Would Nigerian Muslims go to an LGBTI-friendly mosque?
Nur Warsame, who is Australia’s only openly gay Imam, says he wants to build a place that could also be safe house and counseling center.
He says this is important to him because of the “avalanche of misery” that many LGBTI Muslims who have no support services or safe spaces are dealing with.
ABC News reports that Warsame is really passionate because of the daily calls he gets from young Muslims who face violent resistance from their family and community.
In his words, “One of the 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.”
“I had seven people housed at my one-bedroom apartment … because it was life or death for them. They had to leave [their family home] that day, then and there.”
The Imam’s dream may soon be a reality as he is currently talking with philanthropists to secure a building in Melbourne’s inner city.
He is also working closely with the Victoria Police to get a secure location for the mosque.
Warsame’s dream is for the building to have a roof-shaped “like the dome of a mosque. Inside, that circle thing looks like a mihrab, which is where the Imam stands to pray."
“It is central, it is very close to a lot of the services I recommend people to Prahran Market Clinic, which is a medical center for LGBT people, the hospital is just up the road, the police station is also down the road.”
He was once an Imam in one of Melbourne’s largest mosques. This changed when he came out as gay in 2010.
In spite of the regular death threats, he remains a devout Muslim and a vocal advocate for the rights of LGBTI Muslims.