- December 13, 2013
Controversy is brewing in Canada’s Muslim community as a small group of Canadian Muslims plan to open a welcoming and affirming “Unity Mosque” in Halifax, Nova Scotia where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Muslims can be themselves while they pray.
Several imams, led by Imam Ibrahim Alshanti of the United Muslims of Halifax, dubbed the move “for these people” as “unnecessary,” though adding that, “everybody is welcome in the mosque regardless of race, color, gender, whatever."
“It's not so much that they're not welcome, but they can't affirm that aspect of their identity," says Syed Adnan Hussein, who is spearheading this project. As a result, many LGBT Muslims around the world continue struggling to reconcile their sexuality with a traditional representation of Islam that excludes them.
Imam Jamal Badawi, a professor emeritus at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, slammed the move, saying, “What the Qur'an says clearly, just like the Bible, that homosexuality is not accepted,” adding, “It is not regarded as the norm in terms of the needs of society and the relationship between men and women.” In the large majority of predominantly Muslim countries, sexual and gender minorities can legally be punished who they are and whom they love.
“We should not confuse the patriarchal norms of chauvinistic 7th century Arabian society with the core tenets Islam. The Qur’an, like the Bible, is rooted in the principles of equity and social justice,” says Michael Toumayan, manager of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program.
When LGBT Muslims are willing to build inclusive mosques, they demonstrate a deep commitment to the principles of Islam. They are the voice of the voiceless searching to reclaim the Islam that embraces diversity in its truest sense beyond nations and tribes. Surely, as the Qur’an clearly states, the most honored in Allah’s sight is the one who is the most righteous.