Wednesday 4 March, 2015
In a surprising development, Sydney gay campaigner GARRY BURNS and Muslim activist ZAKY MALLAH have found themselves on the same page, calling for tolerance and acceptance of gay Muslims.
Mr Burns, a self-confessed serial litigant against people who vilify homosexuals, has come out in support of Mr Mallah, who in 2005 became the first person in NSW charged under Australia’s new anti-terrorism laws. He was acquitted after spending two years in a high security jail.
Mr Burns’ support came after Mr Mallah uploaded a video to YouTube declaring that gay people do not choose their sexuality and that their orientation is not a sin.
“Someone emailed me the other day and said to me: ‘Zak, can a Muslim be gay?’,” said Mr Mallah, in the video. “Well, this is my answer … a person does not choose to be gay.
“It is not a crime, ladies and gentlemen, in any Abrahamic religion, irrespective of what your local scholar says, or what your local imam or priest or rabbi says. It is not a sin to like the same sex.
“It’s not in your hands who you like and who you love … Many people are gay or lesbian today in this world. They did not make the choice to be gay or lesbian just like you didn’t make the choice of being straight.”
Mr Mallah went on to expound his theories about same-sex attraction, and expressed the opinion that while homosexual acts may be sinful according to his religion, the orientation itself was not.
Mr Mallah reiterated: “Liking the same sex, which you have no control over, is – in our religion – not a sin.”
Mr Burns said while he did not agree with everything Mr Mallah said, he was heartened by the tolerance espoused by Mr Mallah and said Mr Mallah showed bravery by addressing the thorny issue of homosexuality and Islam.
“This young man has showed courage in addressing this issue, which is a very important one for gay Muslims – and indeed for the wider gay community and Muslim community,” said Mr Burns
“It is only through discussion of these topics that we can seek to understand each other and come to a position that benefits gay people and Muslim people. We are all part of the Australian family together and it is vital for us to show respect and tolerance for each other.
“In these difficult times, with Islamophobia running rife, and with gay and lesbian Australians still fighting for equality, it is important for us to have people like Mr Mallah raising these issues. I congratulate him on contributing to the debate and raising awareness,” Mr Burns concluded.
Mr Mallah’s video can be found at
Mr Mallah, who has been profiled by publications including The Australian and The Daily Mail, was recently called upon by NSW Police to assist in Sydney’s Lindt Cafe hostage crisis.
Police sought Mr Mallah’s help in securing an ISIS flag, to meet the demands of hostage taker MAN HARON MONIS – however as Mr Mallah did not possess an ISIS flag, he was unable to assist.
Media enquiries
Garry Burns:
(02) 9363 0372
0407 910 309
Zaky Mallah:
0422 221 700
Attachments area

Author: Garry Burns

Gary Burns is an Australian anti-discrimination campaigner. He successfully tested the homosexual vilification provisions of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 with a complaint of personal homosexual vilification against broadcaster John Laws and Sydney radio station 2UE that concluded in his favour in 2002.[1] Burns went on to front public interest cases against high profile figures and media establishments for unlawful homosexual vilification.


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