Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed is Muslim, gay, and an imam. Zahed has been fighting against those who he believes have misconstrued passages in the Quran to condemn homosexuality.
Zahed has been bullied by relatives, with his mother calling him weak and degenerative throughout his life. He finally found a bit of solace when his Tunisian family finally accepted him, citing that he wasn’t a “faggot who could be insulted and beaten like a dog.” His mother even stepped forward, accepting the fact he might get a husband sometime in the future. That has been the ultimate catalyst that has propelled him to now be the imam of one of the first inclusive mosques in Paris.
What Is An Imam?
An imam represents an Islamic leader who usually advises and leads Islamic worship, as well as act as a religious guidance for the faithful. Imams are akin to a Christian Pope.
As an imam, Zahed is calling for Muslims to take a closer look at the unique passages in the Quran that followers use to reaffirm their homophobia. The story of Lot is usually interpreted as the condemnation of homosexual acts. However, Zahed notes that this passage condemns ritual rape and not actual homosexuality. The story of Lot calls out the sin of infidelity and sexual violence, not the perceived evils of homosexuality.
Zahed has remarked that historically Muslim countries have always been more tolerant of gay people, with Christian cultures being more adamant in calling homosexuality a deviant lifestyle. However, that type of mindset apparently switched, with Christian majority regions – like the European Union – enacting legislation to protect and humanize gays, while Muslim-majority regions have had to deal with waves of homophobia.
Here’s How Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed Is Fighting For Tolerance
Throughout Muslim majority countries, there are pockets of safe havens that are inclusive of LGBT folk. However, men living double lives and even marrying to not disrupt sensitive cultural norms, is still a common occurrence. He wants to stop this toxic way of living by being the imam of his own mosque, declaring that Islam is not homophobic or misogynistic.
Zahed is also of the leaders of “Homosexual Muslims of France.” Coupled with his gay-friendly mosque, Zahed seeks to gain support from the government as well from liberal mosques and other inclusive imams to embrace modern democracy, civility, and human rights for LGBT Muslims.