‘Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque’ opens’

Breaking the prejudices of Islam – a Muslim prayer centre, which has been called Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque opened in Paris, France last Friday.
According to it’s founder this new prayer centre is designed to be the first step in breaking “prejudices in Islam”. However the move has been criticized heavily by other religious leaders.

Indeed most of the city’s Muslim leaders have condemned its launch with anger and hostility for what they claim is going “against the spirit of Islam”. Yet this new “mosque” is nothing more than a small room inside the house of a Buddhist monk in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Grande Mosqueé in Paris, told local media that the opening of a new place of prayer for gay Muslims goes against the rules of Islam. “The mosques that are already there accept everyone so creating one specifically for homosexuals is against the spirit of Islam. Worshippers go to a mosque to worship god, they don’t go to demonstrate their sexuality,” Boubakeur said. “This is an abuse of the definition of a mosque.”

Islamic views on homosexuality are very unambiguous – its condemned in at least 13 verses of the Koran and the only legitimate sexual relationship is that between a man and a woman.

This new “mosque” promises to break two major Islamic taboos, welcoming gay Muslims and not separating men from women, the mosque’s founder, French-Algerian gay rights activist and practicing Muslim Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, said “It’s a radically inclusive mosque, a mosque where people can come as they are.”

Zahed has already caused controversy and outrage among the French Muslim community when in April he became the first French man to marry another man in a Muslim religious ceremony, saying “I am sure that if the Prophet Mohamed was still alive, he would marry gay couples” at the time.

Zahed is hoping this new prayer room will be just the beginning and aims to eventually create a cultural centre and library, “This is just the first step in a long-term struggle to deconstruct prejudices within Islam in France.”

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