In what the British media is calling a first for the United Kingdom, a gay Muslim man has married his partner of two years.
Jahed Choudhury, whose parents hail from Bangladesh, married Sean Rogan in a low-key service at the Walsall registry office, wearing traditional Asian wedding attire.
“We’re going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim,” Choudhury said, according to the Express & Star.
Choudhoury said he faced bullying from his peers growing up, complete rejection from his family and was even blocked from attending mosque because of his sexual identity.
“I’d been viciously attacked by Muslim boys, my mosque told me non-Muslims were not allowed in,” he said.
Feeling that there was something wrong with him, Choudhoury attempted to become straight. He had a girlfriend for a while, took medication, found new friends and even went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. When these efforts didn’t change him, he gave up on life.
“I tried killing myself and I then met Sean,” he said, crediting his new husband with saving his life. “The housing association got us a house in a week and we’ve been living together ever since. I proposed on Sean’s birthday last June,” he explained.
“[Sean] gave me hope at one of my lowest points and he’s stood by me all the way,”he said.
Same-sex marriages are considered taboo by many Muslims and Christians in the UK. The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents more than 500 organizations and mosques, and the Church of England both opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2013.
While same-sex unions remain controversial among many religious groups, Muslim leaders in the West have shown significant support for the LGBTQ community in recent years.
Sadiq Khan, who is Muslim and the mayor of London, has repeatedly voiced support for the city’s LGBTQ community and marched in the cities annual Gay Pride Parade. This year’s Pride festivities occurred during Ramadan and a special iftar was held, bringing together the LGBT and Muslim communities.
Earlier this month, all of Germany’s Muslim MPs voted in support of legalizing same-sex marriage.
French- Algerian Ludovic Mohamed Zahed and his partner Qiyam al-Din became the first gay couple in France to be married in a Muslim religious ceremony. Zahed, himself a scholar and imam, went on to found a “gay-friendly” and gender-inclusive mosque.
“It has nothing to do with Islam as spirituality, because our tradition is much more peaceful in terms of dealing with sexuality and gender identity,” he said.