ISLAM: Man to open Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque in a Paris suburb

Franco Algerian, intellectual, expert on the Koran, AIDS activist and founder of the Gay Muslims in France, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed is photographed on June 21, 2012 in Paris. Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images

VANCOUVER DESI

A suburb of Paris will be home to Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque, says a report from Reuters.

The temple’s founder, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, a gay Algerian and practising Muslim, is aware that it challenges mainstream Islam’s stance against same-sex relationships.

Up until now, Zahed would pray in the Great Mosque of Paris. But he says he hopes the new mosque will be more welcoming for those who feel on the margins of the Muslim faith.

“It is a secure place which welcomes all Muslims and others, people who want to share an authentic moment of spirituality, of exchange, of sharing, of profound and soothing intellectual reflection on very diverse questions which concern the daily lives of all Muslims in France,” Zahed told Reuters. “Things that we can’t always easily talk about in other circumstances, in other mosques.”

The mosque opens on Friday, Nov. 30, and will welcome gay, transgender, and transsexual individuals for an ultra-progressive Muslim prayer in which women will be encouraged to sit next to men, and to lead the prayer.

The project was made possible thanks to a Buddhist monk, Federico Joko Procopio, a homosexual who fights for gay rights.

The initiative has not been backed by any Muslim institution, and many of France’s Muslim clerics said they considered the project as contrary to the principles of Islam.

As well, the mosque opens just as France is being entangled in a heated debate on gay marriage and adoption.

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