Gay Muslims, 24 year old Jahed Choudhury and 19 year old Sean Rogan, who got married are the first ever to do so in Britain.
Jahed from West Midlands grew up feeling ostracized by the Muslim community because he was gay. Because of his sexual preference, he was considered the black sheep of the family and was sent on a religious pilgrimage hoping that would ‘cure’ him of being gay.
After years of being bullied, he contemplated taking his life and was sitting on a town bench in Darlaston, crying, when he met Sean.
Sean comforted him and they began dating. They finally got married in a ceremony in Walsall registry office, both wearing traditional Bangladeshi wedding clothes.
Jahed 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. 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.”
Jahed was made to date girls, change his social circle, take medication and even go on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh in a bid to change his sexual orientation but nothing worked. Until he overdosed on pills and sat on that bench crying, that was when his life turned around. His wedding to Sean was well attended by family and friends of both men. Jahed’s mother, sister, older brother and cousin witnessed the wedding, as did Mr Rogan’s mother, two sisters and older brother.
Jahed 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.”
After the wedding, Jahed said they will have a huge party in Darlaston then go to Spain for a week of honeymoon. He further disclosed that Sean is considering converting to Islam, but that they would struggle to find a mosque. He said he told Sean to convert on his behalf and also to wear the Bangladeshi traditional attire for their wedding and he agreed to both.
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 and their families have received a number of death threats since the wedding, but they are determined to ignore them.
Jahed 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.”
He added: “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.”