LGBT-friendly, Non-sectarian ‘Liberal’ Mosque Opens in Berlin

Published June 18th, 2017 - 05:00 GMT
The 'Muslim bus' at London's 2011 Pride Parade (Wikimedia Commons, image used for illustrative purposes only)
The 'Muslim bus' at London's 2011 Pride Parade (Wikimedia Commons, image used for illustrative purposes only)

A new reformist mosque which seeks to break gender and sexual taboos in the Muslim community has opened in Berlin.

Turkish-born lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates co-founded the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, as she called for a “sexual revolution” within Muslim communities. 

The founders of the mosque welcome Muslims of all sects, as well as Muslims of the LGBTQ+ community to worship together within a safe space which intends to celebrate Muslim diversity and unity.

While mainstream interpretations of Islam, along with other Abrahamic religions ban acts of homosexuality, the Muslim LGBTQ+ community are not considered leaving the folds of Islam and remain their right to identify as Muslim. 

However, there is a large tendency to ostracise LGBTQ+ Muslims and banish them from mosques and community gatherings, something that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque seeks to tackle.

Traditionally Islamic ritual prayer, Salaat is segregated by gender, something that this new mosque has absolved from its environment, with men and women praying side by side. 

"We want to practice our religion together," said 54-year-old Ates during the opening ceremony of the mosque. 

"This mosque allows Muslims to define themselves in a new way," said co-founder and Algerian born German Muslim scholar Abdel-Hakim Ourghi. 

She said one of the purposes of the mosque is to “depoliticise” Islam and to reclaim the faith from her Islamic conservative counterparts.

"We want to send a signal against Islamic terror and the misuse of our religion," she added.

While such Mosques are still rare in Muslim communities, the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque is not the first of its kind. 

In 2011, openly Gay Muslim Imam, Daayiee Abdullah opened a sexual safe space mosque at a public library in Washington DC in which everyone was allowed to attend, which he called Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslaah (Mosque of Light and Reformation).

Daayiee converted to Islam at the age of 33 after he felt he had found a religion that had allowed him to reconcile his sexuality and faith in God and had progressed to becoming an Imam.

His first act as an Imam was performing funeral rites for a Muslim man who died of AIDS.

Copyright @ 2020 The New Arab.

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