First openly gay imam wants to help and support gay Muslims

openly gay imam

The Muslim man came out in 1996 when he was already an imam

When Islamic scholar Muhsin Hendricks came out as gay at age 29, it was met with a lot of hate and rejection. As the world’s first openly gay imam, he was prepared for that. Now, Hendricks wants to help and empower gay Muslims all across the world.


Muhsin Hendricks is an Islamic scholar with a degree from the University of Islamic Studies in Pakistan. And he beliefs that homophobia is not compatible with what the Qur’an states as a “merciful and compassionate” God. He believes that homophobia is something that has been embedded in the culture and that it comes from a patriarchal interpretation of the text. And now, the imam wants to work towards acceptance within the Islam. That is why he made a documentary called “The Radical”. A documentary that is supposed to promote sexual diversity in Islam.

But that is not all he is doing. Hendricks also wants to help gay Muslims with their struggles with faith and sexuality. He established his own mosque and set up a support group called ‘The Inner Circle’. According to Hendricks, things are changing. He told Positive News: “We are definitely making progress. Queer Muslims are coming out much younger and parents are supporting them.”


When Hendricks came out, he expected a lot of hate from others. But it turned out that there was a lot of support too. Other imams supported his message and Hendricks has gone on to give workshops across Africa to help fellow imams to be more inclusive in their faith. The filmmaker who has worked on the documentary with Hendricks said that he has a “gentle way of trying to change Islam from within” and called him an inspiring figure.

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Source: Positive News | Image: Unsplash, Arka Roy