The first gay Imam, Daayiee Abdullah, claims the Quran does not specifically mention punishment of homosexuals.
His statement comes in light of crackdowns of gay pride rallies in Muslim countries. “Nowhere in the Quran does it say punish homosexuals,” he declared. “And historians have also never found any case of the Prophet Muhammad dealing with homosexuality.”
Other Imams and Muslims refuse to meet this “radical” man. Others lashed out because he allows men and women to pray next to each other. He also allows women to lead in prayers.
“We do not limit people by their gender or their sexual orientation, or their particular aspect of being Muslim or non-Muslim,” he explained. “They’re there to worship.”
He came out to his parents when he was 15 but did not convert to Islam until he was 33. After becoming an Imam, he performed a funeral for a gay Muslim that died of AIDS. No other imam would agree to perform the body cleaning ritual, which “pained him very badly.”
A gay-friendly mosque recently opened in Paris. Openly gay Imam Muhsin Hendricks regularly preaches in Cape Town, South Africa. He also believes “homosexuality and Islam are not contradictory.”
Most Muslim countries do not tolerate LGBT identity as a legal right. Even nations previously more lenient to gay rights, like Turkey, have seen Islamist elements advocate for the oppression of gay rights. This weekend, Turkish police attacked peaceful gatherers at the annual Istanbul gay pride parade with rubber bullets and water cannons. Ironically, the water canons displayed a beautiful rainbow over the marchers.
“The wonderful thing about God is that when you change your attitude, and say, ‘God, I require some help,’ and mean it earnestly, God is dependably there for you,” said Abdullah.