muhsin-hendricks

A gay Imam starts an LGBT-friendly mosque and support group in Cape Town, South Africa.

Even as various Christian denominations are constantly debating and reflecting on their traditional perspectives on homosexual relations, Islam has maintained a firm stand on being against gay rights. The fight for gay rights in Islam is far from being strong, and the few voices that do fight for them in the Muslim community are not truly heard.

However, even if Islam has managed to silence those who have been trying to fight for gay rights, one Imam made a historic move which is so daring, it may put him at odds with the entire Muslim community all over the world. He runs a mosque that is open to gay Muslims.

Imam Muhsin Hendricks, who is gay himself, believes God cannot be so cruel as to create people who are gay, only to label them as evil people later. He comes from a very devout and orthodox Islamic household. In fact, his grandfather has been the Imam of one of Cape Town’s most important mosques. Hendricks, just as any devout Muslim would, got married and had children, seeking to settle in normal, religious life. However, with time he realized, his life is not in sync with his orientation and eventually, he separated from his family.

Hendricks chose to remain a devout Muslim and decided to use his Islamic training to become the spiritual guide for Cape Town’s gay Muslims. Although the city is one of the most gay-friendly in the world, its Muslims are as conservative about homosexuality as anywhere else. Naturally, he faces stiff opposition from other Muslim leaders from the city. Hendricks, however, goes about his religious duties, undaunted.

Hendricks founded a support group for gay Muslims who have been banished by Islamic leaders called “The Inner Circle.”

Although Hendricks believes an all-merciful God cannot hate his gay children, the fact remains Islam still explicitly bans homosexuality. The Quran itself makes it clear that homosexuality should not be tolerated in the community. How progressive Muslims like Imam Muhsin Hendricks will be able to find a common ground between their faith which is intolerant towards homosexuality, just as Judaism and Christianity, and their own perception of a God who accepts all people equally, is the big question.

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