Berlin mosque invites homophobic imam

Berlin mosque invites homophobic imam
Photo: DPA
An Islamic cleric who has called for the death penalty for homosexuals has been invited to speak at a mosque in the Berlin neighbourhood of Neukölln, the daily Tagesspiegel reported Thursday.

Imam Bilal Phillips, a Canadian of Jamaican descent, was to speak Saturday on the topic “Islam, the misunderstood religion.” But the mosque later said he would have to postpone due to a scheduling conflict.

Pierre Vogel, a prominent German convert to Islam, will still attend the event at the mosque. Phillips is well-known on the internet for videos in which he explains homosexuality is a “very normal mortal sin” because it endangers the family structure.

Phillips was invited to speak by the Al-Nur mosque in Neukölln, which is under surveillance by Germany’s domestic intelligence service for its associations with radical preachers, the newspaper reported. Saturday’s lecture is part of an apparent nation-wide tour by Phillips and Vogel.

In a letter to Berlin’s interior minister, Ehrhart Körting, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Berlin (LSVD) demanded that the city’s government take all legal measures to prevent radical imams preaching hate.

“So far as we see it, this man’s statements fulfill the legal criteria for racial incitement,” a crime under German law, LSVD spokesman Alexander Zinn told the Tagesspiegel.

On the mosque’s web site, the event invitation says: “The picture average people have of Islam is influenced by terror, forced headscarf wearing and honour murders. In a country where freedom of the press is synonymous with a license to lie, this fact can’t really be surprising.”

Calls to the Al-Nur mosque by The Local for comment were not returned.

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