January 31, 2013 Special Dispatch No. 5159

Imam In U.S. Mosque: Islam Does Not Ban Homosexuality

January 31, 2013
Special Dispatch No. 5159

Several reports have been published recently on observant Muslims, most of them living in the West, who are openly gay and believe that there is no conflict between their religious faith and their homosexual lifestyle. A young Muslim of Algerian origin has opened a mosque in Paris where Muslim gays and lesbians can pray and even marry, and where women worship alongside men and are not obliged to wear a head scarf.[1] The liberal website Elaph published an interview with Daayiee 'Abdallah, the imam of the Nour Al-Islah ("Light of Reform") mosque in Washington DC. 'Abdallah, a declared homosexual who is married to a Muslim man, rejected the prevalent view that Islam forbids homosexual relations, and expressed his hope that the Arab Spring would bring about an improvement in the situation of gays in the Arab world. Conversely, Kuwaiti cleric Nabil Al-'Awdi condemned "the spread of homosexuality which threatens Muslim youths everywhere," and also lambasted homosexuals for "demanding that Muslim clerics issue fatwas sanctioning gay relations."[2]

The following are excerpts from the interview with Daayiee 'Abdallah:[3]

Imam Daayiee 'Abdallah

Question: "You are an imam, Daayiee 'Abdallah. How can you support gay marriage?"

Answer: "I try to present Islam from a modern perspective that is in concert with the rapid developments in the world. There is no doubt that gay marriage is one of the aspects of an open [brand of] Islam. I have been promoting this idea for some time, and I renew this call today, on the second anniversary of the establishment of the Nour Al-Islah mosque..."

Question: "Doesn't the Koran completely forbid homosexuality?"

Answer: "The Muslims interpret the story of Lot[5] without understanding its meaning. It does not say that sexual relations between men are forbidden..."

Question: "Has the Nour Al-Islah mosque become the house of prayer for Muslim homosexuals in the U.S.?"

Answer: "The Nour Al-Islah mosque is a sanctuary for Muslim American gays and lesbians, [but] it is also a place for everyone: Muslims and non-Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists. We approach people without prejudice, trying to build bridges among individuals from all sectors, cultures and races. Our mosque is affiliated with the Muslims for Progressive Values association,[6] so we welcome everyone: gay or straight, black or white. If you declare that 'there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet,' [we will accept you], and nobody will ask you about anything else... The Muslims for Progressive Values [association] has 700 members and over 3,000 supporters. We have 150 members in Washington [DC] alone. All of them believe that gays should be free to marry and that a Muslim woman has the right to marry a non-Muslim man, and [support] similar causes that traditional Islamic [circles] oppose. We have branches in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington DC, Ohio, Texas and Michigan, and also in Canada – in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. A few months ago we opened a new branch in Paris..."

Question: "Are you connected with the Arabs who established a mosque for homosexuals in France?"

Answer: "We agree with them regarding the rights of gay Muslims and their right to open a mosque of their own, where they can worship Allah without constraints, but we do not operate with [the French activists] as a single group. Our ambition is to open [branches] in more countries..."

Question: "What about Arab countries?"

Answer: "The rights of gays in the Arab world are withheld and violated. I hope that the Arab Spring will help them attain their rights and that Arab society will accept them... The future belongs to the young generations that believe in liberalism and progress."


[1], November 30, 2012.

[2] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), January 23, 2013.

[3], January 17, 2013.

[4] Image:, accessed January 29, 2013.

[5] Koran 7:80-81 says: "And [remember] Lut [Lot], when he said to his people: 'Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the worlds? Verily, you practice your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds." Several other passages in the Koran convey a similar message.

[6] Daayiee 'Abdallah is on the board of this association. For its website, see:

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