Could This Be America’s First Out Imam?

12.23.2013

By Matthew Breen

The services by the first gay imam in the Americas are unorthodox and include side-by-side prayer for men and women, and same-sex marriages.

Could this be the first openly gay Muslim imam in the Americas?

So says a tweet by Al Jazeera journalist Femi Oke.

According to the Al Jazeera site, “He’s been condemned by other Muslim leaders, and some local imams have even refused to greet him. But Imam Daayiee Abdullah -- believed to be the only openly gay imam in the Americas -- is proud of his story.”

“He was born and raised in Detroit, where his parents were Southern Baptists. At age 15, he came out to them. At 33, while studying in China, Abdullah converted to Islam, and went on to study the religion in Egypt, Jordan and Syria. But as a gay man in America, he saw that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Muslims had unmet spiritual needs and he became an imam to provide community support.”

In his services at the Light of Reform Mosque in Washington, D.C., men and women kneel and pray together, an act that is strictly forbidden in nearly all mosques worldwide. And he's performed as many as 50 same-sex marriages in his 13 years as imam.

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