Opening of first “liberal” mosque where women pray aside men in Germany

On 16 June 2017, a new “liberal” mosque was opened in Berlin. Not only are there female imams in this mosque, but women, some veiled and others not, pray side by side with men. One of the founders of the new Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque, Turkish-born Seyran ATES, started the opening event with words of welcome before Christian and Jewish guests and a large contingent of media representatives.

“We want to send a signal against the misuse of our religion,” said 54-year old Ms ATES who has called for a “sexual revolution” in the Muslim world. In addition to women, all Muslims are welcome to pray in this mosque, regardless of their sexual orientation. The mosque is therefore open to homosexuals and transsexuals.

The name of the new mosque is also significant since it includes one of Germany’s greatest writers, Johann Wolfgang VON GOETHE, and the 12th century Islamic scholar Ibn RUSHD. Another of the seven founding members, Abdel-Hakim OURGHI, said that they aimed “to depoliticise Islam” because “religion is a private matter”.

Ms ATES indicated that that it had taken eight years to realise this project. “Many left along the way”, she said. “They told us that it was dangerous, that they were afraid”. The founding members said that they however had not received any threats or insults, but they are well aware that there is opposition to their initiative.

The Berlin police are being vigilant. During the opening ceremony a force was sent to stand guard outside the new mosque.