[186] Mahmood, "Politics of Piety," 3.

[187] Ibid. 3

[188] Ibid, 23. As Mahmood notes, her participants therefore adopted “styles of dress and speech, standards regarding what is deemed proper entertainment for adults and children, patterns of financial and household management, the provision of care for the poor, and the terms by which public debate is conducted” as a political statement and as a means to instill within themselves at the micro level their relations to each other and the community (Saba Mahmood, "Politics of Piety," The Islamic revival and the feminist subject (University of Princeton Press, 2005)), 3.

[189] Ibid., 7; see also Lila Abu‐Lughod, "The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power through Bedouin Women," American ethnologist 17, no. 1 (1990); Janice Boddy, Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men, and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1989). Mahmood, utilizes fieldwork to elucidate how women can become instruments in the hands of male authoritative oppression, while simultaneously articulating a will for “autonomy and self-expression” that “constitutes the substrate, the slumbering ember that can spark to flame in the form of an act of resistance” (Saba Mahmood, "Politics of Piety," The Islamic revival and the feminist subject (University of Princeton Press, 2005)), 7. Mahmood states, “norms are not only consolidated and/or subverted […] but performed, inhabited, and experienced in a variety of ways” (Ibid, 22). These dense webs of connections must be considered to understand how individuals/collectivities transcend the “subjectivating power of norms” (Ibid, 22).

[190] Ibid; see also Lila Abu‐Lughod, "The Romance of Resistance: Tracing Transformations of Power through Bedouin Women," American ethnologist 17, no. 1 (1990), 43; Janice Boddy, Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men, and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan (Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1989). In Mahmood’s work, the Sahwa-piety movements undermine ‘normative liberal assumptions’ regarding human nature and the innate desire for freedom, and how autonomy can manifest, if not identify, spirituality’s metaphysical role to Islamist feminists.

[191] Mahmood, "Politics of Piety," 7.

[192] Ibid., 5-7.

[193] These labels/identities denote incoherent ideologies when conjoined, despite that they are only forcibly made to appear cohesively rational and cogent apart.

[194] Massad, Desiring Arabs, 418.

[195] Ibid., 271.

[196] S. Taha, 2013, "Joseph Massad: an Occidentalist's Other Subjects/Victims," in The Arab Leftists, 2013..Such statements are “inescapably reminiscent of the tragically familiar and flagrantly misogynistic claim, common in all societies, that it is the woman's public immodesty, which elicits rape rather than the rapist's brutally sexist intentions” (Ibid).

[197] They are attuned to the internalization and reproduction of oppressions – authoritarian, classist, ageist, ethnocentric, racist, and cisheteropatriarchal – within their communities and across the broader social movements in Egypt and North America. To understand the strands of the participants’ elusive drives and motivations, a scholar risks either overly abstracting particularities or drowning in moral relativism.

[198] Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Routledge, 2013); see also Butler, "Gender Trouble, Feminist Theory, and Psychoanalytic Discourse.".To theoretically assist me in interpreting the words and actions of my participants, I drew on what Sara Ahmed refers to as “politics of emotion.” I recognize the influence of emotions, as cultural and spiritual products and practices, on body language and choices of words and terms. I also draw on what Judith Butler refers to as “performativity” in relation to our participation in gender and sexual expressions, speech patterns, gestures, and other communications. As Butler critically notes, homosexuality and heterosexuality are not fixed categories, because individuals and communities engage in fluid performances or exhibit conditions of enacting straightness and/ or queerness through gendered activities that are simultaneously informed by feminine and masculine perceptions.

[199] Please see the ‘Note on Translation and Transliteration’ at the beginning of the dissertation.

[200] Hala Kamal, "Translating Women and Gender: The Experience of Translating the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures into Arabic," WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 36, no. 3 (2008): 264.

[201] Kathryn Babayan, Afsaneh Najmabadi & Dina Al-Kassim, Islamicate sexualities: Translations across temporal geographies of desire (Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 2008), 163.

[202] The Egyptian participants militantly confronted ‘intellectual’ and educated Egyptian state-feminists and leftists (Marxist-Leninist and anarchist) who are too shallow to tolerate them on account of their same-sex practices. The risk of magnifying their societal ostracization only strengthened the participants’ determination.

[203] Long, Virginity Tests, Vile Bodies, Stories from Sisi’s Egypt, 2014. Queer Egyptians are struggling at a time when, as Scott Long states, “dissidents, the revolutionaries, the activists, the long-hairs, the ones with weird or unwanted bodies, the gays and the mokhanatheen (effeminate): they all look the same to the government [and broader society], grimy deviants. Probably they are, but they are also prophets. Nobody likes prophets, because they are unmoored from the real. Mubarak’s dictatorship bred prophets, who turned the crawlspaces and margins where they were ignored into cribs of liberty where they could dream. The prophets saw the light coming, and many saw the darkness that would follow it too. And what is the fate of prophets?” (Ibid).

[204] Brandzel, Against Citizenship: The Violence of the Normative, 25.

[205] Asad, "Genealogies of Religion," 221-22; also see in general Mahmood Mamdani, "Introduction: Trans-African Slaveries Thinking Historically," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2018) 38 (2): 185-210; Ali, Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam; "Slavery and Sexual Ethics in Islam," in Beyond Slavery (Springer, 2010); Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence; Rod Dreher, "Georgetown Prof Defends Islamic Slavery," The American Conservative (2017).

[206] Kecia Ali, "The Truth About Islam and Sex Slavery History Is More Complicated Than You Think," Huffington Post (2015).

[207] Abdou, "Anarca-Islam."

[208] O Mehmet, "Alternative Concepts of Development: A Critique of Euro-Centric Theorizing," Humanomics 6, no. 3 (1990): 61.

[209] Massad, Islam in Liberalism; Wadud, Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective. Carolyn Rouse, Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam (Univ of California Press, 2004).

[210] Zaheer Kazmi, "The Limits of Muslim Liberalism," Los Angeles Review of Books 2014.

[211] Driskill et al, Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature, 4. Queer Muslim critique is a call to Muslims to create distinctive knowledge on gender and sexual ethical practices in Islam, not through anti-imperial/anti-colonial gestures at an ideological level but through decolonial/de-imperial analyses that is at the level of Islamic methodologies.