My LGBT-friendly mosque saved me from being radicalised’

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05/01/2019

Sitting in my bedroom alone, a wave of fear washed over me. I was 12 years old, confused, and scared – I was beginning to realise I was gay. My dad was watching TV in the living room, and all I could think about was how disappointed he’d be if he ever found out. I grew up in a Turkish neighbourhood in Berlin. My family are conservative Muslims and my dad was always pretty strict. But we were still close and would play football in the street together almost every day. He was football mad, and even named me after a famous Turkish player, but I could never bring myself to tell him I didn’t actually like the sport. It was then I heard about a new, liberal mosque in Berlin called Ibn Rushd-Goethe, that was right on my doorstep. It has a female imam, lets Muslims of all genders pray together, and accepts gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims. It’s caused controversy in the Muslim world, receiving condemnation from Turkish organisations and even a fatwa from Egypt but for me, it was a light in the darkness.

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