After a crazy news week, it takes a lot to get our attention, but here’s one that has left us dumbfounded.
Via CBC Canada, there’s word of a new, “gay-friendly mosque” opening in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Since gay tolerance and Islam aren’t usually in the same sentence, how exactly is this going to work?
And though it may not be in the Middle East, what will keep worshipers safe from extremists? Seems like they would make a choice target for the ISIS / al-Qaeda crowd (and plenty of fringe adherents have settled in Ontario and Quebec).
According to CBC, it will be a church within a church, as the mosque will be located inside a Unitarian Universalist parish.
He hopes it will welcome people with a range of sexual identities. Many Muslims live in countries where being gay is a crime. Often, they come to Canada to escape persecution.
Hussein was invited to the Universal Unitarian Church on Halifax’s Inglis Street to talk during Pride. “I was really blown away: the community offered us their space whenever we needed it to run our mosque,” he told CBC.
A safe space for worship
“I don’t want to feel like I’m usurping other Muslim spaces,” he says.
“If they believe that their community is offering them an inviting, comfortable space, a spiritual space, a space in which they can identify in, I don’t want to mess with that.
But for those of us who don’t feel we fit in those spaces, and want a space that affirms and values the ideals we believe in … there should be a space for that, too.”
He said “queer” covers anyone who doesn’t fit a narrow heterosexual definition. He argues that homophobia was brought into Islam, and isn’t a natural part of it.
“Now, queer Muslims are having to reclaim space that they may have in the past,” he said.
“We know sexuality is not stable. Everyone isn’t the same way during their entire lives. To lock yourself into ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ means you’re denying your own capacity for change, for evolution.”
In addition, can they be safe from trouble with the other five mosques in Halifax? This should be interesting.
(Top image: CBC News, lower image is of an existing mosque already established in Halifax)