Imam Daayiee Abdullah is a gay Muslim who has been fighting against discrimination and hatred towards homosexuals and Muslims alike.[1] Through a group called the Al-Fatiha Foundation, Abdullah has been active in this campaign, and has even been perceived by many as being at the front of this campaign.[2] Although there is much controversy, Abdullah has helped to raise awareness of the oppression of homosexuals in Islam, and is also viewed by many as a symbol of hope and evidence that one can be both gay and Muslim.[2]


Abdullah was born in 1954 as Sid Thompson in Detroit, Michigan.[3][4][5] His parents supported him, his six older brothers, his younger sister, and his oldest step-sister from his father’s first marriage to find religion despite his parent’s Southern Baptist beliefs.[1][5] As a child of 8 or 9, his parents permitted him to visit the Synagogue, Hindu temple, and an assortment of Christian denominations.[5] None of these religions he had explored fit him exactly, so he continued to search for a religion he could put his faith into.[5] When Abdullah was 15, he graduated from high school early because he had gone to summer school most summers.[5] Along with summer school, he and his family traveled around the world so that he could see what the world was truly like.[5] His parents believed that once a member of the family had graduated high school, he was an adult.[5] Knowing this, Abdullah came-out to his parents, and was accepted after assuring his parents that they had done nothing wrong.[5] Reflecting on his past, Abdullah recalled that he was always uniquely different from others, even at the age of five; he knew that he loved men.[5] His parents, now both deceased were a source of inspiration and confidence for him growing up.[5] According to Abdullah, his parents were very supportive of all their children and only expected honesty in return.[5]


Abdullah attended Georgetown University and studied to be a lawyer.[2] He was expelled from a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginia after they discovered he was gay. In 1978 Abdullah went to Washington D.C. for a conference because he was working for Governor Jerry Brown’s office in San Francisco.[5] Then, in 1979 he returned to D.C. for the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights as one of the coordinators.[5] Because he was a coordinator, he went a week early and then stayed a week later for his vacation only to return a month later.[5] After two weeks in San Francisco, he decided that he wanted to live in D.C.[5] In the 80’s Abdullah began his tenure at Beijing University.[5] He studied the Chinese language and literature, and later Arabic, Arabic Linguistics, North African, and Middle Eastern Studies, and several years working and studying in Muslim countries.[2][5] Some of his classmates were from Ürümqi, and were Chinese Muslims.[5] They asked him what he knew of Islam, which lead to being invited to his very first Beijing Mosque.[2][5] At this first mosque, Abdullah understood everything that was being said and knew this was the faith he had been searching for.[5] Soon after, around the age of 30, he declared his faith and chose his name: Daayiee Abdullah. The title Imam was not added on until later.[5] Even Abdullah is not certain exactly when people began calling him Imam.[5] It is estimated that it was sometime in 2000 when he joined the online group Muslim Gay Men.[5] On this forum, there were many who claimed to be gay, but were intent on telling those who needed help that the Qur'an disagreed with their life.[5] Abdullah refuted these comments by explaining that one is to follow the Qur'an first and the Haddith second.[5] Through this he began to gain popularity among homosexuals and allies across the online community.[5] One of the reasons he had began to be called Imam was because he has performed many ceremonies for people in who were considered pariahs in their community due to illnesses or the gender or religion of the person they wished to marry.[5] A few gay Muslims died of AIDS, and no one would do their Salat al-Janazah.[5] Abdullah also performed Same-sex marriages for men and women and counseling for all couples—heterosexual and homosexual.[5] Along with performing these ceremonies that others would not, he married mixed couples and religiously differing couples who are from the Abrahamic faith.[2][5] Because the Abrahamic faiths are sister religions, he has a belief that because the Qur'an says those of Abrahamic faith can interact with others of the Abrahamic faith, then it is plausible to marry between religions.[5] As of 2006, Abdullah was in a long-term relationship of ten years. His partner is actually Christian, which is one of the reasons he performs these religious ceremonies between Abrahamic religions.[5] Abdullah believes that the Qur'an permits a loving same-sex marriage and a healthy sexual relationship.[5]


Abdullah is a board member of the round table of Al-Fatiha for several years.[2] In D.C. he is the imam and religious director of Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslaah, the co-director of Muslims for Progressive Values.[2] He also holds a position in Oslo, Norway at Skeiv Verden (Gay World).[2] The Imam has helped organize many parades and marches in honor of those who wish to explore their freedom of discrimination in the United States.[6] He has attempted to create a gay mosque in Washington D.C., but it failed because there was much fear over what the community would do to those caught attending.[6] Later, in 2011, he helped create a mosque for anyone who wanted to attend in a public library in D.C.[7] The plan is to raise funds to create a mosque of their own where all are free to worship.[7] Since 2000, Abdullah has provided specialized counseling services for Muslims from a wide spectrum of Muslim religious and cultural backgrounds.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.Pennington, Rosemary. .
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.Abdullah, Imam Daayiee. .
  3. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.Eldin, Rasheed. .
  4. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.Thompson, Leigh. .
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 5.27 5.28 5.29 5.30 5.31 5.32 O'Bryan, Will. "A Man for All Seasons". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Macfarquhar, Neil. "Gay Muslims Find Freedom, of a Sort, in the U.S.", November 7, 2007. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Colin. "Library Serves as Reformist Mosque". 

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