Germany – Woman Imam who fights for gender equality, needs security protection

Terry Firma,
May 22, 2018

hardly cut a popular figure among Germany’s Muslim population before 2017; as a
lawyer, she used to represent victims of domestic abuse and other violence
perpetrated by her clients’ conservative-Muslim husbands and brothers. Ate
ş has a scar on her neck from where
a would-be murderer’s bullet hit her years ago.

Imam Seyran Ate
ş, 55, has had to get used to the hate mail and the death

last year, the Istanbul-born feminist really painted a bull’s-eye on
herself when she started the Ibn
Rushd-Goethe mosque
 in the German capital. It’s a place of
worship where men and women pray in the same space. Burqas and niqabs are
strongly discouraged, headscarves are optional, and women often lead in prayer.
LGBT Muslims are welcome and can get even get married at the mosque.

The Dutch
daily Trouw, which published an interview with Ate
ş on Friday, reports that
she has a security detail of 16 guards. Everywhere she goes, her
armed protectors keep an eye on her, scanning the surroundings for
Islamist assassins.
With her
liberal religious interpretations of the Qur’an and the Hadith, Ate
ş unleashed the anger of
“millions of Muslims,” according to Trouw. Religious authorities in Turkey
and at the Al-Azhar university in Cairo have excoriated her, and virtually
every day brings new threats of rape, or murder, or both — often from within
the free, secular country where Ate
ş has lived since she was six.
hatred she receives only strengthens her conviction that gender equality
is vitally important,
and worth fighting for.
“It is so
liberating to pray together, especially for women. Many feel for the first
time what it is like to be fully human, and experience what it is to be
respected as such, instead of being reduced to a female and a sex object that
men can undress with their eyes, or ignore. By praying together and making
gender a non-issue,the focus finally shifts to spirituality instead of
Ateş sees a strong connection between
her erstwhile career as an attorney and her current one as an imam, pointing
out that she defends constitutional principles in both capacities.
happening in our Dutch and German mosques is that Muslims pray against
principles of equality. The ideology that is bred within the mosque has an
effect outside of it. Mosques form the moral guide of the community. The gender
segregation, and women’s reduction to sex objects that is the cause of it,
influence the mindset of young Muslims. …
realized that while I defended the constitution in the courts, that same
constitution was ignored and invalidated in every mosque. There isn’t a
place in Germany where, as a woman, I feel less welcome than in a mosque. So
that’s where I had to start.”
I was
struck by how much Ate
ş has in common with Ayaan Hirsi
 (despite the latter having become an atheist). Both fled
patriarchal oppression and arranged marriages. Both settled in the West. Both
pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, integrated with keenness, fell in love
with enlightenment ideals, thrived academically, and became celebrated for
their tireless advocacy on behalf of women (Ate
ş was named Germany’s
Woman of the Year in 2005).
both rail eloquently against the insane iniquities that girls and women suffer
under Islam even in the West. And both like to point out the dangers posed by
the rise of political Islam in Europe; warn against unfettered multiculturalism
and unrestricted immigration; and condemn the bigotry of low expectations
displayed especially by the regressive Left, whose tolerance of intolerance
helps keep Muslimas under the thumb of medieval-minded Islamic men.
Just as
meaningfully, both Ate
ş and Hirsi Ali have fatwas and assorted murder threats
hanging perennially over their heads — hard proof, as if we needed it, that
Allah doesn’t necessarily bestow morals or actual virtue upon those serving