I could not believe my eyes when I saw this article on the bbc news site:
BBC News - Gay-friendly 'mosque' opens in Paris
The article describes that; 'A prayer room described as Europe's first gay-friendly mosque is opening on the outskirts of Paris.'
My immediate reaction was positive, especially when I read that the opener of this 'mosque' Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed said "They don't want to be ostracised because they wear earrings or because they're effeminate or they're transgender, something that's pretty obviously rejected in many mosques in France,". Of which clearly this 'mosque' he feels would be a haven for these kind of Muslims. I was thinking that this could be the breakthrough Islam needs to really start integrating with Western Society and culture. Could this be the start of an Islamic enlightenment?
It seems however that the hype could be over not too much at all. The article goes on to say that:
'For the moment the place of worship is a room in a Buddhist prayer hall. The room holds more than 20 people and is decorated with calligraphy in Chinese characters.'
'London Imam Ajmal Masroor says that Mr Zahed's meeting room does not constitute a mosque as it does not fully adhere to Islamic preaching and practice.'
'The Paris Grand Mosque has issued an unequivocal statement. "The fact that he's opening a mosque or a prayer room is something that's outside the Islamic community. The Koran condemns homosexuality. It is banned," said a Grand Mosque spokesman.'
So how big a step is this for Islam in Europe and the West? It seems to me that it is pretty irrelevant 'mosque' and in fact should not really even be called one as such (just a small prayer room). But its relative insignificance and reaction from mainstream, high level Muslims in France and the UK may be relevant in that it shows that the Muslim community is a long way contributing to the Western moves towards gay rights like for example the epic recent decision by the UK government to allow gay marriage.