June 9, 2016

Gay Muslim Cleric Forced to Flee Iran in Fear for Life




BBC journalist Ali Hamedani visited Istanbul, Turkey where Taha—an Iranian mullah, or cleric—has fled after performing same-sex wedding ceremonies in one of the most dangerous nations on the earth for LGBT people. 
Homosexuality is illegal in 73 countries, nine of which prescribe the death penalty, including Iran. Mullahs are highly powerful and respected in the Islamic nation, advising people on religious matters, which also means enforcing homophobia. So for Taha, life became very difficult when his fellow mullahs became suspicious of him and the gay men with whom he was associating.   
Taha is one of the over 1,000 Iranian LGBT refugees the UN estimates is in Turkey waiting to be resettled abroad—his final stop, much like many Americans should Trump win this year's election, will be Canada. Istanbul is one of the few places in the Muslim world that's tolerant of homosexuality, and Taha takes Hamedani out on the gay town—but not before applying a nighttime face (same).
Get 'em, daddy.
Though life in Istanbul isn't easy by any means, Taha's presence is comforting to fellow queer refugees, who seek out his services to wed them. For two such refugees, Ramtin Zigorat and his partner, a gay mullah is a big fucking deal. 
Ugh, get into all these feelings in the BBC's investigative report below: 

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