Posted by: Lister | June 28, 2007

Huge Mosque stirs protests in Cologne

People are worried about Muslims integrating. Whether they try or not. From the Telegraph:

“Muslims have been here for 40 years, yet people are praying in back rooms,” said Seyda Can, an Islamic theologian at the Turkish Islamic Union in Cologne. “There are 120,000 Muslims in Cologne, that’s 12 per cent of the population. We should not hide.”

Work will begin in the autumn on the £15 million mosque, which will include huge glass and stone cupolas and two six-storey minarets.

Ms Can, who speaks fluent German, is an eloquent advocate for the mosque, arguing that when completed in 2009 it will aid the integration of a population sometimes regarded as outsiders. “With this mosque Muslims will no longer think of their old countries as their home, but of Germany,” she said.

“Two hundred years ago the first Protestant church was built in Cologne. It was a long process for Protestants to be accepted but today, of course, they are. Why can’t we be the same?”

[…] At the Islamic Union, every effort is made to address those fears. “We run German language courses,” said Ikbal Kilic, a spokesman. “And the design of the mosque features a lot of glass, so people can see in. We want to be open.”

But within the exquisitely carved walls of Cologne Cathedral, those promises are not enough. “We live in a land of religious freedom,” said Prelate Johannes Bastgen, the cathedral’s dean. “I would be very glad if the same principle existed in Muslim countries.”

A large part of Germany’s Muslims come from Turkey. Turkey has had Churches for quite some time. See: Wiki – Churches in Istanbul. Some of the earliest Churches were converted to Mosques. Some were not. And new Churches were built. Why not compete with the best of Turkey rather than the worst?

St Stephen church — The church belongs to the Bulgarian minority in the city. The Bulgarians of the Ottoman Empire used to pray at the churches of the Phanar Orthodox Patriarchy, but due to nationalistic movements, Bulgarians were allowed a national church in the 19th century, the Bulgarian Exarchate.

Church of St George — [Moved to it’s current location in about 1600]

St Antonio di Padova — The original S. Antonio di Padova Cathedral was built in 1725 by the local Italian community of Istanbul, but was later demolished and replaced with the current building which was constructed on the same location. The current S. Antonio di Padova, along with its adjacent buildings (known as the St. Antoine Apartmanları) on Istiklal Avenue, was built between 1906 and 1912 in the Venetian Neo-Gothic style, and was likewise edificed by the local Italian community of the city, mostly of Genoese and Venetian descent, who amounted to 40,000 people at the turn of the 20th century.

St. Esprit Cathedral — It is the second largest Roman Catholic church in the city […] The cathedral was built in Baroque style in 1846 under the direction of the Swiss-Italian architect Giuseppe Fossati and his colleague Julien Hillereau.

Jewish Virtual Library has a history of Jews in Turkey.

When the Ottomans captured Bursa in 1324 and made it their capital, they found a Jewish community oppressed under Byzantine rule. The Jews welcomed the Ottomans as saviors. Sultan Orhan gave them permission to build the Etz ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life) synagogue which remained in service until 50 years ago.

Turkey became officially secular in 1923, but some of the reforms go back to 1792. (wiki).


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