French gay Muslims: Muhammad would approve of our marriage

A Muslim who became the first French man to marry his same sex partner in an Islamic religious ceremony has said that if the prophet Muhammad were alive today he would be happy to marry same sex couples.Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed (right) and his partner, Qiyaammudeen Jantjies-Zahed

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed was born in Algeria in 1977 and moved to Paris as a child.

He told The Local about his difficult upbringing in a religious family.

“I was an effeminate child and that is not seen as a good thing in men so I had to make myself more masculine,” he said.

“At first my father thought it was an illness, then he thought it was just a phase.”

He suffered physical as well as verbal abuse.

“My brother often beat me up, so it was quite violent and complicated.”

His experiences forced him to question his identity and his religion.

In his new book, The Koran and The Flesh (Le Coran et la Chair), Zahed recounts in detail the story of growing up as a gay Muslim.

“It started as a personal diary,” he said. “Eventually it grew to become a book.”

In the book he traces the journey that helped him reconcile his sexuality and his religious beliefs.

“At age 18, when I finally accepted being gay, I felt I had to choose between my sexuality and Islam. I didn’t understand at the time that there are different types of Islam.”

In his confusion he turned away from his faith for ten years.

“It was traumatising for me. I couldn’t really understand how homosexuality could be so violently rejected despite the fact I had done nothing wrong and was trying to live a good life.”

“Eventually, I realised there was a big hole in my life so I investigated buddhism, but discovered there are also buddhists who are homophobic.”

Zahed then decided to return to Islam and to explore its teachings in more depth.

His research led him to believe that homosexuality and Islam are compatible.

“There is nothing about homosexuality that ‘goes against nature’ according to one interpretation of Islam. Quite the opposite,” he argues in his book.

He says there are many associations supporting gay Muslims and that English-speaking countries tend to be more advanced.

Zahed is now completing a doctorate on the subject of Islam and homosexuality at Paris’ prestigious School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

During his studies Zahed found personal happiness when he met his partner.

Qiyaammudeen Jantjies-Zahed, also a Muslim, met Zahed at a conference in South Africa in 2011.

The couple decided to get married in South Africa, where same sex marriage is legal.

Back in France, where the couple now live, the marriage is not recognised as France has a ban on same sex marriages.

Gay marriage has become an issue in the current French presidential campaign, with Socialist candidate François Hollande promising to introduce it while current president Nicolas Sarkozy is firmly against.

Zahed believes that some parts of the political class needs to catch up with French society on the issue.

“There have been MPs who have said that if we allow same sex marriage, why not marriage with animals or paedophilia,” he said. “The political class can be very conservative. Normal society evolves much more quickly than politicians.”

The couple had a religious ceremony in February to celebrate their marriage in the Parisian suburb of Sevres.

On the whole, they received positive responses to the event, although inevitably there were negative reactions as well.

His family is now fully supportive of him and his marriage.

“After a few years my mother told me they understood and that my sexuality was normal and a part of nature. They just wanted me to be happy and to meet someone.”

Zahed plans to continue his struggle to convince others that homosexuality and Islam are compatible.

He thinks that the prophet Muhammad, if he were alive today, would support same sex marriage.

“He defended men who were effeminate and who were not attracted to women. He banned any violence against them,” said Zahed.

“He was a believer in social justice and a revolutionary, like all prophets. Giving the same rights to homosexuals and opening marriage to everyone is a part of social justice.”

 The Local/France

Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

One thought on “French gay Muslims: Muhammad would approve of our marriage

  1. There are LGBT people who opospe gay marriage. If Stonewall set out to promote the the opinions of all LGBT people they’d soon find they had set themselves an impossible task. There are many different strands to LGBT equality and each individual LGBT person puts a different priority on each of them. If stonewall are content to pick up _any_ of these strands and further them then I value their work. Energy can be directed at attacking the establishments and individuals making concerted efforts to ensure no strands are picked up at all. To see this energy direced at attacking an organsiation helping further equalty strands, and not at those directly opposing them, makes me rather sad.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: