CAIRO – A French homosexual is planning to open a mosque in Paris that would only welcome gay worshippers and women who do not wear hijab.
“We need to have a safe space for people who do not feel comfortable and at ease in normal mosques,” Ludovic Mohammed Zahed told ABC News.
“There are transgender people who fear aggression, women who do not want to wear head scarf or sit in the back of the mosque.
“This project gives hope back to many believers in my community,” he said.
Zahed, of Algerian origin, argues that his mosque will break taboo issues as homosexuality.
“It is a safe place to worship,” said Zahed, who will be one of three imams leading prayers at the mosque.
“Our imams will talk on any taboo topic.”
He claims that his mosque, which will be named “Unity” and will operate in a Buddhist temple in eastern Paris, will emphasize “accepting everyone as equally God’s creation”.
“I hope straight men will pray together with gay men and women, everyone,” he said.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
Zahed believes that his gay-friendly mosque is the result of a modern interpretation of the Islamic teachings.
“Common prayer, practiced in an egalitarian setting and without any form of gender-based discrimination, is one of the pillars supporting the proposed reforms of our progressive representation of Islam,” he said.
He says the mosque will perform same-sex marriages and funeral services for gay Muslims.
“Current Islamic ethics may condemn this sexual orientation,” Zahed said.
“But in fact nothing in Islam or the Qur’an forbids homosexuality,” argues the French man, who is married to a South African gay.
“Indeed, for centuries, Muslims did not consider homosexuality to be the supreme abomination that they do today.”
Zahed, who was diagnosed with AIDS at 19, says that he got the idea for building a gay-friendly mosque after performing hajj.
“After performing the Hajj, I realized that a mosque for gays was a must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers.”
The French homosexual alleges that there are already gay-friendly mosques in North America.
“We are already working very closely with them. The idea for our Paris mosque comes as a result of our conversations,” he said, adding that he would also plan “a progressive mosque in the UK and then another one in Denmark will follow.”
France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe’s largest.
But Muslim scholars denounced the move for promoting immoralities and wrongdoings.
“The idea of opening a “gay-friendly mosque” is unreasonable and odd,” Dr Wael Shehab, head of AboutIslam.net’s Shari`ah department, commented.
“In mosques, all worshippers, who are of different cultures and backgrounds, feel secure and at ease. Mosques are the places where good and sinful Muslims should resort to seek professional counseling and enjoy the true feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood.”
Dr. Shehab, who has a PhD in Islamic studies from Al-Azhar University, stressed that the idea of building a gay-friendly mosque runs counter to the very teachings of Islam.
“A “gay-friendly mosque” is not Islamic,” he said. “It paves the way for immoralities and wrongdoings.”
Dr Shehab said that gays, like other individuals are not prevented from entering mosques.
“Rather they are encouraged to frequently visit mosques and Islamic centers in order to seek professional counseling and help to get rid of their abnormal practices or inclinations,” he said.
“They, however, are not allowed to call or invite people in mosques to same-sex marital relations. It is their duty, moreover, to conceal their wrong behaviors and spare no efforts to give up such odd practices or feelings.”
Dr. Shehab urged Muslim communities to help gays understand the true meaning of life and family.
“They may offer them professional counseling sessions in order to help them give up odd behaviors,” he said.
“They could cooperate with all faith communities to encounter same-sex marital relations through all legal possible means.”