Muslim feminist plans to open liberal mosque in Britain

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London, July 27 (IANS) A Muslim feminist who founded a liberal mosque in Berlin, triggering death threats and fatwas, is planning to open an inclusive place of worship in the UK, saying a revolution in Islam is under way, the media reported.

Seyran Ates, 54, a Turkish-born lawyer and human rights campaigner, visited London this week to investigate potential sites for a liberal mosque open to men, women and the LGBT community on an equal basis, and people from all strands of Islam, the Guardian reported.

She hopes to establish such a mosque within a year, and says her aim is to create similar places of worship in every European capital.

“I’m not alone with this idea. It is a movement, it’s a revolution,” she told the Guardian.

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“I may be the face of the liberal mosque, but I alone am not the mosque. We have millions of supporters all over the world.”

However, the opening of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, in a space rented from a Lutheran church in Berlin last month prompted a hostile reaction from conservative Muslims in Europe, Egypt and Turkey.

Ates received death threats via social media and was told “you will die” during a street confrontation.

Turkey’s main Muslim authority, Diyanet, said the mosque was an experiment “aimed at nothing more than depraving and ruining religion”, the Guardian reported.

Ates also takes a tough line on headscarves. When she opened the Berlin mosque, she said women wearing burqas or niqabs would not be admitted.

“There is no Islamic requirement (to cover one’s head). There is no theological argument even in the most conservative interpretation of the Quran,” she told the daily, adding “It’s men saying, ‘I cover her because she is my property.'”

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She is hoping to gather 100,000 signatures from the UK for her effort.



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