Seyran Ateş

Seyran Ateş (born 20 April 1963) is a German lawyer and Muslim feminist born in Istanbul, Turkey, of Kurdish-Turkish descent. Her family moved to Germany when she was six years old. She studied law at the Free University of Berlin, and has practiced law since 1997, specializing in criminal law and family law.[1] Ateş, a civil-rights activist, is best known for demanding equal rights for Muslim women and girls.[2][3]

Her views, highly critical of an immigrant Muslim society that is often more conservative than its counterpart in Turkey, have put her at risk.[4] Her German language book, Islam needs a sexual revolution, was scheduled for publication in Germany in 2009.[2] In an interview in January 2008 on National Public Radio, Ateş stated that she was in hiding, and would not be working on Muslim women's behalf publicly (including in court), due to the threats against her. In one particular incident, she and her client were attacked by a woman's husband in a German courthouse in front of onlookers who did nothing.[5]

Ateş opened the Ibn Ruschd-Goethe mosque in 2017, funded by a brothel and located in a church. It's the only liberal 'mosque' in Germany where men and women pray together, and women can take the role of imam leading a prayer.[6] The Turkish religious authority and the Egyptian Fatwa Council at the Al-Azhar University have condemned her project, and she has received death threats.[7][8] The fatwa encompassed all present and future liberal mosques.[8] Since May 2018 she is official "ambassador" for the registered association intaktiv e.V. which is against circumcision of male children.[9][10]

In October 2019 Ates won the University of Oslo Human Rights award.[11]

According to Ateş, many liberal Muslims do not come forward due to threats and fear.[7]

Selected worksEdit

  • Bei Trennung: Tod, in: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.): Tod und Sterben in der Gegenwartsgesellschaft. Eine interdisziplinäre Auseinandersetzung (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisziplinär/Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 3), Baden-Baden 2008
  • Große Reise ins Feuer: Die Geschichte einer deutschen Türkin, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2006
  • Individualität: Ich sein oder Ich haben?, in: Flensburger Hefte, Nr. 87, Flensburg 2005


  1. ^ [1]"Tolerance for the tolerant",, August 9, 2005. Article originally appeared in German in Perlentaucher, September 2, 2005. Retrieved January 29, 2010
  2. ^ a b [2]"Islam needs a sexual revolution," interview in Der Spiegel, October 13, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2010
  3. ^ "Seyran Ateş: Tolerance for the tolerant (08/09/2005) - signandsight". Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  4. ^ Schneider, Peter (December 4, 2005). "In Germany, Muslims grow apart". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  5. ^ [3] National Public Radio interview, January 22, 2008. Retrieved January 29, 2010
  6. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Frauenrechtlerin gründet Moschee: "Unsere Religion nicht den Rückständigen überlassen" - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Politik". SPIEGEL ONLINE. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  7. ^ a b Germany, WeltN24. "Liberal Moschee in Berlin: "Die meisten liberalen Muslime haben Angst" - WeltN24 - Deutschland". WeltN24. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  8. ^ a b Oltermann, Philip (2017-06-25). "Liberal Berlin mosque to stay open despite fatwa from Egypt". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
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  11. ^ [4]

External linksEdit