Australia’s only openly gay Imam is pushing to develop an LGBTI-friendly mosque, safe house and counselling centre in Melbourne.
Imam Nur Warsame said many LGBTI Muslims have no safe spaces or appropriate support services, ABC News has reported.
Imam Nur said he is frequently contacted by young LGBTI Muslims who are struggling with family and community, and who are sometimes victims of violence.
“You are talking about an ideology that believes your repentance is to be killed as a gay person,” he said.
Nurul Huda, president of Sydney Queer Muslims, said many LGBTI people in the community conceal their sexuality or gender.
“One particular member is so scared that his parents will track him down to this story and will kill him … because they have tried before,” said Huda.
“I’ve seen the scars on his body from the beating. Are you saying that he’s the one going to Hell?”
Community leader Kuranda Seyit said conservative Imams need to be trained in dealing with family conflict and violence around LGBTI matters.
“Firstly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking by your principles. As a Muslim, my religion teaches me that homosexuality is not permissible and we stand by that,” he said.
“If somebody is threatening to kill that person or to beat them, it’s just as bad.
“I think you can’t justify a sin with a sin. We just need to be more pragmatic and open-minded in the way we deal with this.”
Imam Nur is currently working with philanthropists to obtain a building in inner Melbourne, and working with Victoria Police to ensure the facility will be in a safe location.
He said the location will be close to services he recommends to people, including an LGBTI-friendly medical centre.