The Press Statement by Sehitlik Mosque in Berlin

Source: “Basın Açıklaması” (“Press Statement”), Sehitlik Mosque, November 2014, http://www.sehitlik-camii.de/

Similar to our other Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) mosques, we at the DITIB-Sehitlik Mosque have been providing Mosque Guidance services since 2004 without interruption and will continue to do so. As per our religious beliefs, we open our doors and create an environment of introduction and enlightenment to everyone who comes to visit our Mosque to learn about our Islam Religion and Culture, regardless of their religion, language, race, and color. We provide appointments to groups with 7 or more participants. In this way, we host on average about 30 thousand visitors per year.

Leadership Berlin foundation, which organizes courses on politics, economics, and so on, requested from us a visitation reservation for 24 November 2014. We had previously partnered and collaborated with the above-mentioned institution to fight against anti-Islamism. We responded positively to their appointment request because we knew them and there was no additional invitation that was send out by the DITIB Sehitlik Mosque.

However, it was not our goal to legitimize any concept that is sinful according to our religion, nor to provide a platform to any of their sub-organizations or their partners when we confirmed the visitation request by Leadership Berlin. It has disturbed the DITIB Sehitlik Mosque and its community greatly that the media projected the issue as if it were a result sourced in us or an invitation sent out by us.

We have decided to rescind our confirmation for the 24 November 2014 appointment in order to avoid playing into the hands of such abuse. Furthermore, we believe that it will indubitably contribute to our collective living that we do not provide this [guidance] service at this date in order to prevent any possible provocations against this innocent enlightenment and guidance service as a result of conflated and intricate news reporting abuse.

We hereby inform the public that the doors of our Mosque continue to be open to any and all visitors who wish to get acquainted with our religion and culture.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

[click for the Sehitlik Mosque Press Statement in PDF format]

Announcement from the Religious Affairs

The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs was said to make a scandalous decision and open up the mosques in Germany to perverted homosexuals[1]. However the subsequent announcement revealed that these claims were bogus. 

Source: “Diyanet’ten açıklama: Onları biz davet etmedik” (“Announcement from the Religious Affairs”). Yeni Akit, 14 November 2014, http://www.yeniakit.com.tr/haber/diyanetten-aciklama-onlari-biz-davet-etmedik-36405.html

Ender Çetin, the chair of the Sehitlik [Martyrdom] Mosque Foundation, which is affiliated with the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB)[2], stated in relation to claims of “They invited homosexuals to the mosque,” that they did not invite the homosexual group to the mosque. 

In his statement, Çetin specified that the Leadership Foundation, which organizes various events, had a request to visit the mosque along with a homosexual group on 24 November. Çetin noted that the mosque foundation holds publicity and guidance events for the mosque that are held for everyone. 

Çetin, who stated that, similar to other mosques, Sehitlik Mosque too is open to everyone regardless of their religion, race, color, language, and perspective, said “They communicated that they wanted to visit the mosque. However we did not send them a separate invitation to them. Because our doors are open to everyone, we show the mosque around to everyone.” 

It was not an invitation by the mosque

Çetin, who said “there was no special invitation,” conveyed their discomfort at the publicization of this event as if this were “an invitation by the mosque.” 

Çetin, who stated that questions about homophobia could be answered during the Q&A session following the mosque tour, explained that the tour program includes the history of the mosque, its architectural structure, the basic rules of the religion, and especially instructions on how to perform the salaat. Çetin emphasized however that it is out of question to have them give a speech. 

It has been stated that Leadership Foundation and The Foundation of Immigrant Lesbian and Homosexuals was going to visit the mosque during the Meet2respect project and that this event was being organized with collaboration from the Sehitlik Mosque Foundation. 

[1] LGBTI News Turkey translates texts without correcting hate speech in order to better reflect the source text. 

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish-Islamic_Union_for_Religious_Affairs