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Meet Australia’s First Openly Gay Imam

Meet Australia’s First Openly Gay Imam

For gay Muslims, sometimes “the losses are too high,” says Nur Warsame.

An Australian imam just became the country’s first Muslim religious leader to come out publicly as gay. In a May 2 interview, Nur Warsame spoke about how conservative Islam—which strongly condemns homosexuality—made fearful of reveal his sexual identity and nearly cost him his life.

“It was just trauma after trauma after trauma,” he said. “I did attempt suicide and thankfully, it didn’t work. I came back from that stronger.”

Warsame acknowledges the barriers gay Muslims face in coming out.

“The reason it’s difficult for people to come out in the Muslim world is because the losses are too high,” he said. “Reconciling spirituality with sexuality is a very difficult journey.”

The imam leads a small group for LGBT Muslims, guiding them through their faith and the coming-out process. “They just want to be heard,” he said.

The U.S.’s first openly gay Muslim imam, Daayiee Abdullah, came out in 2013.

While Australian government has advanced greatly on LGBT issues, including anti-discrimination protections and civil unions, same-sex marriage is still illegal in the country. The issue will be decided by nationwide referendum this year.

Hear Nur Warsame's story below:

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