Being Muslim and gay
Husein, who has an Iraqi father and Welsh mother, describes how his identity has room for both his sexuality and religious beliefs.
TRANSCRIPTHUSEIN: So, I was born and raised Muslim. My mother, as I mentioned, she’s Christian, and my uncle is a retired vicar, so I had some opening and exposure to Christianity, from that point of view, from that side. To me, it just felt natural. I know, myself, if I did something wrong or inappropriate, being gay is natural, like breathing, so I didn’t feel inappropriate at all. I didn’t feel conflict about being gay and Muslim at all – because I know myself. I mean, I know if I did something wrong, then I’d ask forgiveness for it. Being gay is not a choice, it’s something you’re born with. And that’s how I felt, at the time, and I am the type of person who follows sometimes his gut feeling rather than thinking, and I just went with it. So I was very comfortable being gay and Muslim.
INTERVIEWER: Do you attend mosque regularly?
HUSEIN: I attend mosque when I have the convenience to, sadly. I’m not a- a strict Muslim follower [unclear] I don’t have a change to go to prayers every week or pray five times a day, as much as I wish, but I do, now and again, when I can, twice, three times a year when I have the chance. But more avidly I attend interfaith workshops and lectures and seminars where they talk about Islam religion from a general point of view, and in particular Islam and being gay, or Islam and marriage, or interfaith seminars where they talk about multiple religions, for example Christianity, Islam and Judaism and… being interested in whatever aspect at the time. Sometimes they talk about what’s going on, or how history collides in the past, about what similarities they had between the religions. For example, there was this exhibition in London where they talked about the three major religions, the ones I mentioned, and they had really interesting exhibition where I learned a lot about the facts of each religion, and, or there was the other interfaith seminar where – held in London – where they talked about multiple aspects of each religion, for example talking about having females clerics, women clerics, and being gay is Islam and Judaism and Christianity, and how it is nowadays and how people feel about it. Those were really interesting and eye-opening, and I grew from them, from a personal perspective and a religious perspective.