Where Gay Muslims Come To Worship And Marry

Imam Daayiee Abdullah is in charge of Washington D.C.’s Light of Reform mosque, described on their website as: “A fully inclusive community that meets locally every Friday afternoon to pray, learn and support each other.”

Daayiee’s Place of Inner Peace, as it is also called, lists as #2 of its values:

Equality: We affirm the equal worth of all human beings, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, or ability.

This is not your average mosque, or even your average place of worship.

And Daayiee Abdullah is not your average religious leader. In fact, he is believed to be the only publicly gay Muslim leader in the Western hemisphere.

An African American convert to Islam, the Imam is a gay Muslim who has been fighting against discrimination and hatred towards gays and Muslims alike. Through a group called the Al-Fatiha Foundation, he has helped to raise awareness of the oppression of homosexuals in Islam, and he has also for many years been an example that one can be both gay and Muslim.

Here’s how The Washington Post described him recently:

Imam Daayiee Abdullah arrives by bus, sweaty and lugging a green bag stuffed with a Koran, two books of poetry by Persian mystic Rumi and three Islamic prayer rugs. Tonight, he’s speaking to a room full of young, gay activists and progressives after a screening of the documentary “I Am Gay and Muslim” at the Human Rights Campaign’s bright white Equality Center in downtown Washington.

But when the openly gay imam takes the stage, he stuns even this audience.

“I think we’re at the start of a movement: a more inclusive Islam in America,” says Abdullah, “So if you have any same-sex marriages,” he says with a soft smile and a shrug, “I’m available.”

Some young Muslims in attendance mumble, “Wow!” and “Seriously?”

As more states legalize same-sex marriage, it’s easy to forget that segments of society, particularly in immigrant communities, regard homosexuality as a potentially deadly secret — one rarely revealed to relatives in places like Sudan or Saudi Arabia, where being gay can be punishable by death.

Care2′s Steve Williams has covered such persecution around the globe: whether in Nigeria, Liberia or Uganda, being gay can be a death sentence.

By contrast, the Imam of this Washington, D.C. mosque helps gay Muslims get married and works to keep their ceremonies low-profile.

And the gay Muslims of D.C., as well as other religious leaders, love him for it.

From The Washington Post:

“He’s like the Harvey Milk of gay Muslim leaders in America,” says Abdelilah Bouasria, an American University adjunct professor of Arab sociology, who recently developed a syllabus for a proposed class called “Forbidden Middle East.” “It’s important Americans know that there are many progressive Muslims.”

As you might imagine, not everyone is thrilled with Abdullah. Many local imams ignore him, and if you google his name, you will find plenty of hostility to him, from those who believe he is not following the true course of Islam.

How did this Imam come to his progressive ideas? He grew up in Michigan, finished high school early, and attended Georgetown University, intending to become a lawyer. After he was kicked out of a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginia when they discovered he was gay, he moved to Washington, D.C. in 1979, for the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights as one of the coordinators.

He hasn’t looked back since.

What a powerful role model for gay Muslims, and for all of us.


Related Care2 Coverage

Gay? Know Someone Who Is? Someone In Nigeria Wants To Kill You

A New Year’s Wish From Ugandan Priests: It’s Time To Kill The Gays

A Mosque? Not In This New Jersey Town


Photo Credit: youtube video


Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

A brave man. I hope he has plenty of security. He'll need it. Thanks for the story, Judy!

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia4 years ago

Well, I hope no one kills him. I am amazed at his bravery.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S4 years ago

More power to him, though we must wonder why he even wants to be in this hateful ideology which is the most racist 'religion' we know of. Being black and gay? Why not just join the Ku Klux Klan? It was Muslims who were, and still are, the slavers who brutally captured virtually all of the black African slaves sold to western slave users (not to mention the 1.3 million white, Christian, European slaves they took and worked to death over 300 years until into the 1800s), and they still are doing this, as slavery is still condoned in Islam (Mohammed bought, sold, owned and traded them himself, along with owning a harem of sex slaves, also condoned by Allah).

There are Muslims who want Islam to renounce all the many teachings of hate and violence, but to change even one word of the qur'an is to admit it is false, and Islam can't do that. It can't be reformed without admitting it is false, and therefore it would lose virtually all of its followers. A Muslim leader recently admitted that Islam only has survived this long because it commands the killing of anyone who questions or criticizes or leaves it. Why would any sane person want to join a group like this? Makes Southern Baptists sound positively progressive!

Ge M.
Gillian M4 years ago

From the religion of peace

Islamic law teaches that homosexuality is a vile form of fornication, punishable by death. Beneath the surface, however, there are implied references to homosexual behavior in paradise, and it has been a part of historical Arab and Muslim culture.

Qur'an (7:80-84) - "...For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.... And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)"

Qur'an (7:81) - "Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you?"

Qur'an (26:165-166) - "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, "And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing"

Qur'an (4:16) - "If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone"

However, it is perfectly acceptable to have sex with pre-pubescent boys and this perversion is encouraged. In fact, suicide bombers have 72 doe eyed virgins and 12 pre-pubescent boys!

Laura Saxon
.4 years ago

Great article. Very inspiring.

Activist Inspireharmony

"Act of Faith" The passionate words of three men reveal a snapshot of the struggle of gay Muslims. Kyriell, an Imam's son, struggled with reconciling his love for men with his love for Islam and eventually came back to the faith. Pakistani-born Arslan saw no compromise in Islam and discarded his religion. Iftekar, a Muslim community leader, admits that Islam needs to be brought into the twenty-first century.

Paul H.
Paul H.4 years ago

To Billie C. is that after they are sodomized, which is having sex with another man, in case you didn't know. Don't think they will kill them, They would much rather screw them !

Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy4 years ago

Brave man.

holly masih
.4 years ago

Come to the mosque of boom bye bye.Babylon free Buju Banton!

pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Good luck to him--I hope he remains safe.