Known as Taha, this Muslim cleric confessed that he felt his life was in danger after he married gay couples in Iran.
‘Yes, I was conducting gay weddings,’ Taha said.
‘The last few months were very difficult. The authorities questioned me several times about my choice of friends.’
Other gay clerics and Muslims didn’t see Taha with good eyes and started to threaten him.
‘They were saying I am a cleric and I shouldn’t be meeting gay men,’ he said.
‘The other mullahs were suspicious about my sexual orientation and threatened me with death.’
For a Muslim gay man, Istanbul is considered to be a “safe place”, as there are some gay bars and things are not so aggravated as in the middle east.
Gay Muslims in Iran are usually afraid by mullahs (Muslim clerics) and Taha was something new.
‘Before this, we knew mullahs as people who wanted to punish us. They prayed at our execution ceremonies’ Ramtin Zigorat, a gay Iranian refugee in Istanbul, told the BBC.
‘But now we know someone who prays at our wedding ceremonies.’
However, not everyone trusts Taha, because they do not trust mullahs.
‘It’s very difficult for me to trust him, because he is a mullah,’ he says.
‘I grew up in an atmosphere where they were part of the fears and lies,’ another gay man in Istanbul said.