Today is the International Day against Homophobia. In general, it is strange that this phenomenon still exists, because gay people are everywhere, and no matter how different medieval figures try to “cure” or kill them, it is impossible. Representatives of LGBT [and there are still a bunch of letters, as is now fashionable] are gradually winning recognition for themselves, and such events as the legalization of same-sex marriages in Taiwan, no longer cause anyone to tremble. Today, even the state media of fraternal China allow themselves to openly express support for homosexuals.

Sadly, religion remains the main stronghold of the fight against gays. But not all. Catholics in recent years have become more tolerant of the LGBT community, especially with the arrival of Pope Francis. Protestants (in any case, European) do not care who cares about sleeping with anyone. But in the Orthodox and especially Islamic environment, gay people are still being stigmatized. In Muslim countries, particularly in Iran and Saudi Arabia, Sharia still provides for the death penalty for same-sex contacts.

But what should a devout Muslim do if he is gay? It’s simple: you have to live in Canada!

For example, in Toronto there is the Unity Mosque (“Unity Mosque”), where LGBT Muslims come to the Friday prayer. To be precise, this is not exactly a mosque, but a chapel in one of the office buildings. Its location is kept secret for the safety of visitors.

But the worst thing (from the point of view of Islam) is not even that gays can come here. After all, gays also go to ordinary mosques, they simply do not reveal themselves. The worst thing is that in the “Mosque of Unity” many important rules for the faithful Muslim are ignored.

For example, women pray with men. Moreover, there is no dress code: you can come at least in shorts, and women do not need to cover their heads. Even worse, any of those present can call for prayer and hold it. Yes, even a woman. And the main nightmare: even a non-Muslim can come here to prayer. Just watch and chat with your Muslim friends. 

Lebanese artist Yara El-Safi moved to Canada in 2001.

How do you do that?

Yes, such a mosque could appear only in Canada. El-Faruk Khaki, a migrant of Indian origin from Tanzania, became one of the founders of the chapel. He and her husband, Troy Jackson:

Photo: Daniel Ehrenworth The.

Unity Mosque parishioners are confident that their version of Islam is true Islam, but they recognize that for most Muslims it is marginal.

Thanks to the activities of Khaki and the co-founder of the Unity Mosque, Samra Habib, chapels open to the LGBT community also appeared in other cities of Canada, particularly in Vancouver and in Calgary.

Samra Habib. Photo: Sammy Rawal.

But, for example, in Calgary, the chapel wanders from one room to another for security purposes. Sometimes prayers are held in coffee houses or at someone’s home, and in summer – just outside. LGBT Muslims are forced into hiding because of the constant threats and attempts of “ordinary” Muslims to obtain lists of worshipers. One of the members of the community, parents even kicked out of the house and promised to kill if he returns.

But Khaki continues to work and believe that he is doing everything right.