Germany's first liberal mosque opens in Berlin

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Where women and men pray together, and the imam is a woman. The fear of Islamists and Besorgte.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/seyran-ates-warum-die-frauenrechtlerin-eine-moschee-gruendet-a-1151177.html

 

The reform of Islam is happening in our presence. Basically, thanks to terrorists, earlier the only liberal way for Muslims was prayer at home or full atheism.

 

Read the full article: the woman is a strong Islam critic. This is what I call meaningful critic of religious practices, not brainless attacks.

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Klubbnika will probably be along soon to say this is politically problematic. 

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Although not religious myself, in general I am quite happy that more people are finding their voice and expression in anything they believe. It only contributes to depth and richness of things. I am sure a female in any guidance position will have a different familiarity with certain issues that may not be a priority for men of the same position- whether she chooses to address them is of course another issue. Edit: Debating this in the particular case of Seyran Ateş, it is different for me because of the Fethullah Gülen connection. As a person, however, I consider myself a victim of that Gülen and his organization. 

 

I would personally hesitate to call it the reform of Islam happening in our presence, female imams have been practising across the world for a while now as well as LGBT imams conducting LGBT marriages. I also do not think the only option of liberal believers would be prayer at home or full atheism as I think the arrival into the latter at least requires something different from the pressure dictated on people by terrorists. Neither do I believe people coming together in mosques under terror-ridden circumstances are all very orthodox believers. That seems like a too rigid generalization to me.

 

Interestingly, the Quran itself does not ban female imams and Prophet Mohammad is said to have allowed a woman to lead namaz practices - a common debate in the Muslim world. This is why I think it is good that women are more commonly breaking through patriarchal practices. I don't feel capable of or informed enough to discuss whether this is a reform within theology, or what sort of a reform this can be seen as within its own context, but from where I stand, I believe in its value. Other than that, meaningful crtique of Islam has existed for centuries and there is quite a strong strand of critique from female believers. Only, we don't usually choose to lend an ear to their work I think - which in my book is complicity with patriarchy but that is another issue I guess. 

 

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Where women and men pray together, and the imam is a woman. The fear of Islamists and Besorgte.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/seyran-ates-warum-die-frauenrechtlerin-eine-moschee-gruendet-a-1151177.html

 

Basically, thanks to terrorists, earlier the only liberal way for Muslims was prayer at home or full atheism.

 

 

This move by Seyran Ateş will not be free of these debates I'm afraid - at least in the Muslim Turkish / Kurdish community itself. Seyran Ateş is a feminist human rights lawyer but the platform where she opened this mosque is said to be related to this intercultural dialogue something something by Fethullah Gülen - the name behind the military coup attempt in Turkey. This is now known as FETÖ terror organization in Turkey and with the Berlin imam of that attending her sermon, it is already on papers in Turkish in very controversial ways. There will be a religious side to this discussion (revolving around "protestantisation" (?) of Islam, but there will also be a very political discussion and tension around this that will gain a very different symbolism and will go to very different places. So for some believers within that community, this has already started in the midst of a terror debate and I'm afraid that will again limit female participation into this new thing.

 

My individual opinion is that women should do what they want to do in completely independent structures, without associating themselves with these other structures whatsoever so that their word is not suffocated by them - if that is their goal.  And unfortunately, that other thing happens to be an international crisis about terror and a military coup attempt in this instance. I don't know how appealing these will be to members of those communities - going there will again be perceived as a very political act, again related to terror, fraud and intelligence etc. But Seyran Ateş is an open Gülen supporter so these arguments do not bind her I suppose - the position is clear. (That international or interfaith or whatever dialogue they named it bombed the Parliament from a fighter jet here, they massacred people as well so that's not very much in my description of liberalism at all, or religion, or democracy or whatver.) 

