And this is Mogamat.

Mogamat who is 47, who is cisgender, who is queer, who is a man, no specific order, here for your questions, here for some answers.

Born and raised in Port Elizabeth, in an orthodox muslim community, Mogamat knew from an early age that his sexuality, his homosexuality, was taboo. Yes he knew.

The community held and still holds a lot of respect for his family. Perhaps because they were in the ‘mosque business’. They would hold a madrassa (quranic school). In his house, Sheikhs would teach and preach, sometimes against homosexuality. It was hard to listen. It was hard because what one learns in the madrassa is crucial to their faith and knowledge of islam. And it was hard because Mogamat knew the Sheikhs obviously knew there were queer kids in the room. Yes they knew.

So Mogamat kept it quiet. Because the way people see you is the way they are going to relate to your family. And you don’t want to harm your family’s reputation.
He grew up. Kept it quiet. He would go out for a boogie in the gay clubs of P.E.. But at home, shhhhh. Quiet.
He got engaged with a woman. On his way to proposing her, he asked Allah to send him a sign. He got into a car accident. And for a sign, that was a loud one. 
But not loud enough. Because he still did propose. Eventually, her family opposed the union.
But fair enough. Looking back at it, it would have been unfair to her, to have married. It would have been a lie.

Since then, Mogamat has stopped lying. Instead of keeping quiet, Mogamat has become loud.

He came out to his family. He started working for Out Prejudice, an LGBTI non-profit.  
Doubly proud, muslim and queer, Mogamat became an MC for his mosque’s youth organisation.
Today, Mogamat is an MC for drag queen pageants. Two worlds collide.
Mogamat thinks queer entertainment should always come with a drop of advocacy.
Today, still out, Mogamat keeps fighting prejudice. In Wynberg, Cape Town, for the Inner Circle. A muslim LGBTI mission.
Since he knows, now you know too. You know what loud is and how loud one can be.

Nobody said being vocal was easy.
Some people call him heretical, call him a bad muslim.
And for his fellow muslims, or for any believer, he asks questions to answer.
Why would his identity be competing with his faith?
How well do you know your Qu’ran, your scriptures? On what ground can you belittle him?
Among the almost 2 millions hajj pilgrims every year, how can you tell the straight from the gay?
If Allah does not like the gays, the queers, how come does he give them sun for pride every year?

Now Mogamat is tired of people’s bullshit. He’s done with vanity. The greatest of all sins.
Those believers who tell others how to believe, who hopelessly end up stealing God’s word. Misleading the masses. Misleading themselves.
Take ISIS, that throws gay men or suspected gay men from a roof. Are they acting on behalf of Allah or are they acting as Allah?
Same goes for all these Sheikhs and imams who in the mosque comfortably preach against the gay, but who, outside of such walls, would never do so. Too afraid of the law.

Religious leaders have taken the faith away from the faithful. They have disrupted the link between Allah and the people.
Now it’s up to the latter to rebuild it. Connect back with Allah. Stop relying on misleaded leaders. Grab the Book. Educate yourself. Be true to yourself. Allah will never put on your way things you cannot handle. Whatever you are, whomever you love, do it proudly, do it faithfully.

Do it “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”

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