Within the next year, the first-ever openly gay Imam plans to open an LGBT-friendly mosque in Australia.
After coming out as gay in 2010, Nur Warsame, in an interview with ABC News, has now revealed that he wants to open up a mosque that will also serve as a safe house and counseling center for Muslims who are members of the LGBT community.
According to Nur, he has been receiving a lot of calls, mostly asking for help, in what he described as “avalanche of misery” among Muslim LGBTs who have no support group or a safe space where they could celebrate who they are.
Imam Nur, who originally hailed from Somalia, added that there are about a dozen of LGBT Muslims that he had taken under his supervision and had given temporary shelter due to the fact they had been kicked out of their homes. His reason for helping them is that he believes that a safe space is essential for these people to know themselves better. He added that with a supportive environment, the transition of LGBT people in accepting who they are would likely be faster.
Per Pink News report, the majority of Muslims in Australia still don’t accept LGBT people. In fact, Muslim LGBTs also find it hard to come out since anti-gay discrimination and violence are still rampant in Islam
Imam Nur explained that there are a number of reasons why Muslim LGBTs do not come out. One is that there is the family name they need to protect. Also, the community where these people came from also needs to be taken into account.
“The reason it’s difficult for people to come out in the Muslim world or Islamic communities is because the losses are too high, the risks are too great, I mean there is even a risk to your life because the conservative school of thought in Islam to counter homosexuality is to be killed.”
Despite this ordeal, Imam Nur is still optimistic that this would change; maybe not now but in the future.
Imam Nur’s proposed mosque will be built in Melbourne, Australia, and according to him, he already had initial talks with some local officials to ensure that the mosque will be built in a safe and secure location. He said his ideal mosque is a place providing healing and addressing issues such as homelessness, mental health, self-harm, and addiction.
Through this initiative, which he planned for four years, Imam Nur looks forward to greater strides in the acceptance of LGBT people within the Muslim community.