The correct answer is yes and no. I am not a literal reader of Quran and I interpret Quran from an inclusive point of view. I am supportive of gender equality between men and women, womens’ rights. children’s rights, queer Muslim rights and their full acceptance in the Ummah. I believe most orthodox Muslims misappropriate the phrase “tolerant of others” in ways that do not adhere to Quranic teachings nor produce good will and benefits for our Ummah. Otherwise, I am closely aligned with my Shafi’i training and very open to varying opinions from other madhahibs.
There is a stark difference between Progressive views within Islam and the majority of Muslims. The vast majority of Imams throughout the world are not publicly supportive of gender equality nor women’s rights, and even less so for GLBTQ Muslims. Such attitudes prevent these Imams from acknowledging diverse segments of the Muslim community, These Imams continuously deny other Muslims quality religious counseling because of their outer and inner differences. This milieu of shame and the promotion of physical abuse exists due to an over reliance upon biased, historical juristic rulings that limit women access to community leadership roles, prevents Muslim children from achieving their highest aspirations, and disregards queer Muslims and their concerns.
Imams as leaders must meet the challenges of our modern times. Imams must provide our Muslim brothers and sisters unbiased and nonjudgmental counseling, regardless of their observable outer and inner differences. When this takes place, the Muslim community worldwide will remove the blinders that perpetuate the ignorance within our faith. It is changing this distorted and most inappropriate understanding of the Islamic faith that makes their line of thinking incompatible with modern life.