Germany condemns Turkish criticism of new liberal mosque

Germany is home to an estimated 4 million people of Turkish origin.

By REUTERS
June 23, 2017 18:38
2 minute read.
Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque berlin

Seyran Ates, founder of the new liberal Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque, prays in Berlin. (photo credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BERLIN/ANKARA - The German government on Friday condemned Turkish criticism of a new liberal mosque in Berlin as interference in freedom of religion and opinion, adding further strain to an already fraught relationship.

A number of Turkish media as well as Turkey's main Muslim religious authority, Diyanet, have poured scorn on the Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Mosque, founded by Seyran Ates, a 54-year-old female lawyer and women's rights campaigner of Turkish origin who does not wear a headscarf.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The mosque, which uses the premises of a Protestant church, allows men and women to pray side by side instead of being segregated. Ates herself is the imam, in contravention of mainstream Muslim practice, which reserves the position for men.

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."

Martin Schaefer, spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, said Berlin was concerned by the statement.

"I want to be very clear in rejecting all comments that clearly intend to deprive people in Germany of their right to freely exercise their religion and to limit the right to free expression of opinion," Schaefer said.

Germany, which is home to an estimated 4 million or more people of Turkish origin, is already at loggerheads with Turkey on numerous issues.



They include the barring of Turkish politicians planning to campaign in Germany for a referendum expanding President Tayyip Erdogan's powers; Turkey's arrest of a German-Turkish journalist working for a German paper; and Turkey's refusal to let German parliamentarians visit an air force base hosting German planes.

Schaefer said it was not for the government to determine how people practiced their religion, and that it would protect freedom of worship just as it protected freedom of opinion and press freedom.

Turkey's pro-government Sabah newspaper called the mosque's practices "the so-called prayer of the perverse."

Diyanet linked the mosque to the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for last July's failed coup and refers to as the "Gulenist Terrorist Organization" or "FETO." Ates has denied any connection to Gulen.

The Turkish pro-government broadcaster A Haber ran a headline that read: "The ugly face of FETO in Berlin."

In a caption to a video story, A Haber also wrote: "The Gulenist Terrorist Organization has caused a scandal in Germany's city of Berlin ... How is it trampling the rules and morals of Islam at the so-called mosque it opened?"

Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any link to it.

Related Content

NOT FOR much longer. A man protests against Brexit in London.
August 17, 2018
London mayor Khan consults disaster planners over no-deal Brexit

By REUTERS