IN QUOTES

Muslim Activist Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed: Why I’m Opening A Gay-Friendly Mosque In Paris

My plan is not strictly about opening a “gay mosque,” or even about celebrating gay marriages. Muslims consider marriage as a social contract between two consenting individuals, to be established in front of at least two witnesses, and celebrated in front of their community – that is, those who see them as a couple. The prayers of the imam only work to call attendees to bless the happiness of the newly wed, and they’re certainly not intended to seal a contract between two zawjan – a gender neutral Arabic term meaning “spouse”. Unlike the Catholic church, for example, which continues to unilaterally decide who may or may not marry, Muslims do not regard marriage as a sacrament.

This project gives hope back to many believers in my community. Common prayer, practised 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.”

—Gay Muslim Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed explains decision to  build a LGBT-friendly mosque in Paris, in  The Guardian.