In the year since its foundation, Berlin’s liberal mosque has established itself and is attracting ever greater interest. But lawyer Seyran Ates, who opened the mosque, lives with ongoing hostility and threats.
There are 15 chairs in the room. And two men with guns. Bodyguards. This is daily life for Seyran Ates, dailylife in the liberal Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. This small Islamic place of worship in Berlin’s Moabit district celebrates its first anniversary on Friday. “A great deal has already happened in the past 12 months,” says Ates. “There really is a need for a mosque like this.”
For her, it’s all about “a friendly, spiritual Islam, a contemporary interpretation.” This was why she named the mosque after the Arab doctor and philosopher Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes (1126-1198), and the German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – two people “who did a great deal that was positive for Islam in their respective times.”