In 2003 The Inner Circle (TIC) received support from the Triangle Project to host its first ever Annual International Retreat (AIR). It was attended by 33 participants of whom two were international guests. AIR has grown over the years from being more than just a safe space to one that is more focused on education and advocacy.
In September 2014, TIC will be hosting its 12th Annual International Retreat in Cape Town. AIR 2014 will be the biggest event TIC has ever hosted. TIC will invite 120 international participants, which will make it the biggest gathering of its kind in the history of queer Muslim mobilization. The program will be a 7 day event and will include:
1) The Islamic Peace Circles (For queer Muslims who want to reconcile Islam with their sexual orientation and gender identity)
2) The Global Queer Muslim Network Meeting (Representatives from the different member organizations meet to develop leadership, mentoring, movement building and global strategy.
3) The Conference for the Empowerment of Women (A space to discuss gender, women’s health and reproductive rights and gender-based violence within the Muslim community)
4) The Forum for Religious Leaders (A space for religious leaders to meet with queer Muslims, scholars and queer Imams to find better responses to sexual diversity within the Muslim community.)
5) Plenaries, Seminars and Workshops (Topics on Islam, sexual orientation and gender identity, presented by academics and experts in their field of study).
6) Daily creative spaces will also include drumming, yoga and other healing sessions.
The vision for our Annual International Retreat for the next five years is to build a strong movement towards an all-inclusive and compassion-centred Islam; an Islam that is respectful and accepting of people despite their religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity. The retreat aims to mainstream the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Muslim community globally as a human rights issue.
“Our Retreat is a challenging and spiritual safe space of healing,
learning, empowerment and respect for difference.”
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ
وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (3:104)
3:104 (Asad) and that there might grow out of you a community [of people] who invite unto all that is good, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong: and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state!