The tension between the LGBTI and Muslim community is at a fever pitch right now, after attacks like the one in Orlando, and the many major countries suppressing homosexuality with Islam.
There are Muslims trying to change that, though.
Ludovic-Mohammad Zahed, 38, is a gay Imam living in Marseille, France. Marseille is just a bus ride away from Nice, site of the recent bus attack that killed over 80 people.
Southern France is currently dealing with a rising problem in radicals Islamic centers. In Western liberal country like France, this is cause for alarm for France’s gay population: But Zahed doesn’t believe Islam and being gay are natural enemies.
‘There’s more than 70 verses in the Qur’an speaking about homosexuality, but it’s always about rape.
‘Sodomites were identified as rapists.
‘There’s nowhere in the Qur’an that says you have to kill gay people. Yes, it says that Sodom and Gomorra have been destroyed by God and razed by angels to the ground, but it doesn’t say that you have to kill gays. It’s an interpretation of an interpretation.
‘Islam has had a tradition of accepting homosexuality. The Prophet, peace be upon him, was welcoming in his home of people we would today call homosexuals.
‘It’s politics, fascism that replaced that. It’s the patriarchy dressed up as Islam.’
He believes the Muslim community need to do more embrace these fringe elements in Islam.
Zahed is a controversial Imam. In a recent interview with Fusion, he wore a ‘bright orange tank top, white pants, and flip-flops’ despite coming from one of the most fundamentalist branches of Islam, Safaism.
His first mosque was in Paris, one of the first explicitly open to LGBTI people.
He describes these kinds of Mosques as ‘grassroots’ efforts.
But he’s not always accepted by other gay groups. ‘In France, there’s so much racism and secularism, LGBT organizations have told us “We don’t want to work with you.” They say, “Even though you’re gay, because you’re Muslim we don’t trust you”
‘One of the biggest LGBT coalitions in France excluded us because now politicians want to be very distant from Islam.’
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