Australia’s first openly gay Islamic imam is planning to open a mosque for same-sex attracted Muslim teenagers.
Nur Warsame, who publicly revealed his sexuality in 2010, wants to set up a haven in Melbourne for young Muslims whose socially-conservative families have shunned them.
The Somali-born imam, who was married with a daughter, say he is dealing with an ‘avalanche of misery’ and is in talks with philanthropists to build a refuge mosque in an undisclosed inner-city location for Muslims who have experienced violence from their families and their community.
‘I had seven people housed at my one-bedroom apartment … because it was life or death for them,’ he told the ABC, adding 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.’
Mr Warsame is in talks with Victoria Police to build his gay-friendly mosque.
Homosexuality is forbidden under Sharia law, a strict Islamic legal system that proscribes the death penalty for gay sex, also known as ‘lut’.
Sunni Muslims, in particular, derive their teachings from Abu Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet Mohammad, who said: ‘If you find someone who is committing an act of the commitment of lut, kill the one on the top and the one below.’
While fundamentalist Christians denounce homosexuality as a sin, Australia is also home to several fundamentalist Muslim groups that graphically condemn same-sex attraction.
They include the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, a Sunni group, whose Wollongong-based sheikh Jamil El-Biza in September described gay marriage as ‘evil’ and described same-sex attracted men as ‘f****ts’ to his 3,700 Facebook followers.
The areas of Australia with the highest Muslim population voted overwhelmingly against gay marriage in last year’s postal vote survey, with the western Sydney seat of Watson, which includes Lakemba, returning a 70 per cent No vote.