A gay imam has revealed plans to open an LGBTQ-friendly mosque.
Nur Warsame came out in 2010 and has now revealed plans to open the welcoming mosque in Melbourne.
Speaking to ABC, the Somalian explained that he decided to open a mosque that would be welcoming of the LGBTQ people after he faced an “avalanche of misery” from Muslim teenagers.
The imam is working closely with a number of philanthropists to build the mosque, which would also serve as a place of refuge for many young Muslims who’ve been ousted from their families and communities because of their gender or sexuality.
Warsame was previously housing teens in need in his one bedroom apartment because they had nowhere else to go.
He explained that often, the teens would be left without a place to turn to.
“I had seven people housed at my one-bedroom apartment because it was life or death for them.
He added that usually, they had to leave their family home “that day, then and there”.
“One of the most essential things that our young people need is safe, affordable housing.
“For young people to transition safely they cannot be in the environment that is causing them the trauma,” he added.
Having moved to the country from Somalia, Warsame runs secret groups for gay Muslims who aren’t ready to come out to their families.
According to The Feed, the majority of Muslims in Australia still don’t accept LGBT people.
Nur was married with a daughter, hiding the fact he was gay because of his religion. He said that coming out was a “difficult journey”.
He said: “Reconciling spirituality with sexuality is a very difficult journey.
“There’s the name of the family you have to protect, the name of the community you come from. The reason it’s difficult for people to come out in the Muslim world or Islamic communities is because the losses are too high, the risks are too great, I mean there is even a risk to your life because the conservative school of thought in Islam to counter homosexuality is to be killed.”
Nur added that he now wants to make it easier for young LGBT Muslims.
“I can’t see the future or what’s going to happen however there is that element of extremism in our community so I am very cautious and I’m not one who’s easily intimidated,” he said.
“And I have resources in place for safety and protection so I don’t walk into a storm unless I know which direction the wind is travelling.”
Zayna, 40, was beaten, threatened and humiliated because of her sexuality.
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She did not deny her true identity despite the abuse she had received before moving from Pakistan to the UK.
While studying for her PhD, Zayna said she was kicked out of university because fellow students said they thought she was “dangerous”.
At an Islamic school, she said she was forced by fellow staff to leave or face police action. She had started a relationship with a fellow teacher.
But staff said they would be reported to police as prostitutes if they did not end their relationship and leave.
Of an incident where her father abused her for spending time with another teenager, she said: “My father came upstairs and wanted to kill me and beat me like anything.
“He told me how to behave. That was the first time I felt unsafe in my own home.
“I still have that horrible pain in my lower back and can’t walk properly.”
The graduate says she is still a practising Muslim and that her sexuality and her religion are both important to her.