Rights / Gender
The Berlin mosque welcoming the LGBT community

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 10 Aug 2017

The Berlin mosque welcoming the LGBT community
Berlin, Aug 10 (JEN): With its simple white room, there's nothing remarkable about this Berlin mosque, which is also situated behind a church, until you come to know about the work it does.

Defying the prevalent bias that practitioners of Islam has towards the LGBTQ community, this mosque allows them to pray and even lead Friday prayers.

What is also new about the newest mosque in Berlin is that it allows women to lead too.

It's all about inclusivity.

"Our mosque is open for everybody," Seyran Ates, founder of the mosque tells BBC.

She is a German Turkish-born lawyer and women's rights activist.

Ates said that the mosque was founded on the basic principle that everyone gets to pray.

"And we mean that really seriously: everybody, every lifestyle. We are not God. We don't decide who's a good or a bad Muslim. Anybody can come through this door - whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, we don't care, it's not our right to ask," she says.

The inclusive mosques are part of the growing Islamic cult Ibn Rushd-Goethe.

This however is the first permanent inclusive mosque in the world.

"What we did new, is that this is a fixed place. And it's not a place where only people come who know each other. It's not a closed club. We are open. We tell everybody, here is a place you can come to," Ates says.

Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, a gay imam from Algeria was one of the first man to set up an inclusive mosque in Paris.

Asked about his message towards Muslim considering homosexuality a sin, the imam says, "To those who are Muslim and believe you can't be gay or an emancipated woman at the same time as being Muslim, I would say: you can't be homophobic, misogynistic, Judeophobic and pretend to be Muslim."

He adds, "Because Islam means being at peace with yourself and others. So that would be an oxymoron, it would be a contradiction."

However, Ates admits that it has not been a smooth sailing.

She has received numerous death threats, she says, mostly from the neighbouring Turkey.

Though many condemns the death threats, they don't agree with Ates idea of inclusiveness.

A Gambian Muslim man who is visiting Germany and heard about the mosque says he was surprised when he heard about it the first time.

"I was surprised when they told me, that men and women join together and they pray, because normally men are in front, the women are behind. They have a barrier, so they can't see each other," he says.

This is however not how every Muslim man feels.

Laqa, a Pakistani man who's living in Germany for the last three decades feels one shouldn't judge others.

"We are all equal, whatever you look like, or whatever colour skin you have, whether you're gay or lesbian. I can't know whether they have a better connection to God than me. Why should I judge that? I can't. I shouldn't."


Image: Screengrab from YouTube