 

Ateş has addressed the Kurdish and Turkish communities before to take the headscarf off for purposes of integration and it could be an interesting debate IMO to discuss whether any believer or non-believer of anything should change their clothing for integration but I guess there will be very different discussions at homes now instead of things related to faith itself. IMO, not productive. 

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I do not know anything about Gülen, he may be a bad guy, but from what I see as an outsider it's all staged with the coup. You wrote that you are a left person, so I can relate: as an outside I see this conflict between Erdogan and Gülen as between Lenin/Stalin and Trotzky. Indeed, the guy was much more radical in his views, but there were many persecusions in Soviet Union on the basis of connections to Trotzky, but he of course had nothing to do with these people who were sent to camps for „supporting Trotzky antirevolution“. Erdogan persecutions look exactly the same.

 

Also many Western left had romantic views about Trotzky just because he was persecuted at home and just because the Soviets hated him so much that sent a killer to South America.

 

So, my lame person opinion is even if indeed there is some funding from Gülen, it all has nothing to do with political processes in Turkey.

 

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I would personally hesitate to call it the reform of Islam happening in our presence, female imams have been practising across the world for a while now as well as LGBT imams conducting LGBT marriages.

True. But Germany is a bit behind the rest of the world in this respect.

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What a debate with so many branches by two people (you and I, claiming to be rational people) about something quite different from our everydaylives. I hope more people with religious and women rights/liberation or other interests join in because we are both partly discussing something that is quite out of our knowledge area. Still interesting to exchange opinions.

 

3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

I do not know anything about Gülen, he may be a bad guy, but from what I see as an outsider it's all staged with the coup.

 

From what I see here, it is definitely a coup attempt. Not staged or anything. Another discussion though - something I wish to avoid for the time being again not to suffocate this subject. (The "staged coup" line of thought has done pretty antidemocratic, non-transparent things here as well, so its implications are different for me. Also, as a civilian, it doesn't matter much when you don't want the military to interfere with civil democratic life, go out to streets to stop tanks from seizing power and they kill you and soldiers who refuse to shoot at civilians are also shot by their commanders - that's not staged. As a person genuinely sensitive about any sort of breach of democratic existence where you live, I am sure you can see that this has a horrendous aspect that is beyond the debate about this "staged" thing. We don't need to be of any particular political conviction to be horrified I guess.) 

 

3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

Erdogan persecutions look exactly the same.

 

This direction of this argument is exactly what I think will happen (in some variations). What has it got to do with Erdoğan or how Gülen compares to Erdoğan- in the sense of evaluating whether liberal Islam (whatever you understand from that) can be expected from a female imam blatantly declaring support for Gülen? That I believe needs to be debated in its own framework. As I said, I'm not competent in terms of debating that framework but I will write my layperson's opinion below. The reason why I mentioned the coup attempt was my questioning of how something that can be so violent in some place can be seen as the liberal face of something elsewhere. If you believe Gülen has nothing to do with the coup attempt, this question becomes invalid. However, Gülenists are confessing, which makes them extremists in my eye, not liberals. (Trying to violently seize the power in any country to dictate whatever view you are representing is extremism in my book. Gülen is not a politician, he doesn't have a legal political existence like a party with a declared programme etc. But he attempted to seize power here. What can be liberal in this is my question. It's more like alien invasion to me.) 

 

3 hours ago, yourkeau said:

So, my lame person opinion is even if indeed there is some funding from Gülen, it all has nothing to do with political processes in Turkey.

