Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports the mosque will not have the gender exclusions & prejudices that other mosques do.
Zahed told reporters, "In normal mosques, women have to sit in the back seats and wear a headscarf and gay men are afraid of both verbal and physical aggression."
"After performing the Hajj (pilgrimage), I realized that a mosque for gays was a must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers.” The new mosque will not segregate men and women even during prayers,” added Zahed.
In response to a question as to whether same-sex marriage ceremonies would be performed, Zahed said, “We will start with Friday prayers, but we will perform marriages afterwards."
Asked how he will set up a mosque for the Muslim homosexual community, Zahed said, “We will use a hall in a Buddhist chapel, which will be opened on November 30,” adding that in the new mosque women and men would be able to perform their prayers together in the same space.
Zahed is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year he made international headlines after he legally married Qiyam al-Din, a South African, during a ceremony outside Paris in February, approved by a Mauritian Imam named Jamal.
The men had previously married in South Africa, where same-sex marriages are legal, but the French government under then-president Nicolas Sarkozy refused to recognize it.
According to Mufti Siraaj Desai from Port Elizabeth, the erection of the masjid by Zahed is one of those fitnahs (spread of evil) which is orchestrated by shaytaan (devil). “Remember this thing about gay and homosexuality in Islam, it is totally haraam (forbidden). There is absolutely no place for this in Islam. We will make a concession in this extent, that if a person feels that he’s suffering from these syndromes, then we’ll say okay fine we don’t reject you, but you need to go for some counseling and you need to be rehabilitated,” said Mufti Desai.
Mufti Desai said that a person who is homosexual or has homosexual tendencies can never have a relationship with Allah and there is no link between Allah and that person. “So how is it possible for some people to come to a masjid and expect to gain this type of spirituality?” asked Mufti Desai.
“A Man who proposes to put a masjid like this up, that idea should be rejected. We hope that the ulama (scholars) there, the Muslim councils and Muslim bodies will totally reject this person. Even if he does succeed putting up a masjid like that, that masjid should be boycotted. The whole idea of this masjid is to promote a totally un-Islamic and haraam (forbidden) concept,” added Mufti Desai.
Mufti Desai reiterated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made a rule that men and women must be segregated and encouraged women to read salaah (prayer) at home. By erecting a gay masjid and stating that there won’t be gender bias is totally contradictory to the laws of Shariah (Islamic jurisprudence). So the moment a person comes out with this concept, he is now coming and adopting a middle road. There are neither male, neither female, obviously that will be totally rejected. You are making a mockery of shariah (Islamic jurisprudence), a mockery of Islam,” said Mufti Desai.
“The attempts of this person should be vehemently and strongly opposed. If he does succeed to put up a masjid like this, we should make it known to the Muslims that, that masjid you will be permitted and it will be jaaiz (permissible) to boycott such a masjid,” said Mufti Desai.
Mufti Desai added, “Like in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and subsequently when people put up masjids for haraam (forbidden) purposes; for purposes of disuniting the ummat (Muslim community). And bringing about these un-Islamic beliefs in the ummat (Muslim community), then it was permissible, the ulama (scholars) say you are even allowed to burn that masjid down to the ground and demolish it because it’s not a masjid.”
According to Mufti Desai, “this whole concept is in diametric conflict with shariah (Islamic jurisprudence), with Islam and therefore Muslims must definitely oppose this idea.”