Meet the gay imam changing attitudes from within – FFA

An Islamic scholar who broke taboos when he got here out is empowering homosexual Muslims around the globe. Hate he was ready for, however the deluge of assist has caught him fairly unexpectedly

“The street much less travelled is all the time a lonely journey,” says Muhsin Hendricks.

Because the world’s first overtly homosexual imam he has skilled loads of rejection, however now he hopes {that a} new documentary – The Radical, charting his mission to advertise sexual range in Islam – can be a step in the direction of wider acceptance.

Hendricks got here out in 1996, aged 29, when he was already an imam, instructing in mosques and on the native madrasa (faculty). Hate he was prepared for. Extra stunning was the deluge of supportive messages – not least from a few fellow imams – and a realisation of the sheer variety of closeted homosexual Muslims.

He based an underground assist group – the Inner Circle – serving to homosexual Muslims reconcile their religion and sexuality.

He went on to determine the Masjidul Ghurbaah mosque, for “those that stay on the peripheries of Muslim society.” 

As an Islamic scholar with a level from the College of Islamic Research in Pakistan, Muhsin believes that homophobia is incompatible with the Qur’an’s depiction of a “merciful and compassionate” God, and that it has been embedded within the tradition by centuries of patriarchal interpretation.

As we speak, the Internal Circle has grown into a number one human rights nonprofit coping with gender and sexual range from an Islamic theological perspective. Hendricks facilitates workshops throughout Africa serving to imams attain a extra inclusive understanding of their religion.

The temper, he believes, is shifting. “We’re undoubtedly making progress. Queer Muslims are popping out a lot youthful and fogeys are supporting them.”

The Radical chronicles his work with fellow queer Muslim activists in nations the place they face oppression. Filmmaker Richard Finn Gregory stated the documentary portrays Hendricks’ “light method of attempting to vary Islam from inside”.

He added: “Witnessing his quiet energy and humour within the face of every thing that he has skilled makes him a really inspiring determine.” 

Picture: Richard Finn Gregory