A gay Muslim couple have married in France, where it is not yet legal, with the blessing of an imam.
French-Algerian Ludovic Mohamed Zahed and his partner, Qiyam al-Din, a South African, were previously able to marry in Qiyam’s home country.
However as their union was not recognized by French authorities, an imam blessed the marriage in a ceremony held among family and a few close friends on 12 February 2012.
Ludovic recounted how the couple met last year on France 24 TV.
He said: ‘I was in the lecture hall when an Imam who incidentally is a homosexual himself, introduced me to Qiyam al-Din. We discovered we had a lot in common and a mutual admiration was cemented. I stayed on after the convention for two months, deciding to get married, since South African laws were [more friendly to gay couples].’
On their marriage, he said: ‘Being married in front of my family was like a new start of life for me.
‘I could have never imagined such a day would come, seeing the joy in my parents’ eyes after they had battled with my sexuality and tried with all their might to change the course of my sexual orientation.’
Their union has been met with hate mail and animosity from conservative Muslims, and the couple have said they have received death threats.
Ludovic, who has family in Marseille, is now attempting to get a legal permit for his new spouse to stay and work in France.
The newlywed couple say have no intention of visiting a Muslim country in fear of being attacked.
Ludovic told France 24 TV: ‘We want to stay in France, because my husband Qiyam Al Din really likes this country. However, if it becomes impossible for him to stay, we will return to South Africa to live.’