Ex-Muslims: The American who fled ‘gay conversion’ in Africa

Mahad Olad was in a Nairobi hotel room, looking at his mother. She was holding two articles from a student newspaper in New York.

In the first article, Mahad, then 19, said he was atheist.

In the second, he said he was gay.

His mother – a Somali Muslim – could not tolerate it. She was sending him, she said, to a group of Sheikhs (tribal leaders).

The Somali Sheikhs would reform him. Return him to the community. Make him Muslim. Make him straight.

Mahad had read about gay conversion in Africa – the long, religious lessons; the abuse – and wanted no part.

He was happy being gay. He was happy being ex-Muslim.

He nodded, smiled, and told his mother he would do as she said. Then, after she left the room, Mahad made a phone call.

As one door closed, another one opened.

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