Tag Archives: secularisation

Changing the Space of Islam: France’s First ‘Gay Mosque’

by Jen Turner

 

By Dcubillas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the Jerusalem Post reported that a French-Algerian homosexual man is planning to open a ‘mosque for gays’ in France and hopes to eventually conduct same-sex Muslim marriages.  Parisian, Mohammed Ludovic Lütfi Zahed, says the mosque, situated in a Buddhist chapel in Paris, will also break another Islamic taboo by refusing to segregate women and men.  Joint gender prayers will also be permitted.  Zahed explained that “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, I realized that a mosque for gays was a must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers.”

It is clear that if this building is opened, it will be to much controversy.  Algerian law bans same-sex relations and France has been divided in recent years upon whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.  In finding interest in this recent piece of news I acknowledge this controversy, but do not wish to make this the focus of this post.  Instead, I turn my attention to the complex construction of space that the opening of such a mosque might result in. Whilst homosexuality may be fundamentally at cross-purposes for many Muslims, Zahed recognises a group of people wanting to practice their affiliation with their religion in an alternative kind of space.

In similar vein, an early view article by Claire Dwyer, David Gilbert and Bindi Shah in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers addresses such themes. This paper attends to how spectacular new religious buildings have appeared in London’s suburbs, but have been viewed as somewhat incongruous in these spaces.  They exemplify the large golden dome of the Sikh Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Southall, and the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God and Holy Royal Martyrs in Chiswick; its blue dome, covered in golden stars and topped with a large ornamental cross bright above the rooftops of suburbia.  Dwyer et al use three case studies, of different faith groups, from North and West London to explore three distinctive articulations of the relationship between religion and suburban space that that call ‘semi-detached faith’, ‘edge-city faith’ and ‘ethnoburb faith’.

 

Whilst drawing upon very different examples, it is clear to see that contemporary societal practices are shaping the way in which religious spaces are constructed and used in everyday life.  Here lies a rich discourse that will only become more interesting as faith develops in response to our changing times.

Claire Dwyer, David Gilbert and Bindi Shah, 2012, Faith and suburbia: secularisation, modernity and the changing geographies of religion in London’s suburbsTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00521.x

Benjamin Weinthal, France slated to open first gay mosque, Jerusalem Post, 25 November 2012

RGS-IBG New Content Alert: Early View Articles (25th May 2012)

The following Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.

Original Articles

Soil hydrodynamics and controls in prairie potholes of central Canada
T S Gala, R J Trueman and S Carlyle
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01103.x

Paying for interviews? Negotiating ethics, power and expectation
Daniel Hammett and Deborah Sporton
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01102.x

Domestication and the dog: embodying home
Emma R Power
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01098.x

Adapting water management to climate change: Putting our science into practice

Runoff attenuation features: a sustainable flood mitigation strategy in the Belford catchment, UK
A R Nicholson, M E Wilkinson, G M O’Donnell and P F Quinn
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01099.x

Commentary

Geography, libertarian paternalism and neuro-politics in the UK
Mark Whitehead, Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Marcus Welsh
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00469.x

Subaltern geopolitics: Libya in the mirror of Europe
James D Sidaway
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00466.x

Original Articles

Faith and suburbia: secularisation, modernity and the changing geographies of religion in London’s suburbs
Claire Dwyer, David Gilbert and Bindi Shah
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00521.x

Mobile nostalgias: connecting visions of the urban past, present and future amongst ex-residents
Alastair Bonnett and Catherine Alexander
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00531.x

Dalits and local labour markets in rural India: experiences from the Tiruppur textile region in Tamil Nadu
Grace Carswell
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00530.x

The Korean Thermidor: on political space and conservative reactions
Jamie Doucette
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00528.x

‘Faith in the system?’ State-funded faith schools in England and the contested parameters of community cohesion
Claire Dwyer and Violetta Parutis
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00518.x

The short-run impact of using lotteries for school admissions: early results from Brighton and Hove’s reforms
Rebecca Allen, Simon Burgess and Leigh McKenna
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00511.x

Learning electoral geography? Party campaigning, constituency marginality and voting at the 2010 British general election
Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00527.x

Hidden histories made visible? Reflections on a geographical exhibition
Felix Driver
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00529.x

‘Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles’: geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars
Maggi W H Leung
Article first published online: 15 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00526.x