Ludovic Mohammed Zahed is braced for controversy, maybe even worse. A gay Muslim and an expert on the Koran, Zahed plans to open Europe's first gay-friendly mosque in Paris at the end of this month. He calls it a place of shelter as well as a place of worship.
"We need to have a safe space for people who do not feel comfortable and at ease in normal mosques," Zahed told ABC News. "There are transgender people who fear aggression, women who do not want to wear head scarf or sit in the back of the mosque. This project gives hope back to many believers in my community."
"Common prayer, practiced in an egalitarian setting and without any form of gender-based discrimination, is one of the pillars supporting the proposed reforms of our progressive representation of Islam," he said.
"The Unity" mosque will initially operate in a Buddhist temple in a neighborhood in eastern Paris, and will emphasize "accepting everyone as equally God's creation....I hope straight men will pray together with gay men and women, everyone," said Zahed who declines to make public the address of the venue, due to security concerns.