A Washington Imam has become a local hero amongst the gay community as he quietly conducts marriage ceremonies for gay Muslim couples.
Imam Daayiee Abdullah is a progressive Muslim and America's first openly gay Imam. The African-American Islamic convert is a specialist in Sharia law: however, his interpretation of the Koran differs from the mainstream Islamic view of homosexuality.
The Washington Post conducted an interview with Abdullah who runs Washington's Light of Reform Mosque. He said "if you have any same-sex marriage, I’m available." The Imam revealed he has conducted low-profile wedding ceremonies for gay Muslim couples, which could lead to repercussions if details emerged.
One Muslim man who was married to his partner by Abdullah explained: “Our relatives could be killed, their homes destroyed back in the Middle East if our wedding was on the Internet.”
Abdullah is a member of the Los Angeles based group Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) which has nine chapters. MPV promotes equal rights and "endorse the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals." It also supports women's rights, universal human rights and free speech.
Last year the first gay-friendly mosque opened in Paris but leading French Islamists insisted it would remain outside the Muslim community as "homosexuality is condemned in 13 verses of the Koran."