The founder of a liberal mosque in Berlin has been granted around-the-clock police protection after receiving more than 100 death threats in recent weeks.
Seyran Ates, a Turkish-born lawyer, opened the Ruschd-Goethe mosque in June to promote a liberal version of Islam. The mosque has banned the burqa and lets men and women pray side by side. The Koran is interpreted “historically and critically” and gays are welcome.
Ates says she has received about 3,000 hate emails per day, and more than 100 death threats since the mosque launched. Germany’s National Criminal Police Office (LKA) is now offering an unusual level of protection.
“I have received so many death threats on social media because of the establishment of the mosque that the LKA has reached the point of protecting me around the clock,” Ates told newspaper Welt am Sonntag Sunday.
Several Muslim governments have condemned the mosque. Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah, Egypt’s state-run Islamic organization, said the practice of men and women praying together is incompatible with Islam. Turkey’s religious authority, Diyanet, also criticized the mosque after instructions from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“This shows once again what a spirited child Erdogan is,” Ates told Welt. “[He] has never understood democracy and never wanted it. Erdogan does not have any personal freedoms.”
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