The last two decades have shown an increasing need of Muslims seeking religious communities and spaces free from discrimination, exclusion, violence, and oppression, as well as those who seek inclusive, critical Muslim communities otherwise.
This has become particularly apparent through the creation of inclusive or women’s mosque initiatives across the globe, as well as through the increasing amount of (theological) literature being published on subjects such as Islam and gender or on the ambiguity existing within the Islamic tradition.
Inspired and motivated by this trend, and as a response to both her own need and that of others, Alina founded an autonomous collective called “Haar Minaret” in 2017 in The Netherlands. Since then, this space has been serving as a safe and inclusive spiritual haven for whomever is in need of it.
Out of the desire to be more sustainable and to ensure that the Haar Minaret collective serves those that are in need of such space but are currently beyond their reach, this project aims to leverage the use of technology by building an online community platform, and to reinvent democratic spaces through alternative online community organizing.
The project encompasses four components:
- A website will be used to create an online community platform for increased visibility and will ensure access for those who are in need of this space.
- Documentation of the gatherings and on-going conversations will form the basis of an online archive to enable community members to anonymously share the content of the gatherings and archive past activities as well as share reflections.
- The online community will allow for the manifestation of an independent and autonomous voice and for participants to be active creators of their own narrative and represent themselves. This will take the form of articles, pieces of art, and other forms of creative expression.
- This online platform will transform the on-going creative and collaborative conversations into an online toolkit whereby language is created and constructed through which daily Muslim experiences on the margins can be articulated. It will serve as a tool to process personal challenges and traumas as well as a method to amplify the ideas, thoughts, and experiences expressed during the gatherings.
Expanding Haar Minaret from an offline non-visible community to an online visible platform ensures increased access to its ideas, work and community. Through its online presence the Haar Minaret community is able to reach those that are looking for alternatives to existing Muslim communities, create representation for a new type of Muslim community that is growing by the year, become active creators of their own narrative and amplify individuals who are posing questions and looking for alternatives but do not know whether they exist.
Finally, the online Haar Minaret community participates in democratic placemaking by ensuring that its voice becomes one of the multiple voices present, and the Haar Minaret community becomes one of the many options Muslims can choose from.
Updated November 2022