Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed

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Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed
Ludovic Mohammed Zahed 06330.jpg
Born
Mohamed Zahed

1977
Algiers, Algeria
NationalityAlgerian, French
OccupationImam
Ludovic Mohamed Zahed

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed (born 1977) is a French-Algerian imam. An openly gay Muslim, Zahed is the founder of the first European inclusive mosque, in Paris, France, with the goal of accommodating the LGBT and feminist Muslim communities. Zahed has been reported to be the first French Muslim man to be civilly married with another man, in South Africa.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Born Mohamed Lotfi Zahed in Algiers, Algeria, in 1977,[3] he arrived in France a year later with his parents. During the Algerian Civil War, he returned to his birth city. Growing up between Algeria and France, he reported having felt "part boy, part girl" as a child.[1] He realized his homosexuality at the age of 12 in Algeria, when he began having feelings for an older, male acquaintance.[3] After a short period during which he took interest in Salafi Islam, the teenage Zahed dated a Frenchman whom he described as a "National Front voter from Vitrolles".[3] He acquired French citizenship at the age of 20, adopting "Ludovic" as his first name.[3] At the age of 21, he decided to come out to his family, getting mixed reactions.[1] Initially rejecting Islam and following Buddhism instead,[1] he eventually followed Islam again, and in 2010 founded the organization HM2F, Homosexuel(les) musulman(es) de France (Muslim Homosexuals of France).[3]

In November 2012, Zahed set up an "inclusive" Muslim prayer room in Paris, which has been described by the press as "Europe's first gay-friendly mosque".[4]

In April 2014, he took part in a series of lectures and seminars on "Rethinking Homosexuality in Islam" organised by Adi Bharat at Boston University.[5]

Holding a doctorate in humanities, he completed his doctoral study on the topic "Sexual Minorities at the Vanguard of Changes in the Islam of France",[3] and published his social psychology doctoral thesis on "LGBT Muslims facing obscurantism and homonationalism" in 2016.

Personal life[edit]

Zahed is HIV-positive, having contracted the illness as a teenager.[3] In 2011, while same-sex marriage had yet to be legalized in France, he legally married a South African man in Cape Town.[1] They later moved to France, and were united by another, religious marriage ceremony (having no legal value in France) performed by an imam in 2012 in Sevran.[1] In 2014, he was reportedly living with his husband in South Africa.[6]

Political views[edit]

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed has described himself as a "progressive Muslim" who argues that believers should "question institutional dogma" and insists that "neither homophobia or misogyny respect Islamic ethics".[7] Through his works, he has voiced his concerns for the Muslim community in France, and LGBT Muslims in particular, who according to him, are facing both threats of "obscurantism" and "homonationalism". In France, he has openly stood in favor of same-sex marriage.[1]

Controversies[edit]

The opening of a Muslim prayer room by Zahed in Paris, which he described as more "inclusive" to LGBT believers, was met with mixed reaction from the rest of the Muslim community in France, with a spokesman for the Grand Mosque of Paris stating that the prayer room was "outside the Islamic community" and that "the Quran condemns homosexuality".[7]

In 2014, two Muslim Iranian women were married by Zahed in a religious ceremony held in Stockholm, Sweden, which prompted a group of Algerian Salafists to demand that Zahed be stripped of his Algerian citizenship.[6]

Publications[edit]

  • LGBT Musulman-es: du Placard aux Lumières, face aux obscurantismes et aux homo-nationalismes (2016), Des Ailes sur un Tracteur
  • Queer Muslim Marriage: Struggle of a gay couple's true life story towards Inclusivity & Tawheed within Islam (2013), CALEM
  • Le Coran et la chair (2012), Éditions Max Milo
  • Révoltes extraordinaires: un enfant du sida autour du monde (2011), L'Harmattan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Concilier islam et homosexualité, le combat de Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed". france24.com (in French). 4 April 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed : gay et musulman, il garde le prêche". jeuneafrique.com. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, un Coran d'air frais". liberation.fr. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  4. ^ Banerji, Robin (30 November 2012). "Gay-friendly 'mosque' opens in Paris". BBC News.
  5. ^ "Imam L.Zahed - CALEM - INCLUSIF ISLAM - Confederation of Associations Euro-Africans, LGBT or Muslims". www.calem.eu. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Musulman, gay et séropositif - Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, un imam à part". www.parismatch.com (in French). 6 September 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Why I want to open a gay-friendly mosque in Paris". theguardian.com. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013.