Activists in Pakistani capital Islamabad have drawn up plans to build the city’s first trans-inclusive Mosque, according to the Daily Tribune.
While Pakistan has long-recognised people who do not conform to their assigned gender, trans people face ostracization and violence in the country.
“We are Muslims, but we are not allowed to enter a mosque,” said a transgender woman who is currently raising funds for the Mosque, which is planned to be built in the Bari Imam area.
“In our society, people only think of transgender women to be sex objects, so they don’t want to allow us to enter mosques to offer prayers,” she added.
Nadeem Kashish, founder of trans rights organisation, the Shemale Association for Fundamental Rights (SAFR), explained, “The main reason for building this mosque is to convey a message to our society that people who are transgender are also Muslim.
“They too have a right to offer prayers in a mosque, to recite or teach the Holy Quran, and to preach Islam,” Kashish added.
Pakistani trans woman Shafqat Shah, said that she has faced ridicule when fundraising for the project.
“I do not feel ashamed if I have to beg for money for this project,” Shah says, referring to the stigma of beggary,” she said.
“But when I do tell people that the money is for the construction of a mosque, they make fun of me and pass offensive comments such as ‘how can you people build a mosque.’”