Berlin Liberal Mosque; Another Attack on Islam (+Photos, Video)
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Establishment of the Berlin’s liberal mosque has sparked criticism in the Muslim world and many believe that it is an attack on Islamic culture planned by feminist and liberal movements in the West.
Seyran Ateş introduced the first Friday prayers, on June 16, 2017, at Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque, which she helped to establish.
Ateş, a Turkish-born lawyer and women’s rights campaigner has vowed to press on with her project even though the institution has been issued with a fatwa from Egypt and attacked by religious authorities in Turkey and other parts of the world.
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.
While the organizers claim tht Sunnis, Shiites, Alawits and even members of the LGTBQ community - all are welcome at the Friday prayer service at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin, they hold services inside the St. Johannis Church in the area of Moabit.
That is while many Muslims around the world believe that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin is disgusting and sinful, and it disrespects the key elements and principles of the Islamic faith.
Members of the LGBT community, which is typically frowned upon by Muslims, will also have a place inside the mosque.
The mosque was created with the claim of unifying men, women, Shiites, Sunnies, straight men, gay men and otherwise alike.
“Our goal is to offer a place to worship to all people that do not feel at home in the existing mosques, to women that seek equal rights [with men], to homosexuals and primarily to all separate [Muslim] denominations: Alawites, Sunnis, and Shias,” Ateş stated, according to RT.
Women do not need to wear full-face veils or burqas, a tradition that is otherwise common for Muslim women all across the globe when they attend prayers at the mosque.
“Fundamentally, the mosque’s door is open for everyone, with one exception: No one will come in with a niqab or burqa,” Ateş told Spiegel magazine.
“Allahu akbar,” chanted a female voice, uttering the Arabic expression “God Is Great,” as a woman with two-toned hair issued the Muslim call to prayer. In another major break with tradition, men and women — typically segregated during worship — heeded the call by sitting side by side on the carpeted floor.
Ateş, the self-proclaimed Muslim feminist, then stepped onto the cream-colored carpet and delivered a stirring sermon. Two imams — a woman and a man — later took turns leading the Friday prayers in Arabic. The service ended with the congregation joining two visiting rabbis in singing a Hebrew song of friendship.
Inside the red-brick building that now houses the German capital’s newest and perhaps most unusual mosque, Seyran Ateş is staging a feminist revolution of the Muslim faith, Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner wrote in Washington Post.
According to the US daily, toxic ills like radicalization, Ateş and her supporters argue, have a potentially easy fix: the introduction of a modern, even feminist brand of the faith.
Condemnation by Religious Centers
Several Islamic centers including the leadding Shiite center, Islamic Center of Hamburg, Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, Egypt’s al-Azhar university and Turkey’s main Muslim authority, Diyanet condemned establishment of the Berlin’s liberal mosque.
Ayatollah Ramezani, Head of the Islamic European Union of Shiite Scholars and Theologians who is also Imam of Islamic Center of Hamburg said in reaction to establishment of Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque that it is deriding Islamic teachings.
He noted that Mosque in Islam is a holy place and people should respect the Islamic teachings (Sharia law) during their presence and praying there.
One can not deviate Islamic teachings under the pretext of fighting extremism, the religious scholar noted.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, a state-run Islamic institution assigned to issue religious edicts, issued a statement in June declaring that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque’s practice of men and women praying side by side was incompatible with Islam, while the legal department of Egypt’s al-Azhar university reacted to news from Berlin with a fatwa on the foundation of liberal mosques per se.
"In prayer, gender segregation cannot be lifted," Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah declared.
The proximity between men and women in the mosque is not allowed, as it clearly violates Sharia law, according to the office.
Turkey’s main Muslim authority, Diyanet, said the new 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”.
Burhan Kesici, chairman of the Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany, dismissed Ateş’s house of worship as a fad.
“We’re observing this and are wondering . . . how what is happening there is supposed to be rooted in Islam at all,” he said.
He added, “Of course women are equal. That there’s a separation in religious practice doesn’t mean that they’re not equal. I’m curious how long this congregation will last. . . . It seems a random conglomerate of different Islam critics.”
Ateş, the founder of liberal mosque says she has received about 3,000 hate emails per day, and more than 100 death threats since the mosque launched. Germany’s National Criminal Police Office (LKA) is now offering an unusual level of protection to her.
The media in Islamic world has also criticized establishment of the mosque.
The pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah called it "absurd" that services took place inside a church 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 Deutsche Welle user. "These people are not following the religion of our prophet. They have no conception of the religion. What idiocy," commented another.
"Our article drew quite an impassioned response," said Tarek Anegay, who works in Deutsche Welle Arabic's social media department.
Many users were outraged by what they saw as a contradiction of Islamic doctrine,” said Anegay.
"The high number of Muslims frightens Europe, and for that reason the Europeans are attempting to market a new form of Islam that conforms to life in Europe," wrote Manhal al-Ahmad on DW's Arabic Facebook page. "I believe that they won't achieve their goal. In the end they will give up and eventually come to understand that this fight against this religion was wrong."
The impression still exists in Muslim countries that the West wants to impose its lifestyle on the Muslim world, according to Rainer Sollich, head of DW Arabic's online department.