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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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POLITICS

German opposition adopts gender parity target for 2025

Germany's main opposition party, the centre-right Christian Democrats, on Saturday adopted a quota policy for women in senior leadership roles with a goal of gender parity by 2025.

German opposition adopts gender parity target for 2025

Delegates for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party adopted the new rule with 559 votes for and 409 against, with 11 abstentions, at the congress in Hanover.

From next year, women must occupy a third of leadership positions at both local and national levels, climbing to 40 percent by 2024 and then reaching 50 percent by mid-2025.

The same quotas will apply to candidate lists at general, regional and European elections.

The decision settles a debate that has agitated the party of the former chancellor Angela Merkel for several years.

Former president Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was the head of the CDU between 2018 and 2021, put forward the policy.

She encountered a lot of pushback to the proposal among the party, which was created in the immediate post-war period and whose posts of responsibility are mostly held by men.

And despite the target being passed, there is still strong resistance to quotas by many delegates who fear the policy risks appointing women solely to meet targets and not based on ability.

But CDU chairman Friedrich Merz has given his support to the goal, and emphasised that “more than 50 percent of voters are women”.

Merkel left office in 2021 after 16 years in power and was succeeded by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz at the helm of a three-way coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.

After losing power last year, the CDU is hoping to win in the elections in 2025.

The conservatives are currently leading in the polls, ahead of the Greens and Scholz’s Social Democrats.

Before the national vote, the CDU is also hoping to make gains in regional elections, with the next on October 9 in the region of Lower Saxony.

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