In a TV interview, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, the imam of a gay-friendly mosque in Paris, said: "I believe that it was Allah who created homosexuals... Allah does not speak against homosexuality in the Quran." The Algerian-born Zahed founded the gay-friendly mosque and an association for gay and lesbian Muslims in France.
Following are excerpts from the interview, aired on Deutsche-Welle TV Arabia on December 17, 2014:
Interviewer: Let me take you back to the moment when you told your parents that you were homosexual. How did they respond?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: They did not believe me – especially my mother, who said: "That's impossible. You are not homosexual. You have to change your sexual orientation and marry a woman." But it was impossible for me to do so, because I am not attracted to women at all. That is my nature.
Interviewer: So what did you do at that moment? Did the entire family refuse to accept it? How did your brothers respond?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: My eldest brother was against me being homosexual, but my father understood and said: "That's what he's like, and we have to accept him in the family." He had tried to change me for 15 years. I studied the Quran at school in Algeria for five years, I prayed, I fasted, and I went on the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. I performed the Umrah pilgrimage five times…
Interviewer: You earned the title "Hajj"?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: That's right. But despite all this, I did not change, because it is impossible. This is the way Allah created me. It is not a disease.
Interviewer: Who gave you their blessings on your marriage? Was it an Islamic wedding?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: In South Africa, [same-sex] marriage is legal, and in France, we recited the Al-Fatiha chapter of the Quran along with my mother, my father, the entire family, and my friends…
Interviewer: So you received the family's blessing to this marriage?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: Yes, I did.
Interviewer: So you received the blessing of your family, as well as of your friends. I have a question for you, Chekh Sar: Could you give your blessing to this marriage, if Ludovic-Mohamed was your friend?
Moroccan rapper and Islmaic preacher Elias Al-Khuraysi "Chekh Sar": Under no circumstances could I give my blessing to this kind of marriage.
Interviewer: But why not? He is happy. He and his partner were happy together. If people are in love – why not?
"Chekh Sar": Happiness is not only happiness in this world. We seek happiness in the world to come as well. He cannot be happy if he deviates from human nature. Even if he tells me that he is happy in his marriage to a man, and that they live in security, safety, and wellbeing, I will never believe it.
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: I believe that it was Allah who created homosexuals. We must understand the Quranic verse: "And of all things, We create two mates." Allah does not speak against homosexuality in the Quran. The people of Lot were murders, thieves, and liars, and Allah speaks about this, not about their having practiced homosexuality…
Interviewer: Does this stem from… You studied religion…
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: And psychology.
Interviewer: Let's focus for a minute on religion. How come you interpret the religion so differently from him? There are no official statistics, but most Muslims reject homosexuality, yet you say that it does not violate Islam.
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: That's right. This stems from ignorance.
Elias Al-Khuraysi "Chekh Sar": The people of Lot were the first to sin in public. It became prevalent among them, and they sinned in public. By God, that is ignorance.
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: Allah knows that homosexuality existed even before the days Lot. The Quran says that the people of Lot were killers, and that they worshipped a goddess called Ishtar…
Interviewer: I have a question for you. We keep talking about male homosexuality but what about lesbianism? Are lesbians mentioned in the Quran?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: Of course. Among the people of Lot, there were men who used sex as a form of worship, and this definitely forbidden. But the word "homosexuality" or "deviance" is not mentioned in the Quran at all.
What do you think about Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, who said that both parties to a homosexual act must be killed? Interpol is now after Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, and they want to arrest him, because of his calls to kill homosexuals, Jews, Christians, and so on. Is this true Islam? Is this true Islam? [Homosexuality] is not an abomination. Using Islam against the Muslims and against others is the real abomination. That is a great problem in the Arab world.
Interviewer: Do you suffer threats?
Ludvic-Mohamed Zahed: Sometimes, but this is not the problem. The problem is that the Arab world still believes the homosexuality runs counter to Islam. We need to educate people, and to do away with this war against minorities, especially against the homosexual minority.