 

 

We differ in this. And this is exactly what the problem is, the way I understand it. For one thing, nationality does play a role in the psyche of some immigrants. They are interested in what goes on in their country, may take political stances related to that in the new country etc. We know that  this is so for Turkish immigrants and is often cited in relation to integration difficulties. And some are not even offered dual citizenship despite other people under similar circumstances can be. And this is AFAIK the largest migrantpopulation in Germany. So it seems to me that whether anyone likes it or not, political processes in Turkey will find a way of existing in Germany in some way. (I'm saying this from an objective point of view.) And under these current affair tensions, this will be debated in Germany, in those very communities that have an ethnic and religious connection with this move, with these references. It is inevitable. And again, I think it has a lot to do with political processes in Turkey even without immigrants perceptions. If two countries are in a tension about the return of political refugees that attempted a coup in addition to many things, and then if a religious movement starts with connections to that group that is now perceived as a terrorist organization etc, people will see a connection in some way. (Which again, can be discussed.) And ultimately, this will fall into the framework of Erdoğanists versus Gülenists in Germany. I see this as sort of inevitable. And this is exactly where I think the religious debate will be secondary to other things for many. My problem is how this will affect women. I will write my layperson's view separately.   

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Just to be clear: I have no doubts that the coup d'etat was real. Whether Gülen really has anything to do with it, here I have first doubts. How can someone living in the US make a coup? You need to be physically present to organize all the logistics, it cannot be done by Skype.

 

But it doesn't matter, suppose this is true. Anyway the number of people arrested afterward far outweigh the real number of people participated in the coup. This was my original point. I doubt these people have any chance for fair trial.

 

56 minutes ago, zeino said:

However, Gülenists are confessing, which makes them extremists in my eye, not liberals.

Confession is the queen of evidence, this quote belong to one of the prosecutors under Stalin's regime. Basically, when you apply enough violence, you can make a man confess anything. That is why confession is never enough for conviction in countries with rule of law.

 

I see there is some similarity between Gülen sect and Falun Gong in China. The latter is also some strange religious practice, for some reason hated by the government. But free in Hong Kong which still has English law and certain degree of self-government. I have seen many banners of this sect in HK, in English and Chinese.

 

My, total outsider observation of two Chinese cities under different law system is the following: in Mainland China there are less ads, no political demos/political ads, ten times more police (despite higher population density in HK) and two times less order (I mean mostly traffic, but also begging/pickpocketing etc).

 

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And some are not even offered dual citizenship despite other people under similar circumstances can be. And this is AFAIK the largest migrantpopulation in Germany. So it seems to me that whether anyone likes it or not, political processes in Turkey will find a way of existing in Germany in some way.

There is no dual citizenship in German for all. The only exception applies to EU citizens because EU law requires that. Once Brexit is complete, British citizens will be in the same boat as Turkish citizens. However, you are right, Germany does not want to help Erdogan (or other politician) to legitimize his dictatorship, and Erdogan is a primary reason why I will not be able to keep my citizenship if I ever want to naturalize. Turkish citizens are the only community who support the dictator on a massive scale while living in Germany. I wonder, why? Maybe because all other Turkish citizens are now German citizens and cannot vote.

 

But that was not my point. I meant: this mosque has nothing to do with political processes in Turkey, that's for sure.

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So my layperson's view - from a perspective outside these political or current affairs things. 

 

Seyran Ateş once got an award from Gülen in "Turkish Olympics" funded by the guy, and also said that she started feeling very close to the ideology. I don't know the religious details of that ideology. But the bits I know from Gülen's recent videos are beyond me. He once declared that Prophet Mohammed visited this Turkish (Language) Olympics even though people do not believe this. Turkish Olympics is like an extended spelling bee organization, where children from countries where Turkic languages and dialects are spoken come together, compete in things like grammar, citing poems, folklore things etc etc. Something about bringing Turkic cultures together. Then in a video, where he asked his supporters to "increase gears" he also stated that he was visited by a Martian child, after talking about how "the Chinese or the Indian" sent a satellite to Mars. "The Martian child came here to visit me as well... Maybe he exists. But I think, because we exist, we must look for them... to carry Prophet Mohammed to them." In Turkey, these were considered mysterious but there is a guess that this is an allusion to the kid dressed as a Martian in Turkish Language Olympics. Will the liberalism you have in mind come from an imam devoted to this understanding?

