France’s first gay-friendly mosque sparks controversy

News agencies – December 2, 2012

 

A Muslim prayer centre, which has been dubbed Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque, opened in Paris. Its founder described it as the first step in breaking “prejudices in Islam”, but it has been criticised by religious leaders for going “against the spirit of Islam”. The new “mosque”, which opened on Friday in a small room inside the house of a Buddhist monk, has smashed a taboo in Islam by welcoming transgender and transsexual Muslims. But the prayer room located in the eastern suburbs of Paris is not supported by any formal Muslim institution and many imams in France oppose it.

While a handful of gay-friendly mosques now exist in Canada, South Africa and the United States, Zahed believes his project is breaking new boundaries in France and Europe. It now boasts over 300 members.