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EQUALITY

Berlin mosque flies rainbow flag for pride month

A mosque in Berlin on Friday became the first in Germany to fly a rainbow flag in support of the LGBT community, ahead of two major gay pride events in the city this month.

Members of the religious community stand in front of a rainbow flag after it was hoisted outside the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in Berlin, Germany on July 1st 2022.
Members of the religious community stand in front of a rainbow flag after it was hoisted outside the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in Berlin, Germany on July 1st 2022. Photo: Adam BERRY / AFP

The Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in the central Moabit neighbourhood unfurled the flag ahead of Friday prayers in front of a small crowd, including Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer.

Many of those attending wore rainbow stickers that read “Love is Halal”.

The mosque, founded five years ago, is Germany’s only self-described liberal mosque and allows men and women to pray together, as well as being open to LGBT worshippers.

Mo El-Ketab, one of six Imams at the mosque, said he wanted it to provide a “safe place for people who are different, so they too can experience the spiritual side of their lives”.

“I hope that many other mosques will also show the flag in this way or set other positive signs for the LGBT community,” he said.

Two major events in support of the LGBT community will take place in Berlin this month – the Lesbian and Gay Festival on July 16th and 17th, and Christopher Street Day (CSD) on July 23rd.

Marc-Eric Lehmann, a CSD board member, said flying the flag sent “an incredibly strong sign” and it was “really important” to find a place for religion in LGBT communities.

“Queer people can also be religious and believe in God,” he said.

“We should not just be talking about safe spaces in bars and clubs in Berlin, we also have to talk about safe spaces in the places of worship.”

READ ALSO: Meet the Berlin pride co-founder continuing the fight for LGBTQ rights

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GERMAN HISTORY

German parliament to commemorate LGBT victims of Nazis

The German parliament will for the first time next year commemorate victims of the Nazi regime, who were persecuted and killed for their sexual or gender identity, the Bundestag president said Friday.

German parliament to commemorate LGBT victims of Nazis

On January 27, the international Holocaust Remembrance Day, German MPs will put those victims “at the centre of the commemoration ceremony”, Baerbel Bas told German daily Tagesspiegel.

Germany has officially marked Holocaust Remembrance Day every January 27 since 1996 with a solemn ceremony at the Bundestag featuring a speech by a survivor and commemorations across the country.

“Sadly there are no survivors left” for the LGBT victims’ memorial, Bas said, adding that parliamentary authorities were in close discussions with the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD).

Campaigners have worked for years to establish an official parliamentary commemoration of Nazi victims who were persecuted for their sexual or gender identity.

A petition, signed by victims’ organisations, academics, and other civil society figures, was put forward in support of the idea in 2018.

While the former German President Roman Herzog named homosexuals among the victims of the Nazis at the first event in 1996, “these victims have yet to have their own memorial”, said Henny Engels, member of the LSVD board.

The group “welcomed” the Bundestag president’s decision to dedicate the day to victims, who were persecuted and killed for their sexual or gender identity.

“To draw the right lessons from all its different facets, history must be comprehensively kept alive,” Engels said.

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