Imam Nur Warsame, the first openly gay Imam in Australia, is currently looking to open the first mosque for LGBT+ Muslims in Australia, ensuring it will be in a safe and secure location in Melbourne city.
A Somali-born devout Muslim who memorised the Quran in addition to leading one of the largest mosques in Melbourne in the past, Imam Nur had stopped attending mosques and had the Muslim community cut all ties with him after he came out gay in 2010. As a result, he became an activist for the LGBT+ Muslims.
On the reason that led him to open an LGBT+-friendly mosque, Nur said that LGBT+ Muslims need a safe place to live and worship other than usual mosques where they might face the threat of being killed or bullied. Moreover, Nur said he used to have LGBT+ Muslims to stay at his house after they had to leave their homes and face death threats from family and community.
"I had seven people housed at my one-bedroom apartment ... because it was life or death for them. They had to leave [their homes] that day, then and there.”
While it is still debatable among Muslims whether being gay is compatible with being a Muslim or not, Nur said earlier that it is “absolutely OK” as the interpretations of the Quran and how it rejects homosexuality are “outdated”.
Nur, who was married in an attempt to fit in, said that Muslims need to face the homosexuality problem and stop using the outdated ways of thinking.
“We have a problem and we need to address it and if we are going to do it this time, we need to do it right.”
With the Sydney Queer Muslims welcoming Nur’s plan to launch a friendly-LGBT+ mosque, the idea found many supporters as well as critics among the Muslim community.
In fact, homosexuality is still a controversial issue in several religions and communities. Some people have been seen turning more open toward accepting the LGBT+ community in Islam as well as other religions.
Some perceive it as a medical condition that needs addressing more than just rejecting it, others argue there is no explicit mention about it in the Quran or even about its punishment.
However, others disagreed. They applauded Nur for his courage and his step in to help other LGBT+ members in the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, some people questioned Nur’s position as an “Imam” despite his sexual orientation that is his own personal freedom.
There are also those who argued that homosexuality is not only prohibited in Islam, as it was mentioned also in the Bible and Torah, where homosexulaity was percieved as a sin.
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