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Cornerstone laid for controversial Cologne mosque

DPA/The Local · 7 Nov 2009, 13:56

Published: 07 Nov 2009 13:56 GMT+01:00

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The futuristic mosque, which is being built under the auspices of the Ditib Turkish association, will have a large dome and two 55-metre minarets. Critics of the project say they will spoil Cologne’s skyline by taking attention away from the city’s famous Gothic cathedral.

“We’re not just laying a cornerstone for a mosque and community centre,” said Ditb spokeswoman Ayse Aydin according to public broadcaster WDR, “We’re also laying here a cornerstone for our common future.”

The debate over the mosque’s construction has come to symbolise the conflict between Europe’s growing Muslim population and those who believe Muslim immigration to the continent should be curtailed. Plans for the mosque have drawn protesters from around Germany and Europe, including right-wing extremists. One such planned rally was canceled by police for fears of violent protests.

To avoid inflaming public sentiment against the project, Ditib agreed to not broadcast the call to prayer to the neighbourhood from the minarets and to keep the building’s height the same as nearby structures.

When completed in two years, the mosque will hold between 2,000 to 4,000 worshipers and replace a series of ad-hoc places of worship that have developed around the city as Cologne’s Muslim population grew.

Story continues below…

At the event, Cologne’s former mayor Fritz Schramma described the mosque’s architecture as “a symbol of an opening blossom, that invites you to peek inside.”

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:46 November 7, 2009 by piper1
I wonder if we "Westerners" are allowed to build a "Christian Church" in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Iraq or Syria or............................................
14:46 November 7, 2009 by Psypher
So this is how the new caliphate begins, huh? (with a ceremony...)
14:49 November 7, 2009 by So36
Your point being? Any free society must allow houses of worship for minority religions. Or are you implying Cologne should be as repressive as Saudi Arabia?
16:21 November 7, 2009 by Heinrich der Zweite
I would'nt say Islam is a minority religion. And after much controversy the mosque is

being built. Piper1's list is not exactly of free societies and even if the "Christian Church" says that it just want's to help the poor they don't want to know.
18:42 November 7, 2009 by yourfriend
Churches are already built and allowed in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt and many muslim countries. Saudi Arabia being centre of Islam does not allow building of Churches in same way Vatican city being center of Catholics does not allow building of Mosques.
18:48 November 7, 2009 by delusion1982
@Piper1, switch on your brain before writing idiotic comments.

Cologne is not the Vatican (wrt building a church in Mekkah for example), and the oldest church in the history is built in Syria. There are famous churches spreading all around the Arabic world (where Christianity came from).

I am all in all against building public and collective worship monuments anyhow, which are nothing but brain washing centers and out-of-community gangs (specially mosques).

But one should be careful in remembering that in a free democratic society one should allow for personal freedom while keeping respect with the constitution and law.

@LAURA EX-MUS, building a mosque will still not allow muslim men to break the law (beating their wives, raping them, inheritance laws...) except unfortunately if the women themselves accept this. So as long as Muslim women don't rise up and fight for their rights and independence, they will always be suppressed. They should take advantage of being in a free strong society where they can get help if they ask for it.
21:43 November 7, 2009 by BnB
Any decision about this building should be based only on architecture and planning and not on what is done inside it, as long as it's legal.

I think that it looks cool and refreshing but that's just my personal opinion and others may disagree.If anyone objects to what is done or preached in the mosque, then they should be campaigning against that activity and not against the building.

LAURA EX-MUS, there are aspects of almost every religion that are hostile to women. For example women are far less free to divorce in Judaism than in Islam, and what are the odds of the next Pope being a woman? That does not excuse everything that is preached in Islam, just that every other religion should face the same scrutiny.
00:06 November 8, 2009 by Fredfeldman
This building is another milestone in the Islamization of europe. In an age where Christianity as a formal religion is losing its appeal on the continent this mosque is the embodiment of Moslem hope for the eventual adoption of Sharia law throughout the EU. Islam is a political movement as well as a religion and should be universally recognized as such by its intended "converts" and treated as a sect like the Scientologists. The difference being the latter are in it for the money while the former are in it for the religious and political control. Both are equally dangerous in my opinion.
00:45 November 8, 2009 by Neutral
It is somewhat omenous that debates on stories about moslems in this newspapers is extensive. It is true that any mosque or synagogue in Europe should not be very grand or ostentious so that it eclipses the traditional Christian character of European landscape. I think, this is somewhing for the town planners. However, this should not be occasion for stereo-typed bashing of Moslems, based on some half-true and selctive information of Islam, taken out of context. Besides, it is also a little bit annoying that Islam is being associated with immigrants, minority or some Arab countries. Doesn't a civilized country like Germany respect the basic human rights of freedom of religion of its citizens (without identifying him/her as he/she is immigrant or not, whether he/she is Chirstian or Jewish or Moslem or Hindu)?
00:57 November 8, 2009 by slobo
Why must a "free society" allow...anything...or everything? Freedom requires responsibility, and right thinking, and order, not "anything goes".
09:11 November 8, 2009 by Johnne
Human right and freedom is connected to responsibility and "right thinking" free democratic society or not, the mosque is a symbol of Islamic movement/culture being imposed on the west. My advice to the Germans is to stop it.
09:51 November 8, 2009 by Neutral
It seems that some of the commentors needs to have a better understanding of human rights and its definition. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, may be read. Human rights are very basic rights of a human being; they are not linked to, or based on, anything else.
10:34 November 8, 2009 by Dizz
They also need a better understanding of the scriptures of all the major religions and of how these have been (mis)interpreted and (mis)applied through the ages, before choosing to comment on one in particular, especially in the form of an implied comparison. Yeah I know, I may as well wish for "world peace".

Anyway, I think it looks cool!
15:44 November 8, 2009 by student4ever
@Piper1: I was surprised to see how missinformed or unaware people are of the facts.

Just for your information, I have grown up even listening to the bells of churches ringing right in the cities of Pakistan. Its not forbidden there for churches to keep the sound of bells inside as its here for mosques.... :) Even being muslim nobody from my surroundings objected that.

@Laura-Exmus: I simply would like to say you also might be a bit less informed about the topic. Did you read Quran complete and urself? Did you ever read how Prophet Mohammed lived and acted?.
16:33 November 8, 2009 by Psypher
I'm confused. How did this become a discussion about "freedom of religion"????

This is about "PC"-induced grandiosity. There are plenty of mosques around Germany, but the point here is that this is going to be "one of Europe?s largest mosques"...

So, the question is: why here? who's idea was this, and what are they trying to prove? long-term political consequences?
21:38 November 8, 2009 by eddymanly
It is just about building a big mosque!!!! what is the problem?
02:11 November 9, 2009 by slobo
So, in accordance with "human rights", the building of this mosque is allowed to be built? Now built and as a magnet for more immigration, say the Great German State is displaced by a foreign tounge, will the german minority be speaking Arabic willingly, in accordance with the majorities human rights? That will be interesting...
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