• France's news in English

French gay Muslims: Muhammad would approve of our marriage

Staff reporter · 4 Apr 2012, 11:33

Published: 04 Apr 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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 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."



Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2012-07-06 21:37:10 by redfeather
@saucemagnusson. Yes. The boats coming to the USA were filled with persons wanting religious freedom, and worship of one GOD. Note the seal of the USA; but I would bet you cannot identify the tribe it relates to. We believe that it is clear that Sodom and Gomorrah are not civil rights issues. Nobama the bi-sexual Muslim is soon to be replaced.
2012-06-06 07:32:45 by SauceMagnusson
Good for them! This would make the tea party's heads in the US explode-- everything that they hate all in one! Gay, French and Muslim! Reminds me of a song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2YYpgBOVw
2012-06-06 07:32:03 by SauceMagnusson
Good for them! This would make the tea party's heads in the US explode-- everything that they hate all in one! Gay, French and Muslim! Reminds me of a song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2YYpgBOVw
2012-05-29 16:44:19 by SockRayBlue
Yup, just say it is Muhammad's wish and you get a free pass to do whatever you want? Do these idiots have God's ear?
2012-05-05 21:04:48 by SockRayBlue
If there was a Muhhamad he'd be buzzing in his grave at the silly antics of his so-called worshipers. Now they have to disappear before the serious (radical) Muslims find them and put their collective heads on a pike or would that be a pike "uppa U S" as the Itallians say.
2012-04-11 15:09:52 by n230099
Oh, yes...this is going to end well....LOL!!!
2012-04-11 06:08:15 by volvoman9
Well of course they are. In their culture men simply cannot control the sexual urge.
2012-04-10 20:30:29 by bramblebush
Those two look just like all the other Muslims you see sashaying about. I guess they are all gay....or "bi"
2012-04-06 06:41:41 by volvoman9
Ya. They're dead men.
2012-04-04 22:00:52 by MOI
I hope these men live in peace after you publishing their photo, these are dangerous times and the religious fundamentalists are a threat.
Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available