Mr. Gay Competition Gets its First-Ever Muslim Finalist

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Well, this could be interesting. For the first time ever, a practicing Muslim is a finalist in the Mister Gay Belgium competition. There are probably some very strong feelings about Islam in Belgium right now, so finalist is in a position to take a stand on racism and prejudice … and also to be the victim of it.

“I want to show that 2016 should be a feasible year for the existence of different cultures, including Islam, in order to all live in peace. It should be feasible for everyone to accept people as they are,” he said in an interview. That’s a nice sentiment, but he has his work cut out for him when it comes to showing people what it means to be Muslim and openly gay.

There have been Muslim candidates in the past, but they pulled out due to fear about their families and communities finding out. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of tolerance. But Abdellah’s family has been supportive, and so he’s advanced to a final round. He’s got a hunky Instagram account, if that helps.

There’s no word on the religion, if any, of the other contestants. Obviously Islam isn’t the only religion where LGBTs face terrible persecution and abuse. But it’s still a milestone for a Muslim contestant to make it so far and so publicly in the competition — and it’s a particularly controversial time, given the attacks by religious terrorists just a few days ago.

“The Koran says that we should tolerate each other – this means we have to respect others regardless of their choices and way of life,” Abdellah said in an interview.

The final round of competition is May 28 in Antwerp. Good luck to everyone!

Scroll down to see a few more photos of Abdellah.

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