One day on a golf course with actor-comedian Jack Benny in the late s, song-and-dance man Sammy Davis Jr. Davis was an African-American convert to Judaism who lost an eye in an auto accident.
But Davis' refusal to let any obstacle block his way to stardom became an inspiration for the world. Davis' story came to mind after the Sunday early-morning massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Suddenly Muslim Imam minister Daayiee Abdullah became one of the most Daayiee abdullah homosexuality and christianity clergy in America. Abdullah, 62, is this country's first openly gay imam. Born Sidney Thompson to a black Baptist family in Detroit, the former public interest lawyer directs the Mecca Institute, an online learning and research center in Washington, D.
How many gay imams are there in the world? That's more than I thought, yet so few that Abdullah understandably joked with his South African counterpart, Imam Muhsin Hendricks, that, "You take care of the eastern hemisphere, I'll handle the west.
Recent surveys by the Pew Research Center and Public Religion Research Institute find American Muslims are more opposed to homosexual conduct than almost all other religious groups, except evangelical Christians, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Yet because the Quran does not explicitly condemn homosexuality, progressive scholars like Abdullah point to various passages to argue that the Quran acknowledges and accepts same-sex relationships.
Such issues took on new and tragic relevance for the rest Daayiee abdullah homosexuality and christianity us after gunman Omar Mateen, an Afghan-American born in New York City, killed 49 and wounded more than 50 others at the nightclub and claimed to be doing it on behalf of the Islamic State.
Various reports raised questions about the killer's sexuality. Twice married to women, he reportedly frequented the club and sought out gay men on social networks in the weeks before the massacre. Without speculating about Mateen's state of mind, Abdullah acknowledged that the unfolding details sounded familiar.
Others are so unhappy that they later get divorced and that new honesty with themselves "changes their lives for the better. It is easy for non-Muslims to criticize responsible Muslim voices for to denounce Islamic terrorism.
Yet, it is difficult to find those voices quoted in mainstream media when they do speak out. This time, amid the cultural cross-currents of gay politics and Islamic terrorism, Abdullah feels encouraged by a new sense of anti-terrorist solidarity between the Muslim and LGBT communities.
For example, Abdullah noted, he was invited for the first time by a major Islamic organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to represent gay Muslims at an interfaith memorial event. Yet change must also come within the Muslim community, Abdullah points out. Condemnations of Islamophobia, he said, must be accompanied by condemnations of gender inequality and homophobia within Muslim communities too.
Members of the LGBT community have enough handicaps.
In return, all communities need to encourage the cooperation that helps to expose possible radical activities to law enforcement agencies. That's what happens when you build bridges to ethnic communities, not walls.
Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www. Clarence Page Contact Reporter.
Beat that for a handicap. Religion and homosexuality have been seen as incompatible to one another One case concerns the first openly gay imam in the U.S.A; Daayiee Abdullah. Muslim Imam Daayiee Abdullah is one of few out gay imams and is encouraging other Meaning, eight are openly gay in a religion known more often to be openly hostile to same-sex marriage and to homosexual conduct.