A gay man from the West Midlands has become the first Muslim to wed in a same-sex marriage.
Jahed Choudhury, 24, grew up feeling ostracised by the Muslim community because he was gay and was even sent on a religious pilgrimage to change his sexual orientation.
Two years ago, following a lifetime of bullying, Mr Choudhury considered taking his own life until he was spotted crying on a town bench in Darlaston by Sean Rogan, 19.
Jahed Choudhury, left, and Sean Rogan, right, married wearing traditional Muslim dress in a ceremony inside Walsall Registry Office
The happy couple, pictured, met two years ago when Mr Choudhury, right, was considering ending his life when he was approached by Mr Rogan, left, who spoke to him on a bench
Two years later, Mr Choudhury, right, is believed to be the first Muslim man to have had a same-sex marriage in Britain and feels he is proof that it is okay to be both gay and a Muslim
Mr Rogan comforted Mr Choudhury and they soon became a couple. Now the couple have wed in a ceremony in Walsall, both wearing traditional Bangladeshi wedding clothes.
However, the couple have been subjected to several death threats.
He said: ‘I want to say to all people going through the same thing that it’s okay – we’re going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim.’
At a low-key ceremony at Walsall registry office, Mr Choudhury from Darlaston, tied the knot in traditional Muslim attire with his partner of two years.
In what is seen as a cultural taboo for many traditional Muslims, Mr Choudhury is one of only a few openly-gay Muslim men and the first in the UK to marry another man.
Growing up with Bangladeshi parents and three siblings in a traditional Muslim household, Mr Choudhury recalls being the ‘black sheep’ of the family.
He is now looking forward to a happy life with Mr Rogan, who he first met while crying on a bench in Darlaston.
Mr Choudhury said: ‘I was crying on a bench and Sean came over and asked if I was okay. He gave me hope at one of my lowest points and he’s stood by me all the way.’
‘I stood out like a sore thumb – I never liked football, I preferred watching fashion shows on TV. I remember feeling trapped.’
He said: ‘It went all over school, people would spit on me, empty the rubbish bins on me, call me pig and the Muslim people would shout “harum” – which is a very nasty insult in my language.’
A period of trying to change his sexual orientation consisted of him having a girlfriend, changing his social circle, taking medication and even going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
According to Mr Choudhury the situation only got worse – he was assaulted by fellow Muslims in the street where he lived and a homophobic slur was sprayed on his front door.
The mosque he’d been attending for the past 15 years no longer allowed him in and he was physically attacked by other Muslim boys. Feeling ostracised, Mr Choudhury attempted to kill himself.
Mr Choudhury said: ‘I’d been viciously attacked by Muslim boys, my mosque told me non-Muslims were not allowed in.
‘I tried killing myself and I then met Sean. 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.’
Mr Choudhury says he has post-traumatic stress disorder meaning he struggles to face people alone and can’t work.
But now he has taken a significant step forward for both the Muslim and LGBT communities.
He added: ‘We’re going to have a big party in Darlaston afterwards and go to Spain for a week on holiday.’
The ceremony was attended by both families and friends.
Mr Choudhury’s mother, sister, older brother and cousin witnessed the wedding, as did Mr Rogan’s mother, two sisters and older brother.
Mr Choudhury said: ‘My mum has always been so supportive. Without her I would not be here today.
‘It was lovely for both out families to be there. We get on really well.
‘It was just close friends and family who were invited as I did not want a big wedding.
‘It was just perfect the way it was.’
Mr Choudhury also revealed that Mr Rogan is considering converting to Islam, but that the couple would struggle to find a mosque.
He said: ‘The outfits are traditional Muslim-Bangladeshi outfits. Everyone wears them for a wedding at home.
‘I told Sean I thought it would be very nice to wear them and he agreed.
‘Also, they look very pretty.
‘Sean is considering converting to Islam. I asked him if he would on my behalf.
‘We would not be able to find a place of worship however. We would not be welcomed by any mosques.
‘I have heard about the liberal mosque in Berlin that opened recently where they are a lot less traditional.
‘It sounds fantastic. I really want to visit, and wish we could have somewhere like that here.’
The newlyweds also revealed that they have received a number of death threats since the wedding, but they remain determined to ignore them after their special day.
Mr Choudhury said: ‘We have had death threats against us and our families. People telling me they are going to kill me and that I should never have been born. They are really vile, horrible comments.
‘But we are so happy we are able to just brush them off. We’ve had an awful lot of support too.’
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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)