By Kimberly J. AvalosRabat –Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, the French gay imam who opened a gay-friendly mosque in Paris will board the World Religion Boat in August for the Amsterdam Euro Pride Canal Parade, as announced by World Religion Boat.Initiators of this theme boat attempt to show that all world religions can live together in peace and “show their solidarity around LGBT rights as human rights.” Among 80 boats that will participate in the parade, the World Religion boat will represent all the major world religions. The theme of the boat is “COEXIST in Freedom.” Each of the letters in the word will represent one of the 5 major religions: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity along with world peace and humanity,” announced the boat’s website.“I have always dreamed of creating a world religion boat for Gay Pride to show the world that we are all brothers and sisters on a faith journey and that we can coexist peacefully if we show each other respect and love,” said Rev. Barbara Rogosoki, the person behind the project and Pastor of a small Christian church for LGBT people.Zahed opened a gay-friendly mosque and community center in the French capital, and later founded a gay organization in France that stands up for gay Muslims in 2012.“We hope that the World Religion Boat can show that discrimination and prejudice can disappear if we treat each other with respect and love,” said the imam on his Facebook page.Zahed was born in Algeria but has been living for a long time in Paris.He told The Guardian in an interview in 2012 that his project was not strictly meant to be a “gay mosque;” rather he wanted it to provide an inclusive environment for worship where all people will be welcomed whatever their sexual orientation or ethnicity.“My project is supported by men, women, trans people and even fathers who tell us that they do not want to leave a radically exclusive Islam to their young daughters as their legacy,” Zahed told the Guardian.
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