Liberal mosque founder under 24/7 police protection over accepting gays
A co-founder of a liberal mosque in Germany is under police protection after she received threats as it welcomes gays and atheists.
Seyran Ates, a Turkish lawyer, is the founder of the Ibn Rushd Goeth Mosque.
The mosque accepts Muslims of all sects including Sunnis, Alewives, and Sufis, as well as welcoming gay people and atheists.
Full face veils are also banned at the mosque.
Speaking to the Times, Ms Ates said: “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.
“The hostile reactions proved how necessary the project was.”
As well as receiving threats, Ms Ates has been called “the Devil incarnate” and some social media posts have called for her to “burn in hell”.
The mosque founders have also been condemned by Turkey’s main authority for Muslims, Diyanet.
The authority said the liberal mosque represents a threat to Islam.
In a statement, Diyanet said: “The 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.
“We are convinced that all fellow believers will keep their distance from such provocations.”
Ms Ates added: “They are labelling us as terrorists. Instead of engaging in a sensible religious debate, we’re being pilloried politically. That’s woeful.”
The mosque is currently located at a Protestant church in Moabit, Berlin.
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Just a few dozen worshippers currently attend, but police have been forced to stand guard at Friday prayers following death threats.
The threats come directly from Turkey, says Ms Ates.
She said: “It’s getting more and more ridiculous.
“It’s no longer a religious matter, it’s about Erdogan and his aim to oppress progressive, liberal Turks.”