AQSAzine (est. 2007) is a Toronto-based grassroots arts collective by and for young women and trans people who self-identify as Muslim. Our main project is the creation of a biannual zine of our writing, art, activism entitled AQSAzine. This zine is a creative avenue for young Muslim women and trans people to express ourselves, share our experiences and connect with others. We strive to work from an explicit anti oppressive, pro-choice, queer positive & trans positive framework.
In Arabic, “aqsa” implies the furthermost, as in reaching out to the furthest possible point. This zine aims to motivate the utmost resistance to oppression in all its forms. 16 year-old Aqsa Parvez, whose life was taken on December 10, 2007 also inspires this zine. It is to honour her and other Muslim women and trans people who experience and resist structural and physical violence.
Jerusalem’s Masjid A-Aqsa in Palestine is also an inspiration to us due to its associations with Prophet Muhammad (SBUH)’s ascension, also known as the “night of Isra and Miraj”. To us, the belief in this event represents unwavering faith and an ultimate assurance of justice.
So if you’re tired of feeling alone or fragmented…If you get spoken to slowly because you’re wearing a hijab…If you get asked why how you could be Muslim and NOT wear a hijab…If you’re a steady victim of racial profiling, harassment by police, or “random checks” at airports…If you’re constantly having to repeat your name because no one can pronounce it…If you’re sick of being told “surely you can’t be Muslim AND gay!” We’re here for you, and we’re LOUD. Intellectual, scandalous, curious, hijab wearing, non-hijab wearing, immigrant, sexual, honest, queer, heterosexual all of it MUSLIM: United by our cause and in our diversity. Join us, won’t you?
The interview made me want to find out all I could about AQSAzine, and I'm learning a lot about how Islam and feminism can intersect.