 

I don't wish to disrespect anyone's faith, I know this cannot be the entirety of this particular understanding but these recent things make me question how much power it can hold in terms of appealing to devout people who approach their faith from different reference points - if this is what gives it its supposed value. I don't know. Maybe if I practiced a religion, I would be of a different line that understand prophets in a very different way, or I would not be able to say Martian children so easily. These remind me of things like scientology a little bit (my knowledge of that is limited to one Southpark episode though). I have read critiques of understanding Islam and the Prophet in this way - and by covered women that would be considered "less liberal" perhaps-  but their critique within their terminology appealed to my mind more. But ultimately that doesn't matter much as I'm not the audience of these things. 

 

But here is my problem even if we leave these things aside (and it is a shame that yet another debate about liberalism is starting with this.) AFAIK, women wearing the burqa are banned from this mosque for security reasons. I find that argument fake, ingenuine. It's not an uncontrolled public place, it's not even a huge place. If you want to ensure security, you can conduct a search or do an X-ray thing on all sexes equally. And women in burqa will not be queueing up there anyway. I don't like this because it's a neither here nor there argument. I would disagree with banning women with the burqa for religious purposes in a mosque, I would disagree with banning women with the burqa for political purposes in a mosque, but I would respect and be interested in opinions that genuinely disagree as well. But this security thing does not cut it for me if it's true. (I don't know if it's true).  If I was an imam, a modern one, who believed in the transformative power of my presence, those women would be the first I would invite into my place so that they could get a chance to hear what I say. Otherwise, there can be no transformation. (Religion does not have to be transformative, I'm just mentioning that because we are talking about the political aspect of this thing.) Sure I would ensure security in every possible way, and I would not let anything to hinder that. But if I'm not checking men and what they have under their jackets but am banning these women, that would be a double standard for me. Also I don't think anyone should ban anyone from sacred places unless they are posing a threat to others - be it spreading hate or being armed or something. I hope this is not true.  

 

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Screening costs money, especially in Germany where there is minimal wages you have to pay to the screeners. And this woman received a lot of threats, so terror attack is possible. And I find it hard to believe that there will be even one woman with burqa willing to visit a mosque where men and women pray together. Even liberal imams are against that. So, this ban is technically useless, it's just a PR for outsiders like us, Germans find burqa debate very serious, many politicians support blanket ban French style, although the Constitution doesn't allow that.

 

You know, it is not that easy to get a lawyer license in Germany, certain level of intelligence is required. So, I put information doubt on information that she (a lawyer in Germany) can believe this nonsense about Martian child etc. Everything is possible, of course, but until I find evidence for that from sources I trust, I will doubt that.

 

Otherwise, if Gülen believes in aliens or something, he is just a useless freak, making him responsible for coup and all evil is so cheap as @Conquistador accusing me of supporting Islamic State.

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This shows the laughability about all religions.

Not only do they believe in an invisible person but people of the same faith cannot even decide on a way that invisible person is supposed to be worshipped.

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39 minutes ago, Keleth said:

This shows the laughability about all religions.

Not only do they believe in an invisible person but people of the same faith cannot even decide on a way that invisible person is supposed to be worshipped.

So, your only problem with religion is lack of central authority? Were you by chance baptized as a Catholic? There are still a lot of countries with only one religion and one denomination: Roman Catholic. It's much worse than having many religions because Catholic church gets too much power in the country. Ban of abortions in Poland and Ireland is an example of what one central religion can do.

 

When there are many religions, they spend time arguing with each other, but do not attack the rights of secular people.

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

So, your only problem with religion is lack of central authority? 

Nope but that's one of many.

1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

When there are many religions, they spend time arguing with each other, but do not attack the rights of secular people

I'm not talking in this case about there being many religions (that I can understand in some way)I'm talking about religions that can't even decide how to worship and what is allowed etc in their own religions,for example this mosque or women priests etc.

 

1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Were you by chance baptized as a Catholic?

Nope my parents were Anglican although not followers.

