Sunday, June 03, 2012
Openly homosexual Iman thinks homosexuality and Islam are compatible- supports Obama on same sex marriage
"Gay is OK", says Iman
Women lead prayers, homosexuals are accepted and same-sex marriages allowed: In the US, a group of liberal Muslims have more and more followers. One of their leaders is an openly gay imam.
He is patient. It just takes time for everything. Daayiee Abdullah sits in front of a still locked house on a small stone bench, waiting. Behind the seat, a ladder is leaning against the wall, which leads to a window frame a few feet above. There, a painter is painting with white paint, directly above him. Abdullah does not care. He is clothed in a long black robe, the prayer cap on his head, preferring to simply sit. It takes an hour for someone finally to come with the key. Now we can start.
Imam Daayiee Abdullah. And he's gay. Abdullah is one of the "Muslims for Progressive Values" (MPV), a group of liberal, devout Muslims who came together six years ago. Their belief: men and women have equal rights in Islam, they pray together, and women can lead the prayer, gays and lesbians are welcome, according to imams such as Daayiee Abdullah they can marry.
The group has risen steadily to about a thousand members in the community of 2.6 million Muslims in America. That's not many. But in some cities, groups have formed that meet in small, mostly improvised mosques for prayers.
In the capital, Washington, this is the house in front of which Imam Daayiee Abdullah has just been sitting on the stone bench. It belongs to the Quakers who on Fridays give the progressive Muslims a few rooms. Earlier, these took place in a public library. "There is a growing movement," says the 59-year-old Abdullah. If things go well, some 20 worshipers come to pray.
How can we reconcile Islam and homosexuality?
This Friday, there are only four of us. They unroll prayer mats in the Quaker House, pray and read from the Koran. "There is something in motion in Washington and around the world," Six-foot tall Abdullah said during his sermon. He chuckles when he is pleased with an effective combative statement. A giant laughing.
Abdullah is from Detroit where he grew up as a Baptist. Soon, he distanced himself from his religion - and during a study visit to Beijing, he adopted his new faith after contact with Chinese Muslims. His coming-out was already long behind him.
But how can homosexuality and Islam be reconciled? "The question was: How can I follow my faith and thereby be at peace with myself over the years, I then learned that Islam should be understood as a whole and not as uniformity. Various parts come together and produce a unity - like “a machine." Abdullah giggles again. In the Koran it is stated that Allah has created human beings in different colours. "This may be related not just to the appearance of a man."
And the critics? The resentment of Muslims who live by tradition?"There is usually opposition," says Abdullah dryly. "I read the same texts as they do, but they interpret them differently." Religion is alive, changing and developing steadily. "We can not apply the mindset of the 7th century to cope with life in the 21st century."
The change will come, one must only have patience, he says. He remembers previous trouble. "When a woman once wanted to lead the prayer, some men protested. I said. 'No problem, go away, let us pray' We prayed, and they found that the earth did not open up to swallow us. There were there at the next prayer session. "
Obama? "A feeling of elation"
There are such small success stories, to which Daayiee Abdullah clings. And sometimes there is a great one.
Like those of early May. Barack Obama appears on television, sitting in front of a U.S. flag and the seal of the U.S. President. The matter is completely official.
"For me personally, it is important to lead and to confirm that same-sex couples should be able to marry, "says the most powerful man in the world. The imam remembers the moment: "I have seen as a black man the first black president, how he made this statement as the holder of the highest office." This was a “great feeling”.
A day later, the progressive Muslims are sitting together in the House of the Quakers. Justin and Mohammed have come two years ago, Abdullah presided over their marriage, outside in the garden."I'm not really religious," says the 32-year-old Mohammed, who is from Syria: "But in terms of culture, I am a Muslim - and I think it's okay to be gay." Then there is Maliha. The 24-year-old has come as a small child with her Pakistani parents to the United States. Contact with the MPV has been made via the Internet, for a year, she has been coming for the past year.
Why? "Because I've noticed that my mentality does not fit together with that of the people in the mosque.” She has now met with Abdullah and Co. "I have a responsibility as a female Muslim, to do something about the discrimination against women and homosexuals. " Soon she begins law studies.
Then she wants to return to Pakistan. To make a difference.