04 July 2017

Woman who opened liberal Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in Berlin gets 24-hour protection

A women’s rights activist who set up a liberal mosque in Berlin last month has received so many death threats that she has been placed under 24-hour police protection.

Seyran Ates, 54, a lawyer of Turkish descent, founded the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in mid-June with six colleagues. It counters conventions by allowing men and women to pray together and having female as well as male imams.

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

The mosque is open to the different branches of Islam, welcoming Shias, Sunnis, Alawites and Sufis alike, as well as homosexuals and atheists. Full face veils are seen as a political statement and not allowed for security reasons.

The founders say that they want to take a stand against fundamentalism and cater for what they see as the silent majority of Muslims seeking a modern interpretation of Islam. [The Times (£)] Read more