• German-Turkish lawyer, author and activist Seyran Ates (R) readies the prayer area prior to an inaugural friday payer at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe-mosque in Berlin. (AFP (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images))Source: AFP (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
The Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque explicitly encourages the LGBT+ community and people all of faiths to pray together.
Michaela Morgan

5 Jul 2017 - 10:59 AM  UPDATED 5 Jul 2017 - 10:59 AM

A liberal mosque that welcomes people of all genders, sexual identities and faiths opened its doors just last month in Moabit, Berlin—but its founder has already been receiving violent threats.

Turkish lawyer Seyran Ates opened the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque inside a protestant church in Berlin as a way of realising her dream that: “liberal Muslims would come together to live an Islam that explicitly affirms democracy and the equal rights of a community of believers," she wrote in Die Zeit.

However, her vision of Sunnis, Shias, men, women and the gay community coming together to pray under the same roof has quickly found opponents.

“Since setting up the mosque I have received so many death threats through social media that the police decided they have to protect me around the clock,” Ms Ates told The Times.  

“The hostile reactions proved how necessary the project was.”

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“We know our religion is against of all kinds of discrimination and hatred and teaches us lessons of unity, love and peace."

Ms Ate’s has been bombarded with negative messages on her Facebook page with one comment calling her “the devil incarnate”. 

Turkey's religious affairs agency Diyanet has also condemned the founders of the mosque. 

The mosque’s practices "do not align with Islam’s fundamental resources, principles of worship, methodology or experience of more than 14 centuries, and are experiments aimed at nothing more than depraving and ruining religion," the body said in a statement. 

“We are convinced that all fellow believers will keep their distance from such provocations.”

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“The Muslim community and the gay community are two that never really get together, so let’s put them all in one room and see what happens. It’s changed my life.”

Ms Ates said: “They’re labelling us as terrorists. Instead of engaging in a sensible religious debate, we’re being pilloried politically. That’s woeful.”

Co-founder of the mosque, the imam Abdel-Hakim Ourghi—who teaches Islamic theology at the Freiburg University of Education—called for peaceful dialogue. 

“What is going wrong with Muslims when a different view of Islam is forbidden? Islam is a plural religion. Liberal thinking is part of diversity.”

“It’s time for liberal Muslims to unite. No Muslim who voices criticism should live in fear for his life.”