First Muslim lesbian couple wed in UK

by Luca Lauro - 2013.06.04
First Muslim lesbian couple wed in UK
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Lesbian, Muslims, happy, finally married and asylum seekers. It is in all probability the first couple of Islamic lesbians getting married with a civil ceremony. In the United Kingdom.

Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, two former students at the Birmingham University from Pakistan, took vows at Leeds Registry Office a few weeks ago before immediately applying for political asylum in the United Kingdom, British newspapers claim.

Relatives of the couple said the women, who studied in Birmingham, had received death threats both in the UK and from opponents in their native Pakistan, where homosexual relations are illegal and there are also no laws prohibiting discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation. Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in the Islamic faith and the notion of same-sex marriage, or even partnership, is abhorrent to many Muslims.

The two women met three years ago while studying business and health care management at Birmingham, having travelled to the country on student visas, and had been living together in South Yorkshire for about a year. Rehana, originally from Lahore, also holds a master’s degree in economics from Punjab University.

In recent years in Britain, some Muslim gay and lesbian couples have opted for a nikah, an Islamic matrimonial contract. Unfortunately, these services, conducted in Arabic are not recognised in the UK unless accompanied by a civil ceremony.

The couple did not have an Islamic marriage ceremony, as they could not find an imam to conduct what would have been a controversial ceremony. A relative told the press that “they have been very brave throughout as our religion does not condone homosexuality. The couple have had their lives threatened both here and in Pakistan and there is no way they could ever return there.”

While there is a very cautious step towards social visibility for some gay men in Pakistan, lesbians are and must be completely invisible.

The Home Office said it was unable to confirm any details about the couple’s political asylum request.