by Mark Angelides
A Turkish born, German citizen, Seyran Ates, has done something that needed to be done. She has tried to drag Islam into the 21st century by opening a Mosque that is open, inclusive and genuinely Liberal in its outlook. There is only one problem standing in her way…Since opening its doors, she has been the subject of a mass death threat and hate mail campaign and is now under 24-hour Police Protection.
The Ruschd-Goethe Mosque (named after the Islam scholar and philosopher Ibn Ruschd, and the German poet Goethe), opened doors in mid-June and set out to preach Religious freedom and equality. Some of the more interesting practices she is promoting at the Mosque are that of “non-segregated” prayer (men and women pray together), welcoming of Gay Muslims, and the banning of the niqab and hijab. Perhaps the bravest aspect to her Mosque is that the “Koran is to be interpreted “historically and critically.”
Less than a month after opening and already the Mosque is, unfortunately, in trouble. Ates is receiving more than 3000 pieces of hate mail each and every day from enraged Muslims in Berlin, around Germany, and even further afield. She has also received over 100 credible death threats. Germany’s National Criminal Police Office (LKA) has her under 24-hour protection.
Even Islamic Nations have decided to get in on the persecution. Egypt’s state run Islamic group, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah, has condemned her saying that men and women praying together is “incompatible with Islam”. And even Turkey’s Diyanet has criticized her under orders of President Erdogan.
Ates is no stranger to controversy. Since training as a lawyer, she has spent much of her career fighting against Forced Marriages in German Muslim communities.
As reported in DW.com: “Ates was a member of the Islamic Conference under the interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, and has published several books, including 2007’s “Multi-Kulti-Irrtum” (“Multicultural Mistake”). In it she argued that “multicultural fanatics” whose “disinterestedness in immigrants” was disguised as tolerance were responsible for “the fearful coexistence of cultures.” She also criticized the fact that representatives of conservative Muslim organizations did not care to promote the successful integration of immigrants.”
She is a brave woman who is seeking to find a proper place for Islam in the West. Not as a Caliphate, not as a dominant force, but as a religion that can peacefully co-exist with other religions. It is a great shame that she is not being lauded throughout the Western media for her remarkable achievements so far, and it makes one wonder if governments are really interested in having Muslims fully join and integrate at all?
So even if the MSM and Governments will not applaud her efforts, we should.
by Mark Angelides