Taboo-Breaking Liberal Mosque Opens In Berlin
"We want to send a signal against Islamic terror and the misuse of our religion," said Turkish-born Ates, 54, dressed in a long white robe. "We want to practise our religion together."
The Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar" ('God is greatest') resonated through the crowded Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque Friday as US-Malaysian Ani Zonneveld, one of the world's few female imams, launched the call to prayer.
Then one of the founders of the new place of worship, lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates, opened the event with words of welcome before Christian and Jewish guests and a large media contingent.
Ates -- no stranger to breaking taboos, having called for a "sexual revolution" in the Muslim world -- vowed she would not allow ultra-conservatives "to rob me of my right to be Muslim".
Kneeling on green carpets, the faithful -- men and women, side by side -- bowed to Mecca for the traditional prayer as the imam spoke in German.
Some of the women wore veils or head coverings, others did not.
The new mosque, the 88th in the German capital, is located in a rented room on the third floor of the Protestant Johanniskirche (St. John's Church) building.