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4 minutes ago, Keleth said:

I'm talking about religions that can't even decide how to worship and what is allowed etc in their own religions,for example this mosque or women priests etc.

 

For any social order, change is gradual, takes a very long time, and is often introduced by a fringe group before becoming mainstream.  

 

Depending on your view of religion, many see the sacred writings, e.g. the Bible as immutable, but interpretation and understanding constantly evolving to incorporate new information and findings from scientific or technological advancement.    Maybe the questions (which may also evolve) are more important than fixed answers.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Keleth said:

I'm not talking in this case about there being many religions (that I can understand in some way)I'm talking about religions that can't even decide how to worship and what is allowed etc in their own religions,for example this mosque or women priests etc.

Then welcome to Judaism. In addition to worship they have also an argument about diet. Is beaver meat kosher? Complicated question!

 

Halal is a bit more lax on this, but there is alcohol ban. I am sure, it will be relaxed to „one glass of wine is not haram“, because the ban is not about diet but more about being drunk/high. So, this ban will be relaxed in Islam, I think.

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, yourkeau said:

 

So, my lame person opinion

Yourkeau I assume you don't say this on purpose but I think you mean "layperson" meaning:

a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject.
"his highly successful lectures were meant for an audience of laypersons interested in the natural sciences"
 
Not lame person meaning: "
Someone who is so uncool they have to call other people names to feel better about themselves.
Do you see that guy Riley over there? He is so lame, but always says everyone else is.
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1 hour ago, SA618 said:

Depending on your view of religion, many see the sacred writings, e.g. the Bible as immutable, but interpretation and understanding constantly evolving to incorporate new information and findings from scientific or technological advancement.    Maybe the questions (which may also evolve) are more important than fixed answers.  

So why follow a religion then why not just follow god in your own way ?

 

20 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

Then welcome to Judaism. In addition to worship they have also an argument about diet. Is beaver meat kosher? Complicated question!

Just underlining my point there.

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56 minutes ago, Keleth said:

So why follow a religion then why not just follow god in your own way ?

 

Whether engaged with an institutionalized religion or not, a person follows (or does not follow) G_d in his/her own way.    Rarely will you find someone whose beliefs and the prioritization of those beliefs reflect the weighting of a particular institution.   

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54 minutes ago, programdirector said:

Yourkeau I assume you don't say this on purpose but I think you mean "layperson" meaning:

a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject.
"his highly successful lectures were meant for an audience of laypersons interested in the natural sciences"

Which has the same etymology as Laie (German, French), from Latin laicus ”non church person“, which is the origin for laïcité, French term for secularism, society without state religion.

 

Why do I make such a lame mistake?

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Why DID I make such a lame mistake, yourkeau!!:lol: (please tell me if and when to stop...I see you as a person who loves languages and wants to know the right thing to say every time  ),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,:)

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On 6/17/2017, 3:07:31, yourkeau said:

Where women and men pray together, and the imam is a woman. The fear of Islamists and Besorgte.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/seyran-ates-warum-die-frauenrechtlerin-eine-moschee-gruendet-a-1151177.html

Actually, that mosque is probably now a target for ISIS/salafists.

 

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The reform of Islam is happening in our presence. Basically, thanks to terrorists, earlier the only liberal way for Muslims was prayer at home or full atheism.

 

Read the full article: the woman is a strong Islam critic. This is what I call meaningful critic of religious practices, not brainless attacks.

The reform of Islam or any other religion is agnosticism.

 

It is very hard to be a muslim, believing in the quran and still be compatible with western values. Face it, a bad book (or collection of texts) to begin with, so no matter how you twist it, there is no reform of Islam possible until they deny most of the quran.

 

EDIT: the Catholic equivalent was basically ditching the whole book of Genesis for evolution in 1950 and Big Bang theory in the 80's or 90's, as well as most of the old testament in the XX's century (or even earlier).

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