|Photo by: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly|
France slated to open first gay mosque
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
New mosque will not segregate men from women and will conduct joint gender prayers, Turkish daily 'Hurriyet' reports.
Muhammad Ludovic Lütfi Zahed, a gay French-Algerian man, is slated to open the
first gay mosque at the end of November.
The Turkish daily newspaper
Hurriyet first reported last week on the plan to establish the mosque. Zahed
told the Turkish paper, “In normal mosques, women have to sit in the back seats
and wear a headscarf and gay men are afraid of both verbal and physical
aggression. After performing the Hajj, I realized that a mosque for gays was a
must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers.”
Post reported earlier this year on Zahed’s marriage to Qiyam al-Din, a South
African, during a ceremony outside Paris in February, approved by an imam in
France. The men had previously married in South Africa, where same-sex marriage
is legal, but the French government under then-president Nicolas Sarkozy refused
to recognize it.
Zahed told Hurriyet reporter Arzu Cakır Morin that “we
will use a hall in a Buddhist chapel, which will be opened on November
The new mosque will not segregate men from women and will conduct
joint gender prayers, noted the Hurriyet.
French President Francois
Hollande declared his support for the legalization of same-sex marriage during
his campaign leading up to his May victory.
Earlier this month, tens of
thousands of French protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against gay
marriage and adoption.
The French authorities said 70,000 protested
against same-sex marriage in Paris and anti-gay demonstrations took place in the cities
of Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille.
The Catholic Church in France and
conservative family associations oppose gay marriage. France currently
recognizes civil union partnerships for same-sex couples.
Zahed, told the
Hurriyet “we will start with Friday prayers, but we will perform marriages
Algerian law bars same-sex relations.
Article 338 of Algeria’s penal code, “Anyone guilty of a homosexual act is
punishable with imprisonment of between two months and two years, and with a
fine of 500 to 2,000 Algerian dinars. If one of the participants is below 18
years old, the punishment for the older person can be raised to three years’
imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 dinars.”
According to the British
online gay news site Pink News, a court in London granted asylum in 2007 to a
gay Algerian man because he could face persecution in Algeria. Pink News wrote
“Gay activist group OutRage! has previously claimed there is a ‘serious
danger’ of an openly gay man such as “B.” being murdered by Islamic
fundamentalists if returned to Algeria.”