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The Radical: A documentary about world’s first gay imam

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Muhsin Hendricks is said to be the world’s first openly gay imam. (Photo: Richard Finn Gregory) A documentary feature film about Muhsin Hendricks, a Capetonian ex-dress designer who became the world’s first openly gay imam, is premiering at the Encounters International Documentary Film Festival. Four years in the making, The Radical is an intimate portrait of Hendricks, who came out in 1996.

Today he leads a devoted group of queer Muslims through the Al-Ghurbaah Foundation, based in a modest mosque in Wynberg. Al-Ghurbaah (“the strangers”) is an organisation that supports the LGBTQ+ community and runs various educational and empowerment programmes that help Muslims reconcile their sexuality with their faith.

The film provides first-person accounts of being and growing up queer as a South African Muslim in a society caught between the liberalism of its constitution and the conservativeness of its cultures and history.

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