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South Africa's openly gay Imam comfortable with role

South Africa

Musin Hendricks is South Africa’s openly gay Imam, who leads a devoted congregation of lesbian and gay muslims.

Hendricks was brought up in an orthodox home. Today he is free to present himself as gay as he enjoys the freedoms of the South African constitution.

He says he is ready to die for what he believes.

“I got divorced at the age of 29 after being married for six years. That was the point where I just felt – no more double life. I needed to be authentic with myself, and part of that authentic process was to come out,” Mushin Hendricks, Imam of South Africa’s gay mosque said.

Muhsin Hendrick has always dreamt of following his father’s footsteps to become an Imam.

In his Cape Town based mosque, Friday is dedicated to prayer but there is no distinction between women and men. Muslims who feel rejected due to their sexual orientation find solace in this mosque.

“I choose to be in a place where I feel welcomed and where I can be a part of the community, where I can have a relationship with God and a healthy one, and not feel like I am part of sin all the time,” one of the members said.

Muhsin’s gay mosque even goes ahead to bless future couples in a move that has been heavily criticised by some.

“How can you be homosexual? It is forbidden. And it is your duty as an Imam or as a Muslim to go and speak to them and say ‘no it cannot be,”
Imam of the Mowbray mosque, Yusuf Pandy said.

Despite facing discrimination, Muhsin Hendricks says he will not give up saying he believes one day his fellow imams will recognise him and his mosque.

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