Imam Daayiee Abdullah
’95, who runs a more inclusive mosque in Washington, D.C. called Light of Reform Mosque, was featured in The Washington Post's Style
"I think we’re at the start of a movement: a more inclusive Islam in America,” says Abdullah, who runs Washington’s Light of Reform mosque and is thought to be the only publicly gay Muslim leader in the Western Hemisphere.
"So if you have any same-sex marriages,” he says with a soft smile and a shrug, "I’m available.”
Abdullah, an African American convert to Islam who is part of a national
network of progressive Muslims, is the keeper of their secrets. He
quietly helps gay Muslim couples get married, counseling them beforehand
and keeping the ceremonies low-profile.
"He’s like the Harvey Milk of gay Muslim leaders in America,” says Abdelilah Bouasria, an American
University adjunct professor of Arab sociology, who recently developed a
syllabus for a proposed class called "Forbidden Middle East.” "It’s
important Americans know that there are many progressive Muslims.”
Alam, a Muslim activist formerly based in D.C. and now on the steering
committee of the recently formed Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender
Diversity, said Abdullah has been "immensely helpful for individuals who
are trying to reconcile our sexuality with our faith.”