GAY imam Nur Warsame plans to open Australia’s first ever homosexual mosque that will welcome lesbian gay bi-sexual and transsexual (LGBT) worshippers in Melbourne as well as serve as a safe house and counselling centre.
Imam Warsame who is openly gay, said he came up with the idea after being inundated with cries for help from gay Muslims who feel they have nowhere to turn. He used to lead a mosque in Melbourne and came out as the country’s first openly gay Muslim leader in 2010 and since then has been cut off by the Islamic community.
“I have been dealing with young people who have been excommunicated from their families. That is when you have a problem.
“The idea is a place to provide healing and address the homelessness, the mental health issues, the self-harm issues, addiction issues. This is a plan that I have had for four years and thankfully we will see a tangible outcome soon,” Imam Warsame added.
A dedicated Muslim, who is a Hafiz. or someone who knows the Quran off by heart, Imam Warsame added that he used to be married but refused to continue living a double life. He no longer attends mosques but said he hopes to transform a building in Melbourne into a safe house and counselling centre for gay Muslims, as well as a place of worship.
Imam Warsame said: “This was a matter of life and death for some LGBT Muslims, who were left living in fear of violence after coming out as gay. I had a problem with people leading a double life, being married as well as being gay or rejecting their spirituality, so I thought I would find a platform somewhere in the middle.
“We have had some support from the state government but bureaucracy and intentions are never the same. However, I am optimistic and I hope to have it achieved this year. I have had several people contact me from London who have issues reconciling their sexuality with their spirituality and this is happening on a very large scale.”
He added that he felt the root of the problem came from certain old religious texts that presented homosexuality as a sin. Imam Warsame said that safe, affordable housing was one of the key needs for many gay Muslims and recalled how he once had seven people staying in his one bedroom apartment as they had nowhere else to go.
Sydney Queer Muslims have welcomed Imam Nur’s plans, with its president Nurul Huda saying some of the group’s members who were devoutly religious, had experienced violence at the hands of those closest to them, while others were ostracised from their communities. When operational, this proposed mosque would offer services including medical facilities for LGBT people and a police station and Imam Nur, who is looking to secure funding for the plan, hopes one day to also carry out gay Muslim marriages at the centre.