CAIRO – As more American states legalize same-sex marriage, a Muslim imam is marrying gay couples in what he considers a progressive interpretation of the Qur’an and Islamic teachings.
“Our mosque is just different,” imam Daayiee Abdullah told The Washington Post.
“I have a slightly different vision of Islam, and it may take a while for the world to catch up.”
Daayiee, who converted to Islam twenty years ago, has been conducting marriage ceremonies for gay Muslims in Washington.
The openly gay imam, who runs Light of Reform mosque in Washington, is also conducting funeral rites for dead gay Muslims.
Daayiee, of African origin who is thought to be the only publicly gay imam in the Western Hemisphere, is part of a larger movement of people calling themselves progressive Muslims.
“He’s like the Harvey Milk of gay Muslim leaders in America,” said Abdelilah Bouasria, an American University adjunct professor of Arab sociology.
Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
“It’s important Americans know that there are many progressive Muslims.”
Progressive Muslims are a new movement in North America that seeks to create what they call a modern and more inclusive Muslim populace at home with modernity and secularism.
“We asked: ‘Aren’t there any Muslims who are for women’s reproductive rights, for LGBTQ rights, for the separation of religion and state?’ ” said Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values, a Los Angeles-based group founded in 2007.
“There were, but many progressive Muslims felt they were being left out of their own faith,” said Zonneveld, whose group has nine chapters across the country and abroad.
Several American states have recently legalized same-sex marriages.
But many Muslims condemn the new trend as a perverted interpretation of Islamic teachings.
“I disagree with Imam Daayiee’s interpretation of the Qur’an,” imam Johari Abdul-Malik, executive committee member of the Council of Muslim Organizations in Greater Washington, told The Washington Post.
“So I challenge him to take care of those who follow him.”
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
Former Pope Benedict XVI had called for defending humanity against the threat posed by homosexual behaviors, warning homosexual acts could lead to the self-destruction of the human race.