A gay local imam says he felt “sore” after the Muslim Judicial Council this week issued a fatwa condemning a gay lifestyle for followers of Islam.
Imam Muhsin Hendricks, executive director of the Al-Ghurbaah Foundation, formerly known as The Inner Circle, in Wynberg, believes the MJC statement was released in reaction to his documentary, Radical, about being the world’s first openly gay imam.
The MJC’s seven-point fatwa stated that Islam has no place for same-sex relationships, and those who live gay lifestyles are out of the fold of Islam.
“While it did not come as a complete shock, it has left me sore considering that it was released when we just had Pride Month,” says Hendricks.
“The fact they described it as a short fatwa indicates they did not give it much thought and they insist there is documentary proof (that being gay is haraam) but there is no such thing.
“The phrase homosexual was only coined in the 18th century and the Qu’ran has been around way longer before that, so how can there be scriptures condemning same-sex relationships?
“How is it possible to make a fatwa without considering the facts of the time, or without speaking to the community it affects?”
He says without proper consultation with the affected community, the MJC fatwa can cause more harm than good.
“The thing that bothers me about the whole issue is that they only look at the homosexual activity of everything when there is also sexual orientation to consider.
“As an openly gay man, I identify as somebody who feels more comfortable with my orientation but they are more focused on what goes on in my personal life.
“There are so many other issues that they should be concerned about instead of what moffies do behind closed doors.”
In their fatwa, the MJC said gay people who do not act on their feelings are still considered Muslim and should be welcomed in mosques.
But Hendricks says: “The fact that in 2011, an ‘inclusive’ mosque had to be established, sort of contradicts the statement of saying mosques are open to everybody. They state there is an open door policy but there are no open minds.”