21 June 2017

Liberal mosque in Berlin draws criticism

Men and women pray side-by-side, and there's a female imam who doesn't even wear a headscarf. For many in the Islamic world, these things are inconceivable. A new liberal mosque in Berlin has been causing a stir.

Sunnis, Shiites, Alevis, members of the LGTBQ community - all are welcome at the Friday prayer service at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. The organization, which holds its services inside the St. Johannis Church in the area of Moabit, has sparked criticism since a DW report on its founder, women's rights activist Seyran Ates, who established the institution despite fierce resistance.

Reports about the liberal mosque found their way into several newspapers in the Muslim world. The pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah called it "absurd" that services took place inside a church. Another newspaper, Yeniakit, labeled Ates a Kurdish supporter of the controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen. And Daily Pakistan criticized the fact that women took part in prayer services unveiled.

Men and uncovered women praying together, and presided over by a female imam on top of it? For some in the Muslim world, that's simply going too far. "They're creating a new religion, that's not Islamic," commented one DW user. "These people are not following the religion of our prophet. They have no conception of the religion. What idiocy," commented another. [Deutsche Welle